Meaning and Origin of the Name Jennifer


Cornish form of Guinevere. Jennifer developed in Cornwall and then became popular throughout England in the mid-20th century. Educated American parents began to use the name around 1940, and it was already one of the top 100 names for girls in 1957.

Jennifer's success was probably because it was the one obvious shift from Jane, Janet, Janice, Jean, and Joan, which were all going out of fashion around 1970, when Jennifer became the number-one name for girls. Jennifer held that spot through 1984, a very long run at the top for a girls name. It is falling away slowly now, though its numbers are largely being maintained because Jennifer Lopez has made it hugely popular in the Hispanic-American community, the one segment of the population where it wasn't used much in the 1970s. Jennifer was the 42nd most popular girls name in 2005.

Famous names: Jennifer Aniston (actress), Jennifer Higdon (composer), Jennifer Lopez (actress/singer)

Nicknames: Genni, Gennie, Genny, Jen, Jenni, Jennie, Jenny

Other spellings of Jennifer: Gennifer, Jenefer, Jenifer, Jennefer

Variations of Jennifer: Jenna

See more Irish names.