About the name Jennifer

About the baby name Jennifer, at Click Baby Names.com

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If you like the name Jennifer, find out the meaning, origin, nicknames, variations and other information to help you decide if you want to use this first name for your baby.
Name meaning, variations & etymology

Journey into the name Jennifer: Your guide to this fair name

Jennifer is a name that resonates with both nostalgia and familiarity. Once a chart-topping favorite, it continues to grace classrooms, workplaces, and big screens.

In this guide, you’ll learn about its rich history, discover its variations, and see how it’s fared in the world of fame. Scroll down to learn more!

Pronunciation and basic details

Jennifer is typically pronounced as JEN-uh-fur. This name has three syllables, with the emphasis clearly on the first. It conveniently rhymes with the word “lender,” but with a ‘fur’ sound at the end. No notable mispronunciations for this name, it’s fairly straightforward.

The history and origin of the baby name Jennifer

The name Jennifer originates from the Old Cornish name “Gwenhwyfar.” Cornwall, where the Cornish language is from, is a county in the southwestern tip of England, and is part of the United Kingdom. Cornish is a Celtic language, closely related to Welsh and Breton.

Over time, Gwenhwyfar evolved into the more familiar Guinevere of Arthurian legend, and ultimately became the Jennifer we know today. The name gained popularity in Cornwall and eventually spread more broadly.

Its original meaning stems from the Cornish elements “gwen,” meaning fair, white, or blessed, and “hwyfar,” which signifies smooth or soft. Together, these components give Jennifer its etymological essence of fairness and grace.

Popularity trends

Jennifer saw its peak popularity in the United States from the 1970s through the early 2000s. Specifically, it was the most popular name for baby girls from 1970 to 1984, according to Social Security Administration data.

During these years, the name Jennifer dominated birth certificates, becoming almost synonymous with the era. Even though its popularity has waned since then, it continues to be a recognizable and widely-used name, maintaining a spot in the top 1000 names in recent years.

Although it has seen a decrease in usage in recent years, Jennifer continues to be popular, staying within the top 1000 on the Social Security lists.

Pop culture: Famous faces and characters named Jennifer

A constellation of celebrity Jennifers

Here’s a list of notable Jennifers in the entertainment industry, complete with their occupation and birth year:

  • Jennifer Aniston (Actress, born 1969)
  • Jennifer Connelly (Actress, born 1970)
  • Jennifer Coolidge (Actress, comedian, born 1961)
  • Jennifer Garner (Actress, born 1972)
  • Jennifer Grey (Actress, born 1960)
  • Jennifer Hudson (Singer, actress, born 1981)
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh (Actress, born 1962)
  • Jennifer Lawrence (Actress, born 1990)
  • Jennifer Lopez (Singer, actress, born 1969)
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt (Actress, singer, born 1979)
  • Jennifer Morrison (Actress, born 1979)
  • Jennifer Tilly (Actress, born 1958)

These women have all contributed significantly to the entertainment industry, showcasing the versatility and enduring appeal of the name Jennifer.

A Ginnifer by any other name

Actress Ginnifer Goodwin, known for her roles in “Big Love” and “Once Upon a Time,” bears a unique variant of her birth name Jennifer, providing yet another modern twist to this classic name.

Jennifer across different mediums

The character Jennifer “Jenny” Cavilleri from Erich Segal’s novel “Love Story” and its subsequent film adaptation remains iconic. In the sporting world, Jennifer Capriati stands out as a former professional tennis player.

Nicknames, variations, and adaptations

For a twist, you might see Jenifer, Jennipher, or Ginnifer (mentioned above) and Gennifer. In Spanish-speaking countries, you might encounter “Yénifer.” The French spelling, “Gennifer,” harkens back to its Guinevere origins.

Common nicknames include Jen, Jenn, Gennie, Ginny, Jenny, and Jenna. 

While Jennifer is predominantly feminine, a masculine/unisex form, Jenner, is less common but also interesting.

Is Jennifer a good baby name for your family?

Choosing Jennifer offers both a nod to the past and flexibility for the future. Although it’s not as trendy as it once was, the name carries a timeless aura. You might also consider how many Jennifers you already know, as it was an incredibly popular name in past decades.

The final name frame

Once you’ve decided on Jennifer, think about how it complements middle names or surnames. Shorter, one- or two-syllable middle names often work well with Jennifer. Sibling names like Emily or William can offer a harmonious blend of timeless appeal.



baby Name length

8 letters (long name length)

FREE baby name printable

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