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Updated June 7, 2024

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Girl name origins & meanings

What does Jennifer mean and stand for?


  • Irish: White wave; French version is Genevieve
  • English: Fair one; white wave
  • Cornish: White shadow, white wave
  • Old Welsh: White wave

Gender: Female

Syllables: 3

Pronunciation: The name Jennifer is pronounced jen-i-fər

The name Jennifer, of Cornish origin, was derived from Guinevere, which translates to "fair one" or "white wave." Although it was relatively unused in the English-speaking world before the 20th century, its popularity surged in the latter half, thanks in part to literature and entertainment. Emblematic of charm and vivacity, the name has been borne by queens and characters alike, evoking images of grace and elegance.

How Popular Is The Name Jennifer

Famous people who gave their babies this name

Jennifer in Pop Culture

Do you know these fictional characters that share this first name?

  • Jennifer Parker from Back to the Future - Marty McFly's girlfriend turned wife in the iconic time-travel trilogy.
  • Jennifer "Jenny" Humphrey from Gossip Girl - A young, aspiring fashion designer navigating the complex social hierarchy of the Upper East Side.
  • Jennifer Keller from Stargate Atlantis - The kind-hearted and skilled doctor who becomes the chief medical officer of the Atlantis expedition.
  • Jennifer Check from Jennifer's Body - A high school cheerleader who turns into a demon, blending horror with dark humor.
  • Jennifer Walters from She-Hulk - A lawyer who, after an emergency blood transfusion from her cousin Bruce Banner, gains the ability to turn into the She-Hulk.

Popularity of the Name Jennifer

According to the Social Security Administration, the name Jennifer experienced a meteoric rise in popularity in the United States during the 1970s and 1980s, holding the coveted position of the most popular girl's name for several consecutive years. Though its ranking has since declined, Jennifer remains a beloved choice among parents, admired for its simplicity and timeless appeal.

The name Jennifer, of Cornish origin, meaning "white shadow" or "white wave," gained significant popularity in the English-speaking world in the 20th century. Historically, figures with the name Jennifer have made their mark across various fields. Jennifer Capriati, an American former professional tennis player, is celebrated for her remarkable achievements in the sport. In literature, Jennifer Egan stands out as a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist and short story writer, known for her novel A Visit from the Goon Squad.

The entertainment industry boasts a number of notable Jennifers who have contributed to its rich landscape. Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jennifer Lopez, affectionately known as J.Lo, are just a few examples of actresses and performers who have not only captivated audiences worldwide but have also become influential cultural icons in their own right.

Fictional characters named Jennifer have also left an indelible mark on popular culture, from Jennifer "Jenny" Calendar in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Jennifer Parker in the iconic Back to the Future film series. These characters have helped maintain the name's popularity and association with vibrant, compelling personalities.

Where Is the Name Jennifer Popular?

This name is most popular across certain states in the U.S., including those highlighted on the map below.

Nicknames for Jennifer

These shortened names can make great nicknames for your baby.

  • Jen
  • Jenny
  • Jenna

Jennifer Pairs Well With These Middle Names

Looking for a middle name that fits perfectly? Consider these!

Appears On

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