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11 Iconic Baby Names Your Child Would Be Proud To Have

There are some baby names that never really go out of style, usually because of the people who have held them throughout history. Ancient rulers, former presidents, movies stars, writers, artists, and musicians have a way of making names surge in and out of popularity. When you're searching for an iconic name for your baby though, it can be hard to narrow down the options. Should you go with a timeless classic like William or Jane? Or opt for something a little more unique?

There is something about naming your child after an inspirational figure that seems to set them up for success. Though that theory is probably flawed, there is most definitely merit to carefully choosing a namesake for your soon-to-be baby. In a way, you're subtly telling your child "hey, I admire this person so much that I'm giving you a tiny piece of their history and you can do what you will with it." Whether you admire the meaning behind the name, what the figure accomplished, the art they made, or the words they said, naming your child after your favorite icon is a great way to make sure their legacy isn't lost and that your child remembers the qualities they're named for.

1. Audrey

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Known for more than just her beauty, Audrey Hepburn has become an icon of humanitarian work, fashion and the belief that "happy girls are the prettiest." As if that wasn't enough, her name means "noble strength," making it the perfect namesake for a little girl.

2. Leonardo

20th Century Fox

Whether you're a fan of da Vinci, di Caprio or any other Leonardo, you can't go wrong with this classic name meaning "brave lion".

3. Olivia

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I might be a little bit biased, but I'm a huge fan of this name. A name that dates back to Shakespeare and means "olive tree", Olivia has a slough of iconic holders like Olivia de Havilland, Olivia Newton John, and more recently Olivia Wilde.

4. William

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This enduring classic name means "resolute protection," and if that doesn't make it an automatic shoe-in, there are a host of important Williams throughout history. From Shakespeare, to president Taft and McKinley, to the writer Faulkner, the poet Wordsworth and, of course, Prince William.  

5. Harper

Manjith Kainickara/ Flickr

With the recent passing of iconic author Harper Lee, this name, meaning "harp player," is a beautiful gender-neutral choice.

6. Theodore

Wesley Fryer/ Flickr

This name, meaning "gift of God", has seen quite a fall in popularity in recent years. However, with iconic figures like Theodore Roosevelt as a namesake, it may be the perfect time to bring it back.

7. Eleanor

Haylee Sherwood/ Flickr

If you'd like a female alternative, why not consider Teddy's wife Eleanor who was equally famous in her own right? As a politician, activist and diplomat in the '30s and '40s, she was a great example of a woman who succeeded despite social norms.

8. Duke

Petra Patterson/ Flickr

Duke Ellington, one of the most well known Jazz musicians in American history, had a musical career of more than 50 years. His name means "noble (or a rank of English nobility)" and is a unique choice with great history.

9. Alexander

.Alicia.Kowalski/ Flickr

Dating all the way back to Greek mythology, Alexander, meaning "defender", is nothing short of iconic. Alexander the Great was an ancient king and conqueror and, slightly more recent, Alexander Grahm Bell invented the telephone. And seriously, where would we be without the telephone?

10. Joan

Dennis Jarvis/ Flickr

Though it's been out of popularity for the past few years, Joan has a long history of famous women. From Joan d'Arc, the French soldier, to Joan Crawford and Joan Rivers. It means "God is gracious", and would be a good alternative to the more popular Jane.

11. Steven

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Steven, meaning "garland or crown", is a classic choice as well. And you can't really go wrong with Steve Jobs as a namesake.