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10 of the most influential baby names in history

Published: Monday, Aug. 4 2014 3:40 p.m. MDT

There's a lot of importance in a name. But who has made their name work for them throughout history? Here's a list of the most powerful names from throughout history.

Wavebreakmedia Ltd, Getty Images/Wavebreak Media

What’s in a name?

Actually, quite a lot.

Quartz reported Monday that a person's name has a high impact on his or her future success. Studies have suggested that particular names can actually influence the way people feel about someone and how well a person does in job performances.

So the question, then, is what names in history have been the most powerful? What names have led people to the most success?

Here’s a list of 10 names that have oftentimes been associated with the movers and shakers throughout history:

Alexander

Alexander is a strong first name that means “defender of the people,” and goes all the way back to Alexander the Great, who led many battles across most of Asia and northern Africa. In 2013, the name ranked eighth in popularity among baby boy names, according to the Social Security Administration.

alexander

Napoleon

From the infamous political leader Napoleon Bonaparte to the less historically important yet still culturally relevant fictional Napoleon Dynamite, the name has made waves across cultures old and new in the last 300 or so years. The name has also served as nicknames for U.S. generals Douglas MacArthur and George B. McClellan.

napoleon

George

There have been many Georges throughout history who have contributed to its significance and power. There was George Washington, the first president of the United States, or the many amount of King Georges, none of whom is more significant to American history than King George III. George Harrison was a famous singer and music artist; George Clooney is a popular modern day actor; and George W. Bush was president of the United States before current president Barack Obama. The name, meaning farmer, is currently ranked as the 157th most popular baby name, according to Name Trends.

george

William

There have been so many famous Williams (and Bills, for that matter) over the years that it would be impossible to count them. Meaning “strong-willed warrior,” some of the most important people in history — William Shakespeare, William McKinley, William Henry Harrison — have donned the name and made an impact on society. It’s currently ranked as the 20th most popular baby name of 2013.

william

John

John Adams. John Quincy Adams. Pope John Paul II. John F. Kennedy. John has been a dominant name in the history of the world. It was even popular back in biblical times. John the Apostle was the name of one of Jesus’ 12 apostles. In 2014, it’s the 48th most popular name for boys, according to Baby Center.

john

Noah

Noah’s back. It’s the most popular name for boys, and it also has some historical significance. Not only is it the name of an influential biblical character, but several celebrities over the years have had the name, too.

noah

Mary

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