Thanks to the 2004 hit single "Hey, There Delilah" by the Plain White Ts, the name Delilah is charming parents who will happily overlook the name's history as one of the Bible's most infamous temptresses who seduced and betrayed the herculean Samson. Although the name has been intermittently popular throughout the decades, it's risen to new heights with its current ranking at #298 (up from #547 in 2006). The name has leaped 600 places in the past 11 years.
Other controversial figures include the beautiful Bathsheba, who led King David astray, the dancer Salome who demanded the head of John the Baptist after a performance, and Mary Magdalene, a devoted disciple of Christ from whom it was said that Jesus cast out seven demons.
Rising star: Damaris, a woman who was converted to Christianity by St. Paul in the New Testament, may be poised for a breakthrough. The name first hit the top 1000 in 1971 at #952. In 2007, it was ranked #678.
Z is for Zacharias and Zechariah
Zacharias is the Greek form of Zechariah and appears in the New Testament, most notably as the father of John the Baptist, who was struck mute for doubting the angel Gabriel's message that he would bear a son. (His voice returned when he scribbled the boy's name as John on a tablet.) Thirty one Zechariahs can be counted in the Bible, the most notable being a minor prophet in the Old Testament who foretold the coming of the Messiah.
There are also many names in the Bible that begin with Z. Zillah was the second wife of the polygamous Lamech, a descendant of Cain. Zorah was the name of Samson's birthplace, a town in Judah. Zemirah was the son of Becher and the grandson of Becher, the leader of one of Israel's twelve tribes. (The name is used for both men and women.) Zipporah was the daughter of Jethro and the Midian wife of Moses.
Rising star: Zoe, which means "life," was a popular name among the early Christians who looked forward to the promise of an eternal life with God. The name also belonged to a Byzantine empress and two martyrs. In 2000, Zoe hit the top 100; today it is ranked at #56. Its counterparts, Zoey and Zoie, have also found new life on the popularity charts, with Zoey debuting in 1995 at #874 before rising to its current spot at #111. Zoie, once the 1124th most popular name in 1881, emerged at #928 in 1998 and has risen to #569.
Data above is from the US Social Security Administration from 2007 and before.