Rare ‘F’ Names

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‘F’ is an uncommon letter for baby names.  Indeed, I’ve managed to fit girls’ and boys’ names into just one post!

As always, the data for this post comes from the Social Security Administration, which publishes information on American baby names that have been used at least 5 times in a given year.  All the names below fell somewhere below the top 1000 last year (2016).

Girls:

  • 100-246 babies: Florence, Fallon, Flora, Freyja, Faigy
  • 50-99: Fatoumata, Fabiola, Fern, Fiorella, Flor, Francine, Faiga, Farida, Fabiana
  • 25-49: Felicia, Frieda, Fatou, Fraidy, Fanta, Faiza, Fatuma, Faithlynn, Fae, Fanny, Fajr, Filomena, Freedom
  • 10-24: Faustina, Forever, Favor, Fiora, Flavia, Fia, Fradel, Fawn, Faelyn, Frimet, Florencia, Farhiya, Fable, Fariha, Fatiha, Fatimazahra, Fleur, Farzona, Federica, Fortune, Fairy, Fenna, Fionnuala, Firdaus, Fiza, Flannery
  • 5-9: Fariza, Faryal, Folasade, Frimmy, Fancy, Fenet, Fahima, Fairen, Faithful, Fantasia, Farheen, Fate, Fauna, Feather, Fiyinfoluwa, Furiosa, Faraday, Fatimatou, Faven, Felicitas, Finely, Francina, Franziska, Fabiha, Fadeelah, Fadia, Fartun, Faustine, Fayrouz, Fe, Fedora, Femi, Flourish, Flower, Fotini, Francia, Franklynn, Frederica

Boys:

  • 100-186 babies: Finnian, Forest, Finnick, Floyd
  • 50-99: Fidel, Fitzgerald, Flint, Faisal, Fabio, Farhan, Farhad, Fritz
  • 25-49: Ferris, Fulton, Fitz, Fausto, Flavio, Fabrizio, Ferdinand, Fenton, Freeman, Fionn, Fintan
  • 10-24: Falcon, Future, Faustino, Franz, Fergus, Florian, Fawaz, Fin, Feliciano, Filiberto, Fishel, Francois, Fuad, Florentino, Faheem, Fielding, Farouk, Friedrich, Fields, Fadi, Farrell, Fitzpatrick
  • 5-9: Florencio, Franciszek, Fortino, Faolan, Fawkes, Fenris, Field, Fielder, Finch, Fitzwilliam, Flash, Froilan, Fabrice, Felton, Fidencio, Fowler, Fuller, Faraj, Faustin, Fender, Feynman, Fionnlagh, Folarin, Fordham, Frasier, Frey, Furious, Fayden, Fennec, Fenrir, Finbar, Forrester, Fortunato, Fraser, Frost

What do you think of these?  Do you have a favorite ‘F’ name?

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November Name Spotting!

It’s the last day of November!  Let’s see the most interesting, unusual names I’ve encountered over the past 30 days.

I met:

Rigby (female, late 20s) – I should have asked if her parents were Beatles fans.  Rigby didn’t enter SSA birth data at all until 1999, and not until 2011 for girls.  This one was born in the 80s…talk about avant-garde!

Newspaper Sightings:

  • Benefrida (deceased) – Here’s an intriguing name I can’t find any information on.  It kind of looks like a mash up between Benedicta and Frida.
  • Joetter (deceased) – In the old days (mainly before widespread TV), popular girls’ names ending in -a were sometimes spelled with an -er ending instead.  ‘Old’ and ‘forgotten’ choices like Anner, Emmer, and Etter are really just variations of Anna, Emma, and Etta.  Joetter is probably a variation of Joetta, which was slightly popular in the 1930s through 1950s.
  • Elnora (deceased) – Vintage form of Eleanor that peaked in the early 20th century.  19 girls were named Elnora in 2016.
  • Baker – His or her siblings both have top 10 baby names.  Maybe it’s a family name?  156 boys and 19 girls were named Baker last year.
  • Maryblair – Fun compound name!
  • Shaughnessy (African-American, possibly child or young adult) – Shaughnessy is a variation of the Irish surname O’Shaughnessy, and last appeared in the birth data circa 2009.
  • Imgard – looks like variation of Irmgard, which is contracted from Irmingard…and related to Ermengarde.
  • McKenzie (boy) – As a girls’ name McKenzie ranks #156.  Still, a few boys are given the name every year.  17 boys were given this name in 2016.
  • Essence – Like Baker, Essence‘s siblings had extremely popular names from their generation.  I’m guessing they were born in the 80s, maybe early 90s at the latest.  Essence entered the top 1000 in 1991, peaked in 1998, and left after 2008.  Last year, 135 girls received the name.
  • Decima – Ooh, Latin!  Decima is a very rare ordinal name which means “tenth” … I wonder if she’s one of ten kids?  Decima hasn’t appeared in SSA birth data since 1973, though it’s always possible that this one was born in a year where there weren’t enough (minimum of five) to appear.  The masculine form of Decima is Decimus.

Elsewhere:

Cyne-burh – Cyneburh is already rare enough…no idea why she wrote her name with a  hyphen unless it’s meant as a pronunciation marker?  What an amazing sighting!  Cyneburh is a variation of Cyneburg, Cyneburga, or Kyneburga, and is an Anglo-Saxon saint’s name.  It means “royal fortress.”  Elated that I got to see this one…it was hiding in broad daylight on a list where other women with mid-century standards like Kay and Cheryl had also written their names!  For all I know, Cyneburg could have born a Kimberly and wanted something more exciting.  Could it even be a confirmation name?

Have you spotted any unusual names lately?  What do you think of the ones I’ve found?  Let me know!

Previous rare name round-ups in 2017:

Rare ‘E’ Names for Boys

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A week ago I expressed my adoration towards ‘E’ names for girls.  Honestly though, the boys’ names are pretty cool too!  Among other things, the letter ‘E’ gives us an awesome selection of hardcore Bible names like Elimelech and nearly forgotten Old English favorites like Egbert!

As usual, the data for these names comes from the Social Security Administration, which releases a set of baby names every year that were given to 5 or more children in the U.S.  The names below weren’t quite popular enough to be in the top 1000, but were still common enough to chart.  The order of names in this post descends from most popular to rarest.  I’ve color-coded the mostly or entirely masculine names blue, and names with significant unisex usage purple.

  • 150-202 baby boys: Edmund, Elvis, Elmer
  • 100-149: Everest, Eliam, Elon, Ewan, Ever, Eleazar, Ender, Eliel, Emil, Elan, Emir, Elvin, Evander, Earl, Elam
  • 50-99: Eyad, Ellison, Ezio, Egypt, Emrys, Eros, Eldon, Esdras, Eben, Elton, Eoin, Evans, Elio
  • 25-49: Elwood, Esau, Eliab, Ellington, Ethaniel, Edric, Everson, Ebenezer, Elder, Enos, Essa, Eamonn, Elimelech, Eh, Ernie, Enrico, Escher, Eero, Eliud, Erasmo, Errol
  • 10-24: Exodus, Elnathan, Emeric, Egan, Elihu, Eoghan, Elbert, Evangelos, Ericson, Eber, Even, Epic, Ezequias, Elchonon, Eliakim, Eligio, Eusebio, Everton, Earvin, Eissa, Eon, Evaristo, Ezekiah
  • 7-9: Edsel, Enzio, Esmond, Estuardo, Evelio, Exton, Edilberto, Espn, Eustace, Eyoab, Eyosias, Eaton, Ebrima, Ebubechukwu, Edel, Eito, Elber, Elisey, Elrey, Eno, Ether
  • 6: Early, Edenilson, Eiji, Eiven, Ekamveer, Eldridge, Eleftherios, Eleuterio, Elhadj, Elienai, Emeterio, Emilian, Erioluwa, Ernst, Essam, Essex, Eton, Exander, Ezekias
  • 5: Eberardo, Eddiel, Egbert, Einar, Eldad, Eldric, Elishua, Eljay, Elohim, Emigdio, Emperor, En, Engels, England, Enver, Erling, Eryx, Eshwar, Exiquio, Ezell

What are your favorites?  Let me know in the comments!

Ka-ching! Money-Themed Baby Names

Something I’ve noticed while perusing the United States extended data is the prevalence of baby names related to money.  I’m not a huge fan of this name theme, but it yields some interesting results!  Between Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all the other post-Thanksgiving deal days that detract from the true spirit of the Holidays, this post seems (unfortunately) fitting for this time of year.  Cynicism aside…

Currency:

Florin – Hasn’t appeared in SSA data since 2003.  The florin was a popular medieval European currency.

Lira – 30 girls; currency of Italy (pre-Euro) and Turkey.  Pronounced “lee-ruh.”

Mark – #195; Germany (pre-Euro).

Naira – 57 girls; Nigeria.

Quetzal – 5 boys; Guatemala.  The Resplendent Quetzal is that country’s national bird and monetary namesake.

Rand – 11 girls and 21 boys; South Africa.  Most people will probably think of Sen. Rand Paul before they think about South African money.

Sterling – #458; United Kingdom (Pounds Sterling).  The TV series Archer saved this name from obscurity in the U.S.

Yuan – 7 girls, 8 boys; China.

Yen – 7 girls; Japan.

Zaire – #783; Zaïre.  This currency is now defunct, plus the country changed its name to Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1997.  The name spiked that year, interestingly enough.

Physical Money:

Cash – #253.  This most popular of monetary baby names took off after Johnny Cash died, though I can’t tell whether this name is meant more as a throwback to country music or capitalism.  Cash has led to derivations like Cashton (135 boys) and Cashlynn (11 girls). The name Cassius has various alternate spellings that include “cash,” but they may be phonetic and unrelated to the name Cash itself.

Denarius – 7 boys; Ancient Roman coin.  Denarius Moore played with the Oakland Raiders from 2011 to 2014.

Dinero – 19 boys.  Dinero is the Spanish word for money.

Penny – #693.  Penny returned to the top 1000 in 2013, the same year that Penelope entered the top 100 for the first time.

Silver – 50 girls; 12 boys.  Don’t be that person who names a child Sterling Silver.

Tuppence – A corruption of “two-pence,” this is a strictly (albeit rare) British name.  Agatha Christie had a character called Tuppence (whose name was really Prudence).  Another potential namesake is actress Tuppence Middleton.

Wealth:

Fortune – 11 girls, 5 boys.

Prosperity – 6 girls.  I normally love Puritan-style virtue names, but this makes me think too much of the ‘Prosperity Gospel.’ 😦

Rich – 17 boys.  Using Rich as a formal name might seem conceited, so put Richard on the birth certificate instead and use Rich as a nickname.

Wealthy – Hasn’t appeared since 1941.

Worth – 12 boys.

Money-Inspired:

Araminta – Last appeared in 2015.  Use this in reference to “mints,” or places where money is produced.

Crown – 6 boys; can refer to any currencies (especially Scandinavian) whose name translates to “crown” or “crowns.”

Damoney – 7 boys.

Dinara – 5 girls; in reference to the “dinar,” a currency mostly used in countries whose land previously belonged to the Ottoman Empire.  Dinara itself seems to have been a (more ancient) coin, and the word dinar ultimately derives from the Latin denarius.

Florence – 246 girls; In reference to the medieval Florin.

Florian – 18 boys; also in reference to the Florin.  Florian is a very popular baby name in Austria.

Frank – #353; Swiss Franc, along with the pre-Euro Belgian Franc.

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Note for 20 Swiss Francs

Franklin – #423; $100 or Franc.

Hamilton – 97 boys; $10/1st secretary of the Treasury.

Millicent – 119 girls.  It contains ‘cent,’ doesn’t it?

Monique – #923; More subtle than naming a child Money.

Ruby – #71.  As in “ruble” (Russia) or “rupee” (India), though I suppose one can pay in rubies.

Vincent – #104; see Millicent.

Personally, I think the name Jackson (#17) should be avoided if naming a child after money.  On the other hand, Centurion could be a fun way of incorporating “cent!”

Thoughts:

As I said at the beginning of this post, this isn’t my favorite name theme.  If the purpose of the baby name is to advertise the family’s riches (or lack thereof), it’s tacky.  However, there is something to be said about naming children in the hopes that they’ll be successful: it’s not wrong to desire posterity’s wealth and good fortune.  Money-themed names can even be cool choices for coin-collecting parents.  Truly, it’s about intent.

What do you think about money-themed baby names?  Are there any you would add to this list?  Let me know!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ve written a Puritan name acrostic for you all!  An acrostic is a poem in which a letter from each line (especially the first letter) spells something out.

Happy…

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I doubt we’re having turkey…more likely, we’re having lasagna.  Does anybody else eat unconventional Thanksgiving foods?

Temperance – 232 girls in 2016.  It was a top 1000 name between 2011 and 2014.

Hope – 1324 girls (#240) and 7 boys.

Amity – 42 girls.  Amity means “friendship.”

Noble – 140 boys and 15 girls.

Knowledge – 112 boys and 8 girls.

Sincere – 405 boys (#628) and 39 girls.  The other option was Silence.

Grace – 7531 girls (#19) and 15 boys.

Increase – Famously borne by Increase Mather (1639-1723).  I’m a little surprised this one isn’t anywhere in the SSA data.

Victory – 47 girls and 16 boys.

Independence – 6 girls.

Nazareth – 64 girls and 47 boys.  ‘N’ is one of the less common letters for Puritan names; Noble is the only ‘N’ virtue name I could find.  My other choice for this slot was the very random word-name “Notwithstanding,” which was mentioned in Albion’s Seed.*  Yes, someone really named their kid Notwithstanding.

Godswill – 6 boys.  This might be a modern creation, but it’s up there with Obedience.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

(As usual, the data came from the Social Security Administration.  The book I mention, Albion’s Seed, is by David Hackett Fischer and contains some information on colonial naming practices)

Popular Italian Baby Names that Most Americans Don’t Know About

When you think about Italian names, you probably think about ones that are really popular in the U.S., like Gianna and Leonardo.  But what about more distinctive names like Ludovica and Enea?  They’re popular in Italy, but so rare in America that you probably haven’t heard of them!

Every year, Italy releases a list of their country’s 200 most popular baby names.  We share many names with them, from their most popular (currently Sofia and Francesco), to our most popular (Noah and Emma), to oddball American invaders like Bryan and Mya.  Italian has even given America some names (i.e., Enzo) that are rare in Italy!

I’ve sought to create a list of Italian names Americans probably don’t know about but should consider.  Unfortunately, their 2016 data isn’t available yet, so for this post, I’m looking at the 2015 set.  For comparison, I will note whether the names below had any American usage in 2015 and 2016.  Italian rank will be listed first; American numbers are somewhere to the right of the semicolon.

Girls:

  • Ginevra – #12 in Italy; 15 girls in the U.S. born 2016 (14 in 2015).  This is one of the few names on this list that Americans might be familiar with, since it’s Ginny Weasley’s formal name.  Ginevra is the Italian form of Guinevere.
  • Ludovica – #32 in Italy.  Only 5 girls were named Ludovica in the U.S. in 2015, and an unknown number (possibly zero) in 2016.  Ludovica‘s most popular American relative is Louis, though she’s more closely related to the German Ludwig.
  • Benedetta – #40 in Italy; hasn’t charted in U.S. since 1979.  Benedetta is an Italian form of Benedicta and a feminine form of the name Benedict, which means “blessed.”
  • Azzurra – #53.  English equivalent Azure (another word for “blue”) is cool, but Azzurra is stunning!  It’s possible that no American has named their child Azzurra, making it a truly unique name here.
  • Diletta – #58 and rising quickly!  This comes from the Latin dilecta, which means “beloved.”  Like Azzurra, Diletta is extremely rare or non-existent in America.
  • Sveva – #61 and rising; unknown or no American usage.  Sveva looks chic!
  • Ambra – #63; Stateside, 5 in 2015.  Ambra is the Italian word for Amber.  She also looks remarkably like the word “umbra,” so Shadow could make a punny (and awesome) middle name.
  • Lucrezia – #86; here, 14 in 2015 and 8 in 2016.  If Americans know this name, they probably know her through The Borgias, a TV show that ran from 2011 to 2013.  Lucrezia Borgia was the daughter of Pope Alexander VI.  Lucretia is the even rarer English form of this name.
  • Ilenia – #129; last appeared in 2012.  A version of Ilena that was a lot more popular around 1999/2000.  Ylenia (#200) is another spelling, which last appeared in the U.S. circa 2011.
  • Morena – #139; 9 girls in 2016.  Presumably, last year’s reintroduction of  Morena to the American charts has to do with Morena Baccarin, who played Deadpool’s girlfriend Vanessa. 
  • Siria – #171; in America, 6 girls in 2015.  Since Syria is also a popular name in Italy, I assumed Siria was a place-name.  That said, both spellings were popular before the Syrian Civil War, so maybe not.  Behind the Name suggests that Siria is a feminine form of Sirius.
  • Giusy – #173; unknown U.S. usage.  This is probably a nickname for Giuseppa or Giuseppina, making it an Italian version of Josie.  Visually Giusy is cute, but it’s supposed to be pronounced a bit like “juicy.”
  • Rossella #175; 5 in 2015.  Diminutive of a name that means “red.” 
  • Clelia – #187; last U.S. appearance in 2013.  Form of Ancient Roman Cloelia.
  • Elettra – #194; unknown American usage.  A sleeker form of Electra.

Honorable mentions include Carola, Federica, Flavia, Gioia, Ilaria, Letizia, Micol, Mariasole, Syria, and double first names.  How do you like Aurora Maria?

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Boys:

  • Jacopo – #30; last appeared in U.S. in 2010.  As much as I love Jacob, his Italian form is much more flavorful!
  • Gioele – #36; 5 in 2016.  Also popular in Italy is another more Americanized spelling, JoeleJoele has only ever charted in the U.S. as a women’s name.
  • Enea – #54 and rising quickly; 5 in 2015.  Modern Italian form of Aeneas.
  • Valerio – #60; 5 in 2016.  Think Valeria or Valerie, only masculine. Valerio comes from the Ancient Roman Valerius.
  • Ettore – #64; hasn’t charted in U.S. since the 1980s.  Italian form of Hector.
  • Loris – #91; 6 in 2015.  A curious nickname for Lorenzo!
  • Achille – #95; hasn’t charted in the States since 2010.  Achilles has only just become popular in America, but if he continues to rise we might see Achille reappear.
  • Ludovico – #98; has never charted in U.S.  This is the Italian form of the French name Ludovic, and masculine form of Ludovica.  One namesake, Ludovico Sforza, famously commissioned The Last Supper.
  • Giordano – #125; stateside, 6 boys in 2015 and 7 in 2016.  This alternative to Jordan is probably most famous for its connection to Giordano Bruno, who was burned at the stake in 1600 for heresy.  Among other things, he promoted heliocentrism and speculated on the existence of exoplanets.
  • Umberto – #133; hasn’t charted in U.S. since 2014.  Umberto Eco famously wrote The Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum.
  • Biagio – #146; in U.S., 9 boys in 2015 and 6 in 2016.  Italian form of Blaise.
  • Tiziano – #159; 7 in 2015.  Tiziano is the real name of the artist we know as Titian.
  • Amedeo – #174; in U.S., 5 times both in ’15 and ’16.  The Italian form of Amadeus, this was the first name of Modigliani and many medieval rulers of Savoy.  Another Amedeo (and descendant of the Savoyards) became king Amadeo I of Spain in the 1870s.
  • Lapo – #189; never charted in U.S.  It’s a nickname for Jacopo, which would make this an interesting alternative to Jake!

Honorable mentions: Francesco Maria, Francesco Pio, Saverio, Zeno

What’s your favorite Italian name?  Would you use any of these?  Let me know in the comments!

 

Rare ‘E’ Names for Girls

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The letter ‘E’ provides us with some of the prettiest girls’ names imaginable.  I might be slightly biased because my name’s Elizabeth.  Anyway, while the top of the charts currently boast such lovelies as Emma and Evelyn, don’t forget the gems below the top 1000!  Emeraude, anyone?

Below is a selection of rare ‘E’ names given to baby girls in 2016.  As always, the data is from the Social Security Administration, which publishes all baby names in the U.S. down to 5 uses (with extremely few exceptions).  The rarest names will be towards the bottom of the page. 

  • 200-257 baby girls: Etta, Egypt, Elodie, Emerald, Evelina
  • 150-199: Emberly, Ellery, Eisley, Elinor, Evangelina, Elissa, Emiliana, Eleni, Eunice
  • 100-149: Edie, Estefany, Essence, Emberlynn, Estefania, Eiza, Emoni, Echo
  • 50-99: Empress, Elowen, Ever, Edna, Eliora, Eternity, Ellington, Eowyn, Eris, Ensley, Evolet, Emmylou, Elif, Eloisa, Effie, Ebony, Elisheva, Elvira, Emmanuella, Esmee, Eimy, Embry, Eshaal, Elanor, Elara, Emsley, Elva, Emmanuelle, Eveline
  • 25-49: Eviana, Everest, Eldana, Elanie, Eleonora, Eevee, Elizabella, Esty, Eulalia, Ena, Eugenia, Elida, Essie, Enya, Envy, Emiko, Era, Ekaterina, Edelyn, Elienai, Eh, Ellowyn, Elizaveta, Elma, Ethel, Evaluna
  • 10-24: Evangelia, Evany, Etty, Erykah, Elektra, Elka, Elona, Eda, Elaysia, Elnora, Emmalise, Enrys, England, Efrata, Elspeth, Elaf, Elan, Eleonore, Elisabet, Ellanie, Eretria, Espen, Evanie, Edelynn, Elvie, Eniola, Estee, Estrellita, Eilish, Ekam, Emnet, Enid, Evita, Edlyn, Eilis, Elizabelle, Enola, Erandy, Evony, Eirene, Epiphany, Evergreen, Ebba, Edythe, Eirini, Elisabetta, Emmabelle, Eralynn, Erma, Ernestine, Espyn, Edeline, Eilidh, Elea, Electra, Elianys, Eliz, Ellasandra, Elsey, Elyzabeth, Enedina, Eshana, Ebunoluwa, Elania, Elda, Elisheba, Elita, Ellawyn, Elmina, Eneida, Enza, Ernestina, Evalise, Ewa
  • 8-9: Edina, Eline, Elizandra, Elke, Elsbeth, Elvina, Emjay, Emlynn, Emuna, Enora, Eshani, Eudora, Evania, Eastlyn, Edwina, Eisha, Elayjah, Elba, Eleftheria, Elham, Elodia, Elynor, Emilina, Emira, Ephrata, Erie, Erioluwa, Erva, Espn, Ettie, Evin
  • 7: Edda, Eibhleann, Eider, Elanora, Electa, Elen, Eliska, Elizabethann, Eloni, Elzie, Emmary, Erendira, Ersheen, Esbeydi, Esosa, Eugenie, Eunique, Evian, Exodus
  • 6: Ebelin, Ebenezer, Edaline, Edelweiss, Edom, Eduarda, Effy, Eibhlin, Eimaan, Ekamjot, Eknoor, Elna, Emese, Emmerly, Enessa, Enma, Epic, Eponine, Erna, Esbeidy, Esmarie, Eula, Evangely, Ewaoluwa, Ezinne
  • 5: Eabha, Earth, Edessa, Elcie, Eldora, Eleri, Elita, Elisama, Elisiana, Ellice, Elmira, Elowynn, Elsiemae, Elston, Emagene, Emera, Emeraude, Emmelina, Enijah, Eona, Estes, Estreya, Ettel, Etti, Euphemia, Evalisse, Evona, Ewelina, Excel, Eylul, Ezichi

I’ve always loved the dusty Victorian ladies like Euphemia and Edwina, but I also appreciate many of the more modern options like Elowen and EvoletI’m still not sure how I should feel about Espn, though…it’s literally ESPN, the name!

What are your favorites?  Do you have any thoughts about particular names?  Let me know in the comments!

Names from Thor: Ragnarok

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The Ride of the Valkyrs – John Charles Dollman (1909)

The third and latest Thor movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe covers the apocalypse of Asgard, known as Ragnarok.  Asgard is the world that Thor and the other Norse gods come from.  In the movie (spoiler alert!), Odin – king of Asgard and the gods – dies, releasing Hela from her prison.  She, the goddess of death, subsequently asserts her claim on the throne and exacts her injustice on all that defy her.  Of course, I’m not here to review the movie – I’m here to discuss the names!

The movie has several Asgardian characters who I think are likely to affect baby naming in 2017 and 2018:

Thor

The title character and god of thunder has what can probably be described as the most “classic” name from Norse mythology in the U.S., as Social Security Administration birth data indicates usage stretching back over 100 years.  Although Thor dropped from 2015 to 2016, chances are good that it will rise again in 2018 if not 2017!  A decade or two ago, one could expect the birth of about 50 babies with this name every year.  Since the films started, that estimate has doubled.  There were only 87 Thor‘s born in 2016, but I can see two things going on there – 1) Avengers: Age of Ultron was a spring-release in 2015 (meaning less carry-over to 2016; most Thor movies come out in the late fall) and 2) Thor‘s 2016 appearances were restricted to short films and cameos.  With Ragnarok’s hype and the upcoming release of Avengers: Infinity War next year, don’t be surprised if Thor spikes again. 

Meanwhile, the name is being revived in parts of Scandinavia.  Thor entered the Danish top 50 in 2015, and the Swedish top 100 last year.  No word from Norway yet, where it fell out of fashion decades ago.

Loki

Loki has only been in use since the 90s, but in 2016 it was a more popular baby name than Thor!  92 boys were named Loki in the U.S., and it’s a top 500 name in England and Wales.  To be fair, Loki looks more playful than Thor.  I’d also say it’s a bit more low-key.

Curiously, a few parents have chosen the mischief god’s name for their daughters.  This isn’t as strange as you might think.  First, it’s increasingly common for semi-rare mythological names to veer unisex.  Jupiter was even more popular for girls last year, despite its provenance as Roman king of the Gods.  Secondly, there’s actually a myth about Loki turning into a female horse!

Hela

A new character!  This is a name that has only appeared a few times in SSA data, and I don’t know if those occurrences are related to the comics persona.  Hela is Marvel’s take on the Norse goddess Hel…I can see why they changed it.  In the myths and comics, she is Loki’s daughter; in the movie, she’s Odin’s.

As a baby name, Hela (rhymes with Ayla) is more usable than Hel, which was recently rejected by the Icelandic Naming Committee for potentially harming its bearer.  Despite being hell-bent on destruction, Hela is a fantastic warrior who looks rather like Maleficent-in-tights (and yes, there are a few young girls named Maleficent).  Some parents seem to appreciate “evil but empowering” namesakes for their daughters, so don’t be surprised if the name Hela returns this year or next.

Valkyrie

Meaning “chooser of the slain,” Valkyrie is already on the rise.  48 girls were given this in 2016, higher than ever before!  This not-so-name is really a mythological designation for the women who observed battles, chose the dead, and served mead to them until they were needed to fight again in Ragnarök.  In the movie, the Valkyries were a group of epic battle-maidens who were obliterated fighting Hela; the character Valkyrie was the only survivor.  Regarding the name, I think makes for an interesting update on Valerie!

Odin‘s appearances might also have a small effect, but that name is already popular (#383) and rising on its own.  Out of all the movie’s characters I think the Asgardian / Norse names generally will have the most impact on baby names, but there’s one more character name that won’t surprise me if it rises.

Banner

44 boys and 5 girls were given this name in 2016.  Banner has risen steadily since the 2012 release of The AvengersBruce temporarily rose between 2011 and 2014, but is declining again.  Banner is a more obvious, fresher reference to the character than Bruce, and probably the trendier of the two names. 

Did you enjoy the movie?  What do you think about these names?  Are there any other character names you think might rise or appear?  Let me know in the comments!

Rare ‘D’ Names for Boys

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Happy November!  Has the Halloween candy coma ended yet, or has it just started? 

I’ve been working on several interesting name-related projects in the past few days.  I needed a break from one in particular, and in the midst of researching/analyzing I realized I hadn’t written any posts for this series in over a month!  I published the list of Rare ‘D’ Names for Girls on September 27th and was subsequently sidetracked.  So, here we are.

These are just some of the rare names given to baby boys in the U.S. in 2016, according to Social Security Administration data!

  • 150-199 boys: Decker, Danilo, Davin, Denzel, Dale, Deegan, Dhruv
  • 100-149: Dashiell, Diesel, Dov, Dev, Denim, Duane, Donnie
  • 50-99: Dwight, Dashawn, Dewayne, Drayden, Devante, Dixon, Dempsey, Darin, Daquan, Deanthony, Dmitri, Dyson, Dallin, Dietrich, Dresden, Domingo, Domenico
  • 25-49: Daylin, Devlin, Damarcus, Daksh, Delano, Dex, Didier, Denton, Divine, Dutch, Demarius, Daemon, Delvin, Donta, Dino, Draco, Dusty, Doc, Dontavious, Demetrio, Dillion, Denny, Devonta, Donato, Davidson, Dez, Deckard, Donatello, Delmar, Dolan, Dartagnan, Dimas
  • 10-24: Denali, Dirk, Dodge, Dajon, Delon, Dade, Dathan, Dierks, Delbert, Diago, Dj, Dillinger, Dre, Dinero, Darby, Davaughn, Damon, Dastan, Davinci, Dawood, Dewey, Djibril, Dublin, Deng, Dagmawi, Dagoberto, Dedric, Devereaux, Dijon, Doran, Dace, Davy, Delfino, Devine, Draper, Del, Deniro, Dezi, Dudley, Duran, Dacian, Daking, Darek, Delsin, Dominion, Dreux, Daimon, Daman, Daniele, Davide, Daxter, Delorean,* Deo, Desiderio, Destry, Diamante, Dodger, Doyle
  • 9: Daivik, Damiano, Danger, Danner, Dansby, Davison, Dayceon, Demba, Dequincy, Dermot, Desire, Deston, Diallo, Divyansh, Dom, Dominico, Dream, Dugan, Durham
  • 7-8: Dago, Dajour, Dak, Darrow, Dasani, Dayquan, Deejay, Denley, Dian, Diem, Dieter, Django, Draken, Draymond, Dwij, Dyce, Dal, Dalessandro, Damoney, Danish, Daquarius, Darcy, Dejohn, Delontay, Denarius, Deuce, Dickson, Douglass, Drexel
  • 6: Daewon, Dah, Daiki, Damichael, Damont, Danzig, Daoud, December, Denson, Derry, Dhani, Dilraj, Dipson, Donathon, Draylen, Duc, Dune, Dupree
  • 5: Dalian, Damaso, Danieljames, Dannon, Davidjames, Davidmichael, Dayshaun, Decarlo, Dee, Dekayden, Delance, Delmer, Deluca, Delwin, Destined, Dewitt, Dextin, Dheeraj, Dionysus, Dock, Donal, Dorsey, Drago, Drexler, Drizzt

*Yes, Delorean as in the car from Back to the Future! 🙂

Thoughts about any of these names?  Favorites?  Let me know in the comments!

 

October Name Sightings

Happy Halloween!  Since November starts tomorrow, it’s time to review the most interesting and unusual names I spotted in October.

I met:

  • Everly – Adult female, 20s.  This was certainly a surprising encounter!  The vast majority of people named Everly are under the age of 5, considering the name only officially became popular in 2012.  Current U.S. rank: #107.
  • Wallis “Wallie” – adult female, probably in her 70s.  I didn’t get a chance to ask, but I wonder if she was named after Wallis Simpson, who was the American wife of King Edward VIII…and the main reason why Elizabeth II is queen, since Edward was forced to abdicate to his brother Albert (King George VI) for marrying a two-time divorcée.  8 girls were named Wallis last year in the U.S.
  • Benita – adult.  I don’t remember how old she was, but I was surprised to learn that Benita spent much of the 20th century in the top 1000.  Peak usage was in the early 1960s.  14 girls were named Benita (the Spanish form of Benedicta) in 2016
  • Blair – teenage boy.  This was popular for both sexes between 1980 and 1995.  Blair was last in the top 1000 for boys in ’95, and then dropped out for girls after 2000.  It has since returned for girls.  Current rank: #521, representing 594 girls.  There were also 83 boys given the name last year.
  • Breandan – teenager.  Interesting spelling of Brendan; sounds slightly drawled.  Maybe his parents are Brendan and Breanna and decided to smash their names together?  Anyway, 9 boys were given this spelling in 2016.

Mentioned in Newspapers:

  • Daugherty – Unsure of gender.  Probably long deceased as was mentioned in an obit as a parent of decedent.
  • Unity – probably a child or young adult.  30 girls were named Unity in 2016.
  • Aonika – early teens.  Variant of Annika?
  • Ada-Marie – adult.  Since double-barrels aren’t a thing in SSA data, we have to look to Adamarie, which was in fact used 6 times last year.
  • Helge – male.  This hasn’t appeared in extended birth data since 1930!!!  Helge is the masculine form of Helga.

I also spotted an amazing couple of names last night during the starting credits for The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, a 1921 film which made actor Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926) a household name.  Since it’s in the public domain, you can watch it anywhere online for free – here’s a link.  Incidentally, Four Horseman was the top-grossing movie of its year.

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The starting credits of this movie had a few absolutely eye-catching rare names!

  • Pomeroy Pomeroy Cannon (1870-1928) was listed *before* Valentino in the credits.  Not much seems to be known about him.
  • BrodwitchBowditch Turner (1877-1933).  Yes, there’s a slight difference between his name and credit.

There’s also a Bridgetta listed in the credits.  It wasn’t her real name, and Four Horseman was her first movie.  Judging by the SSDI, it’s improbable that her stage name affected baby naming at all.  However, Rudolph Valentino most definitely did have an effect.  When he died in 1926, Valentino entered the top 1000 for the first time (staying until 1928) and already-popular Rudolph was temporarily boosted.

What do you think of these names?  Did you spot any interesting names this month?  Let me know in the comments! 

Previous name round-ups from this year: