Have you ever noticed how some people are named according to the the calendar?
Many people are named after months. A certain preceding generation adored the name April; it’s still a popular name, but peak usage was in the 1980s.
Then there’s meteorically-rising August (ranks #195 for boys), which usage suggests may either be a month or a diminutive of Augustus, depending on gender. Either way, they still refer back to the first emperor/princeps of Rome. July is named after his uncle, Julius Caesar.
Indeed, what you’ll find is that most of the month names have something to do with the Romans. January derives from the god Janus (two faces pointing in either direction; fitting!), and was a popular name for girls back in the 1970s. Interestingly enough, there appears to be a Latin form, Januarius, which is strictly masculine and a saint’s name. March has to do with the war god Mars, May with the goddess Maia, and June with the goddess Juno. February’s name does not relate to a god in any way, and what I could find is that it has something to do with purification rituals. This might explain why out of all the months it’s never been used as a name.
The last four months of the year have to do with their numbers within the calendar before Julius Caesar put January and February the beginning of the year. September was the seventh month of the year, October was the eighth, and so on. That they don’t have to do with gods’ names makes it really interesting when these numbered months are bestowed on people.
From what I can tell, the most popular month names by raw usage in 2015 were as follows:
- August: 2059 boys, 242 girls. As a girls’ name, August is almost popular enough to be in the top 1000.
- June: 1127 girls, 16 boys. June only reentered the top 1000 in 2008, and the return has been swift.
- April: 797 girls
- May: 128 girls. Variant Mae is quite a bit more popular these days (508 uses), and in that case is likely a nickname for some other appellation.
- October: 41 girls. I actually encountered an adult October recently, which is what inspired me to write this post.
- December: 40 girls
- September: 28 girls
- July: 27 girls, 11 boys. 9 girls were also registered as Juli, which is the German word for the month. In any case, historical usage of the names July and Juli seems to tie to Julie‘s popularity.
- November: Also 27 girls
- January: 22 girls. January was briefly a top-1000 name between 1976 and 1979. Actress January Jones was born during this period. Apparently the namesake was a character in a 1975 movie called Once Is Not Enough.
March no longer appears in the data, and actually when I looked it seems it was a boys’ name before a girls’ name. February has never registered more than 5 uses in a given year for either gender.