Hurricane Names

Matthew and Otto were just retired as hurricane names, to be replaced by Martin and Owen.  Atlantic hurricane names generally cycle on a six-year rotation, so the 2016 list will reappear in 2022, 2017 in 2023, and so-on.  The genders of the names alternate every year as well, so if you have Abigail one year the next could be Alan, but you’d never have Anne follow Abigail.  Atlantic storms will never bear names with the letters Q, U, X, Y, or Z because they’re considered too rare…though the lists for Eastern North Pacific cyclones only exclude Q and U (they simply use the same female or male X, Y, or Z name every year instead of every seventh year).  At least in the Atlantic, if the list is exhausted (meaning there are over 21 named storms in a year), Greek letters are used.


Hurricane Matthew (2016)

We stop repeating names when a hurricane is especially fatal or costly; there will never be another Katrina.  However, the National Hurricane Center mentions that a few early names were simply replaced for no cited reason.  Something else to think about is that there are more retired female hurricanes than male, probably for two big reasons.  The first is that men’s names weren’t included in the Atlantic storm lists until 1979; the system began in 1953.  The second reason (according to recent research) is that hurricanes with female names are apparently deadlier because people think feminine names sound less dangerous and don’t prepare as they should.  Moral of the story: sexism kills! 

Anyways, I have a few thoughts about this kind of naming.  Firstly, I think the rarer letters could be incorporated fairly easily now.  I get that there were very few Q and X names in the 50s.  But in 2017, there should be no problem finding three girls’ names and three boys’ names to rotate, even for X (Xanthe, Ximena, Xena; Xavier, Xander, Xerxes).  And names at the back of the alphabet probably won’t have a chance to be retired all that often, so it’s doable.

Secondly, sometimes I think the hurricane names can be overly outdated.  For example, not that many ‘G’ names have been retired, so there’s a possibility that 2017 will see Tropical Storm Gert.  Not GertrudeGert.  Has anyone even met a Gert lately?  I know that short names are preferred because people can remember them better, though I’d expect the names to be familiar too.  On the other hand, maybe it’s a good thing if hurricanes don’t reflect the day’s popular baby names?

The Atlantic names for 2017 are:

  • Arlene
  • Bret
  • Cindy
  • Don
  • Emily
  • Franklin
  • Gert
  • Harvey
  • Irma
  • Jose
  • Katia
  • Lee
  • Maria
  • Nate
  • Ophelia
  • Philippe
  • Rina
  • Sean
  • Tammy
  • Vince
  • Whitney

The West Coast (Eastern North Pacific) also has a rotating list.  Here’s 2017:

  • Adrian
  • Beatriz
  • Calvin
  • Dora
  • Eugene
  • Fernanda
  • Greg
  • Hilary
  • Irwin
  • Jova
  • Kenneth
  • Lidia
  • Max
  • Norma
  • Otis
  • Pilar
  • Ramon
  • Selma
  • Todd
  • Veronica
  • Wiley
  • Xina
  • York
  • Zelda

There also appear to be Hawaiian cyclone name lists that only have 13 letters, but they don’t seem to operate on a yearly basis.  It seems that once one list is exhausted they just move to the next.

Something else I found that looked interesting: Hurricanes and Hot Baby Names.  Essentially, research suggested that the hurricane names themselves were less popular after the storm but the initial letters were more popular; i.e., more ‘K’ names after Katrina.  Unfortunately the link provided within the article didn’t work, so I couldn’t read about the research more thoroughly. The author’s point that similar-sounding names influence each others’ popularity is something I and other name enthusiasts have noted, but I would like to point out something.  No, Stephanie, Mandy, and Brandi were not more popular after Hurricane Sandy just because they sounded similar!  Nor did Katrina lead to a surge of (now 11-year-old) Kevins and Kimberleys.  By the time the article was written in 2012, all of those names were outdated or soon going to be.  Modern, but outdated.  I understand using them as examples, but suggesting that faddish 70s and 80s staples will inundate a 1st grade class in the 2010s is quite another thing.  At least take a look at their individual trajectories in the SSA data first…

Thoughts?  Let me know in the comments! 

If you’d like to read about the full six-year rotation of names, check out the NHC/NOAA or WMO link below.  The WMO article includes hurricane names for regions all over the world, too.

One last tidbit – the name Katrina actually gained popularity the year of the hurricane (2005).  After that though…well, she’s no longer in the top 1000. 

Further Reading:

Below the Top 1000, Part 35 (Girls)

The results of the Twitter poll are in!  According to your votes, Autumn is the overwhelming favorite season baby name (60%).  Summer was the second-most popular, taking 20% of the votes.  Spring and Winter received one vote each.  Besides winning my poll, Autumn is the only of these names that’s currently in the American top 100.  Hmm…

And now, here’s a rather large selection of names…the last of the double-digits for the 2015 set!  The next few posts are going to cover the extremely rare names used under 10 times (down to 5 occurrences).  Today’s post covers just some of the many names given to 10 or 11 girls in the U.S. two years ago.  The data comes from the Social Security Administration, which releases new baby name information annually in May.

  • 11: Aariel, Aayushi, Adhvika, Adylee, Ailish, Akela, Alandra, Alene, Allora, Alonie, Aluel, Alyla, Amalea, Anam, Andelyn, Annabellee, Annalucia, Anthea, Aseneth, Astra, Asuna, Aunika, Averleigh, Aynsley, Azmina, Beautifull, Beauty, Bessie, Caitriona, California, Camdynn, Caoimhe, Carmelita, Celestia, Channel, Charisse, Charlestyn, Chidinma, Clementina, Cyann, Destine, Dianey, Dominga, Donatella, Drishti, Dunia, Elaria, Emilija, Estee, Evolett, Fleur, Galaxy, Galina, Gemini, Genesee, Gift, Graylee, Hanalei, Heartley, Heloise, Hoda, Iesha, Iola, Janelys, Jasmeet, Jeneva, Jonni, Junie, Kaithlyn, Kemper, Kestrel, Kharis, Khloi, Kiyoko, Konstantina, Kornelia, Laelia, Latisha, Lilium, Lilybelle, Lydian, Mahaley, Maryori, Maudie, Mayela, Mayelin, Megyn, Miyuki, Morelia, Nahara, Nefertiti, Neko, Nimco, Nivia, Noha, Olamide, Oliwia, Oneida, Orchid, Owynn, Pallas, Poet, Posy, Prabhleen, Prisca, Psalm, Rocket, Rosamund, Saddie, Sahily, Samanvitha, Santa, Saphyre, Seylah, Solomiya, Steele, Tahari, Tallie, Talon, Tashi, Temple, Timea, Tovah, Trust, Valeska, Varvara, Via, Whisper, Winner, Xayla, Yamilex, Yoseline, Zhane
  • 10: Achol, Adaira, Adamae, Adecyn, Adelheid, Adelind, Adriella, Aerie, Aero, Akyra, Albina, Aleksia, Ameia, Amily, Analilia, Annaelle, Annalyssa, Argelia, Asiana, Atlantis, Axelle, Azhar, Bareerah, Beckley, Belkis, Bellamia, Betul, Beyonce, Bijou, Bravery, Brigit, Carole, Cerise, Columbia, Copper, Cressida, Dabney, Darielis, Dniyah, Dresden, Dublin, Duchess, Elisabella, Elysium, Emmajane, Enola, Erandi, Esbeidy, Eulalie, Evanie, Faithful, Feliciana, Finola, Flannery, Flavia, Francia, Graciana, Hephzibah, Hero, Hilde, Ilithyia, Illyria, Jayceona, Jerusalem, Jochebed, Kahealani, Kauri, Kenyatta, Khadeejah, Kitty, Kona, Laelle, Larose, Laylonie, Lenah, Lissa, Liyat, Lyda, Lyrique, Magda, Maire, Marciana, Mariamawit, Maripaz, Marycatherine, Mattingly, Midori, Mirren, Morningstar, Nabeeha, Nasteho, Oceanna, Odilia, Parthenia, Providence, Rebelle, Rhealynn, Rodina, Ryilee, Salsabil, Sarahgrace, Shadow, Shanley, Siddhi, Sinead, Summit, Sunniva, Thaleia, Trinidad, Trixie, Tyjae, Vitalia, Yalexa, Yuleidy, Zakayla, Zeldy, Zeppelin, Zissel, Zoria, Zykeria

Questions?  Favorites?  Do you absolutely hate one of these names with a passion?  Let me know in the comments!

Last 5 posts in this series:

A Namer’s Nightmare

The other night, I dreamt I gave birth to a baby girl and didn’t have a name for her!  In all my life, it never occurred to me how unnerving that situation might be.  For a name aficionado like me, this kind of dream is a veritable nightmare!  It’s certainly not the kind of horrifying dream that simulates life-threatening situations á là killer clowns and snakes, but the nightmare where one realizes “I forgot to study for my big exam!” or worse, “I missed my test!”  I’ve graduated from university and been out of school almost a year, and I still frequently experience that type of nightmare.  It’s the Hermione Granger mindset where expulsion sounds worse than death because nothing is more important than one’s studies.


Thankfully, there are plenty of names up my sleeves.

As far as fears go, the fear of having a baby and no name for him/her probably sounds really weird to anyone who isn’t a name-lover.  But I can tell you that it terrifies me even if I never have children, because if it doesn’t happen to me, chances are decent that it will happen to someone else.  I can think of any number of reasons why parents might not have a name ready when their children are born:

  1. Mom doesn’t find out she’s pregnant until she’s in labor.  Scary, but it happens frequently enough that there’s a TV series about it!  If you’re wondering how a pregnancy can go unnoticed for so long…
  2. Someone stole your favorite name.  Whether they were a knowing or inadvertent thief, you might be labeled a copycat if you name your baby Clara Marie *after* they use it first, even if you decided on it first.
  3. You and your partner have different tastes in names, and still can’t compromise.  No matter how much you try to convince him, he still hates the name Ivy and wants to name her Madison, which you hate!
  4. A loved-one passes away suddenly.  Do you use honor them or stick to the name for which you originally planned?
  5. Baby arrives and your chosen name just doesn’t seem to suit them.
  6. The news stations are covering a major crime/tragedy, and the perp bears the name you wanted for your baby. 

Point is, there are a lot of reasons why someone might not have a name for baby right away.  You can’t prevent all eventualities, but you can prepare.

I suggest creating a list of names you’d use even before you might be pregnant.  Discuss names with your significant other, even if you don’t necessarily want to have children – talking about names is fun, and maybe you’ll have pets!  Make sure to have back-ups handy in case of name-thieves and other unseen circumstances.  Thankfully, most name websites are free to use (which is also why studying baby names is such an inexpensive hobby compared to, say, reenacting)! 

I remember little of my dreams, and this one wasn’t very different.  The only name I remember hearing was “Charlotte,” though I was probably thinking about “Hermione” too.  I don’t know why my dream-self had a baby with no name, but I suspect it was a combination of reasons 1 and 3.  One thing is certain to me, though – not knowing you’re pregnant until labor is a far more terrifying prospect than not having a name! 

What do you think?  Do you agree with my points and suggestions, or would you add anything?  And to my fellow name-enthusiasts: have you ever had this nightmare? 

Below the Top 1000, Part 34 (Boys)

Hello!  I hope you’re having a great Tuesday.  Who’s up for some ultra-rare baby names?

Before I start: not much is new here on the site, though I did make a Twitter poll for yesterday’s post about seasons as baby names.  Pick your favorite season name!  The poll will stay open for about a week, so if you use Twitter, please vote.  My handle is @W_I_Namer.

Anyway, the names!  Today’s selection includes boys’ names only used 10 or 11 times in the U.S. in 2015.  To keep in mind how rare these names are, consider that the #1 name for baby boys (Noah) was used over 19,500 times in the same year.  The data I use comes from the Social Security Administration, which publishes America’s most popular baby names and almost all of the rare ones each year.  Finally, I use a color scheme based on my personal parameters.  Blue means the name was used overwhelmingly (specifically 91-100%) for boys in 2015.  Magenta means that the name was used overwhelmingly (91-100%) for girls in 2015.  Lastly, purple means the name was unisex in 2015.  When the 2016 data comes out, some names will change shades. 

  • 11: Aaidyn, Adams, Adedayo, Aeneas, Ahmadou, Aleric, Alexxander, Andrews, Angelgabriel, Angelus, Arcangel, Artavious, Awesome, Aydric, Basel, Bastien, Benno, Bergen, Bernardino, Bernie, Berry, Brandy, Bretton, Britt, Caellum, Cane, Cartel, Cebastian, Cheyenne, Christobal, Constantino, Courage, Cyprian, Cyprus, Deitrick, Denym, Dodger, Dryden, Duran, Erikson, Filiberto, Florentino, Fredric, Gardner, Georges, Gilead, Hawke, Hektor, Ion, Isidore, Jabin, Jakolby, Jesaiah, Joshia, Kagan, Kyros, Lakeland, Lancelot, Liban, Lindsey, Livingston, Lyonel, Madoc, Marcellino, Marque, Mega, Mercy, Meshulem, Milos, Nahuel, Nilson, Oberon, Oxley, Papa, Philopateer, Piers, Pike, Prometheus, Quintez, Remigio, Rossi, Scotland, Sephiroth, Shadow, Shah, Shimshon, Tank, Thurman, Tor, Val, Vegas, Washington, Yago
  • 10: Aadan, Aarib, Abijah, Abishai, Adoniram, Alastor, Alhasan, Alter, Ananda, Anthem, Archimedes, Arsalan, Asahi, Astin, Audi, Audrick, Baldemar, Bixby, Bright, Caillou, Candelario, Capone, Daedric, Delorean, Deniro, Denzil, Emperor, Fabien, Fishel, Fortune, Fowler, Grimm, Gustave, Harrington, Henning, Honest, Hyde, Icarus, Icker, Iremide, Ivar, Jago, Jasher, Jhonael, Johnston, Johnthomas, Justo, Kaimani, Kaspar, Kelso, Kenyatta, Kotaro, Kunal, Kwasi, Lafayette, Laverne, Levar, Macallister, Manoah, Marcanthony, Masato, Maxfield, Mclain, Meeko, Merrill, Minato, Modesto, Mudassir, Nachum, Naftoli, Naquan, Nguyen, North, Nyzaiah, Obi, Oluwajomiloju, Orhan, Osborne, Osiah, Osmond, Osric, Phinneas, Prinston, Regis, Reynolds, Riordan, Rollo, Romulus, Rourke, Sanchez, Sascha, Seger, Serigne, Sinclair, Souleymane, Stanislaw, Stokely, Supreme, Telly, Thaxton, Tryton, Tukker, Vic, Werner, Wilford, Windsor, Wolfe, Wrangler, Wynton, Yale, Yamato, Yandriel, Yochanan, Zebedee, Zelig, Zohan, Zoravar

I have to say, Souleymane is my new favorite spelling of Suleyman (making it my favorite variation of Solomon too).  There’s just something rather jolly about it! 

Thoughts?  Favorites?  Any names you absolutely hate?  Let me know in the comments!  And if you’re on Twitter, please take the time to vote on my poll about seasons as baby names. 🙂

Previous 5 posts in this series:


The Four Seasons

Today, March 20th, is the vernal equinox.  A happy first day of spring to those of you in the northern hemisphere, and a happy first day of autumn to those of you in the southern hemisphere!   


Have you ever wondered if any of the seasons are also baby names?  They’re more common than you might think.  Currently, 3 out of 4 seasons fall within the American top 1000 (pun unintended).

While only 21 girls were named Spring in 2015, she was briefly popular between 1975 and 1979.  Spring peaked in 1976 with a rank of #624.

Summer has been a top 1000 baby name since 1971.  1671 girls and 8 boys were named Summer in 2015.  Summer‘s popularity has also allowed a few compound names to pop up, including Summerrose (Summer-Rose; 7 uses) and Summerrain (Summer-Rain; 6 uses).  Summer currently ranks #194 in the U.S. and #66 in England and Wales.

Nobody uses Fall as a baby name, but Autumn is the most popular seasonal name!   In the top 1000 since 1969, she currently ranks #67 in the U.S. and #148 in England and Wales. 

Winter was briefly popular in the late 1970s, but left in 1980 and didn’t return until 2012.  Current U.S. rank: #548

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 6.16.34 PM.png

The 2015 popularity of season names represented in a word cloud.  Notice how Spring doesn’t appear?  That’s because she’s extremely rare compared to the other three, which are all in the top 1000.

Extra tidbits:

  • All seasons were concurrently popular baby names in the late 70s. 
  • Winterrose, Summerrose, and Autumnrose are all currently entries in the data, but if Springrose exists as a baby name there have never been enough to make an appearance.
  • Season itself is an extant baby name.  7 girls were named Season in 2015, though her peak was – you guessed it – in the 1970s.  I wonder if any of them were named following the Terry Jacks rendition of “Seasons in the Sun,” considering that both the name and the song came out in ’73.     
  • When Summer was first popular in the 70s, the German word for the season also became popular.  Sommer was a top 1000 baby name between 1976 and 1982, and also in 1984 and 1995.  In 2015, only 35 baby girls were given this variant.
  • Summer is the only season name that lost popularity between 2014 and 2015.  All the others gained. 
Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 6.19.32 PM.png

The 1978 popularity of seasons as baby names.  This was one of the only two years that all four seasons were popular; the other was 1979. 

What’s your favorite season name?  Let me know in the comments!

Below the Top 1000, Part 33 (Girls)

Hello!  I hope you’re having a good Saturday.

Before I get into the main content of this post, I have an announcement: the Well-Informed Namer is now on Twitter!  If you’d like to follow me, the handle is @W_I_Namer.

And now, the names!  Today’s post includes some of the very unusual names given to only 12 or 13 girls in the U.S. in 2015, according to publicly-available data from the Social Security Administration.  The new 2016 data isn’t due out until May, we’re still discussing 2015 for now.

  • 13: Abena, Adabella, Afrah, Akylah, Alayziah, Altair, Amala, Americus, Angelik, Arista, Asenath, Athziry, Aunesti, Ayaana, Benelli, Beretta, Brazil, Canaan, Charline, Cheri, Christella, Citlally, Daily, Damiana, Devanshi, Dharma, Diva, Dmiyah, Dolce, Dutchess, Dynasti, Ebba, Edeline, Eilidh, Elisabetta, Elspeth, Eniola, Fenna, Graziella, Greenleigh, Hajra, Ibtisam, Ilia, Jaeleigh, Jeanie, Jermany, Jeweliana, Joceline, Katriel, Keiko, Khamiyah, Legacie, Lilac, Lilymae, Lisamarie, Lizmarie, Madonna, Maelys, Malie, Marwah, Maxima, Meiling, Miakoda, Momoka, Naava, Nainika, Neytiri, Oluwatomisin, Ondine, Pascale, Pearla, Peggy, Perpetua, Pixie, Porsche, Prim, Rishita, Ruchel, Sabriel, Seema, Shelley, Sonoma, Tricia, Tzirel, Ulani, Xinyi, Yaneisy, Yumna, Zita, Zoraida
  • 12:  Aalijah, Absalat, Adalida, Adalis, Aftyn, Alailah, Alianis, Alicja, Ameliyah, Annasofia, Anwen, Apolonia, Arrietty, Arshi, Ashari, Ave, Avenly, Avisha, Baya, Bhavya, Blessings, Bora, Brittain, Brucha, Calais, Catori, Cerys, Claudette, Clea, Cybil, Danielys, Danity, Darcey, Deepika, Deklynn, Delmy, Dhyana, Efrata, Elaf, Elianie, Emira, Ethel, Eugenie, Fancy, Fareedah, Freda, Fynnlee, Gaelle, Gardenia, Genie, Germany, Glendy, Grethel, Haidee, Haislee, Hava, Hiromi, Idalie, Irais, Islay, Jalayia, Jamaica, Janita, Jasani, Jenisys, Jerney, Jina, Jream, Kaiulani, Kamalani, Kamsiyochukwu, Kaymarie, Keatyn, Khalila, Khyleigh, Konstance, Korea, Kourtlynn, Leonela, Lilinoe, Linh, Mahathi, Mairin, Marabelle, Mariaguadalupe, Marielys, Maxie, Mayerly, Meridian, Merlin, Miagrace, Morgana, Namine, Nasreen, Ottilie, Petrona, Pollyanna, Prosperity, Quetzali, Rahel, Rainbow, Rmani, Rowena, Saadia, Sakinah, Sarabi, Shruthi, Sian, Sibyl, Sicilia, Sonnet, Syren, Tulip, Tulsi, Verenice, Zimal

Have any favorites or least-favorites?  General thoughts?  Let me know in the comments!

P.S. Apparently as many girls were named Merlin in the U.S. as Morgana in 2015.  What’s more – there are an equal number of girls with the spelling “Merlyn.”  Curious…

Previous 5 posts in this series:

One Year of Blogging

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 9.19.15 PM

Hi everyone, and happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Today is my first blogiversary.

Last winter, I had to create my first blog for a university course.  I soon realized I could make a website to talk about my own favorite subject – names!  So on March 17th, 2016, I launched the Well-Informed Namer.  Things were slow at first, but through persistence and probably a good deal of luck, I’ve grown to be one of the top 40 baby name websites on the internet.  Feedspot released that ranking yesterday…and I must say, it’s a great surprise!

This blog has taught me so much over the past 365 days.  I’m definitely more tech savvy than I was before, and I have an easier time promoting my interests.  Whether this applies to names or other subjects, there’s something to be said about putting one’s thoughts into writing.  And for a niche hobby like mine, the internet provides an outlet that can’t usually be found in face-to-face interactions in schools and the greater community.  Without the internet, I’m not sure I’d have ever realized that there are other name-lovers, or indeed that I am one myself.

On this blogiversary, what I want to say more than anything is thank youThank you to my readers for reading.  Thank you to the people who comment on my posts and engage with me on my favorite subject!  And thank you to other name-writers and enthusiasts who’ve shared my articles or attached my URL to their blogrolls.  You are all fantastic support and help, and I eagerly await the future.

One year down; hopefully many to go! 

Bonus: My first ever blog post!  You can pinch me for writing about Greek names on St. Patrick’s Day. 

Irish Spellings in America

When I was growing up, having an Irish name in America likely meant that your parents had named you Ryan or Kaitlyn.  If you had a “Gaelic” spelling, your name was probably Caitlin or Sean.  I still remember how surprised I was when I heard there was an Aine (pr. Awn-yuh) at my high school. 

St. Patrick’s Day is fairly important to me.  Tomorrow will be the first anniversary of this blog, but more importantly: I’m Irish-American!  Several branches of my family emigrated to America between the 17 and 19th centuries.  Some were Catholic, but others were (a little strangely) Protestant.  The last branch to arrive in the U.S. were native Irish-speakers…something you probably don’t hear too often.  With them in mind, I’ve decided observe St. Patty’s on my site by tracking down and posting as many non-Anglicized Irish spellings as I could find within in the 2015 data.  Irish spellings of English names…totally okay!  I’ll point those out as they come along.

One final note before starting: I’ve tried to include the accents, even though the SSA doesn’t count them. 


Aibhlinn – 18 girls in 2015.  A user-submitted comment to Behind the Name suggests this is an Irish form of Aveline.  Either way, it’s very similar to Eibhlín (see below).

Ailís – 12 girls.  Form of Alice.

Áine – 44 girls.

Aisling – 48.  Variant Aislinn (said like Ashlynn) entered the top 1000 in 2015 with 280 uses.  Another spelling, Aislin, was used 55 times in 2015.

Aoife – 98 girls.

Brighid – 9 girls.  Form of Bridget

Cailín – 50 girls.  Note: I don’t think this is actually a name in Ireland, but Colleen is the Anglicized spelling of this.  It means “girl.”

Caitlín – 473 girls, .  Meant to be pronounced more like Katleen than Katelyn.

Caitríona – 11 girls.  Think Katrina.

Caoimhe – 11 girls.  Pronounced like Keeva.

Ciara – 370 girls, #756.

Clíona – 5 girls.

Clodagh – 5 girls.

Deirdre – 27 girls.

Eibhlín – 8 girls.  Eileen is an English-version, although Eibhlín can also be said more like “Evleen.”

Eilís – 6 girls girls.  Usually a form of Elizabeth

Fíona – 1484 girls, #219. 

Fionnuala – 7 girls.  Fenella is probably my favorite English spelling!     


“Maev,” J.C. Leyendecker, 1911.

Maebh – 6 girls.  My mother told me once that I’d have been named Maeve if I were born in the 80s. 

Máire – 10 girls.  Form of Mary

Mairéad – 24 girls.  Irish form of Margaret

Máirín – 12 girls.  Maureen is the Anglicized form.

Muireann – 5 girls.

Niamh – 35 girls.  Rhymes with Eve!

Nuala – 9 girls.  I’ve actually met one. 

Órla – 30 girls.

Ríona – 33 girls.

Roísín – 27.  Diminutive of Rós, making Roísín the Irish equivalent of “Rosie.”

Saoirse – 158 girls.  Pronounced like “Seer-sha,” I think most are named after actress Saoirse Ronan.

Sinéad – 10 girls.  Form of Jane

Siobhán – 56 girls.  Nancy at Nancy’s Baby Names just wrote a piece on the American familiarity with Siobhan.  Check it out!

Sorcha – 7 girls.

Úna – 45 girls.


Aédán – 166 boys.     

Aengus – 9 boys.

Aodhán – 12 boys.

Art – 20 boys. 

Artúr – 24 boys.

Bradán – 13 boys.  You probably know this name through one of its other spellings – Braden and Brayden.

Bran – 12 boys.

Brian – 2200 boys, #188.

Cathal – 5 boys.

Cathán – 5 boys.

Cian – 153.  Keane is an Anglicized form.

Ciarán – 73.  Kieran is the English spelling, though I still prefer Ciarán.  It makes me think of Ciaran Hinds (especially his role as Julius Caesar in HBO’s Rome).

Cillian – 121.  Pronounced with a hard ‘c,’ like Killian.

Colm – 13 boys.  I met one once, and made the mistake of pronouncing it phonetically.  It’s closer to Colum. 

Colmán – 16 boys.

Conall – 38 boys.

Conán – 58 boys.

Conor – 621 boys, #477.

Cormac – 175 boys.  This always reminds me of Cormac McLaggen from Harry Potter!

Dara – 9 boys, 64 girls.

Deaglán – 50 boys.  Declan is Deaglán‘s Anglicized form.

Donn – 5 boys.  

Éamonn – 35 boys.  Irish form of Edmund

Eoghan – 28 boys.  Equivalent of Owen

Eoin – 57 boys.  Form of John.

Faolán – 8 boys. 

Fergus – 21 boys.

Finn – 1881 boys, #209.  Finn is actually considered an older spelling than Fionn


Finn MacCool, as depicted by Stephen Reid in 1910

Finnian – 164 boys. 

Fionn – 30 boys.

Lochlann – 20 boys.  

Lorcán – 7 boys.

Micheál – 266 boys, #840

Niall – 53 boys.

Oisín – 16 boys. 

Oscar – 2286, #181

Padráig – 28 boys.  Form of Patrick.

Rían – 123 boys, 88 girls

Rónán – 1024 boys, #335. 

Ruairí – 13 boys.  Rory is the most common English spelling. 

Ruari – 14 boys, 10 girls

Séamus – 218 boys, #946.  Irish form of James.

Seán – 1870, #211.  Form of John

Tadhg – 17 boys. 

Torin – 137 boys, 9 girls

Uilliam – 6 boys.  Form of William.

Thoughts?  Questions (especially about pronunciation)?  Additions or subtractions?  Let me know in the comments! 

I sourced the names from these two lists:

The numbers themselves come from the Social Security Administration.  Ranks from Behind the Name.

Classic Rock Baby (Sur)names

I listen to a lot of classic rock.  By that, I mean rock music that came out between 1965 and 1977-ish, with a few exceptions.  Considering that that the Oldies (music from the 50s and 60s) enjoyed a massive proportion of my childhood music preferences, I’m baffled that 80s and early 90s rock is now considered “classic!”  Sure, it’s influential…but every time I think about this, I ask myself where the time went.  Maybe it’s because I was born in the early 90s, but I have a hard time processing the idea that Nirvana is “classic rock” now (or will be very soon).  Elvis and Chuck Berry don’t even receive that distinction!


But *this* is a gneiss, classic rock.  Photo Credit: By Huhulenik – Own work, CC BY 3.0,

My 1965-1977 parameters for classic rock are admittedly a bit arbitrary and fuzzy.  I say 1965 for the beginning because that’s when the Beatles released Rubber Soul and the Stones sang “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”  I decided on the 1977-ish bookend because that’s when the Fleetwood Mac album Rumours came out.  Again, “classic rock” means something very particular to me, and it might mean something different for you!  However – until Van Halen gets the Guardians of the Galaxy treatment, I’m not including related baby names in a “classic rock” posting.


Yes, I have it on vinyl.

Going even just by my standards for classic rock, there are plenty of rocker baby names in circulation!  For this post, I’ve decided to focus on the surnames.  

Bowie – David Bowie died early last year, and I think many of us in the community of name enthusiasts expect a serious boost to the name in the 2016 data.  In 2015, 53 boys and 41 girls were named Bowie.

Cooper – School might not be out for the summer, but this week it was out for the snowstorm.  Alice Cooper lends his adopted name to thousands of boys and hundreds of girls in the U.S.  In 2015, Cooper ranked #77 for boys.

Derringer – This one might be a bit more obscure.  Rick Derringer was responsible for the song “Rock and Roll, Hootchie Koo.”  Before that, he sang “Hang on Sloopy” for the McCoys.  8 boys were named Derringer in 2015.

Harrison – The Beatles have always been my favorite band, so when it comes to famous rock guitarists I’m rather partial to George Harrison (funnily enough, “Here Comes the Sun” popped up on my Pandora as I was typing this).  Looking at the stats, Harrison‘s popularity seems more closely tied to Harrison Ford, since Star Wars saved the name from falling out of the top 1000.  Indeed, Harrison hasn’t ever been out of the top 1000!  That’s the definition of a timeless name.  Current rank: #119.

Henley – Before his solo career, Don Henley was a member of the Eagles.  Henley is a far more popular baby name for girls than it is for boys.  Current rank: #553 (girls), and 104 boys. 

Jagger – A rather jagged name, don’t you think?  The data certainly says so.  Just take a look at the popularity graph on Behind the Name or the numbers on Nancy’s Baby Names.  It also makes me think of “jäger” – the German word for “hunter,” though it’s pronounced more like “yay-grr” than “Jagger.”   Mick Jagger (Rolling Stones) is the probable namesake for the 389 boys and 9 girls named Jagger in 2015.  Current rank: #657 (boys).

Lennon – The SSA birth data suggests that American men have been given the first name Lennon since the early 20th century, but 1981 was the first time Lennon appeared as a girls’ name.  John Lennon died in December of 1980, and in 1981 the Grammy Awards accorded his last record (Double Fantasy) “Album of the Year.”  Lennon remained a rare name for both genders until 2008, when it entered the top 1000 for boys.  In 2012, it entered as a girls’ name.  Interestingly, 2015 saw Lennon become more for girls than boys!  A rapid-riser, Lennon currently ranks #515 for girls and #609 for boys.   

Lynne – Jeff Lynne is the genius behind ELO (Electric Light Orchestra).  Lynne was a top 1000 women’s name from 1931 to 1983, though only 9 girls were named Lynne in 2015.

McCartney – You’re more likely to encounter a female McCartney than male.  The SSA recorded 20 girls and 5 boys named Mccartney (yes, that’s how it’s rendered) in 2015.  I’ve noticed that when it comes to the Beatles and baby names, their surnames usually now veer feminine (see Lennon and Starr).  Harrison is the overwhelmingly masculine exception.

Mercury – 9 girls and 5 boys were named Mercury in 2015.  Whether they’re named after Freddie Mercury or in keeping with astrology is unknown, though other babies were named Aries, Taurus, and Gemini

Nash Graham Nash was a member of the Hollies and subsequently Crosby, Stills, and Nash.  Current rank: #343.

Page Jimmy Page was the guitarist for Led Zeppelin.  17 girls were named Page in 2015.

Rafferty – Gerry Rafferty was a member of Stealer’s Wheel, the band that sang “Stuck in the Middle With You.”  He also had a solo career.  Only 12 American boys were named Rafferty in 2015, though the name is much more popular in England and Wales (current E/W rank: #289). 

Santana Santana was briefly popular as a girls’ name in the 80s and is now a popular boys’ name.  I don’t think Carlos Santana is the namesake for most of them (I hear there’s a Glee character?), but there were definitely more babies named Santana after Woodstock.  Current rank: #867 for boys, though 119 girls also received the name in 2015.

Seger – I admit: I don’t listen to much Bob Seger (“Against the Wind,” anyone?), but I noticed his surname towards the bottom of the 2015 data.  10 boys were named Seger at last count. 

Starr – Ringo’s adopted surname was actually a top 1000 girls’ name before the Beatles were popular.  Starr went out in the 50s and then returned for brief periods in the 70s and 90s.  Only 74 girls were named Starr last year, and considering she’s trending downwards, I don’t think the 20-year cycle will apply this decade. 

Tyler – Steven Tyler is still a member of Aerosmith!  Tyler is still (barely) a top 100 name in the U.S., ranking #87 in 2015. 

What do you think?  Are there any names you’d add to this list?  Do you agree with my classic rock parameters? 

P.S. Curiously, I didn’t find any Claptons in the data.  Eric Clapton definitely influenced baby naming; his 1970 song “Layla” led to Layla‘s first foray into the top 1000 (circa 1972).  To be fair, that wasn’t a solo song; the band name was Derek and the Dominos.

P.P.S. I didn’t notice any Springsteens either. 

Below the Top 1000, Part 32 (Boys)

Do you ever accidentally fail to recognize or mispronounce a common name because of context?  I saw Hazel listed directly below a very obscure Biblical men’s name and thought I was looking at another rare Biblical boys’ name that was pronounced like “Hah-sel.”  It took me a few seconds to realize why spell-check already accepted it!

Here are some of the names given to 12 or 13 boys in 2015, according to the Social Security Administration.  Each year, the SSA publishes information about America’s most popular names.  They also publish an extended list containing just about every name down to five occurrences, which is where these names come from.  

  • 13: Abdikadir, Aceton, Achillies, Adedamola, Akim, Amore, Antonius, Apollos, Arrington, Bannon, Barrington, Benz, Bernabe, Bertram, Cainen, Cecilio, Colm, Coltrane, Cope, Crosley, Daequan, Delvon, Dj, Dolan, Dujuan, Early, Edwyn, Eirik, Elohim, Eluzer, Emilian, Eris, Even, Finch, Florencio, Foxx, General, Grantley, Griffith, Haywood, Hermes, Hiroshi, Hiroto, Ikenna, Izzy, Janoah, Jedi, Kamen, Kincaid, Lakoda, Lestat, Linwood, Lyfe, Makani, Marcio, Messi, Parish, Porfirio, Quintavious, Ruairi, Sacha, Samwise, Sequoia, Sho, Sixto, Stan, Talmadge, Tex, Vega, Wyeth, Yannis, Yaroslav, Zandon, Zohaib
  • 12: Adrick, Aeon, Alcides, Aldous, Amour, Aodhan, Arlington, Balin, Balthazar, Bert, Bingham, Bolton, Bowe, Bran, Breslin, Buckley, Calhoun, Calixto, Cephas, Chadrick, Cobain, Constantin, Czar, Dagoberto, Dhani, Dijon, Dinero, Django, Doyle, DreuxEladio, Eliakim, Fabrice, Gatsby, Gemini, Guilherme, Hazaiah, Jessup, Kaliq, Kyrillos, Laurent, Lehi, Leomar, Leovanni, Ludwig, Lyman, Lynx, Marquee, Muhammadali, Nuchem, Orville, Osborn, Rafferty, Ramadan, Ramesses, Ringo, Schneider, Shooter, Siaosi, Sneyder, Spenser, Stanislav, Thanos, Theodoros, Torres, Tristain, Trust, Vijay, Xabi, Yanni, Yitzhak, Zebastian, Zinedine

What do you think of these names?  Let me know!

P.S. One thing that’s strange for me is how many names on this list actually belong to people I knew in high school or college!  I won’t say exactly which names I’ve encountered (for privacy), but I count 8 that I knew personally and another 2 or 3 that I heard about in passing.

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