Rare ‘C’ Names for Boys

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Here are some rare ‘C’ names for boys used in 2016!  I posted the girls’ list a few days ago…and although there were more girls’ names for me to sort through, the boys’ names were harder to narrow down.  To keep these lists at a reasonable length, I try to select only the most interesting rare names for you to think about.  My problem is that they’re all interesting! 

All the names below belong to baby boys born in the U.S. last year.  The blue-coded names were used overwhelmingly for boys, while the purple-coded names are unisex (within my parameters; 90% usage or less for one gender and 10% or more for the other).

  • 150-201 boys named: Chevy, Colson, Cillian, Cormac, Cortez, Caspian, Cian, Caius
  • 100-149: Cristobal, Coy, Carver, Cashton, Canyon, Carmine, Calder, Coby, CallahanCourtney, Constantine, Cecil
  • 50-99: Chancellor, Clifton, Canon, Clive, Casper, Caesar, Chester, Conley, Carmello, Chayton, Conan, Carsten, Ciaran, Croix, Charleston, Conway, Colston, Clarke, Crawford, Claude, Clement
  • 25-49: Charbel, Christos, Collier, Creighton, Cavan, Crimson, Cove, Conall, Corwin, Carlin, Carlisle, Cassiel, Champ, Cage, Carlito, Coda, Copeland, Courtland, Cutler, Cary, Chauncey, Christ, Cutter, Claudio, Captain, Chosen, Cloud, Curren, Caedmon, Copper, Cashmere, Casimir, Castor, Chapman, Chidubem, Colm, Creek, Cross, Can, Canton, Champion, Caliber, Calix, Chesky, Cache, Celso, Cheskel, Corinthian
  • 15-24: Caelum, Coulter, Cuyler, Cleveland, Cecilio, Calloway, Cheikh, Conlan, Cosmo, Cayman, Creedence, Carlson, Caspar, Cassian, Cliff, Crixus, Cruzito, Carder, Chukwuemeka, Coltrane, Colvin, Cotton, Cato, Chief, Cinch, Camillo, Celestino, Chip, Calogero, Castle, Che, Chevelle, Clancy, Corbett, Courage, Crispin, Cuauhtemoc
  • 10-14: Calixto, Cartel, Charlton, Coal, Cyprian, Chan, Cobain, Curry, Cesare, Chatham, Cisco, Cordarius, Cruise, Caio, Cambridge, Candido, Chadrick, Chavez, Cordero, Crockett, Czar, Camp, Carroll, Chetan, Cope, Cyprus
  • 8-9: Candelario, Carmichael, Cephas, Chamberlain, Corion, Coyote, Crowley, Cung, Calcifer, Calhoun, Catcher, Cheveyo, Chigozie, Claiborne, Clovis, Constantinos
  • 7: Cabot, Caillou, Cameo, Cavalli, Chiedozie, Chipper, Chiron, Cipriano, Columbus, Corrado, Corvus, Craven
  • 6: Calvary, Calvert, Cavanaugh, Charming, Church, Cletus, Clever, Compton, Connolly, Cosimo, Crown, Cypher
  • 5: Caffrey, Caldwell, Caliph, Calixtro, Calyx, Camper, Candler, Carbon, Chanson, Chaplin, Chenyu, Chimaobim, Chirag, Chisum, Choice, Chrisander, Coast, Colburn, Corny, Cosmas, Coven, Crusoe


  • Carroll only appears as a boys’ name in last year’s data.
  • Although the word “chipper” can mean “cheerful,” as a name Chipper just makes me think of that scene in Fargo.  Yikes!  
  • Chanson means “song” in French.  A little surprising that it appears as a boys’ name, but the primary association is possibly La Chanson de Roland (The Song of Roland).
  • Cavalli means “horses” in Italian.  Not “horse,” but “horses.”  Should make travel quite interesting.
  • Craven is another word for “cowardly.”  It’s an odd, unusable name even by my standards.

What do you think?  Do you have any favorites?  Least-favorites?  Let me know in the comments! 

Rare ‘B’ Names for Boys

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 12.05.58 PMHere is my list of interesting rare ‘B’ names for boys!  You can read the girls’ list here.  All these were real baby names in the U.S. last year, according to data from the Social Security Administration.  Remember, just because a name isn’t popular doesn’t mean nobody’s using it! 

When I say a name is ‘interesting,’ I don’t mean that it’s good or bad; merely, that it caught my eye.  I’m far more likely to endorse a name than denounce it, but there are a few names in this list that I think are rather heinous.  If you read all the way to the bottom of the list, you’ll find my commentary.

  • 150-202 usage range: Bishop, Bastian, Bear, Barry, Beck, Bilal, Brenton, Bernard, Boaz, Baker, Broderick, Benedict, Bjorn
  • 100-149: Brogan, Baron, Bowie, Banks, Bronx, Benaiah, Brighton, Brigham, Bailey, Britton
  • 50-99: Boyd, Barron, Braulio, Brant, Benito, Branch, Bane, Bram, Bradford, Basil, Baxter, Booker, Burke, Bradlee, Braven
  • 25-49: Boris, Banner, Baruch, Bauer, Bowman, Beauregard, Brenner, Boe, Bill, Buck, Brando, Bladen, Breccan, Bowden, Bashir, Braddock, Brewer, Britain, Blade, Brave, Bladimir, Buddy, Boubacar, Bakari, Becker, Bruin, Burton
  • 15-24: Bosco, Blessing, Blue, Bogdan, Banyan, Brazos, Berl, Bernie, Bray, Barack, Boy, Bao, Bravery, Buckley, Bartholomew, Barton, Bless, Bora, Brockton, Bannon, Baraka, Barrington, Bohannon, Bryn, Benuel
  • 10-14: Baden, Bader, Bentzion, Bert, Boss, Baldemar, Balian, Barnabas, Bingham, Bob, Boyce, Bran, Breyer, Brick, Buster, Baylon, Bento, Biruk, Bolton, Bond, Boomer, Bow, Battal, Behruz, Benigno, Bertrand, Birch, Blessed, Bowe, Breaker, Brigg, Balthazar, Baxley, Beaumont, Bernabe, Berry, Betzalel, Bexton, Bijan, Bretton, Brighten, Briton, Bud, Burhan
  • 5-9: Basel, Bhargav, Bhavik, Borja, Boyan, Bryshere, Bach, Bates, Bay, Benoit, Benz, Beowulf, Bhuvan, Bonham, Brazen, Breeze, Brink, Babyboy, Balin, Bankston, Barney, Barren, Basilio, Bautista, Benning, Beorn, Bolin, Bonifacio, Boyer, Bright, Baldwin, Balraj, Barnaby, Bartolo, Bashar, Bela, Benno, Bertram, Biagio, Biel, Bocephus, Brahms, Breton, Browning, Burns, Baby, Badi, Baird, Barclay, Barnes, Bart, Bb, Beasley, Bernardino, Bezaleel, Bhavesh, Blanton, Bomani, Brace, Brand, Bravo, Brockman, Brolin, Bromley, Buchanan, Buford, Burley, Burnell, Butch


  • I would like to point out the terrible irony of naming a baby “Barren.”
  • Who else saw a horror flick called The Boy last year?  6 boys were named Brahms in 2016, probably because of that movie.  In The Boy, an American woman moves to England to be the nanny/governess for a boy named Brahms, whom she discovers is actually a very creepy doll.  Another possibility is that the rise of a similar rare name, Brahm, gave Brahms a boost.*
  • Speaking of composers, Bach returned to the data in 2016.  Composers!
  • I wonder if any of the boys named Bond have James for a middle name.  Somehow, “Bond – Bond James” doesn’t sound as effective as “Bond – James Bond.”
  • As a name writer, two things I try to avoid are politics (not that kind of blog) and name-bashing.  That said; parents, stop naming your kids Bannon!  I shouldn’t even have to explain that racists are terrible namesakes.
  • Also avoid using Benito and Bashar since they’re the first names of dictators.

What do you think?  Do you have any other strong associations with some of these names?  Let me know in the comments!  

*For the record, I don’t think Brahms, Brahm, Bach, and Bond are necessarily bad baby names like the others I commented on, but they evoked strong mental images.  Brahms is probably an obscure reference, anyway.

Top 1000 Entries and Exits in 2016

Here are all the names that entered and left the U.S. top 1000 in 2016!  There are 45 new girls’ names and 42 new boys’ names.  Remember, the top 1000 is America’s threshold for popularity.  Baby names below the top 1000 are considered rare.  


  • Aadhya, Ailani, Alessia, Alianna, Alyvia, Amayah, Anniston, Antonella, Antonia, Ari, Aubri, Ayana, Belle, Bexley, Blaire, Calliope, Chandler, Davina, Ellianna, Emmie, Harleigh, Itzayana, Jana, Joelle, Kaylani, Kehlani, Louise, Maren, Mavis, Maxine, Maylee, Mercy, Nalani, Novalee, Poppy, Ramona, Rayne, Reign, Riya, Rosalyn, Royalty, Saoirse, Sylvie, Tinsley, Vada
  • Ahmir, Alistair, Benicio, Brayson, Bridger, Brysen, Eason, Eliezer, Creed, Foster, Fox, Greysen, Gus, Hakeem, Harris, Howard, Ira, Jad, Jair, Jamar, Jeremias, Jericho, Karim, Keanu, Khalid, Koda, Konner, Krish, Kylo, Leif, Lyle, Maddux, Merrick, Mikael, Ramiro, Ralph, Shepherd, Tadeo, Tristian, Wesson, Westley, Zyaire

Through data adjustment, Yisroel is new for both 2016 and 2015.

Yes, Kylo (like Kylo Ren) is a popular baby name now!  My mom didn’t react very well when I told her.

Royalty (581 girls) was the highest debut in the girls’ list, followed by Reign (344).  Fox (323) was the most popular entry to the boys’ list. 

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Royalty was the most popular debut, followed by Reign.


  • Aimee, Alissa, Alisson, America, Aminah, Angeline, Avalyn, Asia, Aubrianna, Bryanna, Caitlin, Caitlyn, Charlize, Cordelia, Denise, Dixie, Emmalee, Giavanna, Ireland, Jaida, Janiya, Jaylin, Jenny, Jocelynn, Jordynn, Kaelynn, Katelynn, Kaitlynn, Kayden, Kensington, Kiley, Kimora, Kristen, Kyndall, Libby, Lindsay, Mollie, Natalee, Neriah, Sarahi, Saniyah, Sidney, Tara, Taya, Yaritza
  • Aaden, Aarush, Ayan, Aydan, Bishop, Boden, Brice, Camren, Chace, Chevy, Cristopher, Davin, Deangelo, Deshawn, Dilan, Ean, Frankie, Freddy, Haiden, Jadon, Jayvion, Jonael, Jordyn, Jovani, Juelz, Kaeden, Kamren, Kamron, Kylen, Malaki, Osvaldo, Quintin, Rashad, Reagan, Robin, Rodolfo, Todd, Triston, Truman, Tyrone, Yaakov, Yadiel

Due to data adjustment, Antoine is out of the top 1000 for both 2016 and 2015.

Reagan was used often enough to be in the top 1000, but was forced out by #1000 Jonathon.  When names are used equally, alphabetical order determines rank preference. 

Notice how all those spellings of Caitlin are suddenly rare?  The prevailing theory is that Caitlyn Jenner killed any popularity the name still had (which wasn’t a lot, admittedly).  I agree that this is why, but I wonder if last year’s “Kaitlyn spelled with Roman numerals” scare also turned some parents off the name. 

Thoughts?  What are your favorite entering names?  Are you disappointed that any left?  Finally, do you know any people with these names?


  1. I’m impressed that my fellow Americans are using so heavily Irish a name as Saoirse and spelling it correctly! 
  2. Very happy that Calliope, Poppy, and Alistair are popular names now!  Davina is also a lovely surprise.  Sad to see Cordelia gone (again).   
  3. Over the years, I’ve met people named Antonella, Chandler (both genders), Gus, Lyle, Maren, and maybe Karim & Ramiro.  There was also supposed to be a Mercy in my 2nd grade class, but she never appeared. 😦  I did encounter a baby Saoirse last year, though!
  4. From the exiting names, I’ve known people called Aimee, Brice (female), Denise, Frankie (male), Lindsay, Natalee, and Todd.  I’ve also met too many Caitlin‘s (or Kaitlynn‘s, Kaitlin‘s, etc.) to count.

P.S. – You can check this list of entries and exits against my predictions

Source: https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/index.html

Edit 5/15/17: Fox was actually the top boys’ name debut.

Predictions: The Top 1000 Baby Names of 2016

In less than 12 hours, we’ll find out the most popular American baby names of 2016!  Here are my predictions for the names entering and leaving the top 1000, mostly based on what names are rising and falling near the threshold.  You can also read my top 10 and top 100 predictions.  Tomorrow, we’ll see how many of these actually appear or disappear!  

Here are the names I think will enter the top 1000:

  • Boys: Wesson, Alistair, Alaric, Harris, Taj, Keanu, Ira, Danilo, Fox, Koda, Zamir, Gatlin, Dashiell, Kabir
  • Girls: Octavia, Theresa, Tinsley, Mavis, Antonella, Raylee, Akira, Robin, Diya, Charleston, Amora, Aadhya, Harleigh, Kaylani, Maddie, Evalynn, Etta, Winnie, Sailor, Reign, Royalty

The following names compose my “maybe” list:

  • Boys: Harlem, Brysen, Kooper, Rayyan, Yaakov, Isai, Westley, Shmuel, Zyaire, Mccoy, Tadeo, Ahmir, Zayd, Aston, Greysen, Hollis, Reynaldo, Colson, Jad, Lian, Finnian, Koa, Ansel, Thorin, Benedict, Simeon, KaiserKylo
  • Girls: Winnie, India, Regan, Poppy, Ellery, Amayah, Robyn, Chandler, Elina, Araceli (?), Ramona, Spencer, Ailyn, Marian, Scout, Opal, Maisy, Jubilee, Addalynn (?), Loretta, Baylor, Novalee, Ailani, Bexley, Denver, Vada, Louise

Here are the names I think will exit:

  • Boys: Deshawn, Jaydon, Gilbert, Marquis, Keenan, Jayvion, Chevy, Kaeden, Jordyn, Jamarion, Aydan, Anton, Triston, Gibson, Alfred, Jessie, Ishaan, Ulises, Brenden, Neymar
  • Girls: Kaitlynn, Libby, Janiya, Denise, Mariyah, Sharon, Lilyanna, Emmalee, Heather, Cherish, Dixie, Wendy, Aranza, Elin, Halle, Nataly, Kiley, Kenya, Jasmin, Sariah, Kayden, Anabella, Caylee, Montserrat, Anabelle, Aryanna, Annabel, Jenny, Natalee, Sidney

Might also leave:

  • Boys: Truman, Jovani, Ernest, Davin, Rolando, Seamus, Rashad, Agustin, Steve, Darrell, Markus, Javon, Zackary
  • Girls: Tegan, Stevie, Aubriella, Aubrianna, Jocelynn, America, Kimora, Hadleigh, Ellison, Alissa, Saniyah, Susan, Aliya, Briley, Aimee, Asia, Kristen, Giana, Ally, Rylan, Emilie, Lindsay, Maleah, Kathleen, Lexie, Danica, Kailyn, Elsa

Remember, these are just predictions!  Tomorrow I could find out that I’m nowhere close.  That’s okay!  There are always wildcards, and I really just write my predictions for fun.


Predictions: The Top 100 Baby Names of 2016

The new U.S. data set comes out Friday!  Here are my predictions for the top 100.  You can read my top 10 predictions here.

11 names entered the top 100 in 2015 Hazel, Cora, Aurora, Quinn, Reagan, and Clara replaced Jasmine, Hadley, Alexandra, London, Lauren, and Sophie on the girls’ side; Ezra, Theodore, Elias, Mateo, and Sawyer replaced Justin, Camden, Luis, Juan, and Brody on the boys’ side.

Top 100 Names of 2015 (Both Genders, Fixed)

The Top 100 Most Popular Baby Names of 2015, Visualized

Judging by the fastest-rising names that are just outside the top 100, here are the ones I predict for entry:

  • Boys: Roman, Leonardo*, Greyson
  • Girls: Eliana, Elena, Luna, Willow, Kinsley

*Leonardo (current rank #103) ranked up 11 points (+356 uses) between 2014 and 2015, so the name is already doing well and could reach the top 100 without extra help.  However, Leonardo DiCaprio won the Academy Award for Best Actor in early 2016!  I anticipate a larger leap from 2015 to 2016.

Luna (#110; rank +33; +476 uses) belongs to a consortium of trendy classical names that also includes Athena and Valeria

These names I put as “maybes” for entry:

  • Boys: Declan, Abel, Harrison, Silas
  • Girls: Adalynn, Everly, Hadley, Delilah, Adeline

Even though Hadley dropped a couple ranks last year, I still hear a *lot* about this name.  Adeline made huge gains in 2015 because of the movie Age of Adaline, and Adalynn benefited.  The question is: will the names continue to rise so fast even if the movie boost is a one-time thing?

Harrison is possible (likely, even) because of Harrison Ford and Force Awakens, which was released at the end of 2015. Star Wars names!

Due to significant drops in popularity, these are the names I think will leave the top 100 in the 2016 list:  

  • Boys: Blake, Kayden, Ayden, Jace
  • Girls: Annabelle, Khloe, Alyssa, Alexis

Aiden ranked up in 2015, Kayden (#95; -5 rank; -476 uses) and other names ending in -Ayden did poorly in 2015.

Parents shied away from Annabelle (#92; -35 rank; -1074 uses) in 2015 after the name became associated with a horror movie.  My question: will the scary stick? 

These are the names I pegged as “maybe” leaving:

  • Boys: Bentley, Brandon, Kevin; maybe Jason and Zachary too
  • Girls: Aubree, Faith, Katherine

Regarding Brandon, Kevin, Jason, and Zachary: 80s and 90s baby names aren’t fashionable anymore, so don’t expect them to stick around much longer.  If 2016 isn’t the year these fall out of the top 100, 2017 will be. 

2015 was not a good year for Puritan-style virtue names (Temperance, Mercy, and Patience all left the top 1000).  Faith dropped 10 points between 2014 and 2015, and may leave the top 100 in the 2016 set. 

General trends I haven’t previously mentioned:

Old-fashioned names are very popular for girls.  The vintage-chic names of 2015 were ones like Hazel, Alice, and Cora; expect these to continue rising.  That isn’t to say modern names aren’t popping up more.  Southern names like Harper, Scarlett, and Paisley make for a very trendy subcategory of modern names.  Special recognition also goes to the “eye” names (Piper, Skylar, and Kylie) and the unisex Irish surnames (Quinn, Reagan, and Riley).

I have a harder time pegging the boys’ names.  The most popular boys’ names are decreasingly popular, evidenced by this SSA tidbit. There’s definitely some modernizing going on, yet some of today’s trendiest baby boy names sound like they belong in another century (looking right at you, Theodore and Ezra)!  Plenty of surnames (Hudson, Lincoln, Grayson) are doing well, except for a couple that are 90s leftovers.  Another trendy category I see?  Western-inspired names like Wyatt and Levi.   

Check back in a few days for the official list from the Social Security Administration.  Aaaaahhhh, I’m so excited! 😀

Top 10 Baby Name Predictions

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The Top 10 baby names of 2015.  What will they be in 2016? 

With the Social Security Administration releasing the 2016 data set so soon (Friday, May 12th), I’d like to cast my baby name predictions into the cauldron!  Let’s start with the top 10, since those are the most popular and the ones you’re most likely to encounter.  I will post my top 100 and top 1000 predictions later.

The top 10 girls’ names of 2015 were:

  1. Emma (0 rank change; -444 uses; 20355 total uses)
  2. Olivia (0; -121 uses; 19533 total)
  3. Sophia (0; -1163 uses; 17327 total)
  4. Ava (+1 rank; +700 uses; 16286 total)
  5. Isabella (-1 rank; -1446 uses; 15504 total)
  6. Mia (0; +1378 uses; 14820 total)
  7. Abigail (+1; +326 uses; 12311 total)
  8. Emily (-1; -835 uses; 11727 total)
  9. Charlotte (+1; +1284 uses; 11332 total)
  10. Harper (new, +1; +677 uses; 10241 total))

And the top 10 boys’ names in 2015 were:

  1. Noah (0 rank change; +367 uses; 19511 total uses)
  2. Liam (0; -61 uses; 18281 total)
  3. Mason (0; -557 uses; 16535 total)
  4. Jacob (0; -896 uses; 15816 total)
  5. William (0; -878 uses; 15809 total)
  6. Ethan (0; -628 uses; 14991 total)
  7. James (+2; +404 uses; 14705 total)
  8. Alexander (0; -883 uses; 14460 total)
  9. Michael (-2; -1002 uses; 14321 total)
  10. Benjamin (new, +2; -79 uses; 13608 total)

You might have noticed that many names that became less common experienced no rank change, and that some names either ranked up despite a drop in the total or stayed put despite a major usage increase.  The top of the charts are are staid and insensitive.  Rank changes in this range often occur because one name falls faster than another. 

Because a large rise or drop in the top 10 means little for rank change, it’s helpful to employ context clues in predictions.  You simply can’t look at the stats for one name, because if one takes off then similar names grow alongside it.  The inverse is probably true too – if a very popular name falls then its relatives will also.

Emma might stay #1, but I’m starting to think Olivia will be 2016’s Queen of the Baby Names.  Emma offshoots like Emmalee and Emmaline are falling in popularity – if a very popular name falls then its relatives will alsoEmmalynn is rising, but that is likely helped by the extreme trendiness and growing popularity of other -Lynn names.  Furthermore, the raw usage numbers tell us that Emma fell a little faster than Olivia did between 2014 and 2015.  Other reasons I think Olivia will be #1 are 1) the meteoric rise of Oliver and 2) the rise of Olive.  On the other hand…Olivia‘s alternative spellings (Olyvia, Alivia…) are becoming less popular

Noah will likely continue his reign as King of the Baby Names in 2016.  Noah was one of only two boys’ names in the 2015 top 10 to make usage gains (the other was James).  Liam receives all the hype, but I’d like to point out something I think is seriously overlooked – in the state of California, Liam ranks nowhere near #1.  Last year I researched naming at the state level and discovered that if a name is in California’s top 100, it’s automatically in the national top 1000.  Liam certainly is popular in Cali (apparently he’s even #2 in San Diego, where 2016 stats are already available), but not quite enough to unseat Noah.  Of course, we’ll find out for sure on Friday!

After predicting the #1 names, the next important question asks which names will leave the top 10.  In 2015, Harper and Benjamin replaced Madison and DanielMichael will probably leave the top 10 this time around, and Emily is his likely female counterpart.  Alexander also looks like a possibility.  The next question: what will replace them?

Amelia (current rank #12) is Emily‘s probable replacement.  She’s a fast riser and the #1 name in England and Wales, plus similar-sounding Emilia also rises.  In the unlikely case that another spot opens up in the girls’ top 10, I nominate Elizabeth (perennially popular, rising, + Netflix’s “The Crown”) and Evelyn (trendy, rising) as back-up dancers.   I have a harder time figuring out the supplanter among the boys (unless you want to talk about James or Jacob, which actually mean “supplanter!”).  I’ve had Elijah on my shortlist for a while, but he may simply stay #11 or #12; he’s my conservative guess.  Oliver jumped very high between 2014 and 2015 (gained +13 rank, +2227 usage for a total of 11592), but he won’t necessarily enjoy that same level of momentum between the 2015 and 2016 sets.  Aiden rose a little in 2015, but rhyming names like Jayden, Brayden, and Kayden fell.  I nominate Lucas (current rank #16) as a wildcard because of new Star Wars movies and “Stranger Things.”

Thus, my prediction lists:


  1. Olivia
  2. Emma
  3. Ava
  4. Sophia or Mia
  5. Mia or Sophia
  6. Isabella
  7. Charlotte
  8. Abigail – Theoretically, Abigail would be pushed downwards by other names even her usage increases.
  9. Harper
  10. Amelia


  1. Noah
  2. Liam
  3. Mason
  4. James
  5. William
  6. Jacob
  7. Ethan
  8. Benjamin
  9. Alexander
  10. Elijah or Oliver

These predictions aren’t an exact science.  We can’t determine exactly what will happen, only what might happen.  There are always those names you are so sure will be the next big thing, and then they simply fall short!  I can already tell you a few of the names on the prediction lists will be out of order, and the #1 names could actually end up being Emma and Liam.  The fun and anticipation are enough for me – it reminds me of trying to predict the plot of an upcoming Harry Potter book!

Thoughts?  Check back in a few days for the official list!  And, you know…to see how strong my predictions are.  


Names from Guardians of the Galaxy

Before you proceed: Mild Spoilers Warning!

I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 last night.  I absolutely loved the first movie – the pacing, the soundtrack, and OMG did I mention the soundtrack?  This sequel was good too, but it just didn’t have the same charm for me as the first one.  Don’t get me wrong – the soundtrack (Awesome Mix Vol. 2) is fantastic!  Hopefully they’ll release it on vinyl…


Please release Awesome Mix Vol. 2 on vinyl!

When I go to movie theaters now, it’s not just about entertainment.  Collecting character names has become a significant part of my movie-going experience.  So…here’s my post about the influence of Guardians of the Galaxy on baby names!  I’ve checked these names against the most up-to-date birth data from the Social Security Administration.

Both Volumes:

Peter Peter left the top 100 in 1997, but he’s always been popular.  This name stabilized in wake of Guardians Vol. 1, and although rank decreased slightly between 2014 and 2015, raw usage increased.  I can’t see Peter returning to the top 100 any time soon, but he’s not going south, either.  2015 rank: #206, with 1913 uses.  For extra context, the 2013 (pre-GotG) rank was also #206, but with 1849 uses. 

Quill Peter‘s surname shot up from 5 uses in 2014 to 21 uses in 2015. 

Gamora – It honestly surprised me to learn that this hasn’t appeared in the data.   Awesome lady warrior in a major movie with a feminine-sounding name, and nobody thinks to name their daughters after her?  Something’s fishy here.  Then I realized…her name sounds a lot like Gomorrah.  Would that do it? 

Nebula – Only appeared once, in 2011.  Astronomy names are somewhat trendy now, so I think we will see a few more in the near future. 

Rocket – Well we can’t say that this name rocketed upwards after the first movie, but the usage almost doubled between 2014 and 2015.  13 boys and 7 girls were named Rocket in 2014 (the first time that Rocket was used for girls), and 25 boys and 11 girls were named Rocket in 2015. 

Drax – 6 boys in 2015.  Drax is probably my favorite (and a lot of people’s favorite) character in both movies due to his sense of humor.  That, and the “ax” ending give this baby name potential.  I think the surprising thing for me is that the name Drax debuted the year after the movie. 

Groot – No debut yet.  Expecting parents might be too concerned about “I am Groot” jokes to go ahead with this tree name. 

Yondu – Not in the data yet.

Kraglin – Not in the data, but Kraglin sounds fairly name-y. 

Howard – Howard the Duck cameos in both movies. The name Howard left the top 1000 in 2013 and again in 2015.  The best way to describe this name’s current status is “touch-and-go.”

Vol. 1:

Ronan – The popularity of Ronan had been rising for several years already, but an argument could be made that Guardians of the Galaxy accelerated it.  667 boys were named Ronan in 2013 (the year before GotG V.1), up from 593 in 2012.  In 2014, there were 864 male Ronans and 1024 in 2015.  

Korath – Hasn’t appeared in the data.

Nova – Like Ronan, this name was growing more popular at a fairly steady pace but then accelerated after Guardians of the Galaxy.  However, I can’t tell for sure whether GotG is the definite cause or if this name became super trendy for another reason.  I can say that Nova is increasingly popular for boys.  In 2015, 1511 girls and 127 boys were named Nova

Thanos – While Thanos didn’t debut in 2014 or 2015, the movie did return the name to the data and boosted it.  12 boys were named Thanos in 2015, up from 5 in 2014.  You can read more about this name here.

Vol 2:

Mantis – Maybe this sounds a little too much like “Praying Mantis,” but the character was adorable and I could see a few parents using the name. 

Ego – I hope I don’t see any birth announcements for Ego or data debuts.  Let’s just say that the character’s name was apt. 

Meredith – Peter Quill’s mom.  The name Meredith has started to rise again, but I don’t think Meredith Quill is the reason because I don’t remember her first name being mentioned in the first GotG (even though the character appeared).  That said, 507 girls (rank #590) were named Meredith in 2015, up from 475 (#609) in 2014 and 431 (#660) in 2013. 

Brandy – There’s no character named Brandy in the movie, but the 1970s song Brandy was a major motif.  65 girls and 11 boys were named Brandy in 2015, and I wonder if we’ll see the name rise in 2017 and 2018 because of the soundtrack.  However, Brandy is both outdated (peak was 1979) and an alcoholic beverage, probably tempering this name’s ability to make a major comeback at this time. 

Ayesha – 151 girls were named Ayesha in 2015; the name is a variation of the Arabic name Aisha.  

Taserface – Yeah, you probably shouldn’t name your kid Taserface.  They made fun of this one so badly in the movie…and Taserface just thought he was being cool and intimidating. 😦

Stakar – played by Sylvester Stallone.  That was awesome.  To my knowledge, not in the data.

The thing I’ve generally found with these names is that the first movie positively influenced names that already existed, but didn’t really proliferate new names.  Drax is an exception, but his name has a trendy sound. 

What are your favorite names from Guardians of the Galaxy

Below the Top 1000, Part 43 (Girls)

It’s May 1st and all I keep thinking is “any day now!”  Any day now, we learn America’s most popular baby names of 2016!  

While we wait, I still need to finish up this post series.  So today, here are some girls’ names used only 6 times in 2015!  After this post, there are only two more for the 2015 set.  As always, the data comes from the Social Security Administration

  • 6 girls: Aafia, Aaliyahmarie, Abelina, Abhigna, Abiola, Abishai, Achsah, Acire, Acsa, Adaleia, Adaobi, Adelais, Adelayda, Adelinne, Adlen, Adonia, Adorabella, Adream, Adriann, Adriyanna, Aeon, Afrin, Aggie, Airelle, Aketzali, Aki, Alaythia, Alegria, Aleska, Alette, Alexine, Allinson, Amabelle, Amanat, Amarielle, Amelina, Amitis, Anaiis, Andalucia, Aneri, Anique, Anistynn, Anmol, Annapurna, Annelies, Anthem, Any, Aqua, Ardis, Aretzy, Atenea, Athaliah, Athens, Avamaria, Avangelina, Ayano, Azelya, Bar, Basmah, Bemnet, Bennie, Berea, Bess, Bettina, Bettylou, Blakesley, Bleu, Branwen, Braylah, Breindel, Breyer, Briceyda, Brittish, Brizeida, Brynja, Bryony, Calionna, Callalily, Candi, Caragh, Carden, Carrera, Catherina, Chaise, Chanley, Cherith, Chinelo, Chiziterem, Chlo, Christabelle, Christiane, Christmas, Cicilia, Cipriana, Circe, Clemence, Cloris, Crawford, Cristabel, Cymone, Dari, Davinity, Deidre, Delight, Delphia, Dheeksha, Dilcia, Dilreet, Dione, Donia, Dorthy, Draizy, Dreamer, Drusilla, Dylana, Eastynn, Eddie, Edelin, Eevie, Eilis, Elidia, Elleri, Elovie, Elvina, Elzie, Emelda, Enedina, Enza, Eponine, Erendira, Ernestina, Esbeydi, Esmarie, Eula, Evanora, Evans, Everlyse, Evienne, Fardosa, Fatimazahra, Fatime, Fauna, Fedora, Felicitas, Finesse, Fiorela, Florina, Frannie, Free, Gal, Galadriel, Galena, Geordyn, Gloriann, Glorie, Goretti, Gracianna, Graylynn, Griselle, Gwenith, Haddi, Harshitha, Heloisa, Henchy, Hermelinda, Hildegard, Hoor, Horizon, Hurley, Imunique, Irelynd, Israella, Itali, Itzamara, Iysis, Jadesola, Jakeline, Javelin, Jaylissa, Jerusalen, Jessabella, Joaquina, Joliet, Josefa, Kalliopi, Kalypso, Kasmira, Katarzyna, Katey, Kearston, Keslee, Keylianis, Khaleesia, Kiki, Krupa, Kween, Kyriel, Lashawn, Laurielle, Lazara, Leeloo, Leontine, Libny, Lilijana, Lima, Livinia, Lucilia, Lujane, Luthien, Lydiana, Lyfe, Lysandra, Macelynn, Maebh, Maeby, Magdaline, Maiden, Majestic, Makenzley, Mako, Mandolin, Mariabelen, Maybellene, Mayerli, Meriwether, Miamore, Micheline, Michiko, Mieka, Momo, Moniece, Moxley, Muneera, Mylove, Nalleli, Nanko, Natacha, Natividad, Natsumi, Nazarene, Nelda, Nimsy, Nimue, Ninasimone, Niranjana, Noire, Normajean, North, Olivet, Omunique, Oonagh, Ottilia, Pallavi, Pasqualina, Patti, Pax, Pelagia, Pennington, Petal, Prairie, Price, Pristine, Priyal, Purpose, Quetzal, Reis, Remedi, Rhowyn, Riata, Riese, Rockelle, Rocky, Rolanda, Romilly, Ronda, Roosevelt, Rosary, Rousey, Ruchama, Sabel, Sabrine, Sachiko, Saga, Sakshi, Sandrine, Sarang, Sibella, Silje, Sondra, Sophelia, Sophronia, Sorella, Sosefina, Stellar, Sumayo, Syriana, Taitlyn, Tallis, Tansy, Temilayo, Tessanne, Theophilia, Thyme, Trillian, Umika, Valor, Valora, Velvet, Veronique, Victoriana, Wellesley, Xanthe, Yoltzin, Yumiko, Yunalesca, Zeal, Zephyra, Zinachidi, Zoel, Zsazsa, Zsofia, Zuleima

Thoughts, favorites?  Are there any names here that you absolutely hate?  Let me know in the comments!  Me, I can’t wait to see how these do in the 2016 set. 

P.S. I have a twitter poll up about the name Grayson.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  The poll will remain open for another two or three days.  Naturally, it’s anonymous.

Previous 5 posts in this series:

The ‘Ph’ Treatment

You’ve probably seen traditionally ‘Ph’ names spelled with an ‘F.’  This tends to happen in Romance languages like Italian and Spanish and in phonetic transliterations of Modern Greek.  Filomena, Felipe, and Fotini are fairly well-known cognates of Philomena, Philip, and Photine.  These ‘F’ spellings are perfectly legitimate and well-established; you’d never refer to them as “youneek” or “kre8tyv” spellings!

On the other hand, a few Americans have taken names that traditionally begin with ‘F’ and spelled them instead with ‘Ph.”  These spellings usually do count under “youneek” and “kre8tyv,” though I wonder how many are phonetic rather than intentional.  Some parents may hear a name and love it but not see it written down before they put it on the birth certificate.  On the other hand, I’m cynical and wonder how many parents know and just don’t care.

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“Phrom” the 2015 data:

Farrah becomes Pharrah (16 girls) or Phara (5 girls).  Arabic names like Farrah always have multiple spellings when they enter English.  You simply can’t establish a standard transliteration for a name from another alphabet.

Finley -> Phinley (14 girls).  I wondered if this was influenced by Phineas at all, but so far Phinley has only registered for girls.  To be fair, Finley is a more popular girls’ name than boys’ name, but we may see male Phinley‘s if Finley continues rising for both genders.

Faith -> Phaith (8 girls).  Phaith actually looks kinda pretty, but considering that Faith is a word in every English dictionary…I can’t justify this.  If you want to use a word as a baby name, please check the spelling first. 

Fallon -> Phalynn (5 girls).  Fallon first debuted in the 1980s, bringing with a plethora of both ‘f’ and ‘ph’ variations.  Nothing new here!

Farrell -> Pharrell (14 boys) or Pharell (7 boys).  Whether you spell it with an ‘F’ or a ‘Ph,’ it boasts celebrity associations.  Farrell refers to actor Colin Farrell, and Pharrell to musician Pharrell Williams.

Felix -> Phelix (6 boys).  i.e., The geneticist’s favorite baby name.  Honestly, Phaith looks better than Phelix.  But that’s just me…

Finn -> Phynn (6 boys).

“Phrom” the Past:

Fabian -> PhabianPhabian last appeared in 2013.

Fanta -> Phanta.  1978 only. 

Fantasia -> PhantasiaPhantasia appeared sporadically between 1991 and 2005.

Faramond -> PharamondNot from the data…Pharamond is the Shakespearian spelling of Faramund / Faramond, who was king of the Franks. 

Fatima -> PhatimaLast appeared in 2007.

Fawn -> Phawn 1976 only.

Felicia -> Phelicia.  1960s-1990s.

Felicity -> Phelicity.  A millennial (1999/2000) edition. 

Felony -> Phelony.  Both are too rare for the data (thankfully), but occasionally and unfortunately pop up sometimes.  See Phelony: A Baby Name Rant.

Fiona -> Phiona.  Last appeared in 2014, so maybe again in 2016?

Now “phantasize” about:

To my knowledge, nobody has previously discovered or used these.

Faustine -> Phaustine

Faye -> Phaye

Finnegan -> Phinnegan

Fitzgerald -> Phitzgerald

Flavia -> Phlavia

Fleur / Fleurette -> Phleur, Phleurette

Flora -> Phlora

Florence -> Phlorence

Forrest -> Phorrest

Fox -> Phox

Francis / Frances -> Phrancis / Phrances

Frankie -> Phrankie

Frederick -> Phrederick

Freya -> Phreya

What are your thoughts on the ‘Ph’ treatment of ‘F’ names?  I’m not big on it, but some spellings are admittedly less atrocious than others.  If I can designate a favorite from each category, they’d have to be Pharrell, Phawn, and Phreya.

The data for this post comes from the SSA and the wonderful Nancy’s Baby Names.


Languages as Baby Names

Some parents seem to be naming their children after languages!  I decided to compile this list after noticing a few curiosities (namely, Breton and Oriya) within the 2015 data.  Most of the names below are currently in use, though a few are defunct.

Appears in 2015:

  • Alabama – 22 girls.  Extremely rare Native American language spoken in Texas.  More likely namesakes are the state and her flagship university.
  • Breton – 9 boys.
  • Cheyenne – 943 girls (#347) and 11 boys.
  • Cree – 63 boys, 46 girls.
  • Dakota – 1323 girls (#242), 931 boys, #357).
  • Dari – 6 girls.
  • Dutch – 41 boys.
  • German – 154 boys.
  • Irish – 8 boys, 8 girls.
  • Kota – 36 boys, 5 girls.  Very small language in India.
  • Lakota – 47 girls, 44 boys.
  • Malay – 8 girls.  I wonder if Malay‘s usage ties to Malaysia‘s recent popularity?
  • Mari – 86 girls.  Refers to a language spoken in Russia or possibly to a language or two in Papua New Guinea.
  • Oneida – 11 girls.  Extremely rare Native American language
  • Oriya – 7 girls.  Language also known as Odia (not in the data).  I came across this name/language while messing around with the “lexicographer-only” levels on Typeshift (free word game; highly recommend!).
  • Romani – 10 boys, 9 girls.
  • Sami – 168 boys, 14 girls.
  • Seneca – 32 girls, 18 boys.  Also a tiny Native American language.
  • Shona – 7 girls.  A Bantu language (Africa).
  • Thai – 16 boys, 6 girls.  Ironically, this is a Vietnamese name.

Some might argue that Valencià (103 girls in 2015) is a distinct language, though I’m under the impression that it’s rather a Catalan dialect.

Defunct; Doesn’t appear in 2015:

  • English – Much like a continental divide determining which ocean water flows into, the name English has an onomastic divide determining gender.  According to SSA data, bearers born before 1960 are invariably male and those born after 1960 are all female.  English last appeared in 2014, so it’s likely we’ll see it again.
  • French – Mostly masculine, seemed to peak around the end of WW1.  Hasn’t appeared since the 90s.
  • Georgian – Strictly feminine, but hasn’t appeared since the 70s.  

Personally, I advise against naming children after languages because I feel that it brings up complicated and uncomfortable questions about cultural appropriation.  There are exceptions, though.  If it’s already an established name (i.e. German or Seneca) it’s probably okay!  Place names are also doable, but can still be iffy on the appropriation front.  If you really still want to use one of the names in this post, make sure you have reasons unrelated to the living language or speakers’ culture.

What are your thoughts on the subject?