I was surprised to find that Samuel & Samantha are currently ranked #25 & 29 in the US (for boys & girls, respectively, of course). Admittedly, they peaked 20-30 years ago, and have been dropping since, but still--30 years is decent staying power for a girls' name! Most don't stick around that long.
Of course, all this means that you probably know a Sam or two of either gender (or both), so finding new ways to get to spunky, solid Sam is understandable.
(note: I did start to delve into boy-Sam possibilities on a previous post, so if you feel a bit of déjà vu, you're not crazy)
Bassam (bah-SAHM, Arabic)--"smiling"
Isamu (ee-sah-moo, Japanese)--"courage"
Salman (SAL-mahn, Arabic)--"safe"
Samad (sam-AHD, Arabic)--"eternal"
Samang (sahm-ANG, Khmer)--"lucky"
Samay (sam-EYE, Khmer)--"daydream"
Sambor (SAM-bor, Polish)
Samir (sah-MEER, Arabic, Hindi)
Samson (SAM-son, English)--from Hebrew "sun". Another form is Sampson.
Samuli (SAH-moo-lee, Finnish)--form of Samuel
Stamatis (stah-MAH-tis, Greek)--another form is Stamatios.
It occurred to me the other day that I do a lot of 'names by construction' posts for girls, but not really many for boys. So then I had to think of what I could do--besides the overplayed -aidens, and surname-y -sons & -tons, boys' names don't really have a lot of distinct patterns.
However, while vowel-y names for girls are in abundance, there aren't a lot for boys....
Abijah (ah-BYE-jah, [Biblical] Hebrew)
Adamo (ah-DAH-moh, Italian)--form of Adam. Other forms include Adão (ah-DOW, Portuguese) and Akamu (ah-kah-moo, Hawaiian)
Adino (ah-dee-noh, [Biblical] Hebrew)
Adlai (AD-lay, AD-lye, [Biblical] Hebrew)
Aimo (EYE-moh, Finnish)--"good, real"
Aldo (AHL-doh, English, Italian, Swedish)
Alejo (ah-LEH-hoh, Spanish)--form of Alexis. Other forms include Aleksey (Russian), Aleksi (Finnish), & Alessio (Italian)
Unlike in modern times, in the medieval world, your name would change as you travelled from place to place. So, if your name was John, you would answer to (and even sign documents as) Juan in Spain, Johann in Germany, Gian in Italy, Jehan in French, etc.
A side effect of this is that when parents imported names from Latin (or used Latinized versions of names from other languages), they often "translated" it by chopping off the gendered ending, since English doesn't use those (sometimes replacing it with a Y, sometimes not).
Thus, there are names that could be feminine in Medieval English that we wouldn't expect--Christian (from Christianus/Christiana), Adrian (Adrianus/Adriana), Julian (Julianus/Juliana), Denis (Dionysius/Dionysia), Phillip (Philippus/Philippa), Johan (Johannes/Johanna), Cecil (Cecilius/Cecilia), and probably many others!
We name nerds love to cite the "100-Year Rule". It's common wisdom that a name will be up for revival in 4-5 generations (≈100 years), when current new parents no longer know anyone with the name.
It certainly seems to hold true for a few modern picks (Emmett and Sophie for instance), so I thought it'd be fun to take a look at names that were at their most popular (and at least in the Top 200) in the late 1800s - early 1900s, but have since died off. Perhaps they're ready for use today? Or are all the names worthy of revival already back....? *note: since boys' names as a rule decline more slowly than girls; the genders were held to slightly different standards. Boys' names were considered "dead" if they're currently below the Top 500; girls' if they are currently below the Top 700.
You can thank my 7-year-old's obsession for this list. While watching a documentary on Icelandic volcanoes, I couldn't help but notice how interesting many of the names are. And so, another just-for-fun name post is born.
(note: none of these have done any major or modern destruction. :) )
Genovesa (hen-oh-VEH-sah, jen-oh-VEH-zah)--Ecuador ['Genoese' in Spanish & Portuguese]
Graciosa (grah-see-OH-zah)--Portugal ['graceful, elegant' in Portuguese]
Kaena (kah-eh-nah)--USA ['the heat' in Hawaiian]
Katla (KAHT-lah)--Iceland [from Old Norse, 'helmet'] *a feminine name in Iceland
Krýsuvík (KREE-soo-veek)--Iceland. Also spelled Krísuvík.
Yali (yah-LEE)--Greece. Also spelled Gyali or Yiali. ['glass' in Greek]
Poor Molly. Is she a nickname, or a full given name? I guess the answer is 'both': Molly was originally a regional pronunciation of Mary (that pesky R-to-L shift), but became widespread as a nickname during medieval times.
So, nowadays, she's rather in limbo--too "nickname-y" for a full name, but Mary to Molly isn't really intuitive in Modern English.
Amalia (ah-MAH-lee-ah, Dutch, German, Italian, Spanish)--form of Amelia
There's a category of names that I love that really doesn't get much play anymore: the -ildas & -eldas. Maybe it's the medieval feel, or the Germanic clunkiness, or the way the L & D roll together, regardless, I love them all.
Chances are you can only think of Matilda and maybe Clotilda (or Romilda & Bathilda, Harry Potter nerds), since Germanic names have been on the decline in English for quite some time. Most are derived from Germanic -hild- "battle", but I'm sure we can find a few from different origins....
Agenilda (ah-gayn-EEL-dah, [archaic] English)--"sharp" or "enclosure" + "battle"
Yay! I can't guarantee all these names are immune from "um, how do you spell that?", but they at least have no spelling variants currently in use (well, none that were given to 5 or more girls, anyway).
(Top 1000 only, from most to least common)
How names catch on is fascinating. Why Connor and not Conall? Aubrey but not Audley? While I'm sure part of it has to do with namesakes, as well as phonetic trends, there are some name families that aren't really used in the US at all. Their variants can be found in many other languages, but are practically unheard of in English (sometimes just American English).
Remy/Remi is another in a long line of traditionally-masculine-but-sounds-feminine-to-modern-ears names that seems to be on the rise for both genders (see also: Avery, Reese/Reece/Rhys, Emery, etc). Although it is (again) a full name in its own right, having a gender-specific full name for a (now) unisex nickname isn't a bad idea.
Jeremy (JEHR-eh-mee, English)--form of Hebrew Jeremiah "God has uplifted". Another form is Jeremias (German, Portuguese, Spanish).
Raymond (RAY-mond, English; ray-MAWn, French)
Remaliah (rem-ah-LYE-ah, English)--from [Biblical] Hebrew, "exaltation of God"
Okay, yes, I know--there have been thousands, possibly millions of names that were once in use which, for whatever reason, just...stopped. Today, I'm going to have fun looking for now-obsolete names used in England within the last 5-700 years or so. A few survive today in surname form, but otherwise, they're gone--feminine or masculine, in pretty much any language I could find (apologies if I missed something). (nowhere near a comprehensive list, obviously!)
Adelard--Old English or Germanic "noble" + "brave"
Beneger--prob. from Germanic bern "bear" + gar "spear"
Botolph--Old English "help", "messenger", or "battle" + wulf "wolf"
Cuthbert--Old English cuæ "famous" + beorht "bright"
Degory/Digory--prob. from French egare "lost", or possibly Anglo-Norman desgarry "dispossessed"
Edulf--Old English ead "rich" + wulf "wolf"
Gerlick--from Germanic gar "spear" + laic "contest"
Hereward--Old English here "army" + weard "guard"
Osgood--Old English os "god" + Germanic god "god"
Osmer--Old English os "god" + mære "famous"
Rocelin--from Germanic hrod "fame", via French & Germanic diminutives
Turbert--Old Norse Thor + Germanic bert "bright"
Warin--from Germanic war "guard"
Wicard/Wychard--from Germanic wig "war" + hard "brave"
Wolfstan--Old English wulf + stan "stone"
Wymark--from Germanic wig "war" + mar "famous", via Old Breton
Wymer--from Germanic wig "war" + mar "famous"
Wymond--from Germanic wig "war" + mund "protector"
Agenilda/Einilda--from Germanic agi "sharp" or haga "enclosure" + hild "battle"
Ailith--Old English æðel "noble" + gifu "gift"
Ailova--Old English æðel "noble" + lufu "love"
Amice/Amicia--from Latin amicus "friend"
Aldiva--Old English eald "old" + gifu "gift"
Alviva--Old English ælf "elf" + gifu "gift"
Belsant/Belsante/Belisencia--poss. from Germanic bili (?) "sword" + sinþ "journey"
Brithwen--Old English beorht "bright" + wynn "joy"
Claremonde/Claremunda--from Latin clarus "bright" + Germanic mund "protector"
Estrild/Estrilda/Estrelda--Old English Eastre "Easter" [Germanic goddess] + hild "battle"
Idony/Idonea--from Old Norse Iðunn [Norse goddess]
Kinborow--Old English cyne "king" + burg "fortress"
Leva--Old English léofe "beloved"
Levith--Old English léofe "beloved" + gýð "battle"
Leviva/Lyveva--Old English léofe "beloved" + gifu "gift"
Maysant/Maisenta--from Germanic matha "council"(?)+ suent "strength", or magan "strength" + sinþ "journey"; via French
Merewen--Old English mære "famous" + wynn "joy"
Quenell/Quenilda--Old English cwen "woman, queen" + hild "battle"
Queniva--Old English cwen "woman, queen" + gifu "gift"
Rametta/Ramett--from Latin ramus "branch" or Germanic ragn "advice"
Seilda/Seild--Old English sæ "sea" + hild "battle"
Selova--Old English sæ "sea" + lufu "love"
Welthian--unknown, poss. "Wealthy Anne"; or a corruption of "Welsh woman" or of a Welsh name (like Gwenllian)
Wymark--poss. from Germanic wig "war" + mar "famous", via Old Breton
And yet again, I come up with more feminine names than masculine. I'm amazed at how many boys' names, even from over half a millennium ago, are still in use today. Girls' names really do have more turnover!
Well, apparently I missed last 4th. Not sure how that happened....
2 years ago, I did a Declaration of Independence-themed list; this year I'll do something a bit more generic. I'm sure you'll be able to find tons of lists of Independence Day names, but now, there'll be one more. ;)
Eleuterio (el-yoo-TEHR-ee-oh, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish)--from Greek, "free". Feminine is Eleuteria. French form is Eleuthère (eh-loo-TEHR).
Like the -lyns, Annes, Annas, & Anas are a fairly constant part of American naming. Which specific -ann- name is most common changes with the times, but they generally comprise about 3-5% of girls born in a year. So for a fun look back, I decided to find the most common anne/ane/anna/anas of each generation.
(does not account for alternate spellings, which can greatly change things, especially in recent lists)
*SSA registration was not required until 1937; all data before that point is purely voluntary, and thus may not be as accurate as later data.
While browsing the full SSA lists, I've noticed an interesting phenomenon: Alexander and/or Xavier-based smash-names. Smash-names, contractions, portmanteaus--whatever you prefer to call them--have been accepted on girls for a while (Annelise, Marilyn, Rosanna, etc), but have never really caught on for boys. Times, they are a changing--wonder if any of these have a chance?
I really need to come up with a better title for these posts--I'm rapidly running out of "usual" nicknames! Anyway, I see Oz bounced around a bit online, and I do see the appeal: short, snazzy, that zippy Z. The problem is associations--Oz alone is reminiscent of "Land of Oz" (along with a few other pop culture references), and Ozzy...is all Osbourne.
There's Oscar of course, and Oswald, and even Austin if your accent allows, but what else?
Osbert (OZ-bert, English)
Osgood (OZ-good, English)
Osman (OHS-man, Turkish)
Osmar (OS-mahr, Portuguese)--from Germanic "fame of God"
Osmond (OZ-mond, English)--also spelled Osmund
Osric (OZ-rik, English)
Ossian (OS-see-an, Scandinavian, German)--form of Irish Oisin
It seems conventional wisdom--if you don't want your child to be 1 of 5 in a class, avoid a Top 10 name! Growing up in classrooms of multiple Jennifers, Jessicas, Ashleys, and/or Amandas, our generation is more determined than ever to give our children unique names. But does ranking really mean that much anymore?
There are more names in use than ever before, and more and more people are opting for uncommon names. To compare, about 5% of girls in 1937 were named the #1 name (Mary). In 1974, it was 4.1% (Jennifer). In 2012: 1.6%, including alternate spellings (Sophia).
To see it graphically:
Yes, it's in logarithmic scale to make the difference more apparent. The top names used to be significantly more common than the rest, but over time, the difference between each rank has gotten smaller. As you might have noticed, there is a point where the lines cross--where ranks in 2013 are actually more common than in 1937 (it's #193 to be exact).
The leveling of the naming pool, so to speak, means you're more likely to run into uncommon names than ever before. The Top 10 names comprised 8.8% of girls born in 2012 (combined-spelling lists); the Top 1000, 81.7%. That means you're over twice as likely to meet a girl with a name below the Top 1000 than you are to meet one with a Top 10 name! Of course, each individual Top 10 name is more likely than each individual below-the-Top-1000 name, but still--wow!
As you can probably guess, the numbers are bit more conservative for boys--9.2% getting a Top 10 name, and 85.8% getting a Top 1000. But still, you're more likely to meet a boy with a rare name than a Top 10 name.
Okay, that's enough nerdy numbers for now. Next post will have more fun names, I promise. ;)
I admit, I'm always looking for ways to make fun namesake posts. I already did female scientists (nowhere near a comprehensive list), and have been looking for some way to do a more guy-centered list about science--difficult, since well, there have been quite a few more male scientists than female, and they've gotten much more attention for their works.
I think I found a fun way, though: here are the people--male, female; fictional or real--who've had elements named for them (albeit occasionally in a round-about way). :)
Albert Einstein--German physicist; Einsteinium (Es, 99)
Alfred Nobel--Swedish chemist; Nobelium (No, 102)
Cadmus (m)--figure in Greek mythology; Cadmium (Cd, 48)
Ceres--Roman goddess; Cerium (Ce, 58)
Dmitri Mendeleev--Russian chemist; Mendelevium (Md, 101)
Time to see what on it's way out (or perhaps just suffering a temporary setback):
Biggest drops in ranking (Top 500):
Perla (#452--> 668)
Angelique (#389--> 539)
Fernanda (#376--> 510)
Jaelyn (#471--> 580)
Breanna (#403--> 509)
Dayana (#441--> 546)
Tiana (#444--> 545)
Elisa (#366--> 465)
Imani (#386--> 483)
Caylee (#497--> 594)
Madalyn (#450--> 536)
Crystal (#384--> 464)
Cynthia (#419--> 499)
Hayley (#463--> 542)
Bridget (#453--> 523)
Sierra (#278--> 347)
Allyson (#255--> 323)
Monica (#434--> 502)
Jayden (#380--> 447)
Guadalupe (#391--> 456)
Jamari (#420--> 537)
Amare (#495--> 600)
Orlando (#461--> 562)
Ramon (#497--> 598)
Tristen (#359--> 452)
Brenden (#500--> 591)
Gianni (#449--> 532)
Braydon (#398--> 472)
Dane (#477--> 551)
Lance (#496--> 570)
Alexis (#227--> 294)
Payton (#458--> 525)
Bryant (#484--> 549)
Colby (#341--> 401)
Trent (#380--> 440)
Kellen (#337--> 395)
Dustin (#377--> 433)
Alijah (#454--> 509)
Drake (#231--> 285)
Armani (#432--> 486)
Biggest percentage decreases of 2013:
Isabella (0.9852%--> 0.9161%)
Sophia (1.1531%--> 1.1039%)
Lily (0.4106%--> 0.3632%)
Alyssa (0.2630%--> 0.2184%)
Hailey (0.3059%--> 0.2616%)
Chloe (0.4993%--> 0.4564%)
Sophie (0.2358%--> 0.1943%)
Ashley (0.2434%--> 0.2050%)
Madison (0.5891%--> 0.5515%)
Brianna (0.2396%--> 0.2026%)
Ethan (0.8731%--> 0.8062%)
Jayden (0.7968%--> 0.7326%)
Aiden (0.7354%--> 0.6762%)
Mason (0.9383%--> 0.8793%)
Brayden (0.4205%--> 0.3691%)
Ryan (0.5405%--> 0.4903%)
Tyler (0.3796%--> 0.3294%)
Justin (0.2908%--> 0.2413%)
Christopher (0.5860%--> 0.5381%)
Anthony (0.6521%--> 0.6081%)
The biggest drops in relative frequency (how much more common a name was in 2012):
Overall, I can't help but notice that again, -aiden names are decreasing almost across the board. They partially seem to be getting replaced by -ason (and -aceon?).
As for the girls' Top 10: Sophia & Isabella are slowly losing ground--Emma, Elizabeth, and Ava saw almost no change, though, and Emily, Madison, & Abigail also lost %. Will Olivia & Mia be top next year? Or will something come up from further down the rankings--Charlotte? Avery? Harper?
And now for my favorite part. Ranking is a relatively simple, straight-forward system, but it doesn't really tell you that much about how the mid-range names are changing. The most common names stay at about the same level of usage (you about equally likely to meet a Sophia as an Olivia or Emma, and it was about the same last year), and the more uncommon names tend to bounce around in rank. But it's the names in-between, which mostly avoid notice, that are going to seem to seemingly randomly burst into the Top 100 in a few short years.
Percentage analysis is the best way to find those names, IMO. I look at what percentage of babies in a year are given a certain name, and compare how that changes between years. Just look at Jackson--in 2012 it ranked #22, but jumped to #17 in 2013. However, its percentage of all total births didn't really change: 0.62%. About 6 of every 1000 boys was named Jackson both years. Sadie, however, in its jump from #119 to #50, when from being used about 13 times for every 10000 babies to being used 24 times for every ten thousand babies. Your chance of meeting a baby Sadie nearly doubled between 2012 & 2013! And yet Sadie didn't show up in any of the ranking-jump analyses.
Biggest change in %:
Related to percentage analysis is the idea of relative frequency. It's great for pinning down the trendy names. Relative frequency shows just how likely you are to meet a baby born with a certain name now than you were last year (such as with Sadie--almost 2x as likely!). Quite often, this does overlap with a high jump in ranking, but not always.
The largest increases in relative frequency (from 2013's Top 1500):
So.....how about those Jase-names? My goodness. I'm flabbergasted. I'm guessing Janney is because of Jenni Rivera or her daughter Janney Marin. And Eiza is thanks to Eiza Gonzales. Not to mention Daleyza Hernandez. And Lennon, Alanis, Ledger, Castiel....
Is it just me, or is baby-naming getting waaaaaay more pop-culture driven? Or is it just the trendier names, and I've not really been aware of it until now? (I freely admit to much Googling)
I admit, I like this list much better than last years' (although I am kind of sad to not see Hattie for a third year). Ariadne also appeared in my 2011 list.
It's interesting to note that two of these are less-prominent Game of Thrones characters--Shae (Shay ranked #24) and Meera. Wonder if they could reach the heights of Khaleesi, or even Aria? Meera seems more likely to me.
And of course, I missed the highest jumping name again thanks to my cutoff at 2500 (last year it was Khaleesi, followed by Cataleya): Daleyza, jumping 3130 spots from #3715-->585. Wow!
The fastest jumping names from #1500+:
Jurnee, +567 (1463-->896)
Everleigh, +533 (1398-->865)
Everly, +524 (907-->383)
Henley, +476 (1307-->831)
Kensington, +396 (1489-->1093)
Freya, +393 (1301-->908)
Neriah, +391 (1345-->954)
Remington, +391 (1427-->1036)
Naya, +365 (1388-->1023)
Mabel, +344 (1051-->707)
Oakley, +338 (1266-->928)
Marlie, +330 (1426-->1096)
Hadlee, +327 (1216-->889)
Gwyneth, +293 (1179-->886)
Emerie, +293 (1233-->940)
Dallas, +291 (901-->610)
Iyana, +284 (1487-->1203)
Saige, +283 (932-->649)
Azalea, +275 (906-->631)
Kaidence, +271 (1250-->979)
Ooh! Mabel!Freya! Naya!Azalea! Azalea and Everly in particular I'd keep my eye on--they were new to the Top 1000 last year.
And again the easy stats are first.
Yes, some of these names could be imported (Adán, Raiden, & Nayden for instance, as well as others I may have missed) or poorly spelled, and thus not actually rhyme with Aiden, but unfortunately, there's no way to know for sure, and I imagine both pronunciations are in use in the US.
And again, this is fewer than last year! 273 -aiden names, comprising 4.24% of boys. In 2012, there were 294 -aidens names, given to 4.55% of boys.
Sometimes a name's journey is a straight line. Other times, it's a bizarre inter-cultural mash-up of 'Telephone' and 'Hot Potato'. Chlodovech is the latter. It has two forms in modern English, one much more common than the other--can you guess them beforehand? Chlodovech (kloh-doh-vek) was an Ancient Germanic name, with the pretty awesome meaning of "famous warrior". Now, a lot of people think that Latin is about the oldest language ever, but a) it lasted quite a while, and b) it's a sister language to Ancient Germanic. They co-existed, and passed words & names back & forth as the Romans did their conquering empire thing. Chlodovech was a royal name to the ancient Frankish family, and were so mentioned in ancient Roman writings. The Romans had a tendency to alter names to fit what they thought names should look like (and to eliminate sounds & sound combinations that were too tricky for Latin speakers), and so they wrote Chlodovech as Clodovicus or Ludovicus. Clodovicus was shortened to Clovis, and is still used today in French and Portuguese.
Ludovicus.....fun times. It spread back into Germanic areas, where people apparently didn't recognize it as Chlodovech (rather understandable), and so altered it again--Ludwig.
In French, Ludovicus was shortened to Louis, and from there, Luigi in Italian, Luis in Spanish, and Lewis/Louis in English. In Occitan (a Latinate language closely related to Catalan), however, an initial vowel was needed, and so Louis became Aloys (ah-loh-ees).
But then! Aloys was imported back into Latin (yup, still around in the RC church). Aloys was lengthened to Aloysius, which then caught on in many languages, including, one day, English.