Saturday, July 23, 2016


Taken straight from our list of names that end with the letters -dy, is the lovely Melody.

This name is also an English word with which you're no doubt already familiar. Melody is derived from the Greek melos meaning "song" and combined with aeido meaning "to sing", which forms the name Melodia. Via Late Latin and Old French, you get the name Mélodie. After that, it winds up as the English word and name Melody.  Google defines it as "mel·o·dy -ˈmelədē. noun: a sequence of single notes that is musically satisfying."

This musical name has been around in the US on record since 1914, but it wasn't until 1942 that the name arrived on the scene. It joined the Top 1000 in that year and continued to climb in popularity until it peaked in 1960 at #153 with 2,757 births. Its numbers declined a bit through the 1980s and 1990s, but since the start of the aughts, Melody has started climbing up the charts again.  In 2015, there were 2,168 girls given that name for a popularity ranking of #148.

Could this name continue to linger within the Top 200 or could it eventually break into the Top 100 for the first time? What do you think of Melody?

If this is a name you are pondering for a daughter, here are some middle name ideas and sibling name ideas that all go nicely together:

Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Adriana, Danielle, Hazel, Laurel, Olivia, Sienna, Tabitha, Violet
Brothers: Blake, Casey, Everett, Gavin, Jackson, Owen, Ryan, Teagan

Middle Name Ideas:
Melody Charlotte
Melody Grace
Melody Katherine
Melody Rose
Melody Victoria
Melody Wren

As a Middle Name:
Alice Melody
Joanna Melody
Lila Melody
Nora Melody
Rebecca Melody
Sophia Melody

Melody is a bit difficult to pair with. Which names would you choose?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Names Ending with the Letters "-dy"

Up until now, we've discovered names ending with the letters -ay, -by and -cy. Now it is time to explore -dy ending names.

It's sometimes difficult to do specific searches for names with specific criteria so I thought I'd compile some of the best -dy names that I could find. Can you think of any others?





Do you spot any new favorites from this list? Would you use any?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Shall We Bring Back These Girl Names from the 1900s?

Welcome back to our "by decade" series that takes a hard look at the Top 200 combined names of a decade and compares it today's statistics. The Social Security Administration has an aspect of their site that combines the popularity of names between 1900-1909 and compiles it to make a Top 200 list. That's where I pulled this data. The rankings next to each name below is where that name ranked in the 1900s.

I pulled out some of the best names from then that do not currently rank within 2015's Top 1000 list. In fact, each of these names are far, far below the Top 1000 chart. They were once decently used but their time has since passed. Could they ever receive a second chance? Would you ever consider any of the following names for a modern daughter?

1. Ethel (#12 overall from 1900-1909)
Did you know that Ethel is a sister name of Adele, Alina and Adelina? They all come from the Old English element æðel meaning "noble".  Ethel was revived in the 19th century and has been used in the US since records began in 1880. In fact, it ranked very well way back then, hitting a high point in 1918 with over 8,000 births for the year. It left the Top 100 in 1939 and the Top 1000 by 1976. In 2015, there were only 12 Ethels born. Could this name ever again achieve the greatness it once knew?

2. Gladys (#14)
This name has one of two possible origins. It either came from the old Welsh name Gwladus, which may have been derived from gwlad meaning "country". But Gladys has also been used as the Welsh form of the name Claudia, which comes from the Latin claudus meaning "lame, crippled". Not the greatest meaning, but Gladys has been popular in Wales in the past. Here in the US, it ranked very well around 1915-1925. It hit a high of 8,819 births in 1920 alone. It started its decline through the 1940s-1960s, finally leaving the Top 1000 by 1998. Only 83 girls were named Gladys in 2015. Could this name be fashionable again or is it still very much a grandma name?

3. Myrtle (#35)
Myrtle comes from the Greek μυρτος (myrtos) and is the name of an evergreen shrub. Nature and plant names are in style these days, but Myrtle has not been used much at all lately. It ranked consistently from 1880-1997 with a high point in 1918. Other than 6 births in 2005 and 9 in 2014, there were zero births on record after 1997. This name is currently not used, which is a shame. Myrtle would be very lovely on a modern girl. Will it ever come back?

4. Thelma (#41)
Thelma's meaning is not known but some have claimed that it is derived from the Greek θελημα (thelema) meaning "will", but it is not all that likely.  Thelma became popular at the end of the 19th century after British author Marie Corelli used it as the name of the heroine in her 1887 novel "Thelma". It peaked between 1915-1925 in the US but it started declining gradually after that. It left the Top 1000 in 1983 and now only has 27 births as of 2015. Has Thelma had its time? Could this name rise again?

5. Dora (#85) Dora is a short form of the names Dorothy, Isidora, or Theodora. This is a case of "pick your own meaning". Both Dorothy and Theodora mean "gift of god", while Isidora means "gift of Isis", the Egyptian goddess. Dora ranked in the Top 100 from 1880-1909, but it received the most births per year in 1921 with 2,026. It declined in usage and dropped out of the Top 1000 in 1993.

6. Inez (#104)  Inez is a form of the Spanish Inés which comes from Agnes. Agnes is Latinized from the Greek names Hagne and hagnos meaning "chaste". Later the name was associated with the Latin agnus meaning "lamb". In use in the US since 1880 on record, Inez had the most births in a year in 1920 with 2,107 girls given the name.  It declined after that and left the Top 1000 altogether by the mid-1970s. Could Inez or Agnes reclaim a place on the charts in the near future?

7. Jean (#109) Jean is the Medieval English variant of Jehanne, from which Jane also derives. Ultimately, it is a feminine form of John which comes from the Greek Ioannes and the Greek Yochanan meaning "YAHWEH is gracious". Jane was common in England and Scotland in the Middle Ages before becoming rare up until the 19th century. Jean was in the Top 100 from 1907-1963. It saw the most births in 1927. It declined after that, leaving the Top 1000 in 1995. It may be used more often as a middle name these days.

8. Alberta (#116) Alberta is the feminine form of Albert which is derived from the Germanic name Adalbert from the elements adal meaning "noble" and beraht meaning "bright". Alberta was the name of one of Queen Victoria's daughters and it was for her that the Canadian province was named. While this name has always been used, it's become very rare. It fared the best in 1919 with 2,017 births for the year, but Alberta left the Top 1000 by 1971, dwindling down to a mere 9 births in 2015.

9. Goldie (#125) Goldie may simply come from a nickname for someone with golden hair but it is also a variant of the name Golda which means "gold" in Yiddish.  Goldie has been around since records started in 1880 in the US, briefly doing its best from 1915-1918. She was quick to decline in popularity, leaving the Top 1000 by 1959. There has been a slight uptick in girls named Goldie in the past couple years; there were 79 born in 2015. Will Goldie resurface?

10. Alta (#170) It is possible that the name Alta is derived from either the Latin altus or the Italian and Spanish word alto, all of which mean "high". Alto is a musical term that refers to the second highest part of a vocal range. Alta has been in use since 1880 in the US and hit a peak in 1918 with 820 births for the year. It dropped off the charts by 1957 and hasn't seen any increases since then. Should Alta get more love?

Would you ever consider any of these now-rare names? They all ranked well back in the 1900s but they are overlooked today. Which name deserves to come back the most?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Let's Bring Back These Boy Names from the 1900s!

This is the third article in this series that takes a look at faded names, one decade at a time. Today, we'll look at the names that ranked within a combined Top 200 from 1900-1909. This information is according to the Social Security Administration. The list that I used can be found here.

First, I tossed out all of the names from that list that currently rank in 2015's Top 1000. While those are all great names too, we want to find the more obscure ones. The names on the list below are not often heard on modern boys, but that could change if any of these catch on again with parents.

But it isn't always that easy. If a name is not fashionable or trendy enough, (or a family name), it may not stand much of a chance until those definitions of style change. Old names come back around all the time, so these could be favored again in the future, if not now. What do you think of them?

1. Elmer (#41 overall from 1900-1909):
Elmer isn't actually as fuddy as you'd think. It comes from the cool Old English name Æðelmær whose elements mean "noble" and "famous" from the German Adelmar with the same great meaning. Just Elmer, though, isn't quite as popular as it was back in 1918. In fact, once the 1940s ended, the name started going downhill. It hung around until dropping off the Top 1000 chart in 2008. Now in 2015, there were 148 boys with the name for a rank of #1223.

2. Clifford (#63):
This name is as straightforward as they come. Clifford refers to a "ford by a cliff". It is that place name that later became a surname, then a given name; all in Old English. It has always been on record in the US since 1880 and was used most between 1915 and 1964. It started declining in the 1990s and dropped out of the Top 1000 in 2006. It ranks down at #1241 in 2015 with only 145 births for the year. Could it rise again or is it too "big red dog" for modern boys?

3. Milton (#89): This is another straightforward surname derived from a place name. Milton means "mill town" in Old English. It has been used in the US since records began in 1880. Right around 1912, this name gained popularity until it peaked in 1920 with 2,592 births for the year. It remained well-used through the 1960s but gradually declined until it left the Top 1000 in 2009. Now it ranks at #1205 in 2015, which accounts for 152 births. Does Milton feel a bit too dated to be fashionable right now? If so, do you see it coming back in the future?

4. Willard (#119): Willard is an English surname that comes from the Germanic name Willihard and the Old English Wilheard.  Willihard is taken from the elements wil meaning "will, desire" and hard meaning "brave, hardy". In the US, the name has been around since 1880 on record. It had a particularly impressive peak of popularity in 1915 when it rapidly climbed to #58 with 2,889. It continued to rank well through the 1950s, but slowly lost popularity. It left the Top 1000 in 1990 and has only continued to fall since then. Only 44 boys were named Willard in 2015. With William ranking so high, why doesn't Willard get more love?

5. Roosevelt (#121): Roosevelt comes from a Dutch surname that means "rose field". This was the surname of two American presidents. As depicted in our photograph above, Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), and Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945). It may be a Dutch name, but it feels strongly American. The name was at its peak in 1933 and remained in the Top 1000 until 1994. Only 50 boys received the name Roosevelt in 2015.

6. Rufus (#140): This Latin name means "red-haired" and belonged to several saints. It was occasionally used as a nickname on redheads, including a king of England named William II. It has always ranked in the US since 1880, doing fairly well, especially through the 1920s. It remained in the Top 1000 until 1989. Only 43 boys were named Rufus in 2015. Could it work on a modern boy?

7. Arnold (#141): Arnold is a German name derived from arn meaning "eagle" and wald meaning "power".  It replaced the Old English name Earnweald after being introduced to England by the Normans. It lost usage after the Middle Ages until the 19th century. It has been used in the US since 1880 on record, even landing in the Top 100 between 1912 and 1931. By 2005, it left the Top 1000, and had only 95 births in 2015. Could it be more common in the future?

8. Orville (#149): It's possible that this name was meant to mean "golden city". It appears to have been invented by an 18th century writer named Fanny Burney. It was made familiar by airplane-inventor Orville Wright. The name has been around since 1880 when records started. It saw its highest level of popularity from 1914 through the 1920s. It left the Top 1000 in the mid 1970s. Now it is down to 12 births a year in 2015. Will it ever be common?

9. Alton (#177): This Old English name comes from a surname that was based on a place name meaning "town at the source of a river". Alton has ranked rather well since 1880, with its best year being 1928. It very gradually lost steam and dropped out of the Top 1000 in 1999. Could it be in line with modern trends again in the near future?

10. Roscoe (#199): Roscoe comes from an English surname that derived from an Old Norse place name meaning "doe wood". Roscoe was most popular in 1920, but it ranked within the Top 1000 from 1880 to 1975. After that, it declined in usage and currently earned 71 births for the year 2015. Is Roscoe potentially stylish enough to come back in the future?

Now that you've browsed through the ten names here, which do you like the most? Which do you think stands the best chance of revival? Which will never see the Top 1000 any time soon?

By Pach Brothers - This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3a53299.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.العربية | čeština | Deutsch | English | español | فارسی | suomi | français | magyar | italiano | македонски | മലയാളം | Nederlands | polski | português | русский | slovenčina | slovenščina | Türkçe | українська | 中文 | 中文(简体)‎ | 中文(繁體)‎ | +/−, Public Domain,

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Spelling Variations: Which are Legit and Which are Excessive?

Some names only offer one or two simple, accepted spellings and very little room to be creative. Short names like Ruth or Hope are not easily tweaked, but other names like Caitlin, Catelyn, Kaitlyn, Katelynne, etc, can have many different potential spellings.

The question is, which of these are easy to live with and which might only lead to confusion?

If you think about it, the Top 1000 chart contains fewer than 1000 distinctive names. Hear me out. Take for example the name Madelyn.  It ranks at #59, which is even higher than the more standard spelling of Madeline (#90).

However just within the Top 1000, there is also Madeleine (#301), Madilyn (#315), Madelynn (#415), Madilynn (#497), Madalyn (#570), and Madalynn (#685) which are all essentially the same thing.  They sound alike but they are spelled differently. Those add up to making the overall name much more popular out-loud than the data suggests on paper.

While all of these spelling variations are legitimate, (meaning they have been used, are being used, and will be used in the future), how necessary are they? Could the world get by with fewer variations? Or does "the more the merrier" apply here?

Pause for a moment and ponder how you feel about spelling variations. Sure, one or two options can be a great thing, like Nora and Norah. How do you feel about names that don't really give you a specific image in your head regarding its spelling? If someone says "Hi, I'm [kay-lee]", which spelling pops into your mind first?

Kaylee? Kayleigh? Caylee? Caleigh? Kleigh? Khailey? Caelee? Khaylee? Cayle? Cailey? Kaley? Cailie? Keighley? Kaylea? Caeley? Okay, I think you see my point. I could have listed more. In all, there's more than 70 possible spellings of this name on record, according to the data pulled together in 2015 by Name Nerds. You can download the data here. It really is fascinating to browse the spellings that people come up with.

However, male names are not immune to Multiple Spellings Syndrome. There are plenty of boy names that I could list, or you could take a look for yourself at Name Nerd's boy list too. Right off the top of the list, though, is Jackson. Or do you prefer Jaxson, Jaxen, Jaxxon, Jaxsyn, Jaxzon, Jaksen or maybe Jacksin?

The same thing happens to many more boy names. Even traditional ones can't escape "creative respellers". David becomes Deyvid; James becomes Jaymez; and Nathan becomes Neithen. Are these really all that creative though? To me, they look wrong. I'm sure I'm not the only one that would think that the parents either couldn't spell or tried too hard to be "unusual".  This is not the first time that I've discussed the advantages of choosing statistically uncommon names over mangled respellings of common ones. Spelling really is a big factor to consider when searching for a name.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. Which spellings do you think are acceptable and which do you think are a bit too excessive? Where do you draw the line?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Barely Used Girl Names: Joelle, Taryn & Magdalena [Part Two]

Welcome to part two of this series that features ten barely used names per month. We started this thing by investigating names just outside of the US Top 1000. We'll explore our way down the list and uncover more and more uncommon names as we go.

There are plenty of great names that are not currently popular. The best thing about their "unpopularity" is that it does not denote that there's something wrong with the names, they simply aren't on everyone's radar right now. They may have been used more in the past, or perhaps they are yet to be discovered. Either way, these great, overlooked names would be excellent choices for parents who want something you don't hear everyday.

The ones that I've handpicked from 2015's data are all very usable for a modern girl despite being uncommon at the moment.  In the parenthesis, the number of births for 2015 is listed, followed by the popularity rank as published by the Social Security Administration.

Shannon (248 births - #1059)  The longest river in Ireland is called the River Shannon, or Abha na tSionainn. The name Sionainn comes from Sionna, a goddess in Irish mythology whose name means "possessor of wisdom". As a name, Shannon had male usage first but once it was given to females, the girls took over. It entered the Top 1000 in 1937 and hit the Top 100 in 1968. Shannon's two best years (for girls) was 1970 and 1976 with an all-time high rank of #17. It dropped from the Top 100 in 1998 and the Top 1000 by 2014. Is this a came-and-went name or could it be revived again in the future?

Araceli (247 births - #1060) This beautiful Spanish name means "altar of the sky" from the Latin ara meaning "altar" and coeli meaning "sky". It has been around in the US since the 1940s. It joined the Top 1000 in 1968 but recently dropped out in 2014. The highest it has ever ranked was in 2002 at #487.  This name feels pretty and unexpected. Do you think it could gain usage?

Taryn (247 births - #1062) According to Behind The Name, Taryn may have been created as recently as 1953. Actors Tyrone Power and Linda Christian gave this name to their daughter in that year, most likely as a feminine form of Tyrone. The data supports this. The name wasn't on record in the US until 1953. If that's really the case, then Taryn would have the same meaning as Tyrone which is derived from Irish Gaelic Tir Eoghain meaning "land of Eoghan". It's also possible that it is meant to be an alternate spelling to Terran, which refers to the earth or "terra". Taryn's best year to date was 1985. It only fell off the Top 1000 chart in 2015. Does it deserve the drop?

Sonia (243 births - #1071)  Sonia is a variant of Sonya, which is a Russian diminutive of Sophia. Sophia, of course, means "wisdom" in Greek. Sonia was first used in the US in 1895 with Sonya's usage following in 1904 on record. Sonia was in the Top 1000 from 1909-2014. At their peak in the late 1960s, Sonya was more popular than Sonia. Today neither rank in the Top 1000, however Sonia is ranked higher. Which spelling do you prefer?

Etta (242 births - #1075) Etta is usually said to come from the name Henrietta, but it could very well be a nickname for any other -etta name. In this case, Henrietta comes from Henry which is German meaning "home ruler". On its own, Etta was most popular in 1920 and was always in use on record since 1880. It left the Top 1000 in 1967 and fell to record lows such as a mere 7 births in 2001. Now it has climbed up again with 242 births in 2015. Could it stand alone and rise on the charts soon?

Ramona (242 births - #1076) Ramona is the feminine form of Ramón which is the Spanish form of Raymond. Raymond comes from the Germanic name Raginmund which ultimately means "advice" from the element ragin and "protector" from mund. Ramona spiked in popularity in 1928 in the US and continued to rank within the Top 1000 until 1989. Now it is on the outskirts of the charts with 242 births in 2015. Should it be allowed reentry?

Joelle (241 births - #1077) This is the feminine form of the Hebrew name Joel which means "YAHWEH is God". The US popularity record for Joelle shows 5 births in 1918 but it wasn't consistently used until 1933. It joined the Top 1000 in 1966 and dropped back out in 2004. It has lingered just beyond the charts since then. Could it rise in the future?

Gwyneth (236 births - #1091) Gwyneth is either a varient of the Welsh name Gwynedd, or it simply comes from the Welsh element gwyn meaning "white, fair, blessed". It has been well-used in Wales since the 19th century. Here in the US, it has only been used since 1915. Surprisingly, Gwyneth has only ranked with in the Top 1000 in the years 2004, 2011 and 2013. Will it ever be more commonly used here?

Magdalena (233 births - #1104) Magdalena is the Latinate form of Magdalene, which comes from a title meaning "of Magdala". The bible character Mary Magdalene was called this because she was from Magdala, a village on the Sea of Galilee whose name meant "tower" in Hebrew. She was a popular saint in the middle ages, giving the name Magdalene popularity. Magdalene ranked in the US Top 1000 from 1880-1944, but never again after that. Magdalena ranked well from 1880-2010, aside from a couple dips in the 1980s. Why is it that this name is beginning to fade? Could it regain usage?

Maxine (231 births - #1109)  This is one of the only Max names for females. It probably means "greatest" from the Latin Maximilianus which comes from Maximus.  Maxine was first used in 1884, peaking in usage from the 1910s - 1940s. It dropped out of the Top 1000 in the late 1970s and flickered on and off before it stayed off as of 1996. Could it be seen as stylish again in the near future?

Which of these ten names appeals to you the most? Would you ever consider putting it on your list? Do you know any children with these names?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Barely Used Boy Names: Leif, Roderick & Gerard [Part Two]

Welcome to part two of this series! Today we'll investigate ten interesting names that are currently not ranked within the US Top 1000. A couple were popular years ago and are uncommon now, while others have yet to hit their stride. Let's see if any of these could potentially start [re]climbing the charts in the coming years or if they are likely to remain barely-used. Share your thoughts in the comments below. Do you know any youngsters with these names?

Within the parenthesis, you'll find the number of births the name received in the year 2015, along with the names' corresponding popularity rank.

Denzel (186 births - #1060) Denzel is a form of Denzil which is a surname that indicated a person from the manor of Denzell in Cornwall. The spelling Denzel was made popular by Denzel Washington, an American actor. The name in the US has been around since 1906. It was rare until the early 1990s, peaking in 1993 at #311. It has since fallen off the Top 1000 chart.

Leif (186 births - #1063) This is an Old Norse name that comes from Leifr meaning "descendant, heir". The most famous bearer of this name is Leif Eriksson, a Norse explorer from the 11th century. As a name, Leif has been in use in the US since 1912. It ranked in the Top 1000 from 1959 to 1987. It is very close to rejoining the chart again, do you think it could ever be commonly used?

Octavio (185 births - #1065) Octavio is the Spanish form of the Latin Octavus meaning "eighth". There are not any Oct- names in the Top 1000, Octavio is the highest ranked for boys. It gained usage in the US in 1908. It ranked in the Top 1000 from the 1970s to 2010. It fell recently but isn't too far down. Could Octavio ever be more commonly used? Do you prefer Octavius? Octavian?

Roderick (185 births - #1066)  This name comes from  the Germanic elements hrod meaning "fame" and ric meaning power "power"; so it could mean "famous power". It was the name of a Visigoth King in the 8th century, but the name died out after the Middle Ages. It was revived again by Sir Walter Scott's 1811 poem called "The Vision of Don Roderick". It's always been used in the US and nearly always ranked within the Top 1000 until recently.

Lyle (183 births - #1072) Lyle is an English surname that is actually a bit of a play on words. It comes from the Norman French word l'isle which means "island" and is pronounced the same as Lyle.  The name as always been around in the US, perhaps being most popular in the 1920s. It fell off the Top 1000 chart in 1996, dipped down and is now back up on the outskirts. Could it rejoin soon?

Clarence (180 births - #1080)  Clarence derives from the Latin title Clarensis which may mean "clear, illustrious". This was a title used by the British royal family that comes from the name of the town of Clare in Suffolk. Clarence has always been used in the US, doing its best around 1920 and remaining a Top 100 name through the 1940s. It gradually fell, dropping out of the Top 1000 in 2009. Could it make a come back or will it continue to hover just below the charts?

Gerard (179 births - #1086) Gerard comes from the Germanic element ger meaning "spear" and hard meaning "brave, hardy". This name was often confused with similar-sounding name Gerald but it has never been nearly as popular. Gerard has been in use since 1886 in the US, but was never popular enough to rank higher than the 200s. It dropped out of the Top 1000 in the early 2000s. Could it be fashionable again in a couple decades?

Sidney (179 births - #1088) Sidney is a surname that also comes from place names in England that mean "wide island" based on the Old English sid meaning "wide" and eg meaning "island". Sidney could also be based on a town in Normandy called Saint Denis. Say that quickly with a French accent and there you go, but there isn't much evidence for this. In the US, Sidney has always been in use for both genders. And there's also the spelling, Sydney, which is popular for girls. Sidney ranked well for boys until it dropped out of the Top 1000 in 2014. Is Sydney's female influence too strong for Sidney to hold popularity for boys?

Aston (178 births - #1089) Aston could be derived from an Old English place name that means "east town"; or it could be a form of Æðelstan which is derived from the Old English elements æðel meaning "noble" and stan meaning "stone".  On record, Aston popped up in 7 different years between 1915 and 1930, each with a handful of births. It wasn't until the early 1980s that this name gained regular usage on boys. It is occasionally used on girls as well, but minimally. Aston has never been in the Top 1000 but it is inching awfully close. Could it be there in the next year or five?

Dale (177 births - #1092) Dale is a nature name and a surname that refers to a person who may have lived near a dale or valley. This name has always been in use in the US for both genders, but it's more commonly a male name. It peaked in 1958 at #46 and 8,478 births. It declined after that, falling off the Top 1000 chart in 2010. It's been lingering on the outskirts, could it ever make a comeback or is it still too recently dated to feel fresh?

Which of these names do you like best? Could any rise in popularity soon or are they better off where they are?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

privacy policy