It’s December 2 — the doubly momentous day on which Britney Spears celebrates her birthday and on which we start another round of the annual Pop Culture Baby Name Game.
Which baby names will see significant movement on the charts in 2016 thanks to popular culture (TV, movies, music, sports, politics, products, current events, video games, etc.)? Below are some possibilities. Leave a comment with the names you’d add — and don’t forget to mention the pop culture influence.
- Addison – Chicago Cubs winning season
- Adonis – movie Creed (suggested by Becca)
- Ali – death of Muhammad Ali
- Aroldis – Chicago Cubs winning season/World Series
- Auli’i – movie Moana
- Bernie – presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (suggested by elbowin)
- Bison – new national mammal & Dakota Access pipeline protests
- Boomer – son of Michael Phelps
- Bowie – musician David Bowie
- Canaan – son of Oprah Winfrey
- Clark – Chicago Cubs winning season
- Cohen – death of Leonard Cohen
- Creed – movie Creed (suggested by Julie and Becca)
- Cub – Chicago Cubs winning season
- Cubby – Chicago Cubs winning season
- Cyrus – TV miniseries Roots
- Dexter – Chicago Cubs winning season/World Series
- Doris – movie Hello, My Name Is Doris
- Emayatzy – TV miniseries Roots
- E’myri – TV miniseries Roots
- Esperanto – number of speakers (suggested by elbowin)
- Greyson – son of JWoww
- Hamilton – musical Hamilton
- Harriet – Harriet Tubman, chosen to appear on $20 bill
- Hillary – presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
- Ingwen – Tsai Ing-wen, president of Taiwan (suggested by elbowin)
- Ivanka – daughter of president-elect Donald Trump (suggested by elbowin)
- Jikan – death of Leonard Cohen (suggested by elbowin)
- Jonbenet – anniversary of the death of JonBenet Ramsey
- Juno – NASA space probe
- Jupiter – NASA space probe
- Lorca – death of Leonard Cohen (suggested by elbowin)
- Luna – daughter of John Legend & Chrissy Teigen
- Keanu – Key & Peele movie Keanu
- Kizzy – TV miniseries Roots
- Kunta – TV miniseries Roots
- Lyanna – TV show Game of Thrones
- Malachi – TV miniseries Roots
- Melania – wife of president-elect Donald Trump (suggested by elbowin)
- Maui – movie Moana
- Moana – movie Moana
- Monica – Puerto Rican Olympian Monica Puig (I’m curious about the rankings in Puerto Rico specifically; Monica fell out of the top 100 in PR after 2002.)
- Mountain – daughter of actress Jena Malone
- Mowgli – movie The Jungle Book
- Muhammad – death of Muhammad Ali
- Murray – Chicago Cubs winning season/World Series
- Ode – daughter of actress Jena Malone
- Omran – Syrian boy Omran Daqneesh
- Onyx – daughter of Alanis Morissette
- Phiona – movie Queen of Katwe
- Paisley – death of Prince
- Prince – death of Prince (suggested by elbowin)
- Queen – TV show Queen Sugar & movie Queen of Katwe
- Regé-Jean – TV miniseries Roots
- Rio – location of the 2016 Summer Olympics
- Rykiel – death of Sonia Rykiel (suggested by elbowin)
- Sanders – presidential candidate Bernie Sanders
- Simone – gymnast Simone Biles & daughter of John Legend & Chrissy Teigen
- Solace – daughter of Alanis Morissette
- Sully – movie Sully
- Teresa – canonization of Mother Teresa
- Tiffany – daughter of president-elect Donald Trump (suggested by elbowin)
- Trump – president-elect Donald Trump
- Tulip – movie Storks
- Valor – son of JWoww
- Wilder – death of Gene Wilder (suggested by m4yb3_daijirou)
- Wrigley – Chicago Cubs winning season
- Zephyr – U.S. House of Rep. (NY) candidate Zephyr Teachout, who was endorsed by Bernie Sanders. (She was born in Washington state, where Zephyr is particularly popular.)
- Zobrist – Chicago Cubs winning season/World Series
I’ll post the results next May, when the SSA releases the 2016 baby name data. If you don’t want to miss the results post, please subscribe!
Previous rounds of the Pop Culture Baby Name Game: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011: #1 & #2, 2010.
The 2016 Pop Culture Baby Name Game starts tomorrow!
One name that I’ve never added to the annual pop culture watch-list (but that I’ve been tempted to add for the last few years now) is “Warby,” from Warby Parker.
So how did the hipper-than-thou eyewear startup get its name? Here’s the story:
In May 2009, our co-founder Dave was wandering around the New York Public Library when he stumbled into an exhibition about Jack Kerouac. The four of us had long been inspired by Kerouac, who spurred a generation to take the road less traveled.
The exhibit included some of Kerouac’s manuscripts, drafts, and journals. In one of the journals, Dave noticed two characters with interesting names: Warby Pepper and Zagg Parker. We combined the two and came up with Warby Parker.
So let’s pretend it’s 2009 again. You and your friend Dave are at the NYPL, and he asks you to choose between the names “Warby Parker” and “Zagg Pepper” for his new company. Which one do you pick?
Source: Culture | Warby Parker
Within the next few years, the baby name Jubilee will likely enter the girls’ top 1,000:
- 2015: 227 baby girls named Jubilee [1,118th]
- 2014: 164 baby girls named Jubilee [1,397th]
- 2013: 153 baby girls named Jubilee [1,453rd]
But it debuted on the charts only recently, in 1975:
- 1977: 6 baby girls named Jubilee
- 1976: 8 baby girls named Jubilee
- 1975: 9 baby girls named Jubilee [debut]
- 1974: unlisted
I don’t think the year is a coincidence, as it lines up with one of the Roman Catholic Church’s more recent jubilee years.
Speaking of special Roman Catholic years…the church has also celebrated a total of two Marian years, the first of which was in 1954. That year, the baby name Marian saw a sharp rise in usage:
- 1956: 1,249 baby girls named Marian [232nd]
- 1955: 1,497 baby girls named Marian [208th]
- 1954: 4,014 baby girls named Marian [104th]
- 1953: 1,366 baby girls named Marian [217th]
- 1952: 1,246 baby girls named Marian [221st]
The name nearly landed in the top 100 for baby girls that year. (The last time it was in the top 100 was the mid-1930s.)
Which name do you prefer for a baby girl, Jubilee or Marian?
Buckminster Fuller was a prolific designer and inventor (among other things). The word he used over and over again to name his creations? Dymaxion.
Fuller’s Dymaxion innovations included:
- The Dymaxion House (affordable, transportable, maintenance-free)
- The Dymaxion Car (3 wheels, 11 seats, teardrop-shaped)
- The Dymaxion Map (which folded into an icosahedral globe)
- Dymaxion Sleep (awake for 6 hours, sleep for 1/2 hour, repeat)
“Dymaxion,” pronounced die-MAK-see-uhn, is a portmanteau of the words dynamic, maximum, and tension (though some sources say the last element is simply the word ion).
The word reminds me of modern male names like Jaxion, Dymond, Maxin, and Xavion. And the fact that it was coined makes me think of brand names that became baby names such as Qiana and Jordache.
“Dymaxion” is an eye-catching word, it has retrofuturistic associations, and it handily shortens to Max…so do you think it might make a good baby name?
Image: Adapted from Dymaxion House (LOC)
Another batch of long unusual-but-real names:
- Eulavelle: Eulavelle Lee Drake was born in California in 1913.
- Henderina: Botanist/cinematographer Henderina “Rina” Victoria Scott was born in England in 1862.
- Hurieosco: Hurieosco Austill was born in Alabama in 1841.
- Jacquemin: Jacquemin, brother of Jeanne d’Arc, was born in France in the early 15th century.
- Jettabee: Radio scriptwriter Jettabee Ann Hopkins was born in Nebraska in 1905.
- Lianella: Film actress Lianella Carell was born in Italy in 1927.
- Limbania: St. Limbania was born in Cyprus in the 13th century. The Philadelphia Art Museum has a painting of Saint Limbania (1725).
- Lodusky: Lodusky Jerusha Taylor was born in Minnesota in 1856. (According to Cleveland Kent Evans, the name Lodusky was derived from the literature name Lodoïska, which may have been inspired by Louise. The title character in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s book Lodusky (1877) went by the nickname “Dusk.”)
- Marjabelle: Etiquette expert Marjabelle Young Stewart was born in Iowa in 1924.
- Marmaduke: Shipping magnate Marmaduke Furness was born in England in 1883.
- McKaskia: McKaskia Stearns Bonnifield was born in West Virginia in 1833.
- Mellcene: Mellcene Thurman Smith was born in Missouri in 1872.
- Minervina: Minervina was the first wife of Constantine the Great during the early 4th century.
Which of the above do you like best?
We’ve talked about people named Easter, Fourth (of July), Halloween, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year…what about Thanksgiving? I mean, we’ve already met Dr. Happy Thanksgiving, but are there more?
Yes, at least a few dozen more. As you’d expect, nearly all were born in late November. Here are three examples:
The two most recent Thanksgivings I found were both born in the 1990s.
The U.S. Navy annexed about two-thirds of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques in the 1940s and kept control of that land for decades, using it for military training.
The accidental death of a Viequense civilian on the naval base in 1999 kicked off a series of protests against the U.S. military presence on the island. The protests received international attention, and many prominent people (incuding Ricky Martin, Rosie Perez, Jesse Jackson, and Rigoberta Menchu) visited the island to show their support.
One of the visitors was attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., nephew of John F. Kennedy. Robert ended up serving 30 days in prison in mid-2001 for his involvement in the protests.
On July 13, while Kennedy was incarcerated, his wife Mary gave birth to a baby boy named Aidan Caomhan Vieques Kennedy. Mary said, “I think that when he is older, the child will understand why he has the name of Vieques and how important it is and he’ll be proud to be a part of that history.”
The place name Vieques is based on the Taíno name for the island: Bieke, meaning “small land.”
The protests eventually convinced the U.S. Navy to leave Vieques in the early 2000s. Much of the former Navy-controlled land is now a national wildlife refuge.
Sources: Newest Kennedy a Vieques Namesake, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. – Wikipedia, Vieques, Puerto Rico – Wikipedia
Image: © US Fish & Wildlife Service