Baby Names Gone Unusable

I thought I would follow up my posts on bad meanings and unlikable names with ten baby names that have been rendered fairly unusable for modern parents, for various reasons.

  • Dorcas (f) – last ranked among the top 1,000 U.S. names in 1950.
  • Fairy (f) – last ranked in 1932.
  • Fanny (f) – last ranked in 1939.
  • Gaylord (m) – last ranked in 1956, though — who knows? — maybe those Focker movies will spark a comeback. :)
  • Hortense (f) – last ranked in 1941.
  • Hymen (m) – last ranked in 1913.
  • Maxie/Maxi (f) – Maxie last ranked in 1962; Maxi has never ranked.
  • Pansy (f) – last ranked in 1952.
  • Philander (m) – has never ranked, likely because its negative connotation dates all the way back to the mid-19th century (before data was collected).
  • Rube (m) – last ranked in 1907.

Did I miss any good ones? (Good as in bad, of course.)


7 thoughts on “Baby Names Gone Unusable

  1. The “Maxi” spelling seems to have been taken over by the sanitary napkin maufacturers. I actually heard the name “Rube” on a TV that my husband likes to watch. If I am not mistaken, the character was actually alive in the 1920s. It’s nice when TV writers do their homework!

    I like your site. I have it bookmarked and hope to use it as a source of character names. I always seem to have trouble naming mine!

  2. The name “Dorcas” will be popular again, though it will have to wait for the word “dorky” to pass into obscurity.

    One of my favorite novels, Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun, has a character named Dorcas.

    Dorcas, of course, is a woman from the Bible. She is mentioned in Acts 9:36-42. A dressmaker in Joppa, she was raised from the dead by Saint Peter.

    This story alone will mean that the name will someday be rediscovered.

    The name, like the Biblical woman, will rise from the dead.

  3. Connie – I have the same problem with characters. :) I hope this site is able to help a little…

    David – I’ve also seen Dorcas in a sci-fi book — Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein. I looked up the one you mentioned and it seems very cool, I’ll have to check it out. :)

    Dorcas may be revived one day, though probably not for several generations at least. It just seems to be one of those biblical names (like Nimrod and Ichabod) that will probably never realize any sort of lasting popularity…

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