How popular is the baby name Aba in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Aba and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Aba.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Aba

Number of Babies Named Aba

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Aba

Abe & Abi: “Always Be” Baby Names

always be closing, ABC
“A, always. B, be. C, closing. Always be closing!”

Acronym baby names are officially a thing. Not a major thing, but still a thing. Acronym baby names I’ve come across include Ily, “I love you,” and Lya, “love you always.”

One type of acronym that seems to be trendy these days is the “AB_” acronym, in which the first two words are “always be” and the third is a verb in “-ing” form. They stem from ABC, “always be closing,” made famous by the movie Glengarry Glen Ross (1992). Variations I’ve heard include ABS (“always be shipping” or “always be “selling”), ABL (“always be learning”), a different ABC (“always be charging”), and even ABK (“always be knolling“).

So I wondered: Could we create an “always be” acronym that’s also a good baby name?

For the name to be pronounceable (unlike Abcde) the third letter would have to be a vowel. And I’d say the best vowels for the job — considering both the number of available verbs and the resulting acronym — are E and I. So let’s see what we can come up with for ABE and ABI…


Abe is typically a nickname for of Abraham, but Abe is also used as an independent name. In fact, dozens of U.S. babies have been named Abe (not Abraham) every year for many decades.

Here are my top five acronym possibilities for the name Abe:

  • ABE: “always be exploring”
  • ABE: “always be evolving”
  • ABE: “always be experimenting”
  • ABE: “always be embarking”
  • ABE: “always be excelling”

And here are some of the other verbs that could be used: earning, educating, empowering, encouraging, engaging, engineering, enhancing, enjoying, evaluating, examining, exceeding, and experiencing.


Abi, like the more familiar Abby, is a short form of Abigail. Abi isn’t common as an independent name, but usage has picked up a bit recently.

Here are my top five acronym possibilities for the name Abi:

  • ABI: “always be imagining”
  • ABI: “always be innovating”
  • ABI: “always be improving”
  • ABI: “always be inspiring”
  • ABI: “always be initiating”

And here are some of the other verbs that could be used: illuminating, implementing, impressing, improvising, increasing, influencing, informing, inspecting, integrating, interacting, interpreting, and investigating.

What are your favorite “always be” acronyms for Abe and Abi?

Do you think anyone out there has used an “always be” acronym as a baby name yet?

A Selection of “Names From Africa”

Names from Africa

A few months back, commenter Becca mentioned the book Names From Africa (1972), which I believe was the first baby name book in the U.S. to focus on African names exclusively.

I have yet to see Ogonna Chuks-orji’s book in full, but Ebony ran an article in 1977 about African-American naming traditions (a few months after Roots first aired) and included a selection of names from the book.

I’ve included the names below, but first here’s a snippet of the article:

Then came the ’60s and ’70s and the rejection of assimilation efforts. Cultural nationalism and separatism replaced integration and Afro-Americans changed their names to reflect their new consciousness. The name of people of African descent as a whole was changed from Negro or colored to Black or Afro-American to reflect an aggressive pride in the African heritage, and an affirmation of the validity of self-defined identity. Africa became a source of names. Very Anglo-Saxon or exotic European names were changed to African names–usually Swahili names with meanings pertinent to the struggle. African leaders, past and present, like Shaka, Kwame Nkrumah and Sekou Toure, began to provide the heroic, strong, inspirational names. The eclectic choice of African names reflects the Pan-Africanist orientation of the Afro-American identity.

Here are all the girl names:

Female African Names, from Ebony Magazine, 1977

Some of the these girl names have appeared on the SSA’s baby name list:

  • Aba debuted in 1978.
  • Abayomi debuted as a male name in 1972 and peaked in 1977.
  • Abimbola debuted in 1973.
  • Akwete debuted in 1977. One-hit wonder.
  • Chinue debuted in 1977.
  • Efia debuted in 1975.
  • Habibah debuted in 1974.
  • Ifetayo debuted in 1969.
  • Jamila debuted in 1962 and peaked in 1977.
  • Kamilah debuted in 1970 and first peaked in 1977.
  • Layla debuted in 1950 and first peaked in 1977.
  • Masani debuted in 1999.
  • Naila debuted in 1953 and first peaked in 1977.
  • Ramla debuted in 1998.
  • Rashida debuted in 1964 and peaked in 1977.
  • Safiya debuted in 1973.
  • Sauda debuted in 1976.

Akwokwo, Bayo, Chuki, Dada, Folayan, Hembadoon, Ifama, Ige, Kambo, Mawusi, Ode, Oseye, Pasua, Quibilah, Serwa and Sigolwide have never been on the list (as girl names).

And here are all the boy names:

Male African Names, from Ebony Magazine, 1977

Some of the these boy names have appeared on the SSA’s list as well:

  • Abdalla debuted in 1973.
  • Abubakar debuted in 1977.
  • Ade debuted in 1919.
  • Ahmed debuted in 1929.
  • Azikiwe debuted in 1971.
  • Bobo debuted in 1935. One-hit wonder.
  • Habib debuted in 1972.
  • Hasani debuted in 1973 and peaked in 1977.
  • Hashim debuted in 1971 and peaked in 1977.
  • Idi debuted in 1977. One-hit wonder. (The name of infamous Ugandan president Idi Amin.)
  • Jabulani debuted in 1975.
  • Kamau debuted in 1971.
  • Kefentse debuted in 1977. One-hit wonder.
  • Khalfani debuted in 1975.
  • Kontar debuted in 1977. One-hit wonder.
  • Kwasi debuted in 1970 and peaked in 1977.
  • Lateef debuted in 1967 and peaked in 1977.
  • Lukman debuted in 2002.
  • Makalani debuted in 1977. One-hit wonder. (Makalani also happens to mean “heavenly eyes” or “eyes of heaven” in Hawaiian.)
  • Mensah debuted in 1977.
  • Nizam debuted in 1974. One-hit wonder.
  • N’Namdi debuted in 1976.
  • N’Nanna debuted in 1997.
  • Nuru debuted in 1977.
  • Oba debuted in 1915.

Bwerani, Chionesu, Chiumbo, Dingane, Dunsimi, Fudail, Gamba, Gogo, Gowon, Gwandoya, Kamuzu, Lumo, Machupa, Mbwana, Mongo, Mosegi, Mwamba and Nangwaya have never been on the list (as boy names).

I was very curious about the definition of Machupa, “likes to drink.” Turns out it’s not alcohol-related; another book on African names specifies that the root of Machupa is probably chupa, a Kiswahili word meaning “bottle.”


  • Stewart, Julia. African Names: Names from the African Continent for Children and Adults. New York: Citadel Press, 1993.
  • Walker, Sheila S. “What’s in a Name?Ebony Jun. 1977: 74+.