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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Alex

Number of Babies Named Alex

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Alex

Top Baby Names in Malta, 2015

Malta’s top baby names of 2015 have been out for months now, but the latest data still isn’t available on the government’s Naming Babies page, so I can’t give you the official rankings.

The best I can do is this quote from a recent Times of Malta article:

Amy, Ella, Leah, Maya, Valentina, Emma, Martina, Jade, Julia, Elisa and Elena are among the most popular for girls […] Luca, Matthias, Adam, Ben, Benjamin, Beppe, Alexander, Thomas, Zack, Liam, Luke and Noah are among the most popular for boys.

The article also mentioned many of the less common names bestowed in Malta in 2015, including:

  • Ajson
  • Alix (the Maltese version of Alex)
  • Bitania
  • Carleshian
  • Delyth (“which in Welsh means neat and pretty, but when read with a Maltese pronunciation it means, err, murder”)
  • Ebtisam
  • Izz
  • Jack Daniel (similar to this guy)
  • Kelzen
  • Massa (“after Felipe Massa, the Brazilian Formula One driver”)
  • Massabielle
  • Mixhal (the Maltese version of Michelle)
  • Neymar
  • Roksanda
  • Rancy
  • Shaznolee
  • Thisseanne
  • Tenishia (“after the internationally renowned Maltese DJ duo”)
  • Vuk
  • Xemx (the Maltese word for “sun,” pronounced shemsh)
  • Zashielle
  • Zeshinzer

Malta’s top names of 2014 were Elena and Luke (more or less).

Source: Hi, Jack Daniel, It’s me, Xemx – Malta’s list of baby names


Name Quotes #41 – Gaenor, Ransom, O’Shea

Now that Fridays are for Five-Name Friday posts, let’s bump the Name Quote posts over to Mondays, shall we?

Here’s the latest batch…

From the novel The Notorious Miss Lisle (1911) by Mrs. Baillie Reynolds:

“The notorious Miss Lisle had the most weird Christian name you ever heard of — let’s see now, what was it? Not Guinevere, nor Gwendolen — Oh, yes, I have it. Gaenor! G, a, e, n, o, r! Did you ever hear such a name as that?”

From “Do Weird Baby Names Indicate Selfishness Or Love? Yes” by Joy Pullmann of The Federalist:

Our first child has a rather weird name. Ransom is a genuine, old name, but the effects of choosing it actually made me determined not to make such an ethereal pick again. I’ve finally joined my husband on the plain-vanilla baby names bandwagon, just as everyone.s getting off it.

[…]

Our son’s name means a great deal to us because it in fact does signal our family’s ties to something greater than even each other. It’s an enduring mark of gratitude for a faith that kept me from killing a child I didn’t want. That faith and that child ransomed me from selfishness (or at least some selfishness). So it may be and is indeed likely that other people’s children, whatever their names, can and have performed similar acts of mercy even just by existing. And how would an onlooker know whether an unusual name signifies parental self-absorption or self-sacrifice?

They wouldn’t. But, all the same, our next baby will have a meaningful name that other people have heard before.

From “Why Google’s smart assistant doesn’t have a name like Siri, Alexa, or Cortana” by Jillian D’Onfro of Business Insider:

Assistant’s lack of personality was quite intentional, according to Jonathan Jarvis, a former creative director on Google’s Labs team.

[…]

“We always wanted to make it feel like you were the agent, and it was more like a superpower that you had and a tool that you used,” he tells Business Insider. “If you create this personified assistant, that feels like a different relationship.”

For that reason, Assistant likely won’t be telling you jokes or serving up sassy responses, either.

We also heard while at I/O that Google didn’t want to give its assistant a gender or make it seem too American.

From “The Difficulty of Names” by Mami Suzuki of the blog Tofugu:

My name “Mami” (pronounced mommy) is a good example of this. Mami is quite a common name in Japan and mostly means “true beauty” or “true”, but in English, it just sounds like mother. Therefore, I always feel embarrassed when I introduce myself, because I have to say, “Hi, nice to meet you. I’m Mami.” It’s pretty strange, isn’t it? “Hi, nice to meet you. I’m Mother. Say my name.” Even my teachers and my bosses have to call me Mommy!

From “Bye-bye Berlin: Wheels for name change set in motion 100 years ago” about the Ontario town of Kitchener (formerly Berlin):

Meanwhile, 100 years after it was nixed, the Berlin name is enjoying a bit of a minor renaissance in Kitchener.

Two businesses prominently featuring the name have opened in recent months: The Berlin restaurant and the Berlin Bicycle Café.

Andrea Hennige, the restaurant manager at The Berlin, says the name was chosen with an eye toward the area’s history.

“It’s a nod to the people who settled the area, who probably laid the bricks in this building,” she said in an interview.

Town residents voted to drop the name Berlin in 1916, during WWI. The name change ballot included the following options: Adanac (Canada spelled backwards), Benton, Brock, Corona, Keowana, and Kitchener. Speaking of ballots…

From “Maine”s GOP governor, veto record-holder, names new dog Veto” in The Seattle Times:

Republican Gov. Paul LePage, the state’s all-time veto champion, has named his new dog Veto.

LePage, who has earned renown for exercising his veto pen on bills he didn’t like, adopted a Jack Russell terrier mix from a shelter.

[…]

LePage chose the name Veto because his pet “is the mascot of good public policy, defender of the Maine people and protector of hardworking taxpayers from bad legislation,” his spokesman Peter Steele said.

Steele joked that the governor is going to train the dog to deliver vetoes from his office to legislative leaders.

From “Why There Are So Many More Names for Baby Girls” by Chris Wilson in TIME:

“The culture is much more accepting of out-there girls’ names,” says Matthew Hahn, a professor of biology and informatics at the University of Indiana who co-authored a 2003 study comparing baby name trends to evolutionary models. “The same goes for inventing new names.” For example, some formerly male-dominated names become predominantly female names, like Lindsey and Mckenzie, but it rarely goes the other way.

“The inventiveness in girl names has always led the boys,” says Alex Bentley, a professor in comparative cultural studies at the University of Houston and a co-author of the 2003 study, though he notes that, in the past decade, the rate at which people invent new boy names has caught up with the rate for girls.

From “Ever Wonder How Ice Cube Got His Name? Here’s Your Answer” by Angela Watercutter in Wired:

“My brother, he’s about nine years older than me, he used to have all kind of women calling the house and I would try to get at them,” the man known to the IRS as O’Shea Jackson says in this Google Autocomplete interview. “He got mad at that and said he was going to slam me in the freezer one day, and turn me into an ice cube. I said, ‘You know what? That’s a badge of honor.'”

What’s Your Cape Breton Nickname?

A few weeks ago I posted about the baby names Silver and Free Silver, which were bestowed by bimetallism buffs in the 1890s.

Decades later, in the 1930s, Canadian writer Silver Donald Cameron was born.

His name had nothing to do with monetary standards, though. He wasn’t even born a “Silver.” He was simply Donald Cameron until the early 1970s, when he decided to adopt the name Silver to set himself apart from all the other Canadian men named Donald Cameron.

How did he come up with Silver? He didn’t. A friend gave it to him:

“Lard Jasus, b’y,” said folk-singer Tom Gallant, “you need a proper Cape Breton nickname.” I know what he means: Black John MacDonald as distinguished from John The Piper MacDonald and Gimpy John MacDonald and John By-The-Church MacDonald. What are my own characteristics? I’m short: what about Donald The Runt? Or Brief Donald? No, no dignity: if he had called himself Clubfoot George would we remember Lord Byron?

Tom struck a chord in his Yamaha, gazed at me. “That hair,” he said. It’s my most striking feature, prematurely grey hair, set off by black eyebrows and moustache. Don’t ask me how I got that color scheme, ask God: He did it. Children stop me in the street to ask me if I’m wearing a wig. Adults chalk it up to noxious personal habits and secret vices.

“That hair,” said Tom. “That’s it. Silver Donald Cameron.”

Cameron refers to himself as “Silver Donald” all over his website, awesomely.

Nicknames have been a tradition on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada, for hundreds of years. They’re particularly popular among the coal miners, and tend to fall into several broad categories: place names, occupational names, patronymics, physical features, and personality traits.

Other nicknames based on physical features don’t tend to be as complimentary as “Silver.” They include “Buffalo Head,” “Potato Nose,” “Saucer Eyes,” “Popeye,” and “Bandy Legs.”

“Alex the Clock” had one arm that was shorter than the other. “Waterloo Dan” had backed into a hot stove in his youth and thereafter sported the brand “Waterloo No. 2” (written backwards) on his bum.

People don’t get to choose their own nicknames on Cape Breton, but let’s pretend for a moment that you live there and you get to choose yours. What would it be?

Sources:

Pop Culture Baby Name Game Results, 2015

Here are the results of Pop Culture Baby Name Game 2015!

Quick disclaimer: Some of these names were already on the rise. Others were likely influenced by multiple pop culture events/people (not just the one listed). So I leave it up to you to judge the degree/nature of pop culture influence for yourself.

Adaline, +737 [ranked 11th on the list of raw-number increases for girl names]

  • Up from 164 baby girls in 2014 to 901 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie The Age of Adaline (2015).

Abel, +659 [ranked 12th on the list of raw-number increases for boy names]

  • Up from 2,557 baby boys in 2014 to 3,216 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Abęl Makkonen Tesfaye (stage name The Weeknd).

Finn, +301 [ranked 47th on the list of raw-number increases for boy names]

  • Up from 1,580 baby boys in 2014 to 1,881 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).

Taya, +180

  • Up from 93 baby girls in 2014 to 273 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie American Sniper (2014).

Lucille, +142

  • Up from 970 baby girls in 2014 to 1,112 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of B. B. King (whose guitars were all called “Lucille”).

Margot, +126

  • Up from 377 baby girls in 2014 to 503 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: actress Margot Robbie.

Atticus, +106

  • Up from 852 baby boys in 2014 to 958 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the book Go Set a Watchman (2015).

Canaan, +104

  • Up from 179 baby girls in 2014 to 283 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the news of Oprah Winfrey’s son, Canaan.

Hakeem, +87

  • Up from 72 baby boys in 2014 to 159 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Empire (2015-).

Annalise, +78

  • Up from 699 baby boys in 2014 to 777 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show How to Get Away with Murder (2014-).

Lola, +57

  • Up from 1,386 baby girls in 2014 to 1,443 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Empire (2015-).

Arlo, +54

  • Up from 518 baby boys in 2014 to 572 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie The Good Dinosaur (2015)

Carter, +53

  • Up from 10,674 baby boys in 2014 to 10,727 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: unsure (suggested in the comments).

Carli, +36

  • Up from 110 baby girls in 2014 to 146 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: soccer player Carli Lloyd.

Margo, +36

  • Up from 152 baby girls in 2014 to 188 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Paper Towns (2015).

Bjorn, +35

  • Up from 63 baby boys in 2014 to 98 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Vikings.

Roland, +32

  • Up from 437 baby boys in 2014 to 469 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie By The Sea (2015).

Taraji, +30

  • Up from 200 baby girls in 2014 to 230 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Empire (2015-).

Adonis, +29

  • Up from 327 baby boys in 2014 to 356 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Creed (2015).

Sullivan (as a boy name), +29

  • Up from 631 baby boys in 2014 to 660 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: actor Sullivan Stapleton.

Joy, +28

  • Up from 692 baby girls in 2014 to 720 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Inside Out (2015).

Kylo, +27

  • Up from 8 baby boys in 2014 to 35 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).

Alex (as a girl name), +25

  • Up from 160 baby girls in 2014 to 185 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: soccer player Alex Morgan.

Rebel, +25 (as a girl name), -3 (as a boy name)

  • Up from 58 baby girls in 2014 to 83 in 2015.
  • Down from 48 baby boys in 2014 to 45 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the Confederate flag debate.
  • Update, 5/12/16: The state-by-state data was just released. Of the 83 baby girls named Rebel, 12 were born in Texas, 9 in California, 8 in Arkansas and 6 in Oklahoma. Of the 45 boys, 7 were born in Texas and 5 in Tennessee.

Meghan, +24

  • Up from 214 baby girls in 2014 to 238 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: soccer player Meghan Klingenberg.

Lucious, +18

  • Up from 19 baby boys in 2014 to 37 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Empire (2015-).

Christie, +15

  • Up from 31 baby girls in 2014 to 46 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: soccer player Christie Rampone.

Tobin (as a girl name), re-entered with 14

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 14 baby girls.
  • Pop culture influence: soccer player Tobin Heath.

Alessia, +13

  • Up from 200 baby girls in 2014 to 213 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Alessia Cara.

Lyon, +13

  • Up from 29 baby boys in 2014 to 42 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Empire (2015-).

Kelsea, +12

  • Up from 35 baby girls in 2014 to 47 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: country singer Kelsea Ballerini.

Gigi, +11

  • Up from 27 baby girls in 2014 to 38 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: model Gigi Hadid.

Ragnar, +11

  • Up from 19 baby boys in 2014 to 30 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Vikings.

Rollo, re-entered with 10

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 10 baby boys.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Vikings.

Max (as a girl name), +9

  • Up from 14 baby girls in 2014 to 23 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: Maxima “Max” Chan Zuckerberg, daughter of Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan.

Poe, re-entered with 9

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 9 baby boys.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).

Denali, +8 (as a boy name) and +7 (as a girl name)

  • Up from 20 baby boys in 2014 to 28 in 2015.
  • Up from 55 baby girls in 2014 to 62 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the renaming of Denali.

Bindi, re-entered with 8

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 8 baby girls.
  • Pop culture influence: Dancing with the Stars contestant Bindi Irwin.

Eilis, re-entered with 6

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 6 baby girls.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Brooklyn (2015).

Trai, re-entered with 6

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 6 baby boys.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Empire (2015-).

Becky, +5

  • Up from 53 baby girls in 2014 to 58 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: soccer player Becky Sauerbrunn.

Bernie, +5

  • Up from 6 baby boys in 2014 to 11 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Saint, +5

  • Up from 32 baby boys in 2014 to 37 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: Saint West, son of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

Serra, +5

  • Up from 12 baby girls in 2014 to 17 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: the canonization of Junipero Serra.

Taron, +4

  • Up from 31 baby girls in 2014 to 35 in 2015.
  • Pop culture influence: actor Taron Egerton.

Names that went down:

Names not on the SSA’s list in 2015:

  • Aslaug
  • Bryshere
  • Cookie
  • Dameron
  • DuVernay
  • Empire
  • Furiosa
  • Halsey
  • Jeralean
  • Junipero
  • Jussie
  • Lagertha
  • Rey (as a girl name)
  • Sonoya
  • Trump

Did any of these surprise you?

P.S. Some of the names from the 2014 game that have started/continued to do well: Hazel, Amal, Tauriel, and Wyatt (as a girl name). Elsa and Anna, on the other hand, both saw drops in usage.

Names of the Boston Duck Boats

I’m in Boston right now visiting family, and earlier this week some of us went on a Duck Tour for the first time. The tour was pretty good — I’m on the fence about whether or not I’d recommend it to others — but one thing I did like was finding this list of duck boat names in the pamphlet they gave us:

Boston duck boats
Names of the Boston duck boats
  • Annie Aquarium
  • Arborway Alex
  • Back Bay Bertha
  • Beacon Hilda
  • Beantown Betty
  • Charlie River
  • Commonwealth Curley
  • Copley Squire
  • Dorchester Dottie
  • Espla Nadia
  • Faneuil Holly
  • Fenway Fanny
  • Frog Pond Lily
  • Haymarket Hannah
  • Kenmore Karla
  • Liberty Teresa
  • Longfellow Bridget
  • Miss Emma Science
  • Molly Molasses
  • North End Norma
  • Old Gloria
  • Olga Ironsides
  • Penelope Pru
  • Red Sox Nathan
  • South End Sara
  • Symphony Hal
  • Tub of the Hub
  • Waterfront Wanda

I especially like Espla Nadia and Molly Molasses — the first for the wordplay (a take on “Esplanade”) the second for the historical reference (the Great Molasses Flood).

Which of the above do you like best?

Which Baby Names Can Be Split in Two?

baby names split in two

In 1916, the London Globe mentioned twins named Jere and Miah:

There lived for many years in the village of Twerton, Bath, one named Miah. He was born a twin, and his parents thriftily divided the predestined name of Jeremiah between them, the other babe being christened Jere.

What other names could we divide into two usable mini-names like this?

Here are a few ideas to kick things off…

Abigail, Abi + Gail
Anastasia, Ana + Stasia
Calista, Cal + Ista
Drusilla, Dru + Silla
Elizabeth, Eliza + Beth
Mozelle, Mo + Zelle
Valentina, Valen + Tina
Alexander, Alex + Ander
Christopher, Chris + Topher
Denzel, Den + Zel
Donovan, Dono + Van
Joseph, Jo + Seph
Rexford, Rex + Ford
William, Wil + Liam

…what others can you think of?

Source: “Some Odd Christian Names.” Bee [Earlington, KY] 8 Dec. 1916: 8.

Cosby Show Baby Names – Vanessa, Keshia, Phylicia…

cosby showRemember The Cosby Show?

The ground-breaking ’80s sitcom focused on the Huxtables, a well-off African-American family living in New York City. It starred Bill Cosby as Heathcliff “Cliff” Huxtable.

The show ran from mid-1984 to mid-1992 and was the top-rated program in the nation for 5 consecutive seasons.

And it influenced a whole bunch of baby names, such as…

Vanessa & Tempestt

Vanessa, the second-youngest Huxtable child, was played by Tempestt Bledsoe. The baby name Vanessa saw its highest-ever levels of usage during the years the show was on:

  • 1989: 6,955 baby girls named Vanessa (ranked 50th)
  • 1988: 7,515 baby girls named Vanessa (ranked 41st)
  • 1987: 7,345 baby girls named Vanessa (ranked 43rd)
  • 1986: 7,367 baby girls named Vanessa (ranked 43rd)
  • 1985: 7,562 baby girls named Vanessa (ranked 42nd)
  • 1984: 7,153 baby girls named Vanessa (ranked 45th)
  • 1983: 6,383 baby girls named Vanessa (ranked 49th)

And the baby name Tempestt debuted on the charts the year after the show premiered:

  • 1990: 70 baby girls named Tempestt
  • 1989: 98 baby girls named Tempestt
  • 1988: 72 baby girls named Tempestt
  • 1987: 87 baby girls named Tempestt
  • 1986: 78 baby girls named Tempestt
  • 1985: 36 baby girls named Tempestt [debut]
  • 1984: unlisted
  • 1983: unlisted

The name Tempest also got a boost during the last half of the ’80s.

Rudy & Keshia

Rudith “Rudy” Huxtable, the baby of the family, was played by Keshia Knight Pulliam. The baby name Keshia entered the top 1,000 for the very first time the year after the show premiered:

  • 1990: 385 baby girls named Keshia (ranked 594th)
  • 1989: 496 baby girls named Keshia (ranked 479th)
  • 1988: 398 baby girls named Keshia (ranked 547th)
  • 1987: 483 baby girls named Keshia (ranked 457th)
  • 1986: 511 baby girls named Keshia (ranked 426th)
  • 1985: 321 baby girls named Keshia (ranked 596th)
  • 1984: 96 baby girls named Keshia
  • 1983: 64 baby girls named Keshia

The name Rudy also rose in usage, and the variant spelling Rudi debuted on the charts in 1985.

Phylicia

Huxtable mother Clair was played by actress Phylicia Rashād. The baby name Phylicia entered the top 1,000 for the first time two years after the show premiered:

  • 1990: 257 baby girls named Phylicia (ranked 787th)
  • 1989: 265 baby girls named Phylicia (ranked 744th)
  • 1988: 286 baby girls named Phylicia (ranked 679th)
  • 1987: 290 baby girls named Phylicia (ranked 649th)
  • 1986: 213 baby girls named Phylicia (ranked 789th)
  • 1985: 122 baby girls named Phylicia
  • 1984: 13 baby girls named Phylicia
  • 1983: 7 baby girls named Phylicia

Theo & Malcolm-Jamal

Theo, the middle Huxtable child (and the only male in the family besides Cliff) was played by Malcolm-Jamal Warner. The baby name Theo almost tripled in usage the year after the show premiered:

  • 1990: 66 baby boys named Theo
  • 1989: 75 baby boys named Theo
  • 1988: 77 baby boys named Theo
  • 1987: 75 baby boys named Theo
  • 1986: 85 baby boys named Theo
  • 1985: 76 baby boys named Theo
  • 1984: 23 baby boys named Theo
  • 1983: 26 baby boys named Theo

Usage of the baby name Malcolm also began to rise in the mid-’80s, and the baby name Malcolm-Jamal (rendered Malcolmjamal by the SSA, which leaves off hyphens) debuted on the baby name charts two years after the show premiered:

  • 1990: unlisted
  • 1989: unlisted
  • 1988: 5 baby boys named Malcolm-Jamal
  • 1987: unlisted
  • 1986: 5 baby boys named Malcolm-Jamal [debut]
  • 1985: unlisted
  • 1984: unlisted
  • 1983: unlisted

(Where did actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner get his name, btw? He was named after civil rights activist Malcolm X and jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal.)

So now here’s the question: Does The Cosby Show beat Family Ties in terms of impact on the baby name charts? Cosby clearly affected a greater number of names, but is that enough to offset the massive rises of both Mallory and Alex?

P.S. Did you know that Sondra, Denise, Theo, Vanessa and Rudy Huxtable were loosely based on Cosby’s real-life kids Erika, Erinn, Ennis, Ensa, Evin?