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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Ali


Posts that Mention the Name Ali

Popular baby names in Azerbaijan, 2021

azerbaijan

According to Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Justice, the most popular baby names in the country last year were Zahra and Ali.

Here are Azerbaijan’s top 5 girl names and top 5 boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  • Zahra
  • Zeynab
  • Maryam
  • Fatima
  • Aylin

Boy Names

  • Ali
  • Yusif
  • Huseyn
  • Ugur
  • Mahammad

I’ve never published a set of rankings for Azerbaijan before, but I did write a post in early 2016 that mentioned that the top baby names in the country at that time were Fatima and Zeyneb (for girls) and Ali, Hasan, and Huseyn (for boys).

Source: Top baby names in Azerbaijan for last year announced (Azeri-Press Agency)

Name quotes #105: Barra, Dhani, Hellion

quotation marks

From comedian Ali Wong’s 2016 stand-up special Ali Wong: Baby Cobra (vid):

I’m just waiting for the right moment to, like, become a housewife, financially, you know? I want my husband to get us to, like, a certain point financially. I wanna get to the point as a couple where I can comfortably afford sliced mango. Know what I’m talking about? I’m talking about that Whole Foods mango. That $10-a-box Whole Foods mango that was sliced by white people. That’s the kind of income bracket I’m striving for. That’s when you know you’ve made it, when you’re eating mango that was sliced by a dude named Noah. I want Noah mango, Rebecca kiwi, Danielle pineapple.

From an article about how Storm Barra (which hit the UK and Ireland in December of 2021) came to be named after BBC Northern Ireland weatherman Barra Best:

‘What happened was the head of Irish weather service Met Eireann called me in August and asked me where my name was from and I thought it was a bit strange, I didn’t know why she was asking,’ [Barra Best] told the BBC’s Evening Extra programme.

‘It comes from the south-west of Ireland from Finbarr, St Finbarr in Co Cork and it’s derived from that.’

He continued: ‘She said oh that’s fine, that’s fine. I asked why did you want to know and she said oh you’ll find out in about a month.

‘Of course the email came out and the list of names were announced and she had decided to put my name in there.’

On the origin of the name of George Harrison’s son, Dhani, from The Beatles Encyclopedia (2014) by Kenneth Womack:

Born on August 1, 1978, in Windsor, England, Dhani Harrison is the only son of Harrison and his second wife Olivia Trinidad Arias. His unusual name is a composite of the sixth and seventh notes of the Indian music scale — “dha” and “ni.”

From a 2012 interview with actor Crispin Glover, who goes by his full name, Crispin Hellion Glover, as a filmmaker:

SP: When did you begin using ‘Hellion’ as part of your name? Why the addition?

CHG: I began using “Hellion” as my middle name at birth. I was born in New York. Not too long before I was born, my parents went to see an off-Broadway production of Henry V, by Shakespeare and liked the production very much, and liked the name [Crispin, from the St. Crispin’s Day Speech] so [they] gave it to me. My father’s middle name is Herbert. He never liked his middle name Herbert. So as a young struggling actor in New York he would say to himself, “I am Bruce H. Glover, Bruce Hellion Glover. I am a hellion, a troublemaker.” And that would make him feel good. He told my mother this was his real middle name. When they were married she saw him writing on the marriage certificate Bruce Herbert Glover and she thought, “Who am I marrying?” They gave Hellion to me as my real middle name. I had always written and drawn as a child and I would always sign my drawing and writing with my whole name Crispin Hellion Glover. When I started acting professionally at 13, which was something I had decided on my own I could do as a profession at a relatively young age, it became apparent that I had to choose a professional acting name for SAG. I thought my whole name was too long for acting and just used my first and last name. When I started publishing my books I simply continued using the name I had always used for writing and drawing and had put in my books. This is also why I use my whole name for my own films.

On the origin of Harry S. Truman’s given names, from the book Truman (1992) by David McCullough:

In a quandary over a middle name, [parents] Mattie and John were undecided whether to honor her father or his. In the end they compromised with the letter S. It could be taken to stand for Solomon or Shipp, but actually stood for nothing, a practice not unknown among the Scotch-Irish, even for first names. The baby’s first name was Harry, after his Uncle Harrison.

(Ulysses S. Grant likewise had a single-letter middle.)

From an article about the increasing popularity of Maori baby names in New Zealand, published in The Guardian (found via Clare’s tweet):

Damaris Coulter of Ngati Kahu descent and Dale Dice of Ngati Hine, Te Aupouri and Nga Puhi [descent] […] [gave] their one-year-old daughter Hinekorako just one name, as was usual pre-colonisation.

Hinekorako’s name came to Dice as he was navigating a waka, a large traditional Maori sailing vessel, from Rarotonga in the Cook Islands back to Aotearoa. “It was coming up to midnight. We came into a little storm. The temperature had dropped … there was thunder … Once we got through the storm we all turned around and just behind us there was this massive white rainbow … It was a lunar rainbow.”

“I told our navigator about it and he goes’ “oh yeah, that’s a tohu (sign), that’s Hinekorako’.” In myth, Hinekorako is also a taniwha (a water spirit), who lives between the spirit and living worlds. Dice wrote the name in his diary and decided that night, were he to ever have a daughter, she would be named Hinekorako.

(According to Encyclopedia Mythica, Hine-korako is “the personification of the lunar bow or halo.”)

Popular baby names in Kyrgyzstan, 2021

Kyrgyzstan

According to the Ministry of Digital Development of the Kyrgyz Republic, the most popular baby names in the country last year (as of December 20th) were Saliha and Muhammad.

Here are Kyrgyzstan’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Saliha, 3,107 baby girls
  2. Ryana, 2,864
  3. Amina, 2,604
  4. Fatima, 2,436
  5. Aylin, 2,383
  6. Aliya, 2,040
  7. Safiya, 1,968
  8. Aruzat, 1,928
  9. Khadija, 1,894
  10. Alfiya, 1,731

Boy Names

  1. Muhammad, 4,537 baby boys
  2. Omar, 4,132
  3. Ali, 2,632
  4. Amir, 2,164
  5. Bilal, 2,129
  6. Alikhan, 2,112
  7. Alinour, 2,063
  8. Nour-Islam, 1,910
  9. Emir, 1,681
  10. Othman, 1,481

And here’s what the transcribed Kyrgyz names above look like in Cyrillic script:

Sources: Muhammad; Most Popular Baby Name in 2021 in Kyrgyzstan, Top 10 names of children for 2021 – gov.kg

Popular baby names in Israel, 2020

Israel

According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), the most popular baby names in the country in 2020 were Maya and Mohammed.

The top baby names within each of Israel’s main religious groups were…

In Israel…Top girl nameTop boy name
Jewish population (74.2%)TamarDavid
Muslim population (17.8%)MaryamMohammed
Christian population (2.0%)LinCharbel
Druze population (1.6%)MilaAdam
OverallMayaMohammed

Among the Jews in Israel…

  • The top 10 girl names were Tamar, Maya, Abigail, Noa, Sarah, Ayalah, Adele, Yael, Shira, and Esther.
  • The top 10 boy names were David, Lavi, Ariel, Yosef, Noam, Uri, Refael, Ari, Moshe, and Yehuda.
  • Less popular girl names included “Ahava (Love), Alta, Herut (Liberty), Ya’ar (Forest), Alexandra, Dorin, Ortal, Pessele, Kayla, Ruthi, Shalhevet and Tamari.”
  • Less popular boy names included “Avi, Yigal, Yaron, Yaniv, Eran, and Ram, with the most unusual ones being Lear, Shayel, Luka, Don and Tay.”
  • “Among Ethiopian Jewish boys, the most popular names were Refael, Emmanuel and Noam.”

Among the Muslims in Israel…

  • The top 10 girl names were Maryam, Sham, Lin, Malek, Jori, Lian, Mila, Aline, Nur, and Marya.
  • The top 10 boy names were Mohammed, Ahmad, Adam, Yusef, Omer, Ali, Abd, Amir, Ibrahim, and Mahmoud.

Among the Christians in Israel…

  • The top girl names were Lin, Maria, Sama, Celine, and Leah.
  • The top boy names were Charbel, Jude, Niel, Elias, Liam, and George.

Among the Druze in Israel…

  • The top girl names were Mila, Ayalah, Lur, Lin, and Yasmin.
  • The top boy names were Adam, Taim, Niel, Amir, and Jude.

The last set of rankings I posted for Israel were the 2015 rankings.

Sources: Most popular baby names of 2020: Mohammed, David, Tamar and Maryam, Muhammad and Maya top list of Israeli newborn’s names in 2020, Muhammad and Maya were Israel’s most popular baby names in 2020, Religion in Israel – Wikipedia

African names in the newspapers

In 1971, a list of African names published in Jet magazine had an impact on U.S. baby names.

In 1977, a list of African names published in Ebony magazine had a similar impact on U.S. baby names.

And in between, in 1973, a list of African names was published in an interesting place: U.S. newspapers nationwide. That is, not in a magazine written for an African-American audience specifically.

African names, newspaper article, 1973, baby names
African names in U.S. newspapers, Aug. 1973

So…did this newspaper-based list have an impact as well?

Yes, turns out it had roughly the same impact as the other two lists.

The opening line of the article was: “Here’s help for young black couples wanting to give their infants African names.” Toward the end, the article featured a list of 23 names. Most of these names ended up seeing movement in the data, including 10 (!) debuts.

  1. Abeni – debuted in 1974
  2. Avodele – never in the data
  3. Dalila – increased in usage ’73
  4. Fatima – increased in usage ’73/’74
  5. Habibah – debuted in 1974
  6. Halima – increased in usage ’74
  7. Hasina – debuted in 1974
  8. Kamilah – increased in usage ’73/’74
  9. Salama – debuted in 1974
  10. Shani – increased in usage ’74
  11. Yaminah – debuted in 1973
  12. Zahra – debuted in 1973
  13. Abdu – debuted in 1973
  14. Ali – no movement in the data
  15. Bakari – debuted in 1973
  16. Hasani – debuted in 1973
  17. Jabari – increased in usage ’73/’74
  18. Jelani – debuted in 1973
  19. Muhammad – no movement in the data
  20. Rudo – never in the data
  21. Sadiki – not in data yet
  22. Zikomo – not in data yet
  23. Zuberi – not in data yet

The article cited as its source The Book of African Names (1970) by Chief Osuntoki. As it turns out, though, the Chief wasn’t a real person. He was a fictional character invented by the publisher, Drum and Spear Press. Here’s a quote from the book’s introduction, purportedly written by the Chief:

It is strange, indeed, it hurts my heart, that brothers from afar often come to greet me bearing such names as “Willie”, “Juan” and “François”. But we can not be hard against them, for they have been misled.

Of the 23 names listed above, the one that debuted most impressively was Jelani. In fact, Jelani ended up tied for 43rd on the list of the top boy-name debuts of all time.

  • 1976: 55 baby boys named Jelani
  • 1975: 46 baby boys and 6 baby girls named Jelani [debut as a girl name]
  • 1974: 53 baby boys named Jelani
  • 1973: 36 baby boys named Jelani [overall debut]
  • 1972: unlisted
  • 1971: unlisted

Which of those 23 names do you like best?

Sources:

  • “African chief explains symbolism of names.” San Bernardino County Sun 15 Aug. 1973: B-4.
  • Markle, Seth M. A Motorcycle on Hell Run: Tanzania, Black Power, and the Uncertain Future of Pan-Africanism, 1964-1974. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2017.