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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Arabella

Number of Babies Named Arabella

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Arabella

The Many Names in Dobie Gillis

The baby name Dobie debuted in the US baby name data in 1960.

Girl-crazy teenager Dobie Gillis was a character created by writer Max Shulman in the 1940s. He was first brought to life in the movie The Affairs of Dobie Gillis in 1953, but the most memorable portrayal of Dobie was by Dwayne Hickman in the four-season TV sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, which premiered in September of 1959.

Dobie Gillis is notable for being “the first prime-time series to consistently privilege teenage characters, activities, and spaces over those associated with family shows.”

It was also known for the unusual character names. Dobie (pronounced doh-bee, rhymes with Toby) had friends with names like:

  • Maynard (a beatnik played by Bob Denver, who later portrayed Gilligan)
  • Zelda (a brainiac played by Sheila James Kuehl, sister of Jeri Lou)
  • Thalia Menninger (a rich girl played by Tuesday Weld)

These “uncommon first names [were] evidently meant to seem vaguely silly in their failure to conform with ’50s norms.”

The show ended up influencing the usage of several baby names. First of all, it was behind the debut of the name Dobie in 1960:

  • 1964: 9 baby boys named Dobie
  • 1963: unlisted
  • 1962: 6 baby boys named Dobie
  • 1961: 8 baby boys named Dobie
  • 1960: 9 baby boys named Dobie [debut]
  • 1959: unlisted
  • 1958: unlisted

The name Thalia also saw a spike in usage in 1960, which makes sense because all but two of the episodes featuring Thalia Menninger were first-season (1959-1960) episodes. Dobie pronounced Thalia’s name thale-ya.

  • 1964: 46 baby girls named Thalia
  • 1963: 42 baby girls named Thalia
  • 1962: 42 baby girls named Thalia
  • 1961: 46 baby girls named Thalia
  • 1960: 90 baby girls named Thalia
  • 1959: 30 baby girls named Thalia
  • 1958: 24 baby girls named Thalia

Finally, the name Zelda saw elevated usage in the early ’60s:

  • 1964: 133 baby girls named Zelda
  • 1963: 171 baby girls named Zelda
  • 1962: 178 baby girls named Zelda
  • 1961: 168 baby girls named Zelda
  • 1960: 136 baby girls named Zelda
  • 1959: 142 baby girls named Zelda
  • 1958: 131 baby girls named Zelda

Fun fact: Zelda — who pursued Dobie as ardently as Dobie pursued all other females — once convinced a girl named Phyllis to break it off with Dobie by warning her that her married name would be “Phyllis Gillis.”

Many of the secondary and single-episode characters had unusual names as well. Here are some examples:

Aphrodite
Arabella
Aristede
Blossom
Bruno
Bubbles
Chatsworth
Clothilde
Clydene
Drusilla
Esmond
Glynis
Imogene
Jethro
Kermit
Laurabelle
Leander
Maribelle
Mignonne
Poppy
Riff

Do you like any of the above Dobie Gillis names? How about the name “Dobie” itself?

Sources:

  • Kearney, Mary C. “Teenagers and Television in the United States.” Museum of Broadcast Communications Encyclopedia of Television, ed. by Horace Newcomb, 2nd ed., New York: Routledge, 2013, pp. 2276-2281.
  • Sterritt, David. Mad to be Saved: The Beats, the ’50s, and Film. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1998.
  • The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (TV Series 1959–1963) – IMDb

Name Quotes for the Weekend #25

elton john quote about the name reginald

From an interview with Elton John on Larry King Live:

Well, I was making a record, and I had to choose a name, because they said, you know, you can’t make a record under the name of Reg Dwight, because it’s never going to — you know, it’s not attractive enough. And I agreed with that, and I couldn’t wait to change my name anyway, because I’m not too fond of the name of Reginald. It’s a very kind of ’50s English name.

So I picked Elton because there wasn’t — nobody seemed to have the name Elton. And I picked John to go with it. And it was — it was done on a bus going from London Heathrow back into the city. And it was done very quickly. So I said, oh, Elton John. That’s fine.

From The Life of William Shakespeare: A Critical Biography by Lois Potte:

Though contemporary sonneteers populated their world with lovers called Astrophil, Parthenophil, Stella, Delia, and Idea, the only names that appear in Shakespeare’s sonnets are Adonis, Helen, Mars, Saturn, Philomel, Eve, Cupid, Diana, and Time — and the one non-mythological figure, the author, “Will.”

From An Apology to Every (White) Girl Named Becky by Dara T. Mathis:

Black people commonly use the term “Becky” when referring to generic white women. It has a slight negative connotation (airheadedness), but white women don’t have to do anything to deserve the title.

Clearly, this is as problematic as sexual stereotypes against any demographic of people. Women fight on a daily basis not to be objectified, but this portrayal takes it further and assigns white women a role to which they may not ascribe.

Despite my dislike for using a proper name as a slur, it took an actual person to bring it home to me. After my tweet, a white colleague nicknamed Becky told me about how she’s been forced to use Rebecca instead. A group of black men were catcalling her down a sidewalk and she was doing her best to ignore them. One of them yelled out, “Hey Becky!” That’s her name: she automatically swung her head around. But this had the opposite effect of validating the men’s impression that she was a Becky, not a woman named Becky. They laughed. She laughed, too, because…it is kinda funny.

But I stopped laughing quickly. I had never thought about the implications of people using your name as a stereotype against you. Where can you run to escape that?

From a post about unusual personal names at Futility Closet:

A memo to every parent who’s ever lived: Giving your kid a special name does not make him special. It never has. It never will.

You know what I mean. It’s one thing to give yourself a screwy moniker. Body-modification enthusiasts have changed their names to Swirly Wanx Sinatra, Grenade Bee of Death, and RooRaaah Mew Crumbs, among other things, and there’s a U.S. Army Ohio National Guard firefighter who named himself Optimus Prime. That’s fine, you’re the one who has to live with it.

It’s worse when you inflict a harebrained epithet on a newborn, who will have to drag it through life like a neon hairshirt.

From a post about Ameribella cheese at Cheese Notes:

Originally named Arabella, this cheese underwent a slight name change recently; as Leslie told me, it’s always been named after Matthew’s great grandmother, whose name was America Arabella. To honor her, they combined her two names and came up with the Ameribella, which also has the unique quality of honoring this cheese’s American terroir and Italian origins.

(I discovered Ameribella via the Baby Name Pondering post Cheesy Baby Names.)

From an article by Kerry Parnell in The Daily Telegraph:

[W]hen I was born and my parents proudly announced my name to the family, my great-grandma was disgusted and informed them Kerry was a dog’s name.

She never wavered from this conviction until one day, when I was about five, we visited her to see her new poodle puppy.

“What’s his name?” I asked. “Kerry,” she replied, stony faced. There was a long, awkward silence and no one ever mentioned it again.

Ironically, great-grandma went by the name of “Pete”, which, unless I am very much mistaken, is a man’s name.

One day, I vow, I will get a dog just so I can call it Pete, for revenge.

Have you read anything interesting about names lately? Please send me the link so I can add it to a future quote post! Email me, Tweet me, or just leave a comment below.

The Baby Name Sedona

the baby name sedona

The Arizona city of Sedona was named after the first postmaser’s wife — but only because all the other names he’d submitted to the U.S. Post Office Department got rejected.

The wife in question is Sedona Arabella Miller, born in Missouri in 1877. She pronounced her name “see-dona” and went by the nicknames Donie (as a kid) and Dona (as an adult).

Sedona was the only one in her family with an unusual name; her siblings included Lillie, Edna, Minnie, Noah, and Edward. Her mother said simply, “I liked the sound of it.” It is possible that she had heard the Creole name Sedonie, used among free women of color in the South.

[Sedonie is probably a variant of Sidonie, which is a French feminine form of the Latin name Sidonius, which means “of Sidon.” Sidon was an ancient Phoenician city-state.]

Sedona married Theodore Carlton “T.C.” Schnebly on her 20th birthday, and in 1901 she and T.C. moved to Arizona with their two young children.

Not long after they arrived, T.C. decided the settlement needed a post office, so he applied for a post office name. But all the names he sent in — Schnebly Station, Red Rock Crossing, Oak Creek Station — were rejected, as they were too long to fit on the cancellation stamp beside “Arizona Territory.”

Finally, at the suggestion of his brother, T.C. tried his wife’s name. The relatively short “Sedona” was approved. By mid-1902, T.C. had the Sedona post office up and running “in the back of the Schnebly home.”

*

So the baby name Sedona existed before the city did, but it’s never been popular enough to rank in the U.S. top 1,000.

Here’s how many U.S. babies have been named Sedona since the year 2000:

  • 2013: 38 baby girls named Sedona (7 in AZ)
  • 2012: 55 baby girls named Sedona (9 in AZ, 9 in CA)
  • 2011: 51 baby girls named Sedona (6 in AZ, 7 in CA)
  • 2010: 60 baby girls named Sedona (8 in AZ, 12 in CA)
  • 2009: 69 baby girls named Sedona (8 in AZ, 11 in CA)
  • 2008: 91 baby girls named Sedona (18 in AZ, 11 in CA)
  • 2007: 75 baby girls named Sedona (17 in AZ, 7 in CA)
  • 2006: 76 baby girls named Sedona (14 in AZ, 8 in CA)
  • 2005: 58 baby girls named Sedona (6 in AZ, 9 in CA)
  • 2004: 77 baby girls named Sedona (12 in AZ, 10 in CA)
  • 2003: 66 baby girls named Sedona (16 in AZ, 10 in CA)
  • 2002: 76 baby girls named Sedona (14 in AZ, 7 in CA)
  • 2001: 62 baby girls named Sedona (12 in AZ, 9 in CA)
  • 2000: 69 baby girls named Sedona (8 in AZ, 10 in CA)

Baby names that coincide with city names tend to be less popular among locals (i.e., Brooklyn and Madison are less popular among New Yorkers and Wisconsinites, respectively) but that’s not the case for Sedona.

Of the 923 baby girls named Sedona since the turn of the century, 155 (17%) were born in Arizona, making Arizona the state with the most Sedonas.

In second place is California with 120 Sedonas (13%). In third is Texas with 24 Sedonas (3%).

Arizona’s numbers are even more impressive when you consider that both California and Texas welcome several times as many babies as Arizona does per year.

Sources:

[This post was inspired by an Eponymia post about Arizona names.]

Female Names in Texas, 1860

Vicki Betts, a librarian at the University of Texas, put together a neat list of female names using the 1860 census records for Smith County, Texas.

Here’s some background information, per Vicki:

Ninety per cent of the people had emigrated to the county within the preceding ten years, 95.8% born in the states of the future Confederacy, 1.8% in the border states, 1.6% in northern states, and 0.8% in foreign countries. Therefore, these name should be fairly representative of Southern female names in general, with the exception of Alamo, Texas, Texana, etc.

And now the names! Here are the names that appeared most frequently on the 1860 Smith County census:

Mary, 501
Sarah, 271
Martha, 247
Elizabeth, 218
Jane, 199
Ann, 198
Nancy, 176
Margaret, 98
Susan, 95
Frances, 94
Eliza, 74
Amanda, 65
Louisa, 61
Laura, 52
Lucinda, 50
Rebecca, 50
Emily, 49
Catherine, 48
Caroline, 41
Julia, 39
Anna, 31
Isabella, 28
Ellen, 26
Josephine, 25
Harriet, 24
Emmer, 22
Lucy, 22
Rachel, 22
Melissa, 18
Adeline, 17
Malinda, 17
Matilda, 16
Allice, 15
Mariah, 15
Virginia, 15
Minerva, 14
Ella, 13
Eveline, 13
Charlotte, 12
Cynthia, 10
Evaline, 10
Victoria, 10
Emeline, 9
Hannah, 9
Hellen, 9
Theodosia, 9
Angeline, 8
Eudora, 8
Eugenia, 8
Mahala, 8
Ophelia, 8
Permelia, 8
Dorotha, 7
Fannie, 7
Missouri, 7
Olive, 7
Samantha, 7
Tabitha, 7
Ada, 6
Charity, 6
Delilah, 6
Flora, 6
Georgia, 6
Tennessee, 6

Names in the 2-to-5 range:

  • 5: Clementine, Cyntha, Florence, Ida, Joannah, Narcissa, Priscilla, Serena, Texana, Texas
  • 4: Almeda, Amelia, Augusta, Celia, Clara, Cornelia, Dicy, Dora, Henrietta, Janetta, Louisiana, Louvenia, Lulah, Mollie, Parmelia, Penelope, Ruth, Susannah
  • 3: Alma, Amarillo, Angelina, Antonette, Carrie, Casandra, Christiana, Clarissa, Cora, Cordelia, Edna, Emma, Ester, Fanny, Irena, Jemima, Kesiah, Leona, Leonora, Lucretia, Lyddia, Manerva, Maranda, Morando, Mildred, Milly, Narcissus, Olevia, Piety, Rhoda, Sallie, Sefrona, Sophrona, Telulah, Zelida
  • 2: Abigal, Adaline, Adelia, Agnes, Alabama, Alcasarah, America, Amy, Annetta, Araminta, Armelia, Arrenia, Candis, Caledonia, Celina, Easter, Eller, Elvira, Epsey, Exer, Henryetta, Jaly, Judy, Leah, Luella, Madora, Malissa, Marsileet, Medorah, Melinda, Mattie, Minnie, Moranda, Nelly, Olivia, Priscella, Rhody, Roxana, Salena, Sirena, Sophia, Temperance, Viola, Willie

Finally, names that appeared only once:

Abbigal
Abi
Absaly
Adah
Adalade
Adaline
Addia
Adelade
Adella
Ader
Aimenetta
Alamanzer
Alamo
Alcisty
Alis
Allethia
Almanda
Alphine
Alsey
Althie
Alvarado
Alvira
Amarantha
Amarylles
Amazor
Ameda
Americus
Amira
Ansebell
Appy
Arabella
Arainetta
Aramintha
Aranda
Arcadia
Ardalla
Armedilla
Armel
Armelda
Arminda
Artele
Arvezene
Arvilla
Atha
Audella
Aurire
Azeline
Barbary
Belzora
Bendett
Bernessa
Bethania
Bethany
California
Callie
Camella
Camilla
Candas
Candice
Cansandra
Carrentha
Casandre
Castero
Cecily
Celistia
CerroGordo
Christana
Cicily
Claranda
Claricinda
Conzada
Darcus
Deannah
Debra
Delila
Delitha
Della
Delmar
Derinda
Deziah
Dicey
Dilla
Dilly
Disha
Dlia
Dola
Domaris
Dorothea
Dovy
Drucilla
Dulcena
Dyca
Eddie
Edith
Editha
Elander
Eleanor
Elisa
Ellenor
Elmina
Elsy
Elvy
Elwina
Elzina
Elzona
Emaline
English
Eunis
Euphema
Euphemia
Euratasa
Evy
Falby
Fenette
Fillmore
Flore
Florida
Fransina
Georgana
George Eller
Georgiana
Harmoner
Hazeltine
Heepsebeth
Heland
Hester
Hetty
Hilery
Hutoka
Idella
Imogenia
Indiana
Inez
Irine
Isabelle
Isadora
Jeannah
Jerusha
Jessie
Joana
Joicy
Joly
Judah
Judith
Juliett
June
Kasandre
Kasana
Keburah
Keturah
Lailah
Larresa
Larrissa
Laurena
Lavacca
Lela
Leora
Leuella
Levega
Levina
Lewella
Lilla
Lillian
Lilly
Lina
Livana
Livona
Lizza
Loreey
Loreta
Lourana
Lourena
Lourenia
Louretta
Louvena
Louvina
Lova
Lovena
Lucretice
Lurana
Lurena
Lutitia
Luvena
Lydda
Madella
Madosa
Malabry
Mariella
Marietta
Marinda
Marion
Marbre
Marcella
Marcena
Marg
Matta
McReudry
Medarah
Melbry
Melvina
Mercena
Milley
Millison
Minor
Missoura
Mitty
Molly
Morinua
Mouring
Mourmen
Mourning
Nannett
Narcisa
Nebraska
Neome
Neomia
Nicy
Nina
Nisse
Occo
Octavia
Oja
Oliva
Omino
Orpha
Oudelia
Paralee
Paralie
Parilee
Parolee
Parthena
Pauline
Pemelia
Pernetta
Pernisia
Petrona
Phebe
Pheby
Phereby
Philliss
Pleasant
Pope
Prascovia
Pricilla
Prudence
Recella
Resalla
Reozia
Resiah
Rhina
Rosana
Rosanna
Rosena
Sabra
Sabrina
Salina
Samaria
Saphona
Saphrona
Sareta
Sebrina
Sefrone
Seleta
Selethia
Selina
Shaby
Sharlotti
Silena
Sina
Sirena
Sobrina
Sofrona
Solona
Sonora
Sophier
Stacy
Surana
Tabetha
Taletha
Talitha
Telpha
Teressa
Texanah
Texanna
Theodora
Theressa
Tranquilla
Trephemia
Ululie
Vanburena
Vandalia
Varlinda
Vashti
Vasti
Verlinda
Vertula
Victora
Victorier
Vina
Vinolia
Violet
Vunavista
Wennyford
Wilford
Wilmouth
Wineford
Winerfred
Winnaford
Winnfred
Zarilla
Zeban
Zeleame
Zira
Zouley

See any names you like? Any that make you curious?

Here are some thoughts I had:

  • Location names were more common than I thought they’d be. Seven females named Missouri? Six named Tennessee? Huh.
  • I love that Emmer appeared 22 times, while Emma appeared a mere 3 times.
  • The Battle of Cerro Gordo (1847) inspired a handful of namesakes. Cerro gordo is Spanish for “fat hill.”
  • Hutoka: Or, The Maid of the Forest: a Tale of the Indian Wars (1846) by Osgood Bradbury inspired several hundred namesakes nationwide. The book claimed that the fictitious Native American name Hutoka meant “springing fawn.”
  • Martin Van Buren — no doubt the inspiration behind Vanburena — was president of the U.S. from 1837 to 1841.
  • I’m thinking Vunavista was based on buena vista, Spanish for “good view.”

Source: Female First Names in the 1860 Smith County, Texas, Census, via Vicki Betts

Biggest Changes in Girl Name Popularity, 2012

Which girl names made the biggest gains from 2011 to 2012?

And which ones suffered the biggest losses?

This is where the stats start telling us some interesting stories!

Below I’ve got two different lists for both “increases” and “decreases.”

On the left is the my list. I looked at the raw number differences between the 2011 names and the 2012 names. My analysis covers all 19,380 girl names on the 2012 list.

On the right is the SSA’s list. They looked at the ranking differences between the 2011 names and the 2012 names. Their analysis covers approximately the top 500 girl names on the 2012 list.

Biggest Increases

The baby girl names that saw the biggest popularity increases from 2011 to 2012 were…

Nancy’s list (raw numbers) SSA’s list (rankings)
  1. Harper, +2,496 babies [rank: 54th to 24th]
  2. Emma, +2,053 babies [rank: 3rd to 2nd]
  3. Paisley, +1,269 babies [rank: 195th to 104th]
  4. Aria, +1,232 babies [rank: 157th to 91st]
  5. Skylar, +1,173 babies [rank: 145th to 87th]
  6. Aubree, +1,100 babies [rank: 99th to 60th]
  7. Zoey, +1,030 babies [rank: 28th to 20th]
  8. Charlotte, +1,017 babies [rank: 27th to 19th]
  9. Avery, +952 babies [rank: 18th to 13th]
  10. Aubrey, +846 babies [rank: 20th to 15th]
  11. Amelia, +842 babies [rank: 30th to 23rd]
  12. Mila, +835 babies [rank: 174th to 115th]
  13. Genesis, +779 babies [rank: 82nd to 56th]
  14. Hannah, +672 babies [rank: 25th to 22nd]
  15. Penelope, +647 babies [rank: 169th to 125th]
  16. Hadley, +645 babies [rank: 178th to 130th]
  17. Nora, +639 babies [rank: 137th to 107th]
  18. Cataleya, +608 babies [rank: 4,931st to 479th]
  19. Cora, +516 babies [rank: 203rd to 155th]
  20. Reagan, +470 babies [rank: 121st to 97th]
  1. Arya, +298 (711th to 413th)
  2. Perla, +190 (642nd to 452nd)
  3. Catalina, +171 (648th to 477th)
  4. Elisa, +168 (534th to 366th)
  5. Raelynn, +155 (496th to 341st)
  6. Rosalie, +141 (547th to 406th)
  7. Haven, +140 (572nd to 432nd)
  8. Raelyn, +136 (585th to 449th)
  9. Briella, +123 (498th to 375th)
  10. Marilyn, +119 (545th to 426th)
  11. Adelynn, +116 (581st to 465th)
  12. Hanna, +106 (454th to 348th)
  13. Ayla, +97 (347th to 250th)
  14. Averie, +96 (554th to 458th)
  15. Arabella, +92 (337th to 245th)
  16. Paisley, +91 (195th to 104th)
  17. Arielle, +91 (501st to 410th)
  18. Adalynn, +88 (328th to 240th)
  19. Elsie, +86 (483rd to 397th)
  20. Myla, +85 (484th to 399th)

Check out Cataleya! That’s quite a jump.

Here are last year’s raw number jumps and last year’s ranking jumps.

Biggest Decreases

The baby girl names that saw the biggest popularity decreases from 2011 to 2012 were…

Nancy’s list (raw numbers) SSA’s list (rankings)
  1. Chloe, -1,361 babies [rank: 10th to 11th]
  2. Alexis, -1,194 babies [rank: 26th to 40th]
  3. Addison, -1,158 babies [rank: 13th to 14th]
  4. Madison, -1,017 babies [rank: 8th to 9th]
  5. Alyssa, -935 babies [rank: 37th to 44th]
  6. Isabella, -893 babies [rank: 2nd to 3rd]
  7. Natalie, -760 babies [rank: 14th to 17th]
  8. Nevaeh, -739 babies [rank: 35th to 39th]
  9. Ashley, -709 babies [rank: 42nd to 50th]
  10. Makayla, -691 babies [rank: 56th to 69th]
  11. Emily, -664 babies [rank: 6th to 6th]
  12. Khloe, -644 babies [rank: 49th to 55th]
  13. Leah, -642 babies [rank: 29th to 33rd]
  14. Abigail, -622 babies [rank: 7th to 7th]
  15. Gabriella, -608 babies [rank: 33rd to 37th]
  16. Kayla, -568 babies [rank: 59th to 70th]
  17. Brianna, -562 babies [rank: 45th to 51st]
  18. Destiny, -549 babies [rank: 91st to 113th]
  19. Sydney, -531 babies [rank: 65th to 78th]
  20. Jocelyn, -515 babies [rank: 70th to 92nd]
  1. Dulce, -159 (415th to 574th)
  2. Mikaela, -141 (451st to 592nd)
  3. Estrella, -129 (433rd to 562nd)
  4. Danna, -125 (365th to 490th)
  5. Audrina, -122 (318th to 440th)
  6. Cameron, -113 (440th to 553rd)
  7. Kiera, -108 (482nd to 590th)
  8. Savanna, -101 (346th to 447th)
  9. Paola, -98 (477th to 575th)
  10. Tenley, -96 (424th to 520th)
  11. Kendra, -94 (293rd to 387th)
  12. Breanna, -94 (309th to 403rd)
  13. Kailyn, -93 (399th to 492nd)
  14. Jasmin, -93 (422nd to 515th)
  15. Joselyn, -92 (369th to 461st)
  16. Kiley, -90 (423rd to 513th)
  17. Jayden, -88 (292nd to 380th)
  18. Liana, -82 (464th to 546th)
  19. Sasha, -77 (374th to 451st)
  20. Karen, -66 (287th to 353rd)

Here are last year’s raw number drops and last year’s ranking drops.

Source: SSA’s Change In Popularity From 2011 To 2012