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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Bella

Number of Babies Named Bella

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Bella

Top Dog and Cat Names in San Diego, 2016

dog, catIn August of 2016, the San Diego County Department of Animal Services (SDDAC) released lists of the most popular names for licensed dogs and licensed cats in the region.

The top ten dog names were…

1. Bella
2. Max
3. Buddy
4. Lucy
5. Daisy
6. Charlie
7. Molly
8. Bailey
9. Roxy
10. Lola

Bella was also #1 on the 2015 list. In the top 10, Lola replaced Maggie. Just outside the top 10 were Rocky, Coco, Maggie, Sadie and Jack.

And the top ten cat names were…

1. Kitty
2. Tiger
3. Smokey
4. Baby
5. Princess
6. Tigger
7. Shadow
8. Lucy
9. Max
10. Missy

The rather unimaginative “Kitty” was also the top pick in 2015. Princess and Missy replaced Sassy and Cleo in the top 10. Just outside the top 10 were Oreo, Charlie, Blackie, Midnight and Bella.

Here are San Diego’s top baby names for 2016, if you’d like to throw in yet another species.

Sources: Top Dog Names in San Diego County, Top Cat Names in San Diego County


Name Quotes #45 – Traxton, Sadi, Yeimary

Ready for more name quotes?

From an essay by Hans Fiene about BuzzFeed’s criticism of Chip And Joanna Gaines’ church:

“People who give their kids weird names are unsophisticated morons,” I thought to myself when I was 23 years old and busy substitute-teaching a class full of kids named Brysalynn and Traxton.

[…]

Then, a few years later, one of my closest friends had a kid and named him something dumb. At the moment of said dumb-named kid’s entrance into this world, two options stood before me. Option A: I was wrong about baby names, and it was, in fact, possible to be an interesting, intelligent person while also being sweet on absurd baby monikers. Option B: Despite having a mountain of evidence that my friend was interesting and intelligent, this was all a ruse and he had been a moron the entire time.

From The Toast, an in-depth look at “ship names” — short for relationship names, i.e., name blends that represent fan-created relationships between fictional characters:

Onset conservation is also why we get Drarry (Draco/Harry), Dramione (Draco/Hermione), Klaroline (Klause/Caroline), Sterek (Stiles/Derek), Stydia (Stiles/Lydia), Clex (Clark Kent/Lex Luthor), Chlex (Chloe/Lex), Phrack (Phryne/Jack), Cherik (Charles/Erik), CroWen (Cristina/Owen), Bedward (Bella/Edward), Brucas (Brooke/Lucas), Brangelina (Brad/Angelina), and so on.

(“Olicity Is Real” was trending on Twitter recently…I wonder how long it’ll be before we start seeing ship names on birth certificates.)

From the 2007 New York Times obituary of The Mod Squad actor Tige Andrews (whose name was one of the top debut names of 1969):

Tiger Andrews was born on March 19, 1920, in Brooklyn; he was named after a strong animal to ensure good health, following a Syrian custom.

From a footnote in a 1986 translation of the book Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire (1824) by French scientist Nicolas-Léonard “Sadi” Carnot:

Sadi was named after the thirteenth-century Persian poet and naturalist, Saadi Musharif ed Din, whose poems, most notably the Gulistan (or Rose Garden), were popular in Europe in the late eighteenth century. It seems likely that Lazare [Sadi’s father] chose the name to commemorate his association, in the 1780s, with the Société des Rosati, an informal literary society in Arras in which a recurring theme was the celebration of the beauty of roses in poetry.

From Ed Sikov’s 2007 book Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis (spotted while doing research for the Stanley Ann post):

Manly names for women were all the rage [in Hollywood movies] in 1941: Hedy Lamarr was a Johnny and a Marvin that year, and the eponymous heroines of Frank Borzage’s Seven Sweethearts were called Victor, Albert, Reggie, Peter, Billie, George, and most outrageous of all, Cornelius.

Speaking of Cornelius…some comedy from John Oliver‘s 2008 special Terrifying Times:

[A] friend of mine emailed me and he said that someone had created a Wikipedia entry about me. I didn’t realize this was true, so I looked it up. And like most Wikipedia entries, it came with some flamboyant surprises, not least amongst them my name. Because in it it said my name was John Cornelius Oliver. Now my middle name is not Cornelius because I did not die in 1752. But obviously, I want it to be. Cornelius is an incredible name. And that’s when it hit me — the way the world is now, fiction has become more attractive than fact. That is why Wikipedia is such a vital resource. It’s a way of us completely rewriting our history to give our children and our children’s children a much better history to grow up with.

From Piper Laurie‘s 2011 memoir Learning to Live Out Loud:

It never occurred to me that I didn’t have to change my name. For the last twenty or thirty years, I’ve admired and envied all the performers who have proudly used their real names. The longer and harder to pronounce, the better.

(Was Mädchen Amick one of the performers she had in mind? They worked together on Twin Peaks in the early 1990s…)

From a New York Times interview with Lisa Spira of Ethnic Technologies, a company that uses personal names to predict ethnicity:

Can you give an example of how your company’s software works?

Let’s hypothetically take the name of an American: Yeimary Moran. We see the common name Mary inside her first name, but unlike the name Rosemary, for example, we know that the letter string “eimary” is Hispanic. Her surname could be Irish or Hispanic. So then we look at where our Yeimary Moran lives, which is Miami. From our software, we discover that her neighborhood is more Hispanic than Irish. Customer testing and feedback show that our software is over 90 percent accurate in most ethnicities, so we can safely deduce that this Yeimary Moran is Hispanic.

From Duncan McLaren’s Evelyn Waugh website, an interesting fact about the English writer and his first wife, also named Evelyn:

Although I call the couple he- and she-Evelyn in my book, Alexander [Evelyn Waugh’s grandson] has mentioned that at the time [late 1920s] they were called Hevelyn and Shevelyn.

(Evelyn Waugh’s first name was pronounced EEV-lyn, so I imagine “Hevelyn” was HEEV-lyn and “Shevelyn” SHEEV-lyn.)

Want more name-related quotes? Here is the name quotes category.

Poll: Favorite “Feminine Blend”?

Nope, this isn’t a post about a pink smoothies. “Feminine blend” was a phrase Henry Louis (H. L.) Mencken used in his 1921 book The American Language to describe a female name created by blending two other names together. Here are the feminine blends he lists:

Adelloyd
(Addie + Lloyd)

Adnelle
(Addison + Nellie)

Adrielle
(Adrienne + Belle)

Armina
(Ardelia + Wilhelmina)

Bethene
(Elizabeth + Christine)

Birdene
(Birdie + Pauline)

Charline
(Charles + Pauline)

Leilabeth
(Leila + Elizabeth)

Lunette
(Luna + Nettie)

Marjette
(Marjorie + Henrietta)

Maybeth
(May + Elizabeth)

Olabelle
(Ola + Isabel)

Olouise
(Olive + Louise)

Romiette
(Romeo + Juliette)

Rosella
(Rose + Bella)

If you had to use one of the above in real life, which one would you choose?

Favorite "feminine blend"?

View Results

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Source: H. L. Mencken. The American Language. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1921.

Top Dog Names in New York City, 2015

yorkshire terrier, dog names NYC
Gucci? Chanel?
According to the New York City Department of Health, Bella and Max were the most popular names for licensed dogs* in New York City in 2015.

Here are NYC’s top female dog names:

  1. Bella (…vs. 69th for baby girls in NY state, 2015)
  2. Lola (…267th)
  3. Lucy (…88th)
  4. Daisy (…271st)
  5. Coco
  6. Princess
  7. Molly (…128th)
  8. Chloe (…14th)
  9. Luna (…129th)
  10. Sophie (…77th)

And here are NYC’s top male dog names:

  1. Max (…vs. 85th for baby boys in NY state, 2015)
  2. Rocky
  3. Charlie (…236th)
  4. Buddy
  5. Lucky
  6. Teddy
  7. Toby (…760th)
  8. Jack (…23rd)
  9. Oliver (…32nd)
  10. Milo (…270th)

Uniquely popular names by breed include Snoopy for beagles, Tyson for boxers, Lulu for French bulldogs, Chico for chihuahuas, Frank for dachshunds, Dolly for poodles, Mugsy for pugs, Snow for Siberian huskies, and Chanel and Gucci for Yorkshire terriers.

On this map of unique dog names by neighborhood I see Baci (bah-chee, Italian for “kisses”), Boomer, Brutus, Frankie, Katie, Mochi, Ollie, Penelope, and Taz.

For less common NYC dog names, check out the dog names by frequency of occurrence page. Mousing over the bubbles I see 4 Tictacs, 3 Zombies, 2 Orbits, and 1 Chopstick.

Sources: Health Department Announces 2015’s Most Popular Dog Names, And the most popular dog name in New York is…

*The 84,000+ licensed dogs represent about 20% of all the dogs in NYC.

Top Dog and Cat Names in Toronto, 2015

dog and cat, grassCharlie and Max were the two most popular names for both licensed dogs and licensed cats living in the City of Toronto in 2015.

For dogs, of the more than 11,300 names on the list, these 10 were the most common:

  1. Charlie, 678 dogs
  2. Max, 560
  3. Bella, 515
  4. Buddy, 480
  5. Molly, 463
  6. Maggie, 416
  7. Bailey, 402
  8. Lucy, 376
  9. Coco, 369
  10. Daisy, 364

Over 7,300 of the dog names were used just once. Here are some of the funnier/punnier examples:

  • Barkley, Barksdale, Riley Barker, Wendel Bark
  • Dogma, Snoop Dog
  • Arcanine
  • Muttley, Muttley Crue
  • Paw-Prints, Paws, Pawsy
  • Pooches, Poochie, Poochy
  • Lolly Pup
  • Ruffy, Ruffas, Woodruff
  • Scallywag, Wagner, Wags, Tommy Wags
  • Woof, Woofie, Woofy
  • Nymeria (from Game of Thrones)

For cats, of the more than 7,900 names on the list, these 10 were the most common:

  1. Charlie, 174 cats (…though, technically, the top name for cats was actually “no name”)
  2. Max, 157
  3. Molly, 150
  4. Tiger, 140
  5. Lucy, 133 (tie)
  6. Smokey, 133 (tie)
  7. Bella, 130
  8. Shadow, 115
  9. Lucky, 111
  10. Tigger, 107

About 5,400 of the cat names were used just once. Some examples:

  • Battlecat, Stratacater
  • Coco Declaw, Heath Declaw, Riley Declaw, Zoey Declaw
  • Cleokatra, Kat Middleton, Kat-Mandu, Eartha Kat, Genghis Khat
  • Meowl, Meowlodie, Meowth
  • Stephen Pawk, Timmy Paws
  • Hypurr, Jaspurr, Peppurr, Purrcilla, Purriwinkle, Purrl, Purrscilla, Thumpurr
  • Grumpy (as in Grumpy Cat)

Sources: Licensed Dog and Cat Names – City of Toronto, Charlie and Max top Toronto lists of popular pet names

Popular Baby Names in Alberta, 2015

According to data from the government of Alberta, the most popular baby names in the province in 2015 were Olivia and Liam.

Here are Alberta’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Olivia, 294 baby girls
2. Emma, 275
3. Emily, 252
4. Sophia, 205
5. Ava, 201
6. Chloe, 179
7. Ella, 167 [tie]
7. Abigail, 167 [tie]
9. Avery, 155
10. Amelia, 142
1. Liam, 301 baby boys
2. Noah, 256
3. Ethan, 233
4. Benjamin, 221
5. Lucas, 218
6. William, 217
7. Oliver, 209
8. Mason, 203
9. Logan, 196
10. Alexander, 193

In the girls’ top 10, Chloe, Avery, and Amelia replace Isabella, Charlotte, and Hannah.

In the boys’ top 10, Mason and Alexander replace Jacob and Carter.

Baby names that were bestowed only once last year include…

Unusual Girl Names Unusual Boy Names
Alastrine, Anarchy, Annayancy, Archa, Black-Feather, Breitling, Christivie, Costandina, Daylight, Drolma, Eallaf, Ehhuphoe, Esquire, Everra, Frozenda, Heledana, Isabeau, Jupiter, Kah, Loklyee-Snow, Lúthien, Mercyfavor, Mixx, Mornin-Starr, Mraeven, Nations, Nelanora, Obsolete, Oromia, Ovee, Patvabelle, Pluriana-Bella, Razbee, Reznor, SaQueira, Soda, Starlight, Sparrows, Surrender, Tayt-Lynn, Temperley, Uairirira, Umnia, Vhylix, Wynstelle, Xyrelle, Yeabkal, Yllethea, Yvriellebon, Zarabeen, Zayabella Ararso, Athanasius, Axtion, Bayou, Boxuan, Bry, Calyx, Clifflen, Coho, Den-Mark, Denzworth, Dezus, Eero, Eisenhower, Fnan, Fortress, Frotan, Galvin, Igloiel, Indus, JMaxx, Jomonosi, Kenardo, Knoll, Knoxin, Larxaniel, Memo, Mercer, Mugsy, Nazarus, Nexland, Nimona, Nuno, Nusetor, Okooc, Orges, Parx, Poncho, Psalmer, Qumbi, Ray-Pio, Reacher, Rook, Ryxer, Sky-Light, Sleem, Snowden, StylesJunior, Turbo, Uzuvira, Vanderjak, Vince-Gil, Wen-Ray, Wrightkin, Yngwie, Yogi, Zackharry, Zaylex, Zyller

Finally, here’s a link to Alberta’s top names of 2014.

Source: Frequency and Ranking of Baby Names by Year and Gender

Should We Name Hurricanes to Maximize Donations?

hurricaneIn 2008, psychologists Jesse Chandler, Tiffany M. Griffin, and Nicholas Sorensen published a study showing that people who shared an initial with a hurricane name were over-represented among hurricane relief donors. So, for instance, people with R-names donated significantly more than other people to Hurricane Rita relief efforts. (This is an offshoot of the name-letter effect.)

A few years later, marketing professor Adam Alter came up with an interesting idea: Why not use this knowledge to try to maximize donations to hurricane relief efforts? He explained:

In the United States, for example, more than 10% of all males have names that begin with the letter J-names like James and John (the two most common male names), Joseph and Jose, Jason, and Jeffrey. Instead of beginning just one hurricane name with the letter J each year (in 2013, that name will be Jerry), the World Meteorological Organization could introduce several J names each year. Similarly, more American female names begin with M than any other letter–most of them Marys, Marias, Margarets, Michelles, and Melissas–so the Organization could introduce several more M names to each list.

I think his idea is a good one overall. It wouldn’t cost much to implement, but could potentially benefit many hurricane victims.

I would go about choosing the names differently, though.

Repeating initials multiple times within a single hurricane season would be unwise, for instance. It would cause confusion, which would undermine the reason we started naming hurricanes in the first place (“for people easily to understand and remember” them, according to the WMO).

But optimizing the name lists using data on real-life usage? That would be smart.

I might even try optimizing based on demographics. Baby boomers are particularly generous donors, so maybe we should choose letters (or even names) with that generation in mind?

The baby boomers were born from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s, so here are the top initials for babies born in 1956 (60 years ago):

Top first letters of baby names, 1956, U.S.

Here are two possible lists of hurricane names using the above letters. I stuck with the WMO’s conventions: 21 names total, alternating genders, and no retired names.

Mid-century style Modern style
Janice
Danny
Rebecca
Martin
Cindy
Scott
Lori
Kenneth
Brenda
Patrick
Theresa
Gerald
Angela
Eugene
Wanda
Vincent
Nancy
Howard
Francine
Ira
Olga
Jasmine
Dominic
Rylee
Matthew
Charlotte
Sebastian
Lucy
Kingston
Bella
Preston
Trinity
Grayson
Ava
Eli
Willow
Victor
Nora
Hunter
Fiona
Isaac
Olivia

And here’s another point: we wouldn’t want to assign these names in order. While the official hurricane season lasts a full six months — June to November — most hurricane activity happens in August, September and October:

Number of Tropical Cyclones per 100 Years (NOAA)

To really optimize, we’d want to reserve the top initials/names for the stronger mid-season hurricanes, which tend to do the most damage. So we could start the season using mid-list names, then jump to the top of the list when August comes around and go in order from that point forward (skipping over any mid-list names that had already been used).

What are your thoughts on assigning hurricane names with disaster relief in mind? Do you think it could work? What strategy/formula would you use to select relief-optimized hurricane names?

Sources: In the “I” of the storm: Shared initials increase disaster donations, Smart Hurricane Names: A Policy Intervention that Costs Almost Nothing but Should Attract Billions of Dollars in Aid, Tropical Cyclone Programme – WMO
Image: Tropical Cyclone Climatology – National Hurricane Center – NOAA

P.S. While J, D and R were the top initials 60 years ago, today’s top initials are A, J and M.