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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Bob

Number of Babies Named Bob

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Bob

Cryptography Names – Alice, Bob, Eve

protocolSince the late 1970s, cryptographers have been using personal names (instead of labels like “person A” and “person B”) to describe various communications scenarios. Many of these scenarios involve two communicating parties named Alice and Bob and an eavesdropper named Eve.

Extra parties are assigned names alphabetically (e.g., Carol, Dave) unless they play a specific role within the scenario. For instance, a password cracker is named Craig, a malicious attacker is named Mallory, an intruder is named Trudy, and a whistle-blower is named Wendy.

In zero-knowledge protocols, the “prover” and “verifier” of a message are typically named Peggy and Victor…but Pat and Vanna (after Wheel of Fortune presenters Pat Sajak and Vanna White) are sometimes used instead.

Here’s more about Alice and Bob from American cryptographer Bruce Schneier:

And you’d see paper after paper, and [in] the opening few paragraphs, the authors would explain what they’re doing in terms of Alice and Bob. So Alice and Bob have a storied history. They send each other secrets, they get locked in jail, they get married, they get divorced, they’re trying to date each other. Anything two people might want to do securely, Alice and Bob have done it somewhere in the cryptographic literature.

Question of the day: If you were tasked with updating the names of “person A” (female) and “person B” (male), what new names would you choose?

Sources: Alice and Bob – Wikipedia, ‘Replace crypto-couple Alice and Bob with Sita and Rama’, Bruce Schneier – Who are Alice & Bob? [vid]
Image: Protocol by Randall Munroe under CC BY-NC 2.5.

First Antarctic Iceberg with a Name: “Melting Bob”

floating iceIn 2008, the Scott Polar Research Institute (part of the University of Cambridge) organized a competition to give a proper name to Antarctic iceberg C‑19A.

The enormous iceberg was initially code-named C‑19, as it was the 19th iceberg observed by the U.S. National Ice Center to calve from the “C” quadrant of the continent. In 2003, C‑19 split into two pieces: C‑19A (the bigger piece) and C‑19B (the smaller piece).

The competition was open to kids between the ages of 3 and 12. It attracted about 500 entrants. The winning name came from 6-year-old Max Dolan, who suggested that C-19A be called Melting Bob.

Max coined the name Melting Bob with The Simpsons character Sideshow Bob in mind, but the name is also a clever play on words. Here’s how Max described it:

“Because of global warming, ice melts. And it goes up and down in the sea, so it bobs.”

Kangaroo Desert, White Fright, Vast Tip and Antarc‑Ticker were among the other suggestions.

If you could name an iceberg, what name would you choose?

Sources: And the winner is…Melting Bob, Iceberg C-19, Max names iceberg Melting Bob, NOAA News Online

Popular Baby Names in Quebec, 2014

According to data from the Régie des rentes du Québec (RRQ), the most popular baby names in Quebec in 2014 were Lea and William.

Here are the province’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2014:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Lea, 575 baby girls
2. Emma, 569
3. Olivia, 508
4. Florence, 482
5. Chloe, 472
6. Alice, 459
7. Zoe, 422
8. Rosalie, 410
9. Charlie, 386
10. Charlotte, 369
1. William, 773 baby boys
2. Thomas, 733
3. Felix, 711
4. Liam, 695
5. Nathan, 672
6. Jacob, 611
7. Alexis, 594
8. Logan, 593
9. Olivier, 582
10. Samuel, 579

Charlotte replaces Juliette in the girls’ top 10, and Logan replaces Gabriel in the boys’ top 10.

The biggest moves within the top 10 were the fall of Samuel (down 7 spots) the rises of both Chloe and Thomas (up 5 spots each).

Quebec is one of the wonderful places that releases all of its baby name data (yay!) so now let’s check out some of the names at the other end of the spectrum.

The following names were bestowed only once in Quebec last year:

Rare Girl Names Rare Boy Names
Aberdeen, Acacia, Alghalia, Allegresse, Alimata, Alypier, Amorelle Simo, Anabia, Aonnhi Io, Armiella Sylene, Astoria, Ausalie, Auxanne, Ayqut, Balsam, Berangere, Brunaica, Bremellia, Cassou, Coumba, Coramely, Cydra, Dahlianne, Delnaz, Edmaelle, Ejona, Eliabelle, Elielle, Eliora, Elisapie, Elowen, Eluvia, Ember, Eolie, Eunicia, Fedaelle, Felune, Greyelle, Hyzalie, Inuluk, Isatis*, Izalee, Janabelle, Jedia, Juniper, Kalixie, Kazelly, Koubrah, Lessika Sibi, Leocadie, Lilafee, Lilwenn Sage, Losokola Victoria, Lysea, Lysmee, Macdara, Massylia, Mavie, Mayura, Mazaly, Mervedie Hope, Miaphee, Mijanie, Moon, Myrannie, Nauralie, Neelamy, Nektaria, Nephthalie, Nima, Nourcine, Nuunia, Oonq, Orkida, Orzala, Ozia, Phiji, Poeme, Prunille, Quinn Logan, Quppiak, Ralph-Emma, Rivlynca, Rizelane, Rosemma, Runa, Saby-Lina, Sauriane, Sensylia, Sheltoina Nissie, Sherodie Norah, Siella, Sillija, Siska, Sonoma, Spring Kimberly, Stratus, Sylenad, Syrianne, Tassadit, Taurie, Taurielle, Tillia, Toltzy, Tshiala, Twiggy, Upoma, Velesie, Venba, Yaralee Phedianie, Yebga Johanne, Yolbie, Zazyl Alarik, Asher Zelig, Ateronhiahere, Audric, Avigdor, Benjamin Rebel, Carther, Carlvin, Charvey, Clyvens, Curry-Tianlang, Dannic, Darwin, Detroit, Dillis Della Mcnjiss, Dimaben, Donadel Theo, Dzoti-Dylan, Ednershley Josue, Eluann, Enxu, Eudovic Nicanor, Exode Baelo, Faucher-Levasseur, Fenryr, Fulgence, Fundy, Glennfrey, Glory-Honneuramons, Godlycharacter, Gonzalo Kai Fei, Harley Davidson, Heliodore, Hugolin, Imix, Jayssijay, Joelvino, Jusipi, Kaherahere, Kallytrie, Karmany Alain, Kerfala, Klooff, La Fleche, Leith, Leolo, Lowry Nessi, Madden-Steeve, Malorik, Markernald, Maverix, Maxange, Med Reda, Maydenlee, Micipsa, Monzonto Bertinel, Mor Talla, Mordechai Max, Namory, Neven, Nick-Jovi, Nils, Noeliam*, Nowlan, Ossimbo, Providence Nathanael, Renzo, Rozzel Emmanuel, Savio, Sederi, Sphinx Jones, Syphax, Taliby, Tauren, Techeley, Thymote, Trencely, Turic, Tylian, Valliant-Bob, Vanguard, Vyber Biao, William-Wallace, Willie Ittuk, Y Rambo, Xquenda, Yansyl, Yartine, Yizo, York, Yulrick, Zacchaeus Righteous, Zeegar, Zineddine Zidane, Zino

*Isatis is a genus of Old World plants/herbs that includes woad (Isatis tinctoria).

**Noeliam might be a mashup of Noel + Liam. Maybe his parents are big Oasis fans?

Here are Quebec’s top baby names of 2013, 2012, 2009 and 2006, if you’d like to compare.

Source: RRQ – List of Baby Names in Québec

Where Did Hoagy Carmichael’s Name Come From?

Hoagy Carmichael, 1953No doubt you’ve heard of composer Hoagy Carmichael, who wrote the music for “Georgia on My Mind,” “Stardust,” “New Orleans,” “Lazy River,” and other classic pop/jazz songs.

But do you know where his distinctive name came from?

Hoagland Howard “Hoagy” Carmichael was born in Indiana in late 1899 to parents Howard Clyde and Lida Mary Carmichael. He had three sisters named Geogiana (nn Georgia), Martha, and Joanne.

Wikipedia claims Hoagy was named for a circus troupe called “The Hoaglands,” but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

According to an autobiography, right around the time Hoagland was born “[t]here was a new railroad spur being built on the Monon line near Harrodsburg, and some of the surveyors were living in our neighborhood.” One of the railroad men, Harry Hoagland, was boarding with a relative.

Mother liked the unusual and had the imagination and the temperament of a poet, or a piano player. “Well, Hoagland sounds grand!” she said.

My father didn’t mind. “Sure, we can always use my name in the middle.”

Grandma Carmichael raised her hands in horror. “Lida, dear, please don’t name him Hoagland. They’ll nickname him Hoagy for sure. And besides, I like Taylor better.” [Taylor was Grandpa Carmichael’s name.]

Lida’s choice won, and the baby’s name became Hoagland Howard Carmichael.

His grandmother’s nickname prediction did come true, but not for a couple of decades: Hoagland didn’t start going by “Hoagy” until college.

Hoagy went on to marry a woman named Ruth. They had two sons, Hoagy Bix (born in 1938) and Randy Bob (born in 1940). Hoagy Bix’s middle name honors jazz cornetist Leon Bismark “Bix” Beiderbecke, who was a big influence on Hoagy, Sr.:

Hoagy heard a young white cornetist named Bix Beiderbecke and, “it threw my judgment out of kilter.” This was a sound like nothing he’d heard before and when Hoagy played an improvised tune for Bix, the strange young man with a magical horn said, “Whyn’t you write music, Hoagy?” The rest of his life was the answer to Bix’s question.

Randy Bob’s first name was inspired by movie actor Randolph Scott, but I’m not sure where his middle name came from.

What do you think of the name Hoagland? How about Hoagy?


Names Popular During the Victorian Era

Tuesday’s post about the Victorian-style Tylney Hall Hotel reminded me of a list of Victorian-era names that I’ve had bookmarked forever.

The list was created by amateur genealogist G. M. Atwater as a resource for writers. It contains names and name combinations that were commonly seen in the U.S. from the 1840s to the 1890s. Below is the full list (with a few minor changes).

Victorian Era Female Names Victorian Era Male Names
  • Abigale / Abby
  • Ada
  • Adella
  • Agnes
  • Allie
  • Almira / Almyra
  • Alva
  • America
  • Amelia
  • Ann / Annie
  • Arrah
  • Beatrice
  • Bernice
  • Charity
  • Charlotte
  • Chastity
  • Claire
  • Constance
  • Cynthia
  • Dorothy / Dot
  • Edith
  • Edna
  • Edwina
  • Ella
  • Eleanor
  • Ellie
  • Elizabeth / Eliza / Liza / Lizzy / Bess / Bessie / Beth / Betsy
  • Elvira
  • Emma
  • Esther
  • Ethel
  • Eudora
  • Eva
  • Fidelia
  • Frances / Fanny
  • Flora
  • Florence
  • Geneve
  • Genevieve
  • Georgia
  • Gertrude / Gertie
  • Gladys
  • Grace
  • Hannah
  • Hattie
  • Helen
  • Helene
  • Henrietta / Hettie / Ettie
  • Hester
  • Hope
  • Hortence
  • Isabell / Isabella
  • Jane
  • Jennie
  • Jessamine
  • Josephine
  • Judith
  • Julia
  • Juliet
  • Katherine / Kate
  • Laura
  • Leah
  • Lenora
  • Letitia
  • Lila
  • Lilly
  • Lorena
  • Lorraine
  • Lottie
  • Louise / Louisa
  • Lucy
  • Lulu
  • Lydia
  • Mahulda
  • Margaret / Peggie
  • Mary / Molly / Polly
  • Mary Elizabeth
  • Mary Frances
  • Martha
  • Matilda / Mattie
  • Maude
  • Maxine / Maxie
  • Mercy
  • Mildred
  • Minerva
  • Missouri
  • Myrtle
  • Nancy
  • Natalie
  • Nellie / Nelly
  • Nettie
  • Nora
  • Orpha
  • Patsy
  • Parthena
  • Permelia
  • Phoebe
  • Philomena
  • Preshea
  • Rachel
  • Rebecca / Becky
  • Rhoda / Rhody
  • Rowena
  • Rufina
  • Ruth
  • Samantha
  • Sally
  • Sarah
  • Sarah Ann
  • Sarah Elizabeth
  • Savannah
  • Selina
  • Sophronia
  • Stella
  • Theodosia / Theda
  • Vertiline / Verd
  • Victoria
  • Virginia / Ginny
  • Vivian
  • Winnifred / Winnie
  • Zona
  • Zylphia
  • Aaron
  • Abraham / Abe
  • Alan / Allen
  • Albert
  • Alexander
  • Alonzo
  • Ambrose
  • Amon
  • Amos
  • Andrew / Drew / Andy
  • Aquilla
  • Archibald / Archie
  • Arnold
  • Asa
  • August / Augustus / Gus
  • Barnabas / Barney
  • Bartholomew / Bart
  • Benjamin
  • Bennet
  • Benedict
  • Bernard
  • Bertram / Bert
  • Buford
  • Byron
  • Calvin
  • Cephas
  • Charles / Charley / Charlie
  • Christopher
  • Christopher Columbus
  • Clarence
  • Clement / Clem
  • Clinton / Clint
  • Cole
  • Columbus / Lom / Lum
  • Commodore Perry
  • Daniel / Dan
  • David
  • Edmund
  • Edward / Ned
  • Edwin
  • Eldon
  • Eli
  • Elijah
  • Elisha
  • Emmett
  • Enoch
  • Ezekiel / Zeke
  • Ezra
  • Francis / Frank
  • Franklin
  • Frederick / Fred
  • Gabriel / Gabe
  • Garrett
  • George
  • George Washington
  • Gideon
  • Gilbert / Gil
  • Granville
  • Harland
  • Harrison
  • Harold / Harry
  • Harvey
  • Henry / Hank
  • Hiram
  • Horace
  • Horatio
  • Hugh
  • Isaiah
  • Israel
  • Isaac / Ike
  • Isaac Newton
  • Jacob / Jake
  • James / Jim
  • Jasper
  • Jefferson / Jeff
  • Jedediah / Jed
  • Jeptha
  • Jesse
  • Joel
  • John / Jack
  • John Paul
  • John Wesley
  • Jonathan
  • Joseph / Josephus
  • Josiah
  • Joshua
  • Julian
  • Julius
  • Lafayette / Lafe
  • Lawrence / Larry
  • Leander
  • Les / Lester / Leslie
  • Lewis / Lew / Louis
  • Levi
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucius
  • Luke
  • Luther
  • Louis
  • Levi
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucius
  • Luke
  • Luther
  • Matthew
  • Marcellus
  • Mark
  • Martin
  • Martin Luther
  • Masheck
  • Maurice
  • Maxwell
  • Merrill
  • Meriwether
  • Meriwether Lewis
  • Michael / Mike
  • Micajah / Cage
  • Mordecai
  • Morgan
  • Morris
  • Nathaniel / Nathan / Nate / Nat
  • Newton / Newt
  • Nicholas / Nick
  • Nimrod
  • Ninian
  • Obediah
  • Octavius
  • Ora / Oral
  • Orville
  • Oscar
  • Owen
  • Paul
  • Patrick / Pat
  • Patrick Henry
  • Paul
  • Perry
  • Peter
  • Pleasant
  • Ralph
  • Raymond
  • Reuben
  • Robert / Bob
  • Robert Lee
  • Richard / Rich / Dick
  • Roderick
  • Rudolph
  • Rufus
  • Samuel
  • Sam Houston
  • Seth
  • Silas
  • Simon
  • Simeon
  • Stanley / Stan
  • Stephen
  • Thaddeus
  • Thomas / Tom
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Theodore / Ted
  • Timothy / Tim
  • Ulysses
  • Uriah
  • Victor
  • Walter
  • Warren
  • Washington
  • Wilfred
  • William / Will / Bill / Billy
  • Willie
  • Zachariah
  • Zebulon
  • Zedock

Which female name and male name do you like best?

Source: Victorian Era Names, A Writer’s Guide

Name Quotes for the Weekend #22

Madonna quote, on her name

From a 1991 Vanity Fair interview with Madonna Ciccone:

I sometimes think I was born to live up to my name. How could I be anything else but what I am having been named Madonna? I would either have ended up a nun or this.

(Madonna, who was named after her mother, went by the nickname Nonni as a child.)

From “Quick Tip: Naming Your Children” by Sharon Beesley:

So, here’s my advice I tell everyone: One of the best ways to avoid having your kid share a name with a classmate is to browse through these personalized towels/bedsheets/backpacks in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog. Despite how much you might love the name, if you see it in the catalog, your kid will have a higher risk of name repeat. Sadly, if I could go back to the PBKids catalogs in 2005, I would see Ella monogramed on every pillow. Same with my boys in 2007. Look! There’s some left over Owen baskets they are still using. Do you see your kids name in some of the items in the current catalog? Prepare yourselves.

From “Why I Gave My Daughter a Black Name – Despite the Perceived Consequences” by Dara Tafakari Mathis:

Racism doesn’t play by the rules. Black parents cannot win the respectable name game in America.

Black people are discriminated against primarily because we are Black; our names are just a scapegoat. For example, “Tyrone” has come to stand for a “stereotypical” Black man. But did you know that the name Tyrone is Irish in origin? A name doesn’t have to be “creative” or “ghetto” to be Black; it just has to be Black long enough. And as soon as we make something “Black,” the cycle of discrimination begins afresh.

From “An Open Letter to the Hipster Babies of Hipster Parents” by Nicole Leigh Shaw:

You’ll look cool sporting a binkie with a handlebar mustache though, because you’ll have a name to match your level of sardonic suckling. Yes, hipster babies, your names will be either gender neutral or plucked from an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. Nothing goes better with your ‘stachifier than an alpaca-hair blankie and the name Myrtle or Gatsby. Have fun at the independent coffee house where you’ll meet up with Zelda and Jasper in your vintage pram that makes even Mary Poppins say, “Practically perfect in every way.”

If your folks take the gender-neutral name route, then on paper some of your names will prompt people to wonder, “Is that a boy or a girl?” It’s all fine and good to choose Jane or Bob, but today’s babies are sporting the sweetest little genderless names, like Harper and Riley. If you’re lucky, you’ll be born to real envelope pushers. Maybe you’ll be named Person or Human!

From “11 Colors You’ve Probably Never Heard Of” at Mental Floss:


Originally another word for poppy, coquelicot is the flower’s orange-tinted red color. (It also sounds like a celebrity baby name.)

(Here’s what coquelicot looks like.)

From an article about the nuns of St. John the Divine, the inspiration behind the BBC show Call the Midwife:

Between 80 and 100 babies were born each month in the eight-mile square district of Poplar. “If there’s one thing I’ll say about East End mums, it’s that they love their kids,” adds [Sister] Christine. “In the 100 years we were there, just one baby was abandoned on our doorstep. We cared for him before the police came. They named him John Divine.”

(Speaking of Call the Midwife…the convent in the show, Nonnatus House, is named for St. Raymond Nonnatus. His nickname Nonnatus, Latin for “not born,” refers to the fact that he was born by Caesarean section because his mother died while giving birth to him.)

From “Week 35: Never share your baby names” by Nicole Dubé of CTV News Winnipeg:

My husband and I have kept our boy and girl name choices on the DL because we want the special privilege of introducing our first joint venture (a.k.a. child) to the world with as much pomp and circumstance as we can muster. Plus, we love surprises.

Well the other day while chatting with friends about what people are calling their kids these days, our boy name came up and got slammed!

I couldn’t hide my horrified reaction, thinking “Great, back to the drawing board!”

But my husband surprised me by saying he liked hearing the negative reaction because it didn’t change his emotional connection to our choice.

Name crisis averted, but lesson learned: Keep mum on baby name talk!

From an article about the best names from the 2014 MLB Draft by Dakota Gardner of’s Cut4:

If you name your child “Blaze,” he’s destined for one of only two career paths: baseball pitcher or American Gladiator.

(In case you’re wondering, Blaze is indeed an American Gladiator name.)

The Baby Name Normandie

normandie linerWhen I first noticed the name Normandie on the SSA’s 1944 baby name list, I thought the name must have something to do with the Battle of Normandy.

But two things weren’t right. First, the English version of the word, Normandy, was nowhere to be found that year. Second, as I worked backwards through the lists, I noticed more and more baby girls named “Normandie.” So, my Battle of Normandy theory was blown.

But that’s fine, because the theory I have now is a lot more interesting.

The name Normandie debuted on the list in 1935, and appeared on the list a total of 5 times:

  • 1945: unlisted
  • 1944: 9 baby girls named Normandie
  • 1943: 9 baby girls named Normandie
  • 1942: 14 baby girls named Normandie
  • …unlisted…
  • 1937: 11 baby girls named Normandie
  • 1936: unlisted
  • 1935: 7 baby girls named Normandie [debut]
  • 1934: unlisted

Where did it come from?

My guess is the French ocean liner the SS Normandie, which was the largest and most luxurious passenger ship of the late 1930s.

Unlike other ships of that era, the Normandie was built to cater to the wealthy. Most of the opulent Art Deco interior was specifically designated for first-class use:

Here was a ship where the first class dining room accommodated 700 guests sitting under 12 pillars of illuminated Lalique glass and 38 matching columns along the walls. There was a winter garden filled with exotic flora and fauna, a swimming pool, and a theatre.

First class suites had pianos, multiple bedrooms and their own decks.

In mid-1935, the Normandie crossed the Atlantic on its maiden voyage. One of the passengers was Madame Lebrun, wife of French president Albert François Lebrun.

Tens of thousands of people saw the ship off from Le Havre, France, and tens of thousands more lined the docks at New York Harbor to watch it arrive just 4 days and 3 hours later — a new westbound speed record.

All of [the Normandie-related] events, the mere presence of Normandie in New York and the atmosphere that she created fueled the media and popular obsession with the ocean liner and the famous passengers she had on board.

Two years later, in 1937, the Normandie broke the westbound speed record again, this time completing the trip in just under 4 days.

The ship ended up crossing the Atlantic a total of 139 times, ferrying notable passengers like Marlene Dietrich, Walt Disney, Ernest Hemingway, Cary Grant and Bob Hope back and forth between Europe and the U.S.

But the ship’s career was cut short when, just days after the attack on Pearl Harbor in late 1941, U.S. authorities seized control of the Normandie while it was docked at Pier 88 on the Hudson River. While being converted into a troopship in early 1942, it caught fire and capsized onto its port side. The Normandie was righted in 1943, but was ultimately scrapped in 1946.

What do you think of the baby name Normandie?

UPDATE, 7/29/15: Normandie, Take Two

Sources: Art deco ocean liner exhibition opens in New York, The Rich and Famous Creating a Buzz for Normandie, United States seizes French liner Normandie