The curious name Taimak debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1986. It appeared twice more, both times in the 1980s, before dropping out the data entirely.
1989: 5 baby boys named Taimak
1987: 6 baby boys named Taimak
1986: 8 baby boys named Taimak [debut]
Where did it come from?
Taimak Guarriello, the martial artist who played lead character Leroy Green in the movie The Last Dragon (1985). Leroy, a martial artist living in Harlem, was known to the other characters as “Bruce Leroy” because of his obsession with Bruce Lee.
It was Taimak’s first professional acting role, and, to date, his only lead role in a feature film. He was credited simply as “Taimak” in the opening credits.
(One of his co-stars in the movie was Prince protégé Vanity, and one of the songs from the soundtrack was the hit “Rhythm of the Night” by DeBarge.)
What does Taimak’s name mean? Here’s what he told Jet magazine in 2013:
I’m Black and Italian, but the name Taimak comes from the Aztec culture. “Teimoc” means striking eagle.
(I’m guessing it was based on the name Cuauhtémoc, which means “eagle that descends [in order to strike its prey]” in Nahuatl. Cuauhtémoc was the name of a 16th-century Aztec ruler.)
Just remember that the SSA data doesn’t become very accurate until the mid-to-late 20th century, so many of the numbers below don’t reflect reality all that well.
Same format as usual: Girl names on the left, boy names on the right. Numbers represent single-year decreases in usage. From 1880 to 1881, for instance, usage of the girl name Mary dropped by 146 babies and usage of the boy name William dropped by 1,008 babies.
I’ve already written about some of the names above (click the links to see the posts) and will write about others in the future. In the meanwhile, feel free to beat me to it! Comment below with the backstory on the fall of Shirley in the late ’30s, Linda in the early ’50s, etc.
Singer Ciara [pron. see-AIR-ah] explaining how she got her name (People):
My mom was trying to figure out my name when my dad bought her a fragrance called Ciara by Revlon. That’s where my name came from!
(The perfume name, according to the television commercials, was pronounced see‑AHR‑ah.)
Elon Musk explaining how Tesla Motors got its name (Elon Musk):
[W]e didn’t actually come up with the Tesla Motors name. Bought trademark off Brad Siewert for $75k in late 2004. He’d originally filed for it in 1994. Our alternative name was Faraday, which was used by a competitor several years later.
About a woman who married a carnival ride named Bruce (Daily Mail):
Most women look for a handsome, successful, dependable man to be their husband.
But Linda Ducharme, of Tampa, Florida, has decided to forgo relationships with men for those with metal.
The 56-year-old is ‘happily married’ to a skydiver carnival [ride] called Bruce – as she is sexually attracted to objects.
‘His name is Bruce and we’ve know each other since 1981,’ she said.
(You know you’re obsessed with names when your first question upon reading about this woman is: “I wonder why she chose the name Bruce?”)
About crafting names for San Francisco’s high-end condo towers (Modern Luxury):
Perusing high-end real estate literature these days is like reading the cubby signage at a Pacific Heights preschool. At the foot of the Bay Bridge, there’s the Jasper, a 400-foot-tall skyscraper by real estate developer Crescent Heights. Off Van Ness, you’ll run into the Austin, a shiny condo building from Pacific Eagle. And on Harrison Street awaits, well, the Harrison, with its private penthouse lounge, Uncle Harry’s. The trend of monikering luxury dwellings as though they were Ralph Lauren linen collections has hit San Francisco big-time, with the Ashton, the Avalon, and their ilk taking the place of yesteryear’s Paramount and Bel Air.
Yep, he is named after Mike Tyson, and yep, Tyson Fury is a perfect name for a boxer. Fury was born prematurely and only weighed one pound. “The doctors told me there was not much chance of him living,” said his father, John Fury. “I had lost two daughters in the same way who had been born prematurely. They told me there was not much hope for him. It was 1988, Mike Tyson was in his pomp as world heavyweight champion, and so I said, ‘Let’s call him Tyson’. The doctors just looked at me and smiled.”
About the recent celebrity baby name Indigo Blue (UPI):
French star SoKo is a new mom.
The 33-year-old singer and actress, born Stéphanie Sokolinski, took to Instagram Monday after giving birth to a daughter, Indigo Blue Honey.
SoKo shared a photo of herself kissing her baby girl’s foot. She said she named her daughter after The Clean song “Indigo Blue.”
About Marguerite Annie Johnson becoming Maya Angelou, from the book Maya Angelou: “Diversity Makes for a Rich Tapestry” by Donna Brown Agins:
Barry [Drew] signed Marguerite to a three-month contract performing as a Cuban calypso singer at the Purple Onion. He suggested that she change her name to something more exotic. She decided to use to childhood name, Maya. For added dramatic effect, she changed her married name, Angelos, to Angelou.
(Before she was a writer, she was a singer/dancer! This was news to me. The childhood nickname Maya came from her brother, who called her “Mya Sister.”)
About Malaysian sisters named Malaysia, Mayday and Mardeka (Malay Mail):
Mayday’s name pick also went through a similar spur-of-the moment decision, when Victoria was in labour.
“It was less than 24 hours to go before I had to go into labour and I looked at Kamalul and said we are going to have a baby girl soon and we have yet to decide on her name.
“At that point he was reading a historical book about Cold War and was at the part of the story where a plane was going down and an American pilot scream Mayday. He suddenly asked me why not we name her Mayday?” Victoria said with a big smile recalling the moment.
The couple immediately agreed on it since they wanted all their daughters name to start with the pronunciation of “Ma”.
About Cornell University’s two corpse flowers, named Wee Stinky and Carolus (14850.com):
Wee Stinky is named for the spot on the Cornell campus known as the Wee Stinky Glen, near the Cornell Store, that used to have a distinct odor. Carolus was named after Carolus Linnæus, the 18th Century Swedish botanist who laid the foundations of the modern biological naming system known as binomial nomenclature, says Ed Cobb, research support specialist in the Plant Biology Section of the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “It’s also in honor of Carol Bader, the greenhouse grower who nurtured these plants for nearly ten years, but passed away before they bloomed.”
What’s the best thing about Halloween? If you said the costumes, or the parties, or the history, or the carving of very elaborate jack-o’-lanterns…you’d be wrong. Because the correct answer is: the candy.
But, as funny as I think it would be to meet a kid named Twizzler, I don’t want people taking names from candy wrappers and putting them onto birth certificates. So let’s look at candy-inspired baby names in a slightly different way by focusing on a single brand with a simple name: M&M’S.
Did you know that M&M’S are the top-selling Halloween candy in California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C.? They’re the second-best seller in eight other states, and the third-best seller in three more.
More important for our purposes, though, is the fact that the brand name is essentially the same letter twice. So let’s check out baby names that similarly have two M’s, but two separate M’s. Because, if the candies won’t melt in your hand, the M’s shouldn’t meld in a name.
So here are over 20 baby names with two audibly distinct M’s, just like M&M’S candies:
Tomomi (f) – Japanese name with various possible meanings, including “friend” + “beautiful.”
Which of the M+M names above do you like best?
And, are you curious to know what the M’s in “M&M’S” actually stand for? Mars and Murrie, the surnames of Forrest Mars and Bruce Murrie, the businessmen who created M&M’S back in the early 1940s. Forrest was the sons of Frank C. Mars (founder of Mars, Incorporated) and Bruce was the son of William F. R. Murrie (president of Hershey’s).
Which girl names increased the most in popularity from 2015 to 2016? Which ones decreased the most?
The SSA likes to answer this question by analyzing ranking differences within the top 1,000. I like to answer it by looking at raw number differences that take the full list into account. So let’s check out the results using both methods…
Girl Names: Biggest Increases, 2015 to 2016
1. Kehlani, +2,487 spots — up from 3,359th to 872nd
2. Royalty, +618 spots — up from 1,150th to 532nd
3. Saoirse, +465 spots — up from 1,448th to 983rd
4. Ophelia, +396 spots — up from 976th to 580th
5. Aitana, +368 spots — up from 917th to 549th
6. Itzayana, +356 spots — up from 1,125th to 769th
7. Alessia, +348 spots — up from 1,175th to 827th
8. Kaylani, +301 spots — up from 1,056th to 755th
9. Avianna, +298 spots — up from 751st to 453rd
10. Nalani, +294 spots — up from 1,280th to 986th
Royalty was influenced by the R&B singer Chris Brown, whose daughter (b. 2014) and 7th album (2015) were both called Royalty.
Saoirse was influenced by Irish actress Saoirse Ronan — perhaps specifically by those American talk show appearances in which she talked to the hosts (Ellen DeGeneres, Stephen Colbert, etc.) about how to pronounce her name. Plus there was that widely circulated Ryan Gosling quote on the same topic (“It’s Ser-sha, like inertia”).
Alessia was influenced by singer/songwriter Alessia Cara.
1. Adeline, +1,700 baby girls — up from 2,403 to 4,103
2. Charlotte, +1,649 baby girls — up from 11,381 to 13,030
3. Riley, +1,390 baby girls — up from 5,720 to 7,110
4. Adaline, +971 baby girls — up from 902 to 1,873
5. Amelia, +864 baby girls — up from 9,838 to 10,702
6. Luna, +849 baby girls — up from 2,796 to 3,645
7. Emilia, +804 baby girls — up from 2,215 to 3,019
8. Camila, +765 baby girls — up from 5,271 to 6,036
9. Nova, +754 baby girls — up from 1,518 to 2,272
10. Evelyn, +708 baby girls — up from 9,352 to 10,060
Adeline and Adaline were influenced, at least initially, by the movie The Age of Adaline (2015).
Other names that saw raw number increases in the 200+ range included Eleanor, Teagan, Kinsley, Scarlett, Everly, Quinn, Aria, Remi, Harper, Penelope, Thea, Claire, Rowan, Hazel, Ruby, Blake, Aurora, Ivy, Harley, Eloise, Willow, Elena, Josephine, Alice, Blakely, Saylor, Nora, Leia, Iris, Margot, Isla, Freya, Samara, Joy, Zara, Eliana, Joanna, and Malia.
Girl Names: Biggest Decreases, 2015 to 2016
1. Caitlin, -542 spots — down from 609th to 1,151st
2. Caitlyn, -462 spots — down from 598th to 1,060th
3. Katelynn, -402 spots — down from 652nd to 1,054th
4. Kaitlynn, -381 spots — down from 994th to 1,375th
5. Neriah, -344 spots — down from 943rd to 1,287th
6. Bryanna, -276 spots — down from 783rd to 1,059th
7. Kiley, -275 spots — down from 898th to 1,173rd
8. Yaritza, -271 spots — down from 935th to 1,206th
9. Denise, -210 spots — down from 993rd to 1,203rd
10. Kaelyn, -203 spots — down from 521st to 724th
Caitlin, Caitlyn, Katelynn, and Kaitlynn, were negatively influenced by Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce Jenner), who appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair in mid-2015 with the headline “Call me Caitlyn.”
This reminds me of what happened a few decades ago to Hillary — another name that was strongly associated for a time with a female who wasn’t conforming to gender norms. Perhaps tellingly, the name Bruce wasn’t hit nearly as hard. Jenner did fall of the charts, though.
1. Sophia, -1,311 baby girls — down from 17,381 to 16,070
2. Alexa, -1,289 baby girls — down from 6,049 to 4,760
3. Madison, -1,090 baby girls — down from 10,072 to 8,982
4. Emma, -1,001 baby girls — down from 20,415 to 19,414 (…but still the #1 name overall)
5. Aubrey, -869 baby girls — down from 7,376 to 6,507
6. Isabella, -852 baby girls — down from 15,574 to 14,722
7. Emily, -840 baby girls — down from 11,766 to 10,926
8. Kylie, -753 baby girls — down from 4,149 to 3,396
9. Alexis, -744 baby girls — down from 3,406 to 2,662
10. Abigail, -672 baby girls — down from 12,371 to 11,699
Other names that saw raw number drops in the 200+ range included Kaitlyn, Avery, Allison, Alyssa, London, Kaylee, Sofia, Katelyn, Kimberly, Zoey, Mia, Chloe, Kendall, Taylor, Sadie, Khloe, Mackenzie, Hannah, Peyton, Addison, Samantha, Ashley, Olivia, Gabriella, Brianna, Lauren, Anna, Brooklyn, Morgan, Jocelyn, Sydney, Natalie, Victoria, Makayla, Zoe, Hailey, Payton, Brooke, Annabelle, Trinity, Keira, Adalyn, Jordyn, Kayla, Molly, Audrey, Faith, Madelyn, Lillian, Caitlin, Caitlyn, Makenzie, Paige, Aaliyah, Paisley, Nevaeh, Elizabeth, Amy, and Jessica.
Interesting how certain like-names went in opposite directions last year. Leia, Alessia, and Adaline rose; Leah, Alyssa, and Adalyn fell.
Do you have any other explanations/guesses about any of the names above? If so, please comment!
(In 2015, the big winners were Alexa and Alaia, and the big losers were Isabella and Isis.)