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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Charlie

Number of Babies Named Charlie

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Charlie

Thedy, a Hitchcock-Inspired Baby Name

thedy sue hill, hitchcock

Here’s a baby name with ties to Ray Bradbury, Alfred Hitchcock, and decapitation! What fun.

The name is Thedy, and it appeared for the first and only time on the Social Security Administration’s baby name list in 1964:

  • 1965: unlisted
  • 1964: 10 baby girls named Thedy [debut]
  • 1963: unlisted

Where did it come from?

It came from Thedy Sue Hill, a character in an early 1964 episode of the The Alfred Hitchcock Hour called “The Jar.” The episode aired on Valentine’s day, actually, which is ironic given the content…

thedy sue hill, charlie, the jarThe story is set in Louisiana, and the protagonist is Thedy Sue’s husband, Charlie, who goes to a carnival and purchases a large jar containing a weird, fleshy mass submersed in murky fluid.

Thedy Sue — a “cunning, self-involved young wife” who has been unfaithful to Charlie — insists that Charlie get rid of the jar. He refuses, as the jar has “brought him notoriety and respect in the community. People come from miles to gather in his parlor and look at the jar and the obscure contents which represent something different to each of them.”

Fed-up Thedy goes back to the carnival to learn what’s really inside the jar. Turns out, not much — a wire frame, paper, doll parts, etc.

But does this stop a humiliated Charlie from continuing to displaying the jar for his neighbors? Nope. But the next time they gather to start at the fleshy mass inside, guess what they see:

thedy sue, hitchcock,

Lovely, right?

Not only did the name Thedy become a one-hit wonder on the charts the same year the episode aired, but I’ve found four people named “Thedy Sue” specifically, including Thedy Sue Hess (b. 1964 in Kentucky) and Thedy Sue Scott (b. 1967 in Illinois).

“The Jar” was based on a short story of the same name by Ray Bradbury. The story was first published in the November 1944 issue of fantasy/horror pulp magazine Weird Tales. In the original story, the character’s name was simply Thedy, no “Sue.”

I’m not sure how Bradbury came up with the name — perhaps it’s based on Theda [THEE-da], Theodora, or Theodosia — but I do know that the story was inspired by his childhood memory of seeing preserved embryos in jars at a carnival sideshow.

The actress who played Thedy Sue Hill also had an interesting name: Collin Wilcox. Her parents, confident they were getting a baby boy, picked out the name Collin ahead of time in honor of an uncle.

What do you think of the baby name Thedy? (Do you like it more or less than Theda?)

Sources: The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: The Jar – TV.com, ‘The Jar’ – The Cosmicomicon, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour – Bradbury Media, An Interview with Collin Wilcox – The Classic TV History Blog


Popular Baby Names in New Zealand, 2016

According to data released a few days ago by New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs, the most popular baby names in the country in 2016 were Olivia and Oliver.

Here are New Zealand’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2016:

Girl Names
1. Olivia, 266 baby girls
2. Charlotte, 262
3. Isla, 239
4. Harper, 236
5. Ella, 220
6. Amelia, 211
7. Emily, 203
8. Mia, 196
9. Sophie, 189
10. Ava, 188

Boy Names
1. Oliver, 332 baby boys
2. Jack, 286
3. William, 263
4. Mason, 254
5. James, 253
6. Hunter, 244
7. Noah, 229
8. Lucas, 228
9. Leo, 220
10. Max, 217

In the girls’ top 10, Ava (previously 15th) replaces Isabella (now 13th).

In the boys’ top 10, Noah (previously 11th), Max (13th), Lucas (14th), and Leo (24th) replace Liam (now 11th), Charlie (14th), Benjamin (18th), and Jacob (25th).

One name that’s rising fast in New Zealand is Matilda, which ranked…

  • 24th in 2016
  • 41st in 2015
  • 77th in 2014
  • 95th in 2013

Leo jumped from 24th to 9th in a single year…do you think Matilda could do the same?

Here are New Zealand’s 2015 rankings for 2015.

Sources:
Revealed: New Zealand’s most popular baby names of 2016, Most Popular Male and Female First Names

Popular Baby Names in ACT, 2016

According to data released recently by the ACT government, the most popular baby names in Canberra in 2016 were Charlotte and William.

Here are the Australian Capital Territory’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2016:

Girl Names
1. Charlotte
2. Amelia
3. Ava
4. Zoe
5. Grace
6. Evelyn
7. Mia
8. Abigail
9. Audrey
10. Lily

Boy Names
1. William
2. Lachlan
3. Thomas
4. Jack
5. Oliver
6. Liam
7. James
8. Alexander
9. Leo
10. Ethan

The two #1 names are the same as they were in 2015.

In the girls’ top ten, Evelyn, Abigail, Audrey and Lily replace Olivia (the former #2 name), Sophie, Chloe, and Emily.

In the boys’ top 10, Liam, Leo, and Ethan replace Henry, Charlie and Oscar.

For more Australia-specific baby name rankings, check out the Australia & New Zealand name rankings subcategory.

Source: Charlotte and William: Canberra’s top baby names for 2016

Popular Baby Names in Scotland, 2016

According to provisional data released yesterday by National Records of Scotland (NRS), the most popular baby names in the country in 2016 were Olivia and Jack.

Here are Scotland’s projected top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2016:

Girl Names
1. Olivia, 492 baby girls
2. Emily, 490
3. Sophie, 392
4. Isla, 367
5. Ava, 343
6. Amelia, 323
7. Jessica, 294
8. Ella, 268
9. Lucy, 264
10. Charlotte, 250

Boy Names
1. Jack, 465 baby boys
2. James, 402
3. Oliver, 368
4. Lewis, 301
5. Logan, 288
6. Harry, 284
7. Noah, 283
8. Leo, 282
9. Charlie, 280
10. Alexander, 279

On the girls’ list, Olivia replaces Emily as the #1 name and Charlotte knocks Lily out of the top 10.

On the boys’ list, Jack retains the top spot and Harry, Noah, and Leo take the place of Lucas, Harris and Daniel in the top 10.

But this data only covers the first eleven months (or so) of the year; the finalized data will be out in mid-March. (Here’s the finalized data for 2015.)

Finally, have you ever wanted to see a list of Scottish island names that have been used as baby names (pdf)? The NRS has got you covered! Their clever infographic mentions Arran, Coll, Eriskay (which reminds me of Easkey), Gigha, Harris, Iona, Islay (pronounced EYE‑lah), Jura, Kerrera, Lewis, Skye, Tiree, and Uist (pronounced YOU‑ist).

baby name, island name, scotland, islay, isla
Popularity of the name Islay in Scotland

Which island name do you like best for a human baby?

Sources: Olivia and Jack are Scotland’s top baby names, Top Scottish baby names for 2016 revealed

Do Americans Have an Obsession with Nicknames?

A couple of weeks ago, Judith left the following comment on a Five-Name Friday post.

I would love it if you dedicated a blog article to the American obsession with nicknames. Being European this really baffles me. Over here we give our children the name we like best, whether this is a long name (i.e. Michael) or a short one (i.e. Mike). A nickname might pop up in due course but is not something that you force (or even think about) beforehand. If you want your child to be called Ella, why would you name her Eleonora only to shorten it to Ella? Like I said it baffles me and I would love to know the background of this phenomenon.

Such an interesting question!

There’s certainly a difference between Americans and Europeans when it comes up nickname usage. You can see it comparing the top names in the U.S. with the top names in England — boy names especially. The English top 20 includes many more informal names (Jack, Harry, Charlie, Alfie, Freddie, Archie) than the U.S. top 20.

Seems to me that both regions are concerned with nicknames, but handle them in very different ways. Europeans are reasonably comfortable putting nicknames on birth certificates, while Americans are not as comfortable turning nicknames into legal names.

So what’s behind these diverging trends? I’m not sure that there’s a single answer, but here are a few theories. (Please excuse me ahead of time for making sweeping generalizations about Americans and Europeans.)

Formality differences
Europeans tend to be more relaxed than Americans, both in terms of daily life/habits and in terms of viewpoints. Maybe this informality leads them to prefer the informal names. (Or at least doesn’t make them feel obligated to use formal names.)

Work attitude differences
Americans tend to be more career-focused than Europeans. Perhaps this outlook makes them feel that it’s smart to have a formal name to fall back on for future professional use — that having a nickname-only name could be limiting.

Class differences
This theory, which is somewhat like the work attitude theory, comes from an Encyclopedia Britannica* blogger and concerns the U.S. and the UK specifically:

Perhaps the difference has to do with class. Americans may shy away from bestowing diminutives upon their children because they suspect that such “cutesy” names will prevent their children from climbing the ranks and becoming CEOs. In the more-rigid class system of the U.K., on the other hand, some parents might believe that that sort of advancement is so unlikely that it’s not worth letting it affect their choice of a name. So Charlie it is.

Gender-switch differences (pertains to boy names only)
In America, many formerly male/unisex names with “-ee” endings (e.g., Ashley, Avery, Bailey, Ellery, Riley) have turned into girl names. This might make Americans more hesitant to permanently attach diminutives with similar endings to baby boys.

Which (if any) of these theories do you think makes the most sense? What others can you think of?

Source: How to Tell a British Baby from an American: Differences in Naming Trends, Judith’s comment

*Did you know about the New York woman named Encyclopedia Britannica?

Popular Baby Names in England and Wales, 2015

According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the most popular baby names in England and Wales last year were (again) Amelia and Oliver.

Here are the top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Amelia, 5,158 baby girls
2. Olivia, 4,853
3. Emily, 3,893
4. Isla, 3,474
5. Ava, 3,414
6. Ella, 3,028
7. Jessica, 2,937
8. Isabella, 2,876
9. Mia, 2,842
10. Poppy, 2,816
1. Oliver, 6,941 baby boys
2. Jack, 5,371
3. Harry, 5,308
4. George, 4,869
5. Jacob, 4,850
6. Charlie, 4,831
7. Noah, 4,148
8. William, 4,083
9. Thomas, 4,075
10. Oscar, 4,066

In the girls’ top 10, Ella and Mia replace Lily (now 13th) and Sophie (now 11th).

In the boys’ top 10, Noah (the top name in the U.S. right now) replace James (11th).

In the girls’ top 100, Penelope, Mila, Clara, Arabella, Maddison and Aria replace Lydia (now 103rd), Faith (104th), Mollie (105th), Brooke (107th), Isabel (110th) and Amy (117th).

In the boys’ top 100, Jaxon, Roman, Reggie and Carter replace Owen (now 101st), Robert (105th), Joey (117th) and Finlay (123rd).

Here are some of last year’s rare baby names, each given to either 3, 4 or 5 babies:

Rare Girl Names Rare Boy Names
Aarzoo, Autumn-Lily, Boglarka, Comfort, Edna, Enxi, Euphemia, Flourish, Fozia, Gabia, Jupiter, Lady, Lleucu, Llio, Merveille, Nectaria, Pebbles, Peony, Prisca, Purity, Quorra, Reisel, Sloka, Tuba, Venice, Vimbainashe, Ylva Alffi, Bam, Bright, Crimea, Cuthbert, Efezino, Elimelech, Fyfe, Ghyll, Gryff, James-Dean, Jamesdean, Kushagra, Ignatius, Marmaduke, Math, Mio, Osagie, Otso, Pip, Przemyslaw, Sherlock, Swayley, Ringo, Testimony, Thierno, Zephyrus

(Crimea is intriguing, isn’t it? It was used as a baby name in the 1850s, during the Crimean War, but this is the first time I’ve seen it on a modern name list.)

And what about Welsh names?

Welsh Girl Names Welsh Boy Names
  • Seren (“star”) ranks 17th in Wales
  • Ffion (“foxglove”), 20th
  • Megan, 27th
    • & 76th overall
  • Mali, 45th
  • Alys, 66th
  • Carys (“love”), 72nd
  • Efa, 73rd
  • Cadi, 82nd
  • Lili, 85th
  • Lowri, 88th
  • Eira (“snow”), 92nd
  • Ela, 97th
  • Elin, 97th
  • Dylan ranks 13th in Wales
    • & 38th overall
  • Osian, 25th
  • Harri, 27th
  • Jac, 33rd
  • Rhys, 34th
  • Evan, 37th
  • Tomos, 47th
  • Cai, 51st
  • Ioan, 56th
  • Morgan, 67th
  • Elis, 66th
  • Hari, 82nd
  • Gethin (“swarthy”), 88th
  • Iestyn, 88th
  • Macsen, 92nd
  • Owain, 92nd
  • Ifan, 96th

Finally, if you’d like to go back another year, here are the England and Wales rankings for 2014.

Source: Baby names in England and Wales: 2015

Popular Baby Names in Paris, 2015

According to Open Data Paris, the most popular baby names in Paris, France, in 2015 were Louise and Adam/Gabriel (tie).

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

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Louise, 293 baby girls
2. Alice, 244
3. Chloé, 206
4. Emma, 178
5. Inès, 175
6. Sarah, 174
7. Jeanne, 173
8. Anna, 160
9. Adèle, 155
10. Juliette, 149
1. Adam, 355 baby boys (tie)
2. Gabriel, 355 (tie)
3. Raphaël, 320
4. Paul, 260
5. Louis, 256
6. Arthur, 245
7. Alexandre, 226
8. Victor, 208
9. Jules, 205
10. Mohamed, 185

In the girls’ top 10, Anna and Juliette replace Camille and Lina.

In the boys’ top 10, Jules replaces Maxime (now down in 15th).

The prénom mixte (unisex name) Charlie saw a dual-gender decline in 2015, “probably due to the association with the attacks in Charlie Hebdo in January.”

  • 2015: 29 girls and 6 boys named Charlie in Paris
  • 2014: 71 girls and 35 boys named Charlie in Paris
  • 2013: 75 girls and 37 boys named Charlie in Paris

Like the SSA data, the Paris data includes names used as seldom as 5 times per year. Here are some of the names from the bottom of the Paris rankings:

Uncommon Girl Names Uncommon Boy Names
Cléa, Clothilde, Dyna, Isée, Jane, Mélisande, Ornella, Romaïssa, Tasnime, Wendy Demba, Ezio, Foucauld, Harold, Idrissa, Massyl, Sixte, Tidiane, Vianney, Yaya

Slightly higher up on the girls’ side I spotted Armance, used 6 times. It’s both a river in France and a romance novel by French writer Stendhal (born Marie-Henri Beyle).

Sources: Open Data Paris – Liste des prénoms 2004 à 2015, Les prénoms les plus donnés à Paris en 2015