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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Cicero


Posts that Mention the Name Cicero

Name Quotes 85: Karen, Blane, Friedemann

pretty in pink, duckie, blane, movie, 1980s, quote,

From the 1986 movie Pretty in Pink, Duckie’s reaction to learning that Andie is dating a guy named Blane:

Blane? His name is Blane? That’s a major appliance, that’s not a name!

From sociolinguist Robin Queen, an explanation of how ‘Karen’ went from a popular baby name to a stand-in for white entitlement:

By tracing the origins of Karen up until the Central Park incident, you can see how two separate threads of meaning converged to make Karen the label for an officious, entitled, white woman.

The first comes from African American communities, where certain generic first names have long been a shorthand for “a white woman to be wary of because she won’t hesitate to wield privilege at the expense of others.” Around 2018, people started posting pictures of white women calling the police on the mundane activities of black people. These individuals got labeled with hashtags like #bbqbecky, #permitpatti, #golfcartgail and #cornerstonecaroline.

[…]

The second thread emerges from stand-up comedy and Reddit. In 2005, Dane Cook performed a sketch comedy piece in which Karen is “that friend nobody likes.” In the sketch, she’s described as “always a douche.” This portrayal of a “Karen” is less about her racism and contains more gender-based critiques, which might be why some continue to call the Karen meme sexist.

New Jersey police officer Brian Porter — who delivered two babies during the first half of 2002 — regarding his success so far in having a baby named after him:

0-2.

(In the case of the second baby, the baby’s father and brother were both already named Bryan.)

From the “pejorative names” section of a 2019 academic article called From Enslavement to Emancipation: Naming Practices in the Danish West Indies:

“[I]njurious” names [were] intended to mark slaves out by drawing upon naming forms not used by the dominant class. For instance, some are not personal names, but refer instead to places (London, Madrid, Dublin), animals (Zebra, Fox), or qualities (Amor). Another popular category includes names of classical figures (Cicero, Ancilla, Cupido). Such names functioned as cruel jokes: for instance, Scipio, a common male slave name, referred to the Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, whose agnomen, Africanus, meant “the African,” in praise of his triumphs in battle in North Africa. Names of Greek and Roman heroes, philosophers, and orators were popular choices for male slaves, underlining their degradation and emasculation via their juxtaposition with these great men. Meanwhile, as Saidiya Hartman has noted, names like “Venus” for female slaves reflected and licensed the lasciviousness of European slave-owners toward African women, making such behaviors “sound agreeable.”

From the funny April Fools’ Day video Pronouncing Friedemann Findeisen like a Bad-Ass German by songwriter Friedemann Findeisen [FREE-day-mahn FIND-ei-zen]:

Welcome to this German tutorial on how to pronounce my name, Friedemann Findeisen. In the past, many of you have wondered why I have such an unusual name, and why it sounds so German. Well, I am German. You just can’t tell because my lederhosen aren’t in the shot.

From the National Geographic article “Who’s the First Person in history whose name we know?“:

[T]o my great surprise—the first name in recorded history isn’t a king. Nor a warrior. Or a poet. He was, it turns out…an accountant. In his new book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari goes back 33 centuries before Christ to a 5,000-year-old clay tablet found in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq).

[…]

It’s a receipt for multiple shipments of barley. The tablet says, very simply:

29,086 measures barley 37 months Kushim

(But we don’t know for sure that Kushim was a human name; it may have been a job title.)

A second theory, from the same article:

Dated to around 3100 B.C.—about a generation or two after Kushim—the tablet’s heading is, “Two slaves held by Gal-Sal.” Gal-Sal is the owner. Next come the slaves, “En-pap X and Sukkalgir.” So now we’ve got four names: an accountant, a slave owner, and two slaves.

(Some scholars are Team Kushim, other scholars are Team Gal-Sal.)

The Baby Names Kippie and Kippy

kippie, The World of Mr. Sweeney, tv, 1950s,
Glenn Walken as Kippie, 1955

The simple name Kip has a longer history than one might guess. There was a Kip in the 11th century Domesday Book, for instance.

But today’s post isn’t quite about Kip. It’s about the diminutive forms Kippy and Kippie, which saw some interesting usage in the ’50s and ’60s. No doubt the trendiness of Kip during that era set the scene for this usage, but pop culture played a part as well.

Let’s start in 1955, when Kippie debuted as a boy name, and Kippy both peaked as a boy name and debuted as a girl name:

1953195419551956
Kippy (boy name)6618 (peak)13
Kippy (girl name)..6 (debut).
Kippie (boy name)..6 (debut).
Kippie (girl name)....

I think this extra 1955 usage can be attributed to a TV series called The World of Mr. Sweeney. The main character was Mr. Cicero P. Sweeney, who ran the town general store, but another prominent character was Cicero’s young grandson Kippie, played by Glenn Walken. (Fun fact: Glenn is the brother of Christopher Walken.)

The show began as a weekly segment on The Kate Smith Hour in 1953, but was spun off into an independent program — 15-minute episodes, 5 times per week — that lasted from 1954 to 1955. (Father Knows Best (1954-1960) occasionally featured a boy named Kippy as well, but I think Mr. Sweeney better accounts for the spike/debuts.)

Moving on to the ’60s, we see another spike for Kippy in 1960, followed by a relatively strong debut of Kippy as a girl name in 1962:

19591960196119621963
Kippy (boy name)917 (spike)11811
Kippy (girl name).8.75
Kippie (boy name).....
Kippie (girl name)...12 (debut)10

During 1960, a male character named Kippy Clark was featured in the comic strip Mary Worth. (This might seem trivial, but comics were widely read decades ago. The name Mardeen debuted thanks to the very same strip.)

And in 1962, following the sudden death of famous comedian Ernie Kovacs, his widow Edie and his ex-wife Bette battled in court over the custody of his two teenage daughters, Bette and Kippie Kovacs.

Do you like the name Kippy/Kippie? How about Kip itself? Let me know what you think in the comments…

Sources:

Top Baby Names in Nova Scotia, 1914

Speaking of popular baby names Nova Scotia…did you know that the province’s Open Data site includes birth registration records from the mid-1800s and from the early 1900s? I isolated the records from 1914 — the most recent year in the data — and came up with baby name rankings for about a century ago:

Top Girl Names, 1914
1. Mary (close to 700 girls)
2. Margaret
3. Annie
4. Marie
5. Helen
6. Dorothy
7. Florence
8. Elizabeth
9. Catherine (over 100 girls)
10. Alice

Top Boy Names, 1914
1. John (close to 600 boys)
2. Joseph
3. James
4. William
5. George
6. Charles
7. Robert
8. Arthur
9. Donald
10. Edward (over 100 boys)

The rankings represent about about 6,700 baby girls and about 6,800 baby boys born in Nova Scotia in 1914. I’m not sure how many babies were born that year overall, but it looks like the province’s total population in 1914 was roughly 500,000 people.

Hundreds of the names were used just once. Here are some examples:

Unique Girl names Unique Boy names
Adalta, Adayala, Ailsa, Amilene, Anarina, Aniela, Attavilla, Birdina, Buema, Burance, Caletta, Cattine, Celesta, Claviettee, Deltina, Elta, Erdina, Ethelda, Eudavilla, Evhausine, Fauleen, Genneffa, Gennesta, Heuldia, Hughenia, Iselda, Ivenho, Lanza, Lebina, Lelerta, Loa, Lougreta, Manattie, Meloa, Milnina, Minira, Namoia, Naza, Neitha, Neruda, Olava, Oressa, Prenetta, Ramza, Ruzena, Sophique, Stanislawa, Taudulta, Udorah, Velena, Vola, Vonia, Waldtraut, Willina, Yuddis Albenie, Alpine, Alywin, Alyre, Armenious, Bayzil, Bernthorne, Briercliffe, Carefield, Cicero, Colomba, Craigen, Desire, DeWilton, Docithee, Edly, Enzile, Ethelberth, Ewart, Exivir, Fernwood, Firth, Florincon, Glidden, Gureen, Haliberton, Haslam, Hibberts, Irad, Kertland, Kinsman, Kitchener, Langille, Lemerchan, Lockie, Lubins, Meurland, Murl, Neddy, Nevaus, Niron, Odillon, Olding, Phine, Rexfrid, Roseville, Saber, Sifroi, Sprat, Stannage, Venanties, Waitstill, Wardlo, Wentworth, Wibbert

I also spotted one boy with the first and middle names “Earl Gray” (delicious!) and another with the first and middle names “Kermit Roosevelt” (the name of one of Theodore Roosevelt’s six children).

Sources: Open Data Nova Scotia (specifically, Birth Registrations 1864-1877, 1908-1914), Nova Scotia – Population urban and rural, by province and territory (via Wayback)

Name Signs – Dotty’s Casino, etc.

Need a photo of a sign that says something like Robbie’s Barber Shop or Sophia’s House of Pancakes?

I know, I know–probably not. :)

But just in case you do one day…

The bizarre-but-awesome Flickr group First-Name Basis Signage Project has got you covered. It’s a collection of business signs featuring given names. Dotty’s Casino, Cicero’s Green Frog Pizza, Rosie’s Rock Yard, Howard’s Donuts, and thousands more.

*

UPDATE, 1/31/13: I just spotted a Wired.com article called a New Book Helps You Visualize Your Child’s Name, which is about a new book called It’s a Boy – It’s a Girl, which contains “over 300 hundred pages of names as signs.”

Phone Book Fishing in Mississippi, Part 4 – Clyne, Jimarie, Muskie, Zodus

You guessed it–another batch of names from Mississippi. These come from the towns of Beaumont, Big Creek, Collins, Ellisville and Heidelberg. (My favorites are in bold.)

Anfernee
Arzilla
Begonia
Berdia
Blessing
Bobbie Jo
Brunetta
Byrl
Ceiborn
Charma
Chassity
Chipperess
Cicero
Clyne
Colantha
Colevia
Czar
Dealzna
Deloyce
Denothria
Dixie Mae
D’Jean
Drema
Elkendrick
Eulanda
Everette
Ezeldia
Fredia
Gathel
Georginia
Gevenion
Glaydean
Gleen
Gustina
Guycell
Hancel
Inita
Jearleain
Jimarie
Jonnye Mae
Jovaughan
Kimetha
Kichun
Leidh
Levester
Lillie Mae
Litonda
Lutricia
Mae Nell
Maeora
Magielean
Magnolia
Marnita
Mashelia
Mellisa
Melwese
Merria
Minci
Montegus
Muskie
Napier
Nevaeh
Ontee
Orgie Mae
Ozett
Paskell
Philliemenia
Queen Esther
Quinette
Rauletha
Relanda
Roosevelt
Ruby Jewel
Ryreggis
Sandreka
Schnavain
Scottland
Shenetha
Tanilya
Tanyala
Teressie
Teretha
Tinika
Toxie
Tymunica
Vellina
Verlenda
Vicy
Waudell
Webber
Wenokel
Wilhelmina
Windol
Wydesra
Yatta
Zella
Zelline
Zerrick
Zodus
Zollie

Did you happen to notice Nevaeh? I don’t think I’ve ever seen Nevaeh in a phone book before. We’ll be seeing it all over the place soon enough, but this particular one seems a bit early. A pre-trend Nevaeh, perhaps? I’m itching to call and find out…