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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Clifton

Number of Babies Named Clifton

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Clifton

What’s Wrong with U? (7 Usable U-Names)

u names, ursa, upton, upson, umber, ukiah, unity, union

What’s wrong with U?

No, I don’t mean you. I mean the letter U.

If 1 is the loneliest number, then U is definitely the loneliest letter. Because, ever since I started looking at first letter frequency in baby names, U has always been the least-used.

Currently just four U-names are in in the boys’ top 1,000, and exactly zero are in the girls’ top 1,000. And those four boy names — Uriel, Uriah, Ulises, and Urijah — make up a sizable chunk of what little U-usage there happens to be.

Does this anti-U trend signify something about modern society, do you think?

We’re more individualistic than ever before — some say more narcissistic. And we do see this individualism reflected in the rise of unusual names, particularly ones that glorify the self, like Amazing, Awesome, Celebrity, Epic, Famous, Gorgeous, Handsome, King, Messiah, President, and Prodigy.

So is this individualism also being reflected in first the letters/sounds we choose? After all, a handful of I-names (Isabella/Isabelle/Isabel, Isla, Isaac, Isaiah) have become prominent lately. So have a pair of “me” names (Mia, Mila).

Meanwhile, the humble U remains at the bottom of the heap. Is it because no one wants to open a name with a letter that reminds them of “you”?

Hm…

If you’re interested in giving U-names a boost, here are 7 under-the-radar options to consider:

Ursa

We’re all familiar with Ursula. She’s a sea-witch, a Bond girl, and a Catholic saint. In other words, Ursula has some strong associations.

Not so with Ursa, the word upon which Ursula was based. Ursa doesn’t have any strong human/character associations — just a couple of celestial ones: Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

Ursa is based on the Latin word ursus, meaning “bear.” (Bear is itself a trendy choice among celebs these days.) And even though four-letter, vowel-bounded girl names (like Emma, Ella, Aria, Isla, Ayla, and Elsa) are trendy right now, Ursa remains rare.

Upton & Upson

Many toponymic surnames — from Milton and Clifton 100 years ago to Easton and Ashton today — have gone on to become popular baby names. But not Upton and Upson, which are uncommon despite their optimistic sound (up!).

The surnames stem from any of several similar place names that, in most cases, can be traced back to a pair of Old English words meaning “upper, above” (in terms of either altitude or status) and “farm, settlement.”

The most famous Upton was muckraking journalist Upton Sinclair, whose best-known work, a 1906 exposé of the meatpacking industry called The Jungle, led to the passage of both the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act (which, eventually, gave rise to the FDA).

Umber

We all know an Amber. Maybe even an Ember. But how many of us know an Umber? Probably not many of us, as the name is so rare that it’s only appeared in the SSA data one time (in 1995, when 5 baby girls were named Umber).

You know how ombre hair color is fashionable right now? The words ombre and umber are related — both can be traced back to the Latin word umbra, meaning “shadow.”

Along with Ochre and Sienna, Umber is an “earth pigment” — a naturally occurring mineral used by humans since prehistoric times (i.e., for coloring cave walls, clothing, tools, even skin). The color ranges from brown to reddish-brown. Many famous historical artists, including Caravaggio and Rembrandt, used umber in their paintings.

Ukiah

(yoo-KYE-uh)

Uriah is a Biblical name. So are Josiah, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, Obadiah, and many other names with that telltale “-iah” ending. Sounds like Ukiah should be part of this group, right? But it isn’t.

Ukiah is the name of a place in California. It’s based on Yokaya, which comes from Rancho Yokaya — the name of the mid-19th century Mexican land grant that encompassed what is now the Ukiah Valley. The word yokaya means “south valley” in the language of the Pomo people, the original inhabitants of the region.

In 1973, the California-based band The Doobie Brothers released a song about Ukiah.

Though Ukiah has always been rare as a baby name, usage has picked up slightly since the turn of the century.

Unity & Union

Unique is the most self-focused U-name I’m aware of. And now that thousands of people have been named Unique, well, the name just isn’t very unique anymore.

Want to really stand out in the world of baby names today? Choose a name that emphasizes the oneness of the whole as opposed to the oneness of the self.

The names Unity and Union could be seen as opposites of the name Unique. And yet all three are ultimately derived from the same Latin word: unus, meaning “one.”

Unity is given to a couple dozen baby girls per year these days, but Union hasn’t appeared in the SSA data since the 1920s.

*

Do you like any of the U-names above? What other U-names would you recommend?

Sources: Upston – Surname DB, Ukiah, California – Wikipedia


100+ Baby Names for 100 Years of the NPS

national park service 100th birthday (zion poster, 1938)The U.S. National Park Service has a birthday coming up!

When the NPS was created on August 25, 1916, there were only 35 national parks and monuments. (The world’s first, Yellowstone, had been established in 1872.)

Nowadays the agency oversees 411 units. These units are located in the 50 states and beyond, and include national monuments (82), national historic sites (78), national parks (59), national historical parks (50), national memorials (30), national battlefields (11), national seashores (10), national lakeshores (4), national scenic trails (3), and more.

Let’s celebrate the upcoming centenary with over 100 baby names that pay tribute to the national parks specifically:

  • Acadia for Acadia National Park.
  • Angel or Angela for Grand Canyon National Park’s Angel’s Window.
  • Arrow for the NPS emblem, the arrowhead.
  • Archer for Arches National Park.
  • Barbara for Channel Islands National Park’s Santa Barbara Island.
  • Bathsheba for Hot Springs National Park’s Bathhouse Row.
  • Bay for any of the parks featuring a bay, such as Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve, Biscayne National Park, etc.
  • Benda or Bendrick for Big Bend National Park.
  • Bona for Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve’s Mt. Bona.
  • Bristol for Great Basin National Park’s bristlecone pines.
  • Bryce or Brycen for Bryce Canyon National Park.
  • Cadden or Caddie for Acadia National Park’s Cadillac Mountain.
  • Cade for Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Cades Cove.
  • Canyon for any of the parks featuring a canyon, such as Grand Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, etc.
  • Capitola for Capitol Reef National Park or for Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan.
  • Carl or Carla for Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
  • Caven for Mammoth Cave National Park.
  • Cedar for Congaree National Park’s Cedar Creek.
  • Cinder for Lassen Volcanic National Park’s Cinder Cone.
  • Clark for Lake Clark National Park & Preserve.
  • Clifford or Clifton for Mesa Verde National Park’s Cliff Palace.
  • Cruz for Channel Islands National Park’s Santa Cruz Island.
  • Delica for Arches National Park’s Delicate Arch.
  • Denali for Denali National Park & Preserve.
  • Denison for Katmai National Park & Preserve’s Mt. Denison.
  • Domenica or Domenico for Yosemite National Park’s Half Dome.
  • Douglas for Katmai National Park & Preserve’s Mt. Douglas.
  • Elias for Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve.
  • Elliott for Biscayne National Park’s Elliott Key.
  • Ever or Everly for Everglades National Park.
  • Faith for Yellowstone National Park’s Old Faithful geyser.
  • Forest for Petrified Forest National Park.
  • Garland for Garland County, Arkansas, where Hot Springs National Park is located.
  • Gates for Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve.
  • Guadalupe for Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
  • Gunnison for Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
    • The park was established in 1999, and Gunnison debuted on the baby name charts the very same year. Did one event cause the other?
  • Harding for Kenai Fjords National Park’s Harding Icefield.
  • Hassel for Virgin Islands National Park’s Hassel Island.
  • Jackson for Jackson Hole, where much of Grand Teton National Park is located.
  • Jarvis for Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve’s Mt. Jarvis.
  • Jefferson for Dry Tortugas National Park’s Fort Jefferson.
  • John for Virgin Islands National Park’s St. John Island.
  • Joshua for Joshua Tree National Park.
  • Kenai for Kenai Fjords National Park.
    • The derivation of Kenai is unknown, but it could come from either Dena’ina Athabascan (“big flat” or “two big flats and river cut-back” or “trees and brush in a swampy marsh”), Russian (“flat barren land”), or Iniut (“black bear”).
  • Kingston or Kingsley for Kings Canyon National Park.
  • Lake for any of the parks featuring lakes, such as Crater Lake National Park, Voyageurs National Park, Lake Clark National Park & Preserve, etc.
  • Lamar for Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar Buffalo Ranch.
  • Lata for the National Park of American Samoa’s Lata Mountain.
  • Lehman for Great Basin National Park’s Lehman Caves.
  • Lewis for Glacier National Park’s Lewis Range.
  • Livingston for Glacier National Park’s Livingston Range.
  • Manning for Saguaro National Park’s Manning Cabin.
  • Mara for Joshua Tree National Park’s Oasis of Mara.
    • In the Serrano language, Mara means “the place of little springs and much grass.”
  • Martin for Katmai National Park & Preserve’s Mt. Martin.
  • Maui, where Haleakalā National Park is located.
  • Mauna for Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park’s Mauna Loa.
  • Miguel for Channel Islands National Park’s San Miguel Island.
  • Norris for Yellowstone National Park’s Norris Geyser Basin.
  • North for North Cascades National Park.
  • Olympia for Olympic National Park.
  • Parker, Parkyr, Parks, Park, or Parke as a tribute to all national parks.
  • Pele as a symbol of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.
  • Prairie for any of the parks featuring a prairie, such as Badlands National Park, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, etc.
  • Pratt for Guadalupe Mountains National Park’s Pratt Cabin.
  • Rainier for Mount Rainier National Park.
  • Ranger as a tribute to all national parks and park rangers.
  • Reef for Capitol Reef National Park.
  • Rhodes for Biscayne National Park’s Old Rhodes Key.
  • Rocky for Rocky Mountain National Park.
  • Roosevelt for Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
  • Rosa for Channel Islands National Park’s Santa Rosa Island.
  • Royale or Royal for Isle Royale National Park.
  • Sandy for Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve.
  • Sanford for Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve’s Mt. Sanford.
  • Sequoia for Sequoia National Park.
  • Shenandoah for Shenandoah National Park.
  • Sherman for Sequoia National Park’s General Sherman Tree.
  • Sky or Skye for any of the parks featuring a night sky program, such as Big Bend National Park, Great Basin National Park, etc.
  • Talus for Pinnacles National Park’s talus caves.
  • Theodore for Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
  • Valley for any of the parks featuring a valley, such as Cuyahoga Valley, Death Valley, Kobuk Valley, etc.
  • Verda or Verdell for Mesa Verde National Park.
  • Virginia for Virgin Islands National Park.
  • Windy for Wind Cave National Park.
  • Wolfe for Arches National Park’s Wolfe Ranch.
  • Woodrow or Wilson for Woodrow Wilson, who signed the act that created the NPS.
  • Woodson or Woody for Redwood National and State Parks.
  • Yosemite for Yosemite National Park.
  • Zion for Zion National Park.

For all you national park lovers out there: What other park-inspired names can you come up with?

Sources: List of national parks of the United States – Wikipedia, History (U.S. National Park Service), NPS Site Designations (pdf), Kenai Fjords National Park Profile 2015 (pdf)

Image: Adapted from Zion National Park, Ranger Naturalist Service – LOC

Update, 2/2017: Here’s a related name: Lolo, inspired by the Lolo National Forest. “Lolo” was probably derived from Lawrence (3rd quote).