How popular is the baby name Cosmo 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 Cosmo.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Cosmo


Posts that Mention the Name Cosmo

Titanic Passenger Names

On a trip that took us through Vegas earlier this year, my husband and I stumbled upon a Titanic-themed gift shop inside the Luxor.

One of the items for sale was a book called Titanic Names. I didn’t purchase it, but it did prompt me to find the very same list of names online. (The list is in various places, including Encyclopedia Titanica and Wikipedia.)

Here are some of the interesting Titanic passenger names I noticed among the more common names (e.g., William, Richard, Alice, Ida):

Female Names:Agda, Albina, Argene, Bannurah, Beila, Clear, Dollina, Hanora, Helmina, Hileni, Imanita, Jelka, Leontine, Lyyli, Malakah, Manca, Manta, Millvina*, Nur-al-Ayn, Shawneene**, Silanah, Tamini, Thamini, Torborg, Treasteall, Velin, Waika, Wendla, Zahie
Male Names:Adola, Antti, Bartol, Branko, Bulus, Cosmo, Einar, Escott, Fotio, Guentcho, Gerios, Halim, Haroutyun, Ilmari, Ingvald, Janko, Jirjis, Jovo, Juha, Juho, Kalle, Kanio, Kerim, Liudevit, Mansur, Mapri, Masabumi, Minko, Mirko, Mito, Nadjalko, Niqula, Pastcho, Peju, Pekka, Penko, Percival, Quigg, Raful, Redjo, Ristju, Rossmore, Saade, Sarkis, Shadrach, Sibley, Sinai, Sleiman, Stanko, Stanio, Stoytcho, Svend, Tannous, Tido, Toufik, Tyrell, Urho, Uscher, Valtcho, Viljo, Woolf, Wyckoff, Ylio, Yoto

The nationalities/languages represented above include Bulgarian, Croatian, Lebanese, Syrian, Turkish, Finnish, and Swedish.

*Millvina’s legal name was Elizabeth Gladys Dean. She was a 2-month-old at the time of the wreck and was the Titanic’s last survivor.

**Shawneene’s name is also given as Shaa’nineh. They’re both transliterated forms of the Arabic word for Palm Sunday, the day on which she was born in 1874 in Syria (now Lebanon).

The Baby Name “Topper”

topper, tv, 1950s
Cosmo Topper (right) w/ his ghost friends
The baby name Topper popped up in the U.S. data for the first and only time in 1954:

  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: 5 baby boys named Topper [debut]
  • 1953: unlisted

Where did it come from?

The two-season TV show Topper, which aired on CBS from October of 1953 to mid-1955. Though it isn’t well remembered today, Topper was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Situation Comedy in 1954 (it lost to I Love Lucy) and ranked the 24th in the Nielsen ratings during the 1954-55 season.

But the tale of Topper actually began three decades earlier, in the form of a book. The comic fantasy Topper (1926) was written by Thorne Smith, who the New York Times called “one of America’s most significant humor writers.”

The title character, Cosmo Topper, is a “law-abiding, mild-mannered bank manager [who] decides to buy a secondhand car, only to find it haunted by the ghosts of its previous owners–the reckless, feckless, frivolous couple who met their untimely demise when the car careened into an oak tree.” The mischievous ghosts, named George and Marion, proceed to take Topper on series of adventures.

Smith followed the first book with a sequel, Topper Takes a Trip (1932).

His two books were eventually turned into three films: Topper (1937), Topper Takes a Trip (1938), and Topper Returns (1941). The first movie starred Cary Grant (as a ghost, not as Topper) and it later became the very first black-and-white motion picture to be digitally colorized (by Hal Roach Studios, in 1985).

There was also short-lived radio sitcom called The Adventures of Topper that aired in 1945, from June to September. In the radio show, Topper’s wife is named Malvena — I’ll bet this is what accounts for Malvena jumping back onto the charts one final time in 1946.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Topper? (Do you like it more or less than Tinker?)

P.S. Hopalong Cassidy (played by actor William Boyd from the 1930s to the 1950s) rode a horse called Topper, likely named after the book character.

Sources: Thorne Smith Profile – TCM, Topper by Thorne Smith — Goodreads, Hopalong Cassidy – The Old Corral

Kramer, the Seinfeldian Baby Name

Cosmo Kramer
Cosmo Kramer

Did you know that the TV sitcom Seinfeld first aired 22 years ago today?*

One of the Seinfeld‘s most memorable characters was Kramer, played by Michael Richards. (Kramer’s first name, Cosmo, wasn’t revealed until season 6.)

Kramer was rarely used as a baby name before Seinfeld came along, but after Seinfeld debuted in 1989, usage shot up:

  • 1993: 57 baby boys named Kramer
  • 1992: 62 baby boys named Kramer
  • 1991: 43 baby boys named Kramer
  • 1990: 68 baby boys named Kramer
  • 1989: 70 baby boys named Kramer (peak usage)
  • 1988: 15 baby boys named Kramer
  • 1987: 11 baby boys named Kramer
  • 1986: 9 baby boys named Kramer

It stayed relatively high until the mid-1990s, when it sank back down to pre-Seinfeld levels. In 1998, the year the show went off the air, a mere 8 baby boys got the name.

The surname Kramer is based on the German word krämer, meaning “shopkeeper” or “peddler.”

*I discovered this via Twitter, thanks to both @armadillosoft and @smithsonian.

UPDATE, 5/25/15: Check out the data for Kramer from Washington state specifically!

  • 1995: unlisted
  • 1994: 8 Kramers born in WA
  • 1993: 12 Kramers born in WA
  • 1992: 19 Kramers born in WA
  • 1991: 21 Kramers born in WA
  • 1990: 26 Kramers born in WA
  • 1989: 25 Kramers born in WA
  • 1988: 5 Kramers born in WA
  • 1987: unlisted

Either they really liked the show up there or (more likely) something involving the name Kramer was happening locally around that time. I don’t have an explanation yet, though. College sports maybe? Any ideas?

Baby Names Needed – Whimsical, Weird Names for Quadruplets

Estelle wrote to me recently with a tall order:

I’m having quads (!!!) in 4 weeks and I need names! I’m having one boy and three girls. My 4 year old son’s name is Cosmo. My husband and I like spacey, whimsical and weird names.

In fact, they “don’t have any limits on how weird a name can be.”

One girl name they’re considering is Ione, which is a family name.

The combination of Cosmo and the adjective “spacey” made me think of star and constellation names right off the bat:

Adhara
Aldebaran
Altair
Aludra
Antares
Antlia
Aquarius
Aquila
Aries
Auriga
Azha
Carina
Corvus
Cygnus
Deneb
Denebola
Hamal
Kastra
Lacerta
Libra
Lyra
Meissa
Musca
Nashira
Norma
Orion
Pavo
Polaris
Rana
Rigel
Shaula
Sheratan
Sirius
Sirrah
Suhail
Taurus
Thuban
Vega
Vela

One nice thing about these is that several together probably wouldn’t scream “star names” to the average person. Unlike, say, a group of flower names. (Though I’m sure stargazers would catch on pretty quickly.)

And here’s what we have for non-galactic suggestions:

Allegra
Althea
Apollonia
Artemis
Aurora
Briony
Calypso
Clio
Danae
Demetria
Echo
Eulalia
Freya
Hestia
Imelda
Imogen
Isis
Lucasta
Luna
Jonquil
Minerva
Olympia
Rhea
Sapphira
Severina
Ursula
Vita
Xanthe
Zelda
Zenobia

Those were the girl names, these are the boy names:

Agni
Aldous
Barnaby
Casper
Cyril
Elan
Evander
Erasmus
Fabio
Gideon
Horatio
Ignatius
Isidore
Jethro
Leander
Loki
Magnus
Milo
Nigel
Odin
Pascal
Peregrine
Reuben
Rémy
Silas
Taliesin
Theron
Tycho
Ulysses
Zenon

What other whimsical names can you come up with for Estelle? And, can you put together any good combinations of 1 boy and 3 girl names?

Update: The babies have arrived! Scroll down to see what names Estelle selected.