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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Debbie

Number of Babies Named Debbie

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Debbie

What Popularized the Baby Name Deneen?

mystery name deneen

Deneen is the million-dollar baby name mystery. It saw a massive spike in usage in 1964, and I had no idea why for years. Only recently have I stumbled upon a plausible explanation.

But first let’s check out the numbers. Here’s how many U.S. baby girls were named Deneen (or a variant) from 1963 to 1966, sorted by 1964 levels of usage:

Name 1963 1964 1965 1966
Deneen 22 1,604 421 223
Denine 17 133 101 71
Daneen 29 132 85 70
Dineen 10 68 43 35
Denene 7 66 38 31
Denean 7 58 61 40
Danine 7 29 23 31
Danene 12 24 18 11
Deneane 24* 11 9
Deneene 24* 13 14
Danean 14* 14 6
Deeneen 12**
Doneen 7 11 9
Dennine 10* 7 7
Deneena 7**
Deniene 7*
Dennen 7**
Donene 7
Deaneen 5**
Deneem 5**
Dinene 7**
TOTALS 118 2,247 842 557

*Debut, **One-hit wonder

According to the state-by-state data, Deneen usage tended to be highest in the most populous states. This isn’t much of a clue, but it does tell us that the influence was national (e.g., movie, music) and not regional (e.g., college sports, local politician).

For a long time my only guess on Deneen was the same guess Hilary Parker made in her poisoned baby names post: musical duo August & Deneen. But their hit single “We Go Together” came out in 1968 — long after the 1964 baby name spike. So August & Deneen clearly isn’t the answer.

About a month ago I tried another Deneen search. This time around I found a recent thread on Deneen at the Baby Name Wizard forum. According to intel gathered by forum members, Deneen could have been popularized by a ’60s commercial for Ivory dishwashing liquid.

At first I wasn’t so sure. The only vintage Ivory commercials I could find online were for Ivory Snow laundry detergent and, while many of these did feature names (e.g., Allison, Betsy, Bonnie, Debbie, Esther, Joy, Kerry, Kimberly, Michelle, Terry) the names were never on-screen. You don’t get a spelling-specific name spike if the influence is audio-only.

Then I noticed, lower down in the thread, that someone included a link to a single Ivory dishwashing liquid commercial from 1962. The spot featured a mother-daughter pair, “Mrs. Bernard Pugar and Dana,” and their names were indeed shown on-screen for several seconds. Now this looked promising.

I’ve since tracked down a similar Ivory commercial featuring “Mrs. Blake Clark” and her daughter Nicky, though Nicky’s name was never shown on-screen. No luck finding a Deneen version yet.

So I’ll just sit tight and hope that, one day, someone uploads the commercial in question and puts this whole Deneen baby name mystery to rest. :)

In the meanwhile, some questions:

  • If you were watching TV in the ’60s, do you happen recall an Ivory dishwashing liquid commercial featuring the name Deneen? (Long shot, I know.)
  • What do you think of the name Deneen? Which spelling do you like best?

P.S. Djuna popped up on the baby name charts in 1964 as well. I’m declaring 1964 the year of the mysteriously trendy D-names.


List of Female Names from 1888

female names, 1888

A while ago I found a book called “A Collection of Original Acrostics on Ladies’ Christian Names” that was published in Toronto in 1888.

I won’t post any of the poems, which are all pretty cheesy, but author George J. Howson does include an intriguing selection of names. He notes that he wrote acrostics for “all the most popular feminine christian names of the day, and many more that, while not in common use, are known to exist in actual life.”

Here’s the list:

Abigail
Ada
Adelaide
Adelle
Adeline
Addie
Aggie
Agnes
Alberta
Alecia
Aletha
Alfretta
Alice
Allie
Alma
Almeda
Almira
Alta
Althea
Alvira
Alzina
Amanda
Amelia
Amy
Ann
Anna
Annabell
Annas
Annette
Angelia
Angeline
Annie
Athaliah
Athelia
Augusta
Aura
Avis
Barbara
Beatrice
Bell
Bella
Berdie
Bertha
Bertie
Bessie
Beulah
Blanche
Bridget
Calista
Carrie
Carlotta
Cassie
Catherine
Cecilia
Cela
Celia
Celicia
Celis
Charlotte
Chloe
Christie
Christine
Clara
Clarissa
Cleanthe
Clementina
Constance
Cora
Cordelia
Corinne
Cornelia
Cynthia
Cyrena
Debbie
Delia
Della
Diana
Diantha
Dinah
Dollie
Dora
Dorcas
Dorinda
Dorothy
Edith
Edna
Effie
Ella
Eleanor
Eleanora
Electa
Ellen
Elfie
Eliza
Elma
Elsie
Emma
Emmeline
Emily
Ena
Erma
Estelle
Esther
Ethel
Ethelind
Ettie
Eugenie
Eula
Eunice
Euphemia
Euretta
Eva
Evalina
Eveline
Evelyn
Fannie
Felicia
Flora
Florence
Floss
Frances
Frank
Gay
Georgie
Georgina
Geraldine
Gertie
Gracie
Hagar
Hannah
Harriet
Hattie
Helen
Helena
Henrietta
Hulda
Ida
Irene
Isabel
Isabella
Isadora
Jane
Janet
Janie
Jeannette
Jemima
Jennet
Jennie
Jessie
Jerusha
Joanna
Josephine
Josie
Julia
Kate
Kathleen
Katie
Keziah
Lany
Laura
Leah
Leila
Lena
Lera
Lettie
Levina
Levinia
Libbie
Lida
Lilian
Lillie
Lizzie
Lola
Lora
Lorretta
Lottie
Lou
Louisa
Louise
Lucinda
Lucretia
Lucy
Luella
Lula
Lulu
Lydia
Mabel
Madelaine
Maggie
Malvina
Mamie
Marcella
Margaret
Maria
Marilla
Marion
Mary
Marsena
Martha
Mattie
Maud
Maudie
May
Melinda
Mellissa
Mercy
Mertie
Mildred
Millie
Mina
Minerva
Minnie
Mintha
Miranda
Mollie
Muriel
Myra
Myrtle
Nancy
Naomi
Nellie
Nettie
Nina
Nora
Ollie
Olive
Olivia
Ormanda
Ophelia
Pauline
Pearl
Phoebe
Phyllis
Priscilla
Prudence
Rachel
Rebecca
Rhoda
Robena
Rosa
Rosabel
Rosalie
Rosalind
Rosamond
Rose
Ruby
Ruth
Sabina
Sadie
Sally
Samantha
Sarah
Selina
Sophia
Sophronia
Stella
Susanna
Susie
Sybil
Teresa
Theodocia
Theresa
Tillie
Una
Verna
Victoria
Vida
Viola
Violet
Wilhelmina
Winifred
Zuba

Have any favorites?

Hulda/Huldah is one I like. It’s one of those names that I always see on old New England gravestones but never come across in real life. Wonder when that one will become stylish again.

BTW, has anyone ever seen a good name acrostic? Like, one that’s actually well-written and/or thought-provoking? Because I don’t think I ever have.

Source: A Collection of Original Acrostics on Ladies’ Christian Names by George J. Howson

Shorter Name, Fatter Paycheck?

We’ve seen how foreign-sounding names are correlated to lower salaries (thanks to prejudice during the hiring process) but here’s something new: longer names are correlated to lower salaries as well.

Several months ago, job-search site TheLadders examined the names of nearly 6 million users and determined that shorter names, including nicknames, are correlated to higher salaries. In fact, they went so far as to say that “it looks like every additional letter added to your name accounts for a $3,600 drop in annual salary.”

So what’s the explanation? Why are people with short names being paid more?

For nicknames, it may just be that men and women in high-paying leadership roles use nick-forms of their names (Bill vs. William, Debbie vs. Deborah) to seem friendlier and more approachable.

But the part of the study that looked at minor spelling differences (Sara vs. Sarah, Michele vs. Michelle, Philip vs. Phillip) is harder to explain. Any ideas?

Sources: On a first-name basis with success? Your mom chose your name wisely (via A. Mitchell)

The Baby Name Murjani

In 1930, a man named B. K. Murjani left India to start a clothing company in China.

The Murjani company was focused on manufacturing until the mid-1960s, when B.K.’s son Mohan joined and transitioned the company to designer brand development and marketing.

In 1977, Murjani teamed up with heiress Gloria Vanderbilt to launch one of the first designer jean brands, Gloria Vanderbilt.

Debbie Harry - Murjani
“Gloria Vanderbilt for Murjani” commercial
featuring Debbie Harry of Blondie
The company poured a lot of money into building the brand. According to the Murjani Group website, Gloria Vanderbilt “was perhaps the first apparel brand to be advertised in marketing channels such as buses, phone booths and TV.” Gloria herself was featured in many of the television commercials.

By 1979, sales of GV jeans were massive.

In 1980, the company started using younger celebrities to endorse the brand. They put out print ads featuring baseball player Reggie Jackson and TV commercials featuring Blondie singer Debbie Harry.

We’ve already seen that advertisements (and especially TV commercials) have the power to influence baby name trends (e.g., Calizza, Dijonnaise), so it’s not surprising that 1980 is also the year the baby name Murjani debuted on the SSA’s baby name list:

  • 1983: unlisted
  • 1982: 6 baby girls named Murjani
  • 1981: 10 baby girls named Murjani
  • 1980: 8 baby girls named Murjani [debut]
  • 1979: unlisted

Like Jordache, though, Murjani dropped off the list after only a few years.

I don’t know what the etymology of the surname Murjani is, but Mohan Murjani has been quoted as saying that he has “sometimes mistaken as an Italian because of [his] family name.”

Sources:

  • Duttagupta, Ishani. “Indian style guru: Building global lifestyle brands.” Economic Times 15 May 2008.
  • Hellman, Peter. “Sic Transit Gloria.” New York Magazine 15 Feb. 1993: 34-41.
  • Murjani Group

Baby Named for Hurricane

hurricaneA baby boy born (via c-section) at 12:12 on 12-12-12 to superstorm Sandy survivors in New Jersey was named Carson Hurricane Turner.

His mother, Debbie, had this to say about his middle name:

“It was supposed to be Joseph, but considering he went through the hurricane, flood and all the stress and he still stayed in there, I had to change the name.”

I’ve found over a dozen other people named Hurricane, most born in the U.S. The SSDI currently lists just two Hurricanes: Hurricane R. Archer (1964-2007) and Hurricane Lee (1975-2001).

Source: 12-12-12 baby: Hurricane Sandy victims get a special delivery with special numbers

No Numbers in Names in Wisconsin?

Yesterday I blogged about 7 and 12-Gage, two Oklahoma babies with names that feature numbers.

I’ve always assumed that any U.S. parent could use a number in a baby name (even though few end up doing so). Then I spotted something in a Wisconsin newspaper that made me think twice. Here’s the quote, from the Wausau Daily Herald:

Debbie Baeseman, a nurse in Aspirus’ birth center, said that in 2010, one set of new parents wanted to include a number in the middle of their child’s name, but Wisconsin law forbids it.

Is this true? Is there a really a law in Wisconsin that says parents can’t use numbers in baby names? If you’re familiar with Wisconsin law, I’d love to hear your take on this. (I’d also love to hear from anyone who knows whether similar laws exist in other states.)

Source: Elijah, Madeline top local picks for newborns in 2010

Update! Number-Names Illegal in Illinois, New Jersey, Texas

Sarah Palin’s Baby Names – Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper, Trig

Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, chose some unusual names for their five children:

  1. Track, 19
  2. Bristol, 17
  3. Willow, 14
  4. Piper, 7
  5. Trig, 4 months

Track and Trig are boys, while Bristol, Willow and Piper are girls. Todd explained the origins of the names in a recent interview with People:

Sarah’s parents were coaches and the whole family was involved in track and I was an athlete in high school, so with our first-born, I was, like, ‘Track!’ Bristol is named after Bristol Bay. That’s where I grew up, that’s where we commercial fish. Willow is a community there in Alaska. And then Piper, you know, there’s just not too many Pipers out there and it’s a cool name. And Trig is a Norse name for “strength.”

But wait…in an earlier MSNBC interview, a Palin spokesperson had stated that Trig was a Norse name meaning “true” and “brave victory.” (Was that a flip-flop?) The Bad Baby Names Blog takes issue with both definitions:

Trig doesn’t appear to be any kind of “Nordic” name, as the family claims. There’s “Trygg”, a Norwegian name which means “safe” or “reliable” – but there’s unfortunately no “brave victory.”

Regardless of its meaning, Trig was the name of the baby’s great uncle, KTUU News learned from Sarah Palin’s father. He also mentioned that one of Trig’s middle names, Paxson, was chosen in honor of Paxson, Alaska — home of the Arctic Man snowmobile festival.

Several sources, including the NY Daily News, have suggested that Piper’s name was inspired by the Piper Super Cub, a bush plane popular in Alaska.

Odd names tend to elicit strong reactions — mostly negative reactions, in this case. For instance, Rachael Brownell calls the names “bizarre.” Debbie Schlussel says they’re “[w]hacked out and pretentious. And frankly, stupid.” Nancy Friedman asks: “Do we want someone with such poor judgment in naming to be a heartbeat away from the presidency?”

How do you feel about the names? If you’re in the U.S., will they have any influence on the way you vote?