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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Desmond

Number of Babies Named Desmond

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Desmond

Baby Names from Cockney Rhyming Slang?

Here’s something I’ve never seen before.

Last month, Canadian singer Bryan Adams and his girlfriend welcomed their second baby girl, Lula RosyLea. Lula’s middle name is a reference to her time of birth, as per this tweet by Adams:

Lula Rosylea arrived @ teatime this wk. a cup of ‘rosie lee’ = ‘cup of tea’ in cockney. Lula comes from Gene Vincent’s song Be-Bop-A-Lula

This is the first baby I know of to be named via Cockney rhyming slang.

What’s Cockney rhyming slang? It involves word substitution based on rhyme. Typically, a word in a sentence is replaced with a rhyming phrase, and then the rhyming part of the phrase is dropped. This makes the resulting sentence hard for those not in-the-know to understand.

Here’s an example: “Use your loaf.” It’s really “use your head,” but the phrase loaf of bread was used instead of head, and then loaf of bread was shortened to just loaf. Hence, “use your loaf.” Get it?

Speaking of bread, if you’ve ever heard people use the slang word bread to mean money, that’s CRS too. Money rhymes with the old expression bread and honey, which shortens to bread.

So that’s how Bryan Adams turned tea into Rosie Lee, which is a common CRS rhyme for tea. (And now, if you’re ever in London and someone asks you if you want a cup of Rosie, you’ll know what they’re talking about!) “Rosie Lee” refers to American burlesque performer Gypsy Rose Lee (1911-1970).

I thought this was a rather cool way to come up with a baby name, so I’ve collected a few dozen other well-known CRS rhymes that involve names. On the left you’ll find the original word, in the middle is the name/phrase substitution, and on the right is the shortened version.

  • back – rhymes with Cilla Black – shortens to Cilla
  • ball – rhymes with Albert Hall – shortens to Albert
  • belly – rhymes with Darby Kelly – shortens to Darby
  • brake – rhymes with Veronica Lake – shortens to Veronica
  • cake – rhymes with Sexton Blake – shortens to Sexton
  • coat – rhymes with Billy goat – shortens to Billy
  • curry – rhymes with Ruby Murray – shortens to Ruby (if these parents had had a girl instead of a boy, Ruby would have been a great option)
  • door – rhymes with Rory O’Moore – shortens to Rory
  • fairy – rhymes with Julian Clairy – shortens to Julian
  • fish – rhymes with Lillian Gish – shortens to Lillian
  • gin – rhymes with Anne Boleyn – shortens to Ann
  • gin – rhymes with Vera Lynn – shortens to Vera
  • ice – rhymes with Vincent Price – shortens to Vincent
  • kettle – rhymes with Hansel and Gretel – shortens to Hansel
  • lisp – rhymes with Quentin Crisp – shortens to Quentin
  • mess – rhymes with Elliot Ness – shortens to Elliot
  • neck – rhymes with Gregory Peck – shortens to Gregory
  • old man (father) – rhymes with Peter Pan – shortens to Peter
  • rail – rhymes with Toby Ale – shortens to Toby
  • Stella (brand of beer) – rhymes with Yuri Geller – shortens to Yuri
  • Stella – rhymes with Nelson Mandela – shortens to Nelson
  • table – rhymes with Betty Grable – shortens to Betty
  • tea – rhymes with Bruce Lee – shortens to Bruce
  • tea – rhymes with Kiki Dee – shortens to Kiki
  • tea – rhymes with Rosie Lee – shortens to Rosie
  • telly – rhymes with Liza Minnelli – shortens to Liza (e.g., “What’s on the Liza?”)
  • trouble – rhymes with Barney Rubble – shortens to Barney
  • 2:2 (lower second-class honors) – rhymes with Desmond Tutu – shortens to Desmond
  • undies – rhymes with Eddie Grundies – shortens to Eddie
  • wedding – rhymes with Otis Redding – shortens to Otis

I think Darby (for “belly”) might be an especially tempting one baby namers, no? :)

Bryan’s first baby girl, Mirabella Bunny, was born last Easter.

Sources: @bryanadams, February 14, 2013, Cockney Rhyming Slang


Baby Name Needed – Atlas or Finch?

A reader and her husband are expecting a baby boy in January. They’re down to two names: Atlas and Finch.

If we decide to go with Atlas, his name will be Atlas Grey. However, if we decide to go with Finch, we’re having a terrible time deciding on a middle name. My first thought is Finch Winter but I’m not sure if it’s too feminine. We would love any kind of feedback or ideas. I’m thinking it should be two syllables and obviously something out of the ordinary.

So, here are the questions:

  1. Which name do you like better, Atlas or Finch?
  2. Is Finch Winter too feminine?
  3. What middle name(s) would you suggest for Finch?

Please give us your answers in the comments!

Here’s what I think:

1. I prefer Atlas to Finch for several reasons, one being that the name Finch immediately brought to mind Stifler’s Mom. (And another American Pie movie is due out next year. Who knows how long they’ll keep that franchise/joke alive.)

2. Finch Winter doesn’t strike me as being too “feminine” necessarily — just unisex, as nature names tend to be.

3. My first thought was Winston, which is similar to Winter, but decidedly masculine. Here are some other ideas:

Ambrose
Arthur
Clement
Cyrus
Desmond
Henry
Luther
Maxwell
Osborn
Roderick
Roland
Roman
Simon
Sinclair
Titus

What do you think?

The Top Baby Name Debuts, 1881 to Today

the top U.S. baby name debuts

Though vast majority of the baby names on the Social Security Administration’s yearly baby name lists are repeats, every list does contain a handful of brand-new names.

Below are the highest-charting debut names for every single year on record, after the first.

Why bother with an analysis like this? Because debut names often have cool stories behind them, and high-hitting debuts are especially likely to have intriguing pop culture explanations. So not only is this a list of names, but it’s also a list of stories.

Here’s the format: “Girl name(s), number of baby girls; Boy name(s), number of baby boys.” Keep in mind that the raw numbers aren’t too trustworthy for about the first six decades, though. (More on that in a minute.)

  • 1881: Adell & Celeste, 14; Brown & Newell, 14
  • 1882: Verda, 14; Cleve, 13
  • 1883: Laurel, 12; Brady, Festus, Jewell, Odell & Rosco, 8
  • 1884: Crystal & Rubie, 11; Benjamen, Jens, Oakley & Whitney, 9
  • 1885: Clotilde, 13; Arley & Terence, 9
  • 1886: Manuelita, 10; Terrence, 10
  • 1887: Verlie, 13; Myles, 11
  • 1888: Ebba, 18; Carlisle, Hughie & Orvel, 9
  • 1889: Garnett, 12; Doyle, 9
  • 1890: Verena, 11; Eduardo & Maggie, 10
  • 1891: Gayle, Idabelle & Zenia, 9; Sheridan, 14
  • 1892: Astrid, Dallas & Jennett, 9; Corbett, 23
  • 1893: Elmyra, 12; Estel, Mayo, Shelley & Thorwald, 8
  • 1894: Beatriz, Carola & Marrie, 9; Arvel, Erby & Floy, 8
  • 1895: Trilby, 12; Roosevelt, 12
  • 1896: Lotus, 11; Hazen, 11
  • 1897: Dewey, 13; Bryon, Frankie, Mario & Rhoda, 7
  • 1898: Manilla, 35; Hobson, 38
  • 1899: Ardis & Irva, 19; Haven, 9
  • 1900: Luciel, 14; Rosevelt, 20
  • 1901: Venita, 11; Eino, 9
  • 1902: Mercie, 10; Clarnce, 9
  • 1903: Estela, 11; Lenon & Porfirio, 7
  • 1904: Magdaline, 9; Adrain, Arbie, Betty, Desmond, Domenic, Duard, Raul & Severo, 8
  • 1905: Oliver, 9; Eliot & Tyree, 9
  • 1906: Nedra, 11; Domenico & Ryan, 10
  • 1907: Theta, 20; Taft, 16
  • 1908: Pasqualina, 10; Robley, 12
  • 1909: Wilmoth, 9; Randal & Vidal, 9
  • 1910: Ellouise, 12; Halley, 12
  • 1911: Thurley, 12; Colie, 16
  • 1912: Elynor, Glennis, Mariann, 12; Woodroe, 25
  • 1913: Wilba, 18; Vilas, 24
  • 1914: Floriene, 14; Torao, 17
  • 1915: Wanza, 33; Audra, 18
  • 1916: Tatsuko, 14; Verdun, 14
  • 1917: Nerine, 43; Delwyn, 14
  • 1918: Marne, 24; Foch, 58
  • 1919: Tokie, 12; Juaquin, 11
  • 1920: Dardanella, 23; Steele, 11
  • 1921: Marilynne, 13; Norberto, 14
  • 1922: Evelean, 14; Daren, 35
  • 1923: Nalda, 15; Clinard & Dorland, 9
  • 1924: Charis, 14; Melquiades, 13
  • 1925: Irmalee, 37; Wayburn, 11
  • 1926: Narice, 13; Bibb, 14
  • 1927: Sunya, 14; Bidwell, 14
  • 1928: Joreen, 22; Alfread & Brevard, 9
  • 1929: Jeannene, 25; Donnald, Edsol, Rhys & Wolfgang, 8
  • 1930: Laquita, 68; Shogo, 11
  • 1931: Joanie, 12; Rockne, 17
  • 1932: Carolann, Delano & Jenine, 11; Alvyn, Avelardo, Elena, Mannon & Wenford, 7
  • 1933: Gayleen, 23; Skippy, 10
  • 1934: Carollee & Janean, 12; Franchot, 9
  • 1935: Treasure, 16; Haile, 11
  • 1936: Shelva, 89; Renny & Shelva, 9

This is where the numbers start becoming more accurate. Why? Because “many people born before 1937 never applied for a Social Security card, so their names are not included in our data.” (SSA)

Now back to the list:

  • 1937: Deeann, 18; Gaynell, 11
  • 1938: Sonjia, 19; Daivd, 9
  • 1939: Thanna, 17; Brenda, 19
  • 1940: Sierra, 32; Willkie, 13
  • 1941: Jerilynn, 56; Saford, 11
  • 1942: Dwala, Gerilyn & Rise, 15; Mcarther, 23
  • 1943: Sharelle, 28; Howie, 10
  • 1944: Deatra, 29; Kipp, 9
  • 1945: Sherida, 26; Vickie, 10
  • 1946: Suzzette, 17; Sung & Tyronne, 8
  • 1947: Rory, 41; Eliezer, 11
  • 1948: Vickii, 30; Ridge, 10
  • 1949: Rainelle, 46; Ezzard, 21
  • 1950: Monalisa, 35; Broderick, 30
  • 1951: Debralee, 19; Cregg, 10
  • 1952: Terria, 17; Faron & Gevan, 12
  • 1953: Trenace, 32; Caster, 21
  • 1954: Corby, 39; Durk, 17
  • 1955: Shevawn, 36; Anothony & Erol, 10
  • 1956: Siobhan, 58; Trace, 17
  • 1957: Tierney, 46; Maverick, 32
  • 1958: Tamre, 63; Hoby, 30
  • 1959: Torey, 102; Rowdy, 22
  • 1960: Leshia, 76; Cully, 31
  • 1961: Lavoris, 36; Jefre, 21
  • 1962: Lafondra, 30; Thadd, 10
  • 1963: Phaedra, 70; Medgar, 25
  • 1964: Djuna, 198; Janssen, 16
  • 1965: Latrenda, 89; Illya, 35
  • 1966: Indira, 43; Jarred, 17
  • 1967: Cinnamon, 40; Clayt, 13
  • 1968: Laryssa, 67; Jemal, 47
  • 1969: Omayra, 42; Tige, 28
  • 1970: Shilo, 38; Toriano, 62
  • 1971: Ayanna, 194; Diallo, 54
  • 1972: Cotina, 109; Jabbar, 77
  • 1973: Yajaira, 55; Yohance, 44
  • 1974: Shalawn, 70; Nakia, 611
  • 1975: Azure, 121; Viet, 23
  • 1976: Tynisa, 79; Delvecchio, 27
  • 1977: Kizzy, 1,115; Levar, 523
  • 1978: Enjoli, 35; Mychal, 59
  • 1979: Chimere, 78; Jorel, 22
  • 1980: Lerin, 35; Tou, 33
  • 1981: Fallon, 232; Taurean, 90
  • 1982: Tyechia, 71; Eder, 48
  • 1983: Mallori, 35; Jonerik & Marquita, 20
  • 1984: Nastassja, 40; Eldra, 17
  • 1985: Sade, 392; Rishawn, 25
  • 1986: Myleka, 38; Cordero, 173
  • 1987: Jaleesa, 116; Teyon, 25
  • 1988: Jalesa, 77; Kadeem, 52
  • 1989: Alexandr*, 301; Christop*, 1,082 [Audreanna, 80; Khiry, 158]
  • 1990: Isamar, 446; Dajour, 26
  • 1991: Emilce, 30; Quayshaun, 93
  • 1992: Akeiba, 49; Devanta, 41
  • 1993: Rosangelica, 91; Deyonta, 37
  • 1994: Ajee, 185; Shyheim, 168
  • 1995: Yamilex, 130; Alize, 30
  • 1996: Moesha, 426; Quindon, 67
  • 1997: Erykah, 279; Cross, 43
  • 1998: Naidelyn, 78; Zyshonne, 26
  • 1999: Verania, 62; Cauy, 32
  • 2000: Kelis, 108; Rithik, 22
  • 2001: Yaire, 184; Jahiem, 155
  • 2002: Kaydence, 70; Omarian, 31
  • 2003: Trenyce, 88; Pharrell, 67
  • 2004: Eshal, 38; Jkwon, 100
  • 2005: Yarisbel, 30; Jayceon, 48
  • 2006: Lizania, 35; Balian, 24
  • 2007: Leilene, 81; Yurem, 206
  • 2008: Aideliz, 91; Yosgart, 72
  • 2009: Greidys, 186; Jeremih, 87
  • 2010: Tynlee, 42; Vadhir, 55
  • 2011: Magaby, 50; Jionni, 62
  • 2012: Kimbella, 52; Naksh, 28
  • 2013: Vanellope, 63; Jaceyon, 89
  • 2014: Dalary, 215; Llewyn, 38
  • 2015: Kehlani, 48; Gotham, 46

I’ve already written about some of the names above, and I plan to write about all the others as well…eventually. In the meanwhile, if you want to beat me to it and leave a comment about why Maverick hit in 1957, or why Moesha hit in 1996, feel free!

*If you ignore the Great Baby Name Glitch of 1989, the top debut names of 1989 are actually Audreanna and Khiry.

Name Needed for Baby Boy

Chelsey and her husband Ryan are expecting a baby boy “any time now” and would like some help choosing a name for him. Here’s what Chelsey says:

We had a name idea for the majority of my pregnancy that we were keeping a secret. A few weeks ago, we found another name we liked and then decided not to name him until he debuts. But now we aren’t feeling a pull towards either as much as we were and find ourselves looking through names and feeling overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time…nothing is sticking out!!

We want a name that isn’t too crazy or unique but isn’t exactly popular either. I’m pulled more towards short and sweet names while my husband likes longer names and more unique names – that give a good nickname.

The name we have had during the pregnancy is Hudson Gray – which I still really like.

Our newer favorite is Otto Emerson.

They also like the names Jude, Dallas, Roman, Oliver and Henry. Names that are off the table include Owen and any rhyming names (e.g. Cohen, Rowan) as Owen is the name of the family dog.

This baby is their first child, and his surname will be an M-name similar to Moyer.

Here are some ideas to start us off:

Beckett
Broderick
Calvin
Dane
Dawson
Desmond
Dixon
Dominic
Douglas
Elliott
Emery
Emmett
Franklin
Gideon
Griffin
Jonah
Lance
Lane
Leon
Lincoln
Reece
Reid
Reuben
Seth
Silas
Simon
Thaddeus
Theo(dore)
Winston
Wyatt

(All but two are outside the top 100.)

What other boy names would you suggest to Chelsey? How about name combinations?

Edward Gorey Names – Basil, Neville, Zillah

Author Edward Gorey, born on 22 February 1925, would have been 86 today. To celebrate his birthday, let’s check out the names he used in his most famous book, The Gashlycrumb Tinies (1963):

Boy Names Girl Names
Basil
Desmond
Ernest
George
Hector
James
Leo
Neville
Quentin
Titus
Victor
Xerxes
Yorick
Amy
Clara
Fanny
Ida
Kate
Maud
Olive
Prue
Rhoda
Susan
Una
Winnie
Zillah

He used interesting (sometimes odd) names in his many other books/stories as well, such as Ortenzia, Gertrúdis, Jasper, Ambrogio, Herakleitos, Agnes and Basil in The Blue Aspic (1968), Embley and Yewbert in The Epiplectic Bicycle (1969), Lambert, Amanda, Augustus, Emily and Neville in The Dwindling Party (1982), and Theoda in The Tuning Fork (1983).

Do you happen to own anything by Gorey? If so, please comment with a few character names!

How to Find a Boy Name that Won’t Become a Girl Name

Are there any boy names out there that aren’t at risk of becoming girl names?

This may not be the answer you want to hear, but: nope. There’s simply no way to guarantee that a boy name won’t suddenly become trendy for girls. (A movie mermaid was all it took for the name Madison — a name with the word “son” right in there — to become a girl name.)

No boy names are girl-proof, but some are certainly girl-resistant. Which ones? Here are five types I’ve come up with:

1. Boy names with unstylish elements, such as “bert” and “stan.” If a boy name isn’t fashionable enough to be popular for boys, it shouldn’t be too tempting to use for girls either.

Albert
Archibald
Bernard
Bertrand
Donald
Irwin
Gilbert
Leopold
Maynard
Rudolph
Stanford
Woodrow

2. Boy names with few vowels. They tend to sound more masculine than other names.

Bryant
Chad
Charles
Clark
Desmond
Grant
Kenneth
Mark
Ralph
Scott
Seth
Trent

3. Boy names with length. Most of today’s popular unisex names stop at two syllables.

Abraham
Alexander
Augustine
Balthazar
Benedict
Barnaby
Benjamin
Emmanuel
Ferdinand
Mortimer
Reginald
Sylvester

4. Boy names with hard endings, such as D, K and T. Many of the boy names being used by girls end with softer consonants like L, N and R.

Bennett
Caleb
Conrad
Craig
Derek
Emmett
Garrick
Isaac
Jared
Patrick
Stuart
Wyatt

5. Boy names with well-known feminine forms. If there’s a readily available girl-version, doesn’t it seem silly to use the masculine form for a female?

Brian (Brianna)
Carl (Carla)
Erik (Erika)
Gerald (Geraldine)
George (Georgia)
Henry (Henrietta)
Joseph (Josephine)
Martin (Martina)
Paul (Paula)
Robert (Roberta)
Theodore (Theodora)
Victor (Victoria)

As I mentioned, there’s never a guarantee. (A female Scrubs character is named Elliot — will that be the next to go? How about Blake, thanks to Blake Lively?) But I think boy names that fit into the above categories are relatively safe bets.

Are there any other types of names you’d add to the list?

Baby Name Needed – Boy Name for Cian’s Little Brother

A reader named Jamie writes:

Cian Joseph is two years old, and will be welcoming a little brother in May. My husband is Irish, and so we’re sticking with names from that region. We know the middle name will be James, but we’re hitting a road block on first names. So far the only name we both like is Declan, but our super-Irish last name includes 2 K-sounds and ends in -lin. They sound a little funny together.

My first thoughts were Desmond and Diarmaid (Dermot), which are both similar to Declan. There’s also a saint named Donnan. Speaking of saints, how about:

Brendan
Brogan
Eoghan
Ernan
Faolan
Fergus
Fintan
Flannan
Finnian
Garbhan
Grellan
Loman
Manchan
Mel
Murtagh
Odhran
Ronan
Ruadhan
Senan
Ultan

Most of the above are spelled other ways as well, which is convenient (as some versions are easier to pronounce in English, while others are closer to the original Irish).

Historical Irish kings had names like Niall (Neil), Domnall (Donald) and Ruaidri (Rory).

Looking to surnames, there are options like Brady, Grady, Murphy and Nolan.

Do you think any of the above sound particularly good with James? What other names would you suggest?

Update, 6/07: Scroll down to the last comment to find out which name Jamie chose…