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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Dorian

Number of Babies Named Dorian

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Dorian

Biggest Changes in Boy Name Popularity, E/W, 2013

Here’s another “biggest changes” analysis, but this one is for the England and Wales boy names. (We looked at the girl names yesterday.)

The tables below include two versions of each list. On the left are the top raw-number differences, taking all names into account. On the right are the top ranking differences, taking only the top 1,000 names (roughly) into account.

Biggest Increases in Popularity

Raw Numbers (all names) Rankings (top 1,000)
  1. Oscar, +1,222 babies
  2. Muhammad, +338
  3. Henry, +320
  4. Joey, +288
  5. Oliver, +280
  6. Teddy, +276
  7. Arthur, +249
  8. Archie, +203
  9. Edward, +185
  10. Theodore, +167
  1. Greyson, +1388 spots
  2. Harvey-Lee, +898
  3. Salahuddin, +759
  4. Bernard, +715
  5. Camden, +686
  6. Kayson, +583
  7. Raife, +531
  8. Buster and Abubakr [tie], +517
  9. Jeffrey and Brax [tie], +499
  10. Emre, +492

I think the rise of Oscar can be attributed, at least in part, to Oscar Pistorius. Can you think of explanations for any of the other names? (I’d especially like to know what gave Buster a boost.)

Biggest Decreases in Popularity

Raw Numbers (all names) Rankings (top 1,000)
  1. Riley, -1,703 babies
  2. Harry, -1,280
  3. Tyler, -1,104
  4. Alfie, -705
  5. Ethan, -649
  6. Charlie, -532
  7. Joshua, -471
  8. Callum, -467
  9. Ryan, -441
  10. Dylan, -407
  1. Rylan, -577 spots
  2. Ray, -339
  3. Rylie, -277
  4. Jeevan, -276
  5. Darren, -255
  6. Codey, -252
  7. Chace, -242
  8. Dorian, -239
  9. Kaelan, -231
  10. Riley-Jay, -228

A lot of Ry- and Ri- names took hits last year. Is the sound falling out of the favor? What do you think?

Top Debut Name


Fewer than 3 baby boys got the name in 2012, but 12 baby boys were named Gurfateh in 2013. (But keep in mind that I only have the full England and Wales baby name lists going back to 2007.)

Here are the U.S. boy names that changed the most in popularity in 2013, if you’d like to compare.

Source: Baby Names, England and Wales, 2013 – ONS

35 Most Unisex Baby Names in the U.S.

Last month, FlowingData crunched some numbers to come up with the 35 most unisex baby names in the U.S. since 1930. Here’s their list:

  1. Jessie
  2. Marion
  3. Jackie
  4. Alva
  5. Ollie
  6. Jody
  7. Cleo
  8. Kerry
  9. Frankie
  10. Guadalupe
  11. Carey
  12. Tommie
  13. Angel
  14. Hollis
  15. Sammie
  16. Jamie
  17. Kris
  18. Robbie
  19. Tracy
  20. Merrill
  21. Noel
  22. Rene
  23. Johnnie
  24. Ariel
  25. Jan
  26. Devon
  27. Cruz
  28. Michel
  29. Gale
  30. Robin
  31. Dorian
  32. Casey
  33. Dana
  34. Kim**
  35. Shannon

I’m not sure exactly what criteria were used to create the rankings, but it looks like the top unisex names on this list were the top-1,000 names that “stuck around that 50-50 split” the longest from 1930 to 2012.

(In contrast, my unisex baby names page lists any name on the full list to fall within the 25-75 to 75-25 range, but only in the most recent year on record.)

The FlowingData post also mentions that, though the data is pretty noisy, there might be “a mild upward trend” over the years in the number of babies with a unisex name.

**In 1957, Johnny Carson’s 5-year-old son Kim had his name changed to Richard because he’d been having “a little trouble over his name being mistaken for a girl’s.”

Source: The most unisex names in US history

[Update: Changed Michael to Michel, 11/7]

Named David? Headed to Italy? Here’s a Hotel Discount…

statue of David
Replica of David
Hotel David in Florence, Italy, offers a 5% discount to guests named David. So if your name is David and you’re planning to be in Florence anytime soon, you may want to check them out. If you decide to book, remember to use the promo code “DAVID” and be prepared to prove that your name really is David when you check in.

The hotel, which has been around since the 1950s, was named after Michelangelo’s sculpture of David, which has been on display in Florence since 1504.

I don’t know if the hotel’s David offer is permanent (like the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s Isabellas Free…Forever! program) but there’s no expiration date listed.


Here’s another name-based hotel deal I discovered recently, but this one does have an expiration date, so you’ll have to act quickly if you want to take advantage of it.

From Aug. 20 until Oct. 31, Breezes Bahamas is giving $100 to any guest staying at least 5 nights whose legal first name is on the 2013 National Hurricane Center list of storm names: Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van or Wendy.

The spelling of your name must match the storm name exactly (i.e., “Sebastian” and “Rebecca” don’t count).

Baby Names for U2 Lovers – Joshua, Gloria, Jacob, Grace

U2 will be officially releasing its 12th studio album, No Line on the Horizon, in about a week. In honor of the occasion, I combed through the band’s earlier albums and compiled a list of U2-inspired baby names:

  • Ann, from the song Crumbs From Your Table: “Sister Ann, she says / Dignity passes by” (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, 2004).
  • Cain, from the song In God’s Country: “I stand with the sons of Cain” (The Joshua Tree, 1987).
  • Dorian, from the song The Ocean: “A picture in grey / Dorian Gray” (Boy, 1980).
  • Elvis, in the song title Elvis Presley And America (The Unforgettable Fire, 1984).
  • Gloria, from the song Gloria: “Gloria / In te Domine” (October, 1981).
  • Grace, from the song Grace: “Grace, it’s a name for a girl / It’s also a thought that changed the world” (All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2000).
  • Jacob, from the song Bullet the Blue Sky: “Jacob wrestled the angel / And the angel was overcome” (The Joshua Tree, 1987).
  • Joe, from the song Holy Joe: “Here it comes / Holy Joe” (Discothèque B-side, 1997).
  • John, from the song I Fall Down: “Julie says, John I’m getting nowhere” (October, 1981). Also in the song Angel of Harlem: “We got John Coltrane and a love supreme” (Rattle and Hum, 1988).
  • Johnny, from the song Mysterious Ways: “Johnny, take a walk with your sister the moon” (Achtung Baby, 1991).
  • Joshua, in the album title The Joshua Tree (1987).
  • Judy, from the song A Room At The Heartbreak Hotel: “Like Judy Garland, like Valentino / You give your life for rock n’ roll” (Angel of Harlem B-side, 1988).
  • Julie, from the song I Fall Down: “Julie says, John I’m getting nowhere” (October, 1981).
  • Michael, from the song The Playboy Mansion: “If coke is a mystery / Michael Jackson, history” (Pop, 1997).

The new album was “leaked” a few days ago, so all of the songs have already been posted to U2’s MySpace page. And, as it turns out, there’s another name in this bunch: Josephine, which is mentioned in the song Stand Up Comedy.

And don’t forget about Peter, the name of the boy featured on several of U2’s early album covers.

Finally, here are a few random U2 name facts for you:

  • Bono’s real name is Paul.
  • Edge’s real name is David.
  • Larry Mullen, Jr. didn’t start off with a suffix…but he tacked one on after his father began receiving his (rockstar-sized) tax bills. [Just one of the possible drawbacks to passing a name down.]

Unique Baby Names from Literature

The was originally the round-up post of a 31-post series on literature names for National Book Month. I’ve since condensed all of those individual posts into this one post.

I picked many of these names because they were either popularized by literature or first used as given names in literature:


Amanda is based on the Latin gerundive amanda, which means “she who must be loved.” It was used as a name in Europe starting in the mid-17th century. In literature, Amanda perhaps first appeared in the comedy Love’s Last Shift (1696) by English playwright and actor Colley Cibber (1671-1757).


Before Amaryllis was a plant, it was a name: Amaryllis was created by the Latin poet Virgil (70-19 BC) for a shepherdess in his pastoral Eclogues. Amaryllis is based on the Latin word amarysso, which means “to sparkle.”

Take ashes, Amaryllis, fetch them forth,
And o’er your head into the running brook
Fling them, nor look behind: with these will
Upon the heart of Daphnis make essay.
(Eclogue VIII)


Amory Blaine is the main character in This Side of Paradise (1920), the successful debut novel of American writer Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (1896-1940). Many believe that Fitzgerald modeled the wealthy, handsome protagonist after himself (at least in part).


Harper Lee‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) features Atticus Finch, respected lawyer and father of the book’s protagonist, Scout. Lee named Atticus after Roman eques Titus Pomponius Atticus.


Belinda was a character in The Provok’d Wife (1697), a comedic play written by English architect and dramatist Sir John Vanbrugh (c.1664-1726). Belinda may have been based on the Italian word bella, which means beautiful. It was later used by Alexander Pope in The Rape of the Lock (1712).


The romance between Beren and Lúthien was first told in prose in The Silmarillion, by writer and Oxford professor John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973).

Therefore at the last he yielded his will, and Beren took the hand of Lúthien before the throne of her father.
(The Silmarillion, Chapter 19)

A romantic sidenote: The name Beren is engraved on Tolkien’s gravestone, while Lúthien is on the gravestone belonging to Tolkien’s wife, Edith.


John Binkerson “Binx” Bolling is the film-obsessed main character of The Moviegoer (1961), a National Book Award-winning novel by American author Walker Percy (1916-1990).


Cedric was created by Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) for his novel Ivanhoe, which was written in 1819 but set in the 12th century. The name was probably inspired by that of Cerdic, the legendary founder of the Kingdom of Wessex.


Clarinda was coined by English poet Edmund Spenser (c.1552-1599) in The Faerie Queene.

Goe now, Clarinda, well thy wits aduise,
And all thy forces gather vnto thee;
(The Faerie Queene, Book V, Canto V)

Two centuries later, Robert Burns (1759-1796) addressed several poems to ‘Clarinda.’

Fair Empress of the Poet’s soul,
And Queen of Poetesses;
Clarinda, take this little boon,
This humble pair of glasses:
(Verses To Clarinda)


French author Victor Hugo (1802-1885) created the orphan Cosette for his novel Les Misérables (1862).

Les Misérables the musical, which debuted in London in October of 1985, has become one of the most successful musicals in history.

UPDATE: The latest Les Miserables movie comes out Dec. 25, 2012.


Dorian Gray, whose portrait ages while Dorian himself does not, was invented by Anglo-Irish writer Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) for the gothic horror novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Wilde may have borrowed the name from the ancient Hellenic tribe the Dorians.


Dulcinea del Toboso is a fictional character who’s referred to (but does not appear) in Don Quixote de la Mancha, written by Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616).


Eglantine is another name for sweetbrier, a pink-flowered plant native to Britain and northern Europe. Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400) first employed Eglantine as a given name, using it for Madame Eglantine in his Canterbury Tales:

Ther was also a nonne, a prioresse,
That of hir smylyng was ful symple and coy;
Hire gretteste ooth was but by Seinte Loy;
And she was cleped Madame Eglentyne.
(Prologue, lines 118-121)


Geraldine was originally an adjective that referred to Ireland’s FitzGerald dynasty. It was first used as a name by English aristocrat Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517-1547).

Honsdon did first present her to mine yien:
Bright is her hewe, and Geraldine she hight.
(Description and praise of his loue Geraldine.)

Geraldine was later popularized by Samuel Taylor Coleridge‘s poem Christabel.

Yet he who saw this Geraldine,
Had deemed her sure a thing divine.
(Christabel, Part II, Stanza 11)


Holden Caulfield is the cynical, sensitive teenage protagonist of The Catcher in the Rye (1951), written by reclusive American author J. D. Salinger. Holden also appears in several of Salinger’s short stories. Holden was the second-best fictional character of the 20th century, according to Book magazine.


Imogen is the name of the king’s daughter in Shakespeare’s play The Tragedy of Cymbeline, King of Britain (c.1609). The prevailing theory is that Imogen was actually meant to be Innogen — a name based on the Gaelic word inghean, meaning “girl, maiden” or “daughter” — but it was misspelled and the mistake was never corrected.


The character of Jancis Beguildy was created by English romantic novelist Mary Webb (1881-1927) for her book Precious Bane (1924). Jancis is a modern blend of the names Jan and Francis.


Kilgore Trout regularly appears in books by Kurt Vonnegut. (And in other books, like phone books.) The character of Kilgore may be based on Theodore Sturgeon, or may be a parody of Vonnegut himself.


Lesley is a variant of the name Leslie, which is derived from a Scottish place name. Lesley-with-a-y is interesting because it was first used by Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796) in his poem/song Saw Ye Bonie Lesley (1792).

Thou art a queen, fair Lesley,
Thy subjects, we before thee;
Thou art divine, fair Lesley,
The hearts o’ men adore thee.
(Saw Ye Bonie Lesley, Stanza 3)


Lestat de Lioncourt is a character in The Vampire Chronicles, a series of novels by Anne Rice. Rice “thought Lestat was an old Louisiana name.” She learned later that the name she was thinking of was actually Lestan.


Lucasta was first used by English poet Richard Lovelace (1618-1658). It’s a contraction of Lux Casta (Chaste Lucy), Lovalace’s nickname for a woman he’d been courting.

If to be absent were to be
Away from thee;
Or that when I am gone,
You or I were alone;
Then, my Lucasta, might I crave
Pity from blustering wind or swallowing wave.
(To Lucasta, going beyond the Seas)


The name Miranda was invented by William Shakespeare (1564-1616) for a character in The Tempest. Miranda is based on the Latin word mirandus, which means “admirable.”

Twelve year since, Miranda, twelve year since,
Thy father was the Duke of Milan and
A prince of power.
(The Tempest, Act 1, Scene II)

Uranus’s small moon Miranda, discovered in 1948, was named after the Shakespearean character.


Mireille is the French title of Provençal poem Mirèio (1859). The poem was written by French writer Frédéric Mistral (1830-1914), who shared the 1904 Nobel Prize for Literature with José Echegaray y Eizaguirre. Mistral probably derived ‘Mirèio’ from the Provençal verb mirar, which means “to admire.”


Orinthia was used by Nobel Prize-winning Irish-British playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) in his play The Apple Cart (1929). In the play, King Magnus refers to his mistress as “Orinthia.” When the mistress discovers that Magnus did not invent the name especially for her, she becomes angry. He responds:

Well, one poet may consecrate a name for another. Orinthia is a name full of magic for me. It could not be that if I had invented it myself. I heard it at a concert of ancient music when I was a child; and I have treasured it ever since.
(The Apple Cart, Interlude)

At that “concert of ancient music,” Magnus must have heard the old English ballad The Pilgrim of Love, which–according to the Catalogue of Ballads at Oxford’s Bodleian Library–begins “Orinthia my béloved, I call in vain…”


Pamela was created by English writer Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586) for The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia. The name was probably derived from the Greek words pan (all) and meli (honey). A century and a half later, Samuel Richardson‘s first novel–named Pamela in honor of Sidney’s heroine–was published.


Quoyle is the main character in E. Annie Proulx‘s The Shipping News (1993), which won the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and happens to be one of my favorite books. The novel was inspired by The Ashley Book of Knots, and, aptly, “quoyle” is an Old English spelling of coil.


The name Selima was first used in literature by English writer and scholar Thomas Gray (1716-1771). He used it as the name of a cat. Neither the name nor the cat were Gray’s inventions, though. Selima the cat had belonged to fellow Englishman and writer Horace Walpole (1717-1797).


The male name Shirley became feminized with the 1849 publication of Charlotte Bronte’s novel Shirley. Previously, Shirley had been a surname and, before that, a place name.

She had no Christian name but Shirley: her parents, who had wished to have a son…bestowed on her the same masculine family cognomen they would have bestowed on a boy, if with a boy they had been blessed.
(Shirley, Part 2, Chapter XI)


The rebellious Sula Peace, who becomes a pariah in her socially conservative Ohio town, is the main character of Toni Morrison‘s novel Sula (1973). Sula may be short for Ursula, a Latin name meaning “little bear.”


Vanessa was invented by Irish author Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) as a pseudonym for his friend (and perhaps lover) Esther Vanhomrigh: “van” comes from Vanhomrigh, and “essa” is based on a pet form of Esther.

While thus Cadenus entertains
Vanessa in exalted strains,
The nymph in sober words intreats
A truce with all sublime conceits.
(Cadenus and Vanessa)

Vanessa was later used as the name of a genus of butterfly.


Though Scottish writer J. M. Barrie (1860-1937) didn’t invent the name Wendy, he did popularize it with his character Wendy Darling. For Barrie, the name was inspired by a young acquaintance (the daughter of poet William Henley, 1849-1903), who mispronounced the word friend as “fwendy.”

“What’s your name?” he asked.
“Wendy Moira Angela Darling,” she replied with some satisfaction. “What is your name?”
“Peter Pan.”
(Peter Pan, Chapter 3)

There are many other interesting literature names out there. Did I miss any particularly good ones?