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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Eileen

Number of Babies Named Eileen

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Eileen

California Family with 22 Children

Story family of California in 1940 U.S. census
The Story family on the 1940 U.S. Census
Marion and Charlotte “Lottie” Story of Bakersfield, California, had at least 22 children — including five sets of twins — from 1922 to 1946. Seventeen of their kids are listed on the 1940 U.S. Census (at right).

I don’t know the names of all the Story children, but here are 20 of them: Jean, Jane, Jack, Jacqueline, June, Eileen, Clyde, Robert, James, Jeannette, Steve, Jerry, Terry (sometimes “Terrytown”), Charlotte, Scotty, Sherrie, Garry, Joanne, Frances (called Lidwina), and Monica (called Sandy).

Charlotte Story herself was one of a dozen children, born from 1899 to 1919. Her 11 siblings were named Pearl, George, Rhea, Hazel, Fern, Ira, Myrtle, Dorothy, Helen, Russell, and Viola.

And Charlotte’s mother Elsie was one of 13 children, born from 1865 to 1892. Her 12 siblings were named Edward, Levi, William, Frank, Rosa, Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth, Margaret, Archibald, Gertrude, and Emma.

So here’s the question: If you had to choose all of your own children’s names from just one of the sibsets above, which set would you pick? Why?

Sources: Charlotte M Lacount Story – Find A Grave, Elsie E Dubay LaCount – Find A Grave

First C-Section Quads Get Rhyming Names, Mostly

A set of quadruplets was delivered via Caesarean section for the first time ever on November 1, 1944. The quads — 3 girls and 1 boy — were born to Kathleen and Joseph Cirmnello of Philadelphia. TIME magazine noted several weeks later that the quadruple C-section was “a feat unique in medical history.”

The foursome had been known as A, B, C and D. However, Cirminello named the boy Michael on Saturday and the mother picked Kathleen for girl B’s name. The other two Monday were named Maureen and Eileen.

Kathleen, Maureen, Eileen, and…Michael. Do you think Michael ever felt left out because his name didn’t rhyme with his sisters’ names?

(Another rhyming sibset: Don Ameche’s Rhyming Children.)


  • “Medicine: Quadruple Caesarean.” TIME Nov. 13, 1944.
  • “Cirminello Quads Named; Father Goes Back to Work.” Miami News Nov. 6, 1944: 2-A.

The Rise of the Baby Name Cheryl

Cheryl Walker, Stage Door Canteen (1943)

It’s hard to pinpoint the origin of the name Cheryl (Cherie + Beryl? Cherry + Beryl?) but it’s clear that the name saw a drastic rise in popularity during the first half of 20th century. Cheryl went from a rarity in the early 1900s to one of the most popular girl names in the U.S. by the mid-1950s.

I doubt Cheryl could have achieved this kind of popularity without a series of pop culture boosts — two caused by the same person, interestingly.

The first (and smallest) boost happened in 1938:

  • 1940: 285 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 408th] – 42 in CA
  • 1939: 289 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 390th] – 49 in CA
  • 1938: 397 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 312th] – 76 in CA
  • 1937: 145 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 563rd] – 16 in CA
  • 1936: 94 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 688th] – 10 in CA

Many of these babies were born in California specifically.

The cause?

A 19-year-old from Pasadena named Cheryl Walker. In late 1937, she was selected as the 1938 Queen of the Tournament of Roses. Local newspapers (including the Los Angeles Times) talked about Cheryl quite a bit during the last month of 1937 and the first few months of 1938.

She signed a film contract with Paramount around that time, but didn’t have much success in the entertainment industry until five years later.

That’s when she played the romantic lead in the wartime hit Stage Door Canteen, released in the middle of 1943. Dozens of major celebrities — including Tallulah Bankhead, Helen Hayes, Katharine Hepburn, George Jessel, Gertrude Lawrence, Gypsy Rose Lee, Ethel Merman, Paul Muni, Merle Oberon, Mary Pickford, and Johnny Weissmuller — had cameos in the film, which was one of the highest-grossing of the year.

(Notably, several months before Stage Door Canteen came out, LIFE magazine published a series of photos of the actress along with a short article subtitled “Cheryl Walker rises from stand-in for Veronica Lake to stardom.”)

In both 1943 and 1944, the number of babies named Cheryl increased significantly:

  • 1945: 8,150 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 32nd]
  • 1944: 7,970 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 36th]
  • 1943: 2,878 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 102nd]
  • 1942: 590 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 280th]
  • 1941: 439 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 311th]

The name of Cheryl’s character, Eileen, also saw increased usage, as did many variants of Cheryl (asterisks denote debuts):

Name 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946
Cheryl 590 2,878 7,970 8,150 11,525
Sheryl 324 588 949 1,055 1,632
Sherrill 202 207 263 206 250
Cheryle 27 80 176 184 238
Sherryl 49 71 104 140 203
Cheryll 11 41 69 98 120
Sheryle 12 19 26 31 52
Cherryl 9 19 59 58 104
Sharelle** 28* 10
Charyl 24* 27 17 21
Scheryl 11* 11 7 5
Cherril 6 6 7
Sherral 6 6 8
Sherelle 6*
Sheril 5 11 6 9
Chyrl 5* 8 7 10
Cheril 6* 7
Cherl 6* 5 8
Sherryll 5 6 5
Cherill 5*
Cheyrl 5* 5 9
Chyrel 7* 10
Cheryal 6* 5
Cherryle 5*
Sherell 5*
Sherrille 5*
Chryl 9*
Sherryle 7*
Cherel 5*
Cherle 5*
Cherryll 5*
Chyral 5*
Shyrel 5*

**Sharelle was the top debut name of the year in 1943.

Usage of the name Cheryl plateaued in the late ’40s and early ’50s, then began to rise again in 1954:

  • 1956: 21,280 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 18th]
  • 1955: 19,100 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 19th]
  • 1954: 15,000 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 22nd]
  • 1953: 12,271 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 28th]
  • 1952: 12,197 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 31st]


It wasn’t Cheryl Walker — she’d retired from acting by this time.

Instead it was a short-lived TV show called Waterfront (1954-1956). The central character, John Herrick, was the captain of a San Pedro Harbor tugboat called the “Cheryl Ann.”

The show also gave a boost to the compound names Cherylann, Cherylanne and Sherylann.

[EDIT, 6/10 – Diana reminded me about Mouseketeer Cheryl, who was on The Mickey Mouse Club from 1956 to 1958. No doubt she also contributed to the name’s popularity in the mid-to-late ’50s.]

Cheryl became one of the top 20 baby names in the country in 1955, and it remained in the top 20 until 1961, peaking at 13th in 1958.

After that, usage began to decline. Cheryl fell out of the top 50 in 1972, then out of the top 100 in 1980. (This despite a late-1970s uptick inspired by actress Cheryl Ladd, singer Cheryl Lynn, and/or model Cheryl Tiegs.)

[EDIT, 7/7 – Cheryl M. reminded me to include Cheryl Ladd.]

And in 1998, exactly 40 years after nearly reaching the top 10, Cheryl fell out of the top 1,000 entirely.

What are your thoughts on the name Cheryl?

Do you like it more or less than Cherrill?


P.S. Other WWII-era names: Dorie, Jesse Roper, Sea Bee, MacArthur, Swoosie, Roger, Adolf Hitler.

The Ultimate ’80s Name-Song: Come on Eileen

come on eileen, dexys midnight runners
The winner!
“Come on Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners is the official winner of the Ultimate ’80s Name-Song Tournament!

It beat “Rock Me Amadeus” (1986) by Falco in the final round of voting.

The name Eileen has a complicated etymology. It’s an Anglicized form of the Irish name Eibhlín, which is a form of the Norman French name Aveline, which is a form of the Germanic name Avelina, which is ultimately based on either the Germanic root avi, which might mean “desired, wished for,” or the Germanic root aval, which means “strength.”

The related name Evelyn is the 20th most popular baby girl name in the country right now, but not-as-stylish Eileen is down in 748th place. Eileen was most popular in the U.S. during the 1940s, peaking at 70th in 1945.

And how about the band — where did they get the name Dexys Midnight Runners? “Dexys” (no apostrophe) comes from the club drug Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine sulfate) and “Midnight Runners” refers to the extra energy the stimulant gives users.

Thanks for playing along, everyone! I threw the Ultimate ’80s Name-Song Tournament together last-minute, so there wasn’t much time to research songs. I ended up overlooking a few good ones, such as:

  • “All for Leyna” (1980) by Billy Joel
  • “Romeo and Juliet” (1980) by Dire Straits
  • “Luanne” (1981) by Foreigner
  • “Baby Jane” (1983) by Rod Stewart
  • “Jane Says” (1987) by Jane’s Addiction
  • “Sweet Jane” (1988) by Cowboy Junkies (Velvet Underground cover)

Do you think any of these would have had a chance against “Come on Eileen”?

Finally, if I hold another name-related tournament next March, should it be songs again? If so, songs from what decade? If not, what would you like the theme to be?

The Ultimate ’80s Name-Song Tournament: Final Round

80s name-song tournament, final round

We’re down to the final 2 songs!

You can vote in the ultimate round of the Ultimate ’80s Name-Song Tournament from now until Saturday, but you can only pick one song this time, so choose wisely!

I’ll announce the winner on Monday, April 6th.

Early ’80s Finalist: “Come on Eileen” (1982) by Dexys Midnight Runners

  • “Come on Eileen” reached #1 on The Billboard Hot 100 in April, 1982.
  • In this tournament, “Come on Eileen” beat “Gloria,” “Jack and Diane,” “Rosanna” and “Valerie” in Round 1a and semi-finalists “Bette Davis Eyes,” “Billie Jean” and “Oh Sherrie” in Round 2.

Late ’80s Finalist: “Rock Me Amadeus” (1986) by Falco

  • “Rock Me Amadeus” reached #1 on The Billboard Hot 100 in March, 1986.
  • In this tournament, “Rock Me Amadeus” beat “Sara,” “Oh Sheila,” “Nikita” and “Suzanne” in Round 1b and semi-finalists “You Can Call Me Al,” “Luka” and “Veronica” in Round 2.

Which of these songs should be crowned the Ultimate '80s Name-Song?

  • "Come on Eileen" (1982) by Dexys Midnight Runners (60%, 12 Votes)
  • "Rock Me Amadeus" (1986) by Falco (40%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 20

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The Ultimate ’80s Name-Song Tournament: Round 2

80s name-song tournament, round 2

We’ve advanced to Round 2 in the Ultimate ’80s Name-Song Tournament!

In this round, we’ll narrow the pool down from 8 semifinalists to 2 finalists: one from the early ’80s, one from the late ’80s.

As usual, the round begins early Monday and ends early Saturday (so you have exactly 5 days to vote) and you can select up to 2 answers per poll.

Let the Round 2 battles begin!

The battles are over! Check below for the winners.

Battle 1

WINNER: “Come on Eileen” (1982) by Dexys Midnight Runners

This battle will determine the name-song finalist representing the early ’80s (Round 1a). The contestants:

  • Bette Davis Eyes” (1981) by Kim Carnes
    • ‘Bette Davis’ refers to actress Bette Davis (1908-1989).
  • Come on Eileen” (1982) by Dexys Midnight Runners
    • ‘Eileen’ refers to the first girlfriend of vocalist Kevin Rowland.
  • Billie Jean” (1983) by Michael Jackson
    • ‘Billie Jean’ refers to a real person, but in the song it’s symbolic of groupies in general.*
  • Oh Sherrie” (1984) by Steve Perry
    • ‘Sherrie’ refers to Sherrie Swafford, former girlfriend of Steve Perry.

(Links open music videos in a new window.)

Which song(s) do you like best? Choose up to 2:

  • "Come on Eileen" (1982) by Dexys Midnight Runners (56%, 14 Votes)
  • "Billie Jean" (1983) by Michael Jackson (48%, 12 Votes)
  • "Bette Davis Eyes" (1981) by Kim Carnes (40%, 10 Votes)
  • "Oh Sherrie" (1984) by Steve Perry (12%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 25

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Battle 2

WINNER: “Rock Me Amadeus” (1986) by Falco

This battle will determine the name-song finalist representing the late ’80s (Round 1b). The contestants:

  • Rock Me Amadeus” (1986) by Falco
    • ‘Amadeus’ refers to composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791).
  • You Can Call Me Al” (1986) by Paul Simon
    • ‘Al’ and ‘Betty’ are based on ‘Paul’ (Simon) and ‘Peggy’ (Simon’s first wife).
  • Luka” (1987) by Suzanne Vega
    • ‘Luka’ refers to a real person, but in the song it refers to a victim of child abuse.**
  • Veronica” (1989) by Elvis Costello
    • ‘Veronica’ refers to Costello’s grandmother (not sure if it’s her real name).

(Links open music videos in a new window.)

Which song(s) do you like best? Choose up to 2:

  • "Rock Me Amadeus" (1986) by Falco (63%, 15 Votes)
  • "You Can Call Me Al" (1986) by Paul Simon (33%, 8 Votes)
  • "Luka" (1987) by Suzanne Vega (29%, 7 Votes)
  • "Veronica" (1989) by Elvis Costello (29%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 24

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Anyone care to guess which of the name-songs above will be crowned the winner in a couple of weeks?

*”Billie Jean is kind of anonymous. It represents a lot of girls. […] They would hang around backstage doors, and any band that would come to town they would have a relationship with, and I think I wrote this out of experience with my brothers when I was little. There were a lot of Billie Jeans out there.” -MJ, via MTV

**”Where did you get the name from?” “A 9-year-old boy who lives in my building. Who is not abused, by the way. I like the name Luka, it’s universal. It could be a girl or boy and it could be any nationality.” -SV, via NYT

The Ultimate ’80s Name-Song Tournament: Round 1a

80s name-song tournament, round 1a

Ready for a March Madness-inspired tournament that involves both names and ’80s music?

We’ll start with 40 songs from the ’80s that prominently feature given names — songs like “Jessie’s Girl,” “Oh Sherrie,” “Who’s Johnny” and “Dirty Diana” — and, over the next few weeks, we’ll whittle them down until we determine which song earns the title of Ultimate ’80s Name-Song.

Here’s the tournament schedule:

  • March 9-14: Round 1a. Starts with 20 songs. Ends with 4 winners.
  • March 16-21: Round 1b. Starts with 20 songs. Ends with 4 winners.
  • March 23-28: Round 2. Starts with 8 songs. Ends with 2 winners.
  • March 30-April 4: Final round.
  • April 6: Winner announcement.

Round 1 is so big that I had to split it up over two weeks. This week (1a) covers the first half of the ’80s. Next week (1b) covers the second half.

Each round begins early Monday and ends early Saturday, so you have exactly 5 days to submit your answers.

Ready? Let the battles begin!

The battles are over! Check below for the winners.

Battle 1

WINNER: “Bette Davis Eyes” (1981) by Kim Carnes

The contestants:

  • Bette Davis Eyes” (1981) by Kim Carnes
    • She got Greta Garbo standoff sighs, she’s got Bette Davis eyes
  • Charlotte Sometimes” (1981) by The Cure
    • All the sounds of Charlotte sometimes, into the night with Charlotte sometimes
  • 867-5309/Jenny” (1981) by Tommy Tutone
    • Jenny, Jenny, who can I turn to? You give me somethin’ I can hold on to
  • Jessie’s Girl” (1981) by Rick Springfield
    • I wish that I had Jessie’s girl, where can I find a woman like that
  • Mickey” (1982) by Toni Basil
    • Oh Mickey, you’re so fine, you’re so fine, you blow my mind, hey Mickey, hey Mickey

(Links open music videos in a new window.)

Which song(s) do you like best? Choose up to 2:

  • "Bette Davis Eyes" (1981) by Kim Carnes (43%, 23 Votes)
  • "Jessie's Girl" (1981) by Rick Springfield (36%, 19 Votes)
  • "867-5309/Jenny" (1981) by Tommy Tutone (30%, 16 Votes)
  • "Mickey" (1982) by Toni Basil (23%, 12 Votes)
  • "Charlotte Sometimes" (1981) by The Cure (11%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 53

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Battle 2

WINNER: “Come on Eileen” (1982) by Dexys Midnight Runners

The contestants:

  • Come on Eileen” (1982) by Dexys Midnight Runners
    • Come on Eileen, oh I swear what he means, at this moment, you mean everything
  • Gloria” (1982) by Laura Branigan
    • Gloria, I think they got your number, I think they got the alias, that you’ve been living under
  • Jack and Diane” (1982) by John Cougar Mellencamp
    • Little ditty ’bout Jack and Diane, two American kids growin’ up in the heartland
  • Rosanna” (1982) by Toto
    • All I wanna do when I wake up in the morning is see your eyes, Rosanna, Rosanna
  • Valerie” (1982) by Steve Winwood
    • Valerie, call on me, call on me, Valerie, come and see me, I’m the same boy I used to be

(Links open music videos in a new window.)

Which song(s) do you like best? Choose up to 2:

  • "Come on Eileen" (1982) by Dexys Midnight Runners (54%, 27 Votes)
  • "Jack and Diane" (1982) by John Cougar Mellencamp (42%, 21 Votes)
  • "Rosanna" (1982) by Toto (30%, 15 Votes)
  • "Gloria" (1982) by Laura Branigan (22%, 11 Votes)
  • "Valerie" (1982) by Steve Winwood (10%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 50

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Battle 3

WINNER: “Billie Jean” (1983) by Michael Jackson

The contestants:

  • Rio” (1983) by Duran Duran
    • Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand
  • Billie Jean” (1983) by Michael Jackson
    • Billie Jean is not my lover, she’s just a girl who claims that I am the one
  • Oh Diane” (1983) by Fleetwood Mac
    • Love is like a grain of sand, slowly slippin’ through your hand, oh oh Diane
  • Joanna” (1983) by Kool and the Gang
    • Joanna, I love you, you’re the one, the one for me
  • Think of Laura” (1983) by Christopher Cross
    • Think of Laura but laugh don’t cry, I know she’d want it that way

(Links open music videos in a new window.)

Which song(s) do you like best? Choose up to 2:

  • "Billie Jean" (1983) by Michael Jackson (67%, 31 Votes)
  • "Rio" (1983) by Duran Duran (35%, 16 Votes)
  • "Joanna" (1983) by Kool and the Gang (22%, 10 Votes)
  • "Think of Laura" (1983) by Christopher Cross (15%, 7 Votes)
  • "Oh Diane" (1983) by Fleetwood Mac (13%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 46

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Battle 4

WINNER: “Oh Sherrie” (1984) by Steve Perry

The contestants:

  • Sister Christian” (1984) by Night Ranger
    • Sister Christian oh the time has come, and you know that you’re the only one
  • Oh Sherrie” (1984) by Steve Perry
    • Oh, Sherrie, our love, holds on, holds on
  • William, It Was Really Nothing” (1984) by The Smiths
    • William, William, it was really nothing, it was your life
  • Frankie” (1985) by Sister Sledge
    • Hey Frankie, do you remember me? Frankie, do you remember?
  • Kayleigh” (1985) by Marillion
    • Kayleigh, is it too late to say I’m sorry?

(Links open music videos in a new window.)

Which song(s) do you like best? Choose up to 2:

  • "Oh Sherrie" (1984) by Steve Perry (48%, 25 Votes)
  • "Sister Christian" (1984) by Night Ranger (38%, 20 Votes)
  • "William, It Was Really Nothing" (1984) by The Smiths (19%, 10 Votes)
  • "Frankie" (1985) by Sister Sledge (13%, 7 Votes)
  • "Kayleigh" (1985) by Marillion (10%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 52

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Finally, please help me share this tournament post on social media! I’d love to get a lot of people participating. Thank you!