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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Ember

Number of Babies Named Ember

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Ember

What’s Wrong with U? (7 Usable U-Names)

u names, ursa, upton, upson, umber, ukiah, unity, union

What’s wrong with U?

No, I don’t mean you. I mean the letter U.

If 1 is the loneliest number, then U is definitely the loneliest letter. Because, ever since I started looking at first letter frequency in baby names, U has always been the least-used.

Currently just four U-names are in in the boys’ top 1,000, and exactly zero are in the girls’ top 1,000. And those four boy names — Uriel, Uriah, Ulises, and Urijah — make up a sizable chunk of what little U-usage there happens to be.

Does this anti-U trend signify something about modern society, do you think?

We’re more individualistic than ever before — some say more narcissistic. And we do see this individualism reflected in the rise of unusual names, particularly ones that glorify the self, like Amazing, Awesome, Celebrity, Epic, Famous, Gorgeous, Handsome, King, Messiah, President, and Prodigy.

So is this individualism also being reflected in first the letters/sounds we choose? After all, a handful of I-names (Isabella/Isabelle/Isabel, Isla, Isaac, Isaiah) have become prominent lately. So have a pair of “me” names (Mia, Mila).

Meanwhile, the humble U remains at the bottom of the heap. Is it because no one wants to open a name with a letter that reminds them of “you”?

Hm…

If you’re interested in giving U-names a boost, here are 7 under-the-radar options to consider:

Ursa

We’re all familiar with Ursula. She’s a sea-witch, a Bond girl, and a Catholic saint. In other words, Ursula has some strong associations.

Not so with Ursa, the word upon which Ursula was based. Ursa doesn’t have any strong human/character associations — just a couple of celestial ones: Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

Ursa is based on the Latin word ursus, meaning “bear.” (Bear is itself a trendy choice among celebs these days.) And even though four-letter, vowel-bounded girl names (like Emma, Ella, Aria, Isla, Ayla, and Elsa) are trendy right now, Ursa remains rare.

Upton & Upson

Many toponymic surnames — from Milton and Clifton 100 years ago to Easton and Ashton today — have gone on to become popular baby names. But not Upton and Upson, which are uncommon despite their optimistic sound (up!).

The surnames stem from any of several similar place names that, in most cases, can be traced back to a pair of Old English words meaning “upper, above” (in terms of either altitude or status) and “farm, settlement.”

The most famous Upton was muckraking journalist Upton Sinclair, whose best-known work, a 1906 exposé of the meatpacking industry called The Jungle, led to the passage of both the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act (which, eventually, gave rise to the FDA).

Umber

We all know an Amber. Maybe even an Ember. But how many of us know an Umber? Probably not many of us, as the name is so rare that it’s only appeared in the SSA data one time (in 1995, when 5 baby girls were named Umber).

You know how ombre hair color is fashionable right now? The words ombre and umber are related — both can be traced back to the Latin word umbra, meaning “shadow.”

Along with Ochre and Sienna, Umber is an “earth pigment” — a naturally occurring mineral used by humans since prehistoric times (i.e., for coloring cave walls, clothing, tools, even skin). The color ranges from brown to reddish-brown. Many famous historical artists, including Caravaggio and Rembrandt, used umber in their paintings.

Ukiah

(yoo-KYE-uh)

Uriah is a Biblical name. So are Josiah, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, Obadiah, and many other names with that telltale “-iah” ending. Sounds like Ukiah should be part of this group, right? But it isn’t.

Ukiah is the name of a place in California. It’s based on Yokaya, which comes from Rancho Yokaya — the name of the mid-19th century Mexican land grant that encompassed what is now the Ukiah Valley. The word yokaya means “south valley” in the language of the Pomo people, the original inhabitants of the region.

In 1973, the California-based band The Doobie Brothers released a song about Ukiah.

Though Ukiah has always been rare as a baby name, usage has picked up slightly since the turn of the century.

Unity & Union

Unique is the most self-focused U-name I’m aware of. And now that thousands of people have been named Unique, well, the name just isn’t very unique anymore.

Want to really stand out in the world of baby names today? Choose a name that emphasizes the oneness of the whole as opposed to the oneness of the self.

The names Unity and Union could be seen as opposites of the name Unique. And yet all three are ultimately derived from the same Latin word: unus, meaning “one.”

Unity is given to a couple dozen baby girls per year these days, but Union hasn’t appeared in the SSA data since the 1920s.

*

Do you like any of the U-names above? What other U-names would you recommend?

Sources: Upston – Surname DB, Ukiah, California – Wikipedia


Top 50 Nature Names for Baby Girls

Nature is waking up again! Let’s celebrate by checking out which nature names are the most popular for baby girls right now. Ironically the top 50 list below includes all the seasons except for “Spring,” but it does feature lots of springtime things: flowers, birds, trees…

nature names, girl names, top 50, baby names,

For this list I stuck to names that are also correctly spelled English words. This means that I skipped names that are non-English words (like Stella and Luna) and alternative spellings of words (like Brooke and Briar). I should also mention that several of the above (including Rowan, Robin, and Clementine) do have more than one etymology to choose from.

Here are links to the popularity graphs:

1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50
Lily
Violet
Hazel
Autumn
Ruby
Willow
Jasmine
Jade
Ivy
Rose
Daisy
Summer
Iris
Olive
Rowan
Amber
River
Ember
Aspen
Sage
Magnolia
Meadow
Wren
Ivory
Laurel
Sky
Clementine
Dahlia
Juniper
Raven
Holly
Savanna
Rosemary
Winter
Crystal
Azalea
Pearl
Jewel
Heather
Robin
Diamond
Poppy
Opal
Sunny
Coral
Emerald
Clover
Pepper
Sapphire
Amethyst

Which nature name(s) do you like best?

P.S. Nature names that didn’t quite make the top 50 included Stormy, Zinnia, Sandy, and Acacia.

Popular Baby Names in Sonoma County, CA, 2015

Sonoma_County
According to Sonoma County’s data site SoCo Data, the most popular baby names in 2015 were Ava and Olivia (tie) and Mateo and Daniel (tie).

Here are the county’s top 5 girl names and top 5 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Ava and Olivia (tie), 28 baby girls
2. Camila, 25
3. Isabella, Mia and Emma (3-way tie), 23
4. Charlotte and Sophia (tie), 21
5. Alexa, 20
1. Mateo and Daniel (tie), 28 baby boys
2. Jackson, 27
3. Sebastian, 25
4. Benjamin, 24
5. Julian, Jayden and Noah (3-way tie), 22

In 2014, the top names in the county were Emma and Logan.

Of the 1,204 girl names bestowed last year, 811 (67%) were used just once. A smaller proportion of the 919 boy names — 549 (60%) — were bestowed once. Here are a few of those single-use names:

Unique Girl Names Unique Boy Names
Amarilla, Antimony, Edelweiss, Ember, Fanny, Lluvia, Lovely Estrella, Mae Pearl, Magnolia, Nkirote, Reminisce, Rosalene, Rurapenthe*, Summit Attimus, Banyan, Cypress, Cyprus, Destry, Ernestor, Fogatia, Iknav, Montgomery, Mercury, Orion, Quintil, Thornhill, Zinley

*Looks like Rurapenthe is based on “Rura Penthe,” the name of a planetoid used as a Klingon penal colony (!) in the Star Trek universe. Its name is a nod to Rorapandi, a penal colony island in the Disney movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954). Rorapandi was invented by Disney; it did not appear in the Jules Verne novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870).

Source: SoCo Data

Popular Baby Names in British Columbia, 2014

According to data from British Columbia’s Vital Statistics Agency, the most popular baby names in the Canadian province in 2014 were Olivia and Ethan.

Here are B.C.’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2014:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Olivia, 292 baby girls
2. Emma, 240
3. Sophia, 183
4. Emily, 181
5. Chloe, 175
6. Ava, 169
7. Charlotte, 159
8. Lily, 141
9. Amelia, 136
10. Abigail, 134
1. Ethan, 256 baby boys
2. Liam, 254
3. Lucas, 226
4. Oliver, 198
5. Mason, 197
6. Benjamin, 187
7. William, 183
8. Jacob, 179
9. Noah, 177
10. Logan, 175

Lily, Amelia and Abigail replace Ella, Avery and Hannah in the girls’ top 10, and Jacob replaces Alexander in the boys’ top 10.

Other girl names used 5-or-more times in 2014, in order of popularity, include: Mannat, Juniper, Yuna, Avleen, Bria, Acacia, Ember, Isis, Juno, Japji, Jovie, Neve, Saskia, Asees, Harveen, Khaleesi, Queena, Ria, Sehaj, Winnie.

And other boy names used 5-or-more times in 2014, in order of popularity, include: Arlo, Bodhi, Angus, Atlas, Sage, Enoch, Huxley, Nikola, Daya, Kesler, Kyan, Jairus, Jujhar, Kaito, Koa, Rocky, Seamus, Terry, Tejas, Thorin.

Here are the 2013, 2012 and 2009 rankings for B.C.

Sources: Baby’s Most Chosen Names in British Columbia, 2014, Most popular B.C. baby names for 2014 are Ethan and Olivia

The Baby Name Ember

the baby name ember

Anyone who’s ever sat beside a dying campfire late at night knows how mesmerizing the embers can be. That shimmering orange-red glow that grows alternatively brighter and dimmer depending on the wind…it’s hard not to imagine that it’s somehow breathing, somehow alive.

Author Cormac McCarthy expressed this idea (albeit in a much more eloquent/macabre way) in his book Blood Meridian:

The flames sawed in the wind and the embers paled and deepened and paled and deepened like the bloodbeat of some living thing eviscerate upon the ground before them.

Powerful imagery, isn’t it?

An ember is a smoldering piece of coal, wood or other carbon-based material left over after a fire. Embers stay hot for a long time — so hot that they can be used to rekindle a fire hours after the flames are put out. By extension, the plural form is also sometimes used to refer to “slowly dying or fading emotions, memories, ideas, or responses still capable of being revived.”

The modern word ember, which has existed since the 14th century, was derived from the Middle English eymere, which in turn came from the Old English æmerge, which ultimately came from an unrecorded Indo-European word that referred to burning.

So has the word ember ever been used as a baby name?

Yes. In fact, you might be surprised by how popular the baby name Ember has become lately. Here’s a running tally of the number of U.S. baby girls named Ember so far this century:

  • 2013: 519 baby girls named Ember [rank: 558th]
  • 2012: 506 baby girls named Ember [rank: 576th]
  • 2011: 421 baby girls named Ember [rank: 669th]
  • 2010: 326 baby girls named Ember [rank: 824th]
  • 2009: 309 baby girls named Ember [rank: 886th]
  • 2008: 201 baby girls named Ember
  • 2007: 222 baby girls named Ember
  • 2006: 176 baby girls named Ember
  • 2005: 160 baby girls named Ember
  • 2004: 143 baby girls named Ember
  • 2003: 127 baby girls named Ember
  • 2002: 98 baby girls named Ember
  • 2001: 90 baby girls named Ember
  • 2000: 68 baby girls named Ember

Ember has been used as a personal name in the U.S. since the 1800s, though usage remained rare until the 1970s. By the end of that decade, a few dozen baby girls were being named Ember every year. Usage kept creeping upward over the following decades until the name really started taking off in the mid-2000s. In 2009, Ember became one of the 1,000 most popular girl names in the nation — something that would have been hard to predict a mere 10 or 15 years ago.

The states with the most people tend to have the most babies named Ember. In 2013, for instance, there were 56 Embers born in California, 45 born in Texas, and 27 born in Florida. But several states don’t quite follow this pattern:

  • New York, the 4th most populous state, welcomed only 11 Embers.
  • Utah, the 33rd most populous state, welcomed an impressive 18 Embers. (The name has long been trendy in Utah, having debuted on Utah’s state-specific baby name list way back in 1975.)

Though the name isn’t traditionally associated with a gender, and the SSA data shows that a handful of baby boys have indeed been named Ember recently, the vast majority of babies being named Ember are girls.

Which reminds me of a sound-alike nature name also used mainly for girls that was quite trendy several decades ago: Amber. Amber saw peak usage during the second half of the ’80s, but usage has been cooling off since then. Ember, on the other hand, is just heating up (pun intended!). Could Ember be the new Amber, I wonder?

What do you think of the baby name Ember?

UPDATE, 5/9/2015: The 2014 names were just released. Ember was given to 729 baby girls and 10 baby boys last year. Ember is now ranked 435th for girls.

Image: Adapted from Aljamer SM.BOUALAM by Mohamed Boualam under CC BY-SA 4.0