How popular is the baby name Gail in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Gail and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Gail.
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“Everly” is hot…”Beverly” is not. It’s a one-letter difference between fashionable and fusty.
If you’re sensitive to style, you’ll prefer Everly. It fits with today’s trends far better than Beverly does.
But if you’re someone who isn’t concerned about style, or prefers to go against style, then you may not automatically go for Everly. In fact, you may be more attracted to Beverly because it’s the choice that most modern parents would avoid.
If you’ve ever thought about intentionally giving your baby a dated name (like Debbie, Grover, Marcia, or Vernon) for the sake of uniqueness within his/her peer group — if you have no problem sacrificing style for distinctiveness — then this list is for you.
Years ago, the concept of “contrarian” baby names came up in the comments of a post about Lois. Ever since then, creating a collection of uncool/contrarian baby names has been on my to-do list.
Finally, last month, I experimented with various formulas for pulling unstylish baby names out of the SSA dataset. Keeping the great-grandparent rule in mind, I aimed for names that would have been fashionable among the grandparents of today’s babies. The names below are the best results I got.
Ohati was a character played by actress Anna May Wong in the film A Trip to Chinatown (1926).
Princess Ojira was a character played by actress Helen Gardner in the film A Princess of Bagdad (1913).
Queen Okalana was a character played by actress Anne Revere in the film Rainbow Island (1944).
Ola Humphrey was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in California in 1874. Her birth name was Pearl Ola Jane Humphrey. Ola was also a character played by actress Lucy Fox in the film What Fools Men Are (1922).
Olago was a character played by actress Sarah Padden in the film Man of Two Worlds (1934).
Olala Ussan was a character played by actress Billie Dove in the film The Thrill Chaser (1923).
Olalla was a character name in the films The Wandering Jew (1923) and The Wandering Jew (1933), both of which were based upon the same stage play.
O-Lan was a character played by actress Luise Rainer in the film The Good Earth (1937), which was based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name by Pearl S. Buck. Rainer won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1937 for playing O-Lan.
Olana was a character played by actress Marie Walcamp in the short film Olana of the South Seas (1914).
Ollante was a character played by actress Dorothy Dalton in the film The Jungle Child (1916).
Olympe Olympe Bradna was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1940s. She was born in France in 1920. Her birth name was Antoinette Olympe Bradna. Olympe was also a character name in multiple films, including New Lives for Old (1925) and Camille (1936).
Oma Tuthill was a character played by actress Mayre Hall in the film The Battle of Ballots (1915).
Ona Munson was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1950s. She was born in Oregon in 1903. Her birth name was Owena Elizabeth Wolcott. Ona was also a character played by actress Gail Kane in the film The Jungle (1914).
Opitsah was a character played by actress Bessie Eyton in the short film Opitsah: Apache for Sweetheart (1912). Despite the title, the word opitsah isn’t Apache — it’s Chinook Jargon for “knife,” but it can also denote a “lover” or “sweetheart.”
Ora Carew was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Utah in 1893. Ora was also a character name in multiple films, including Sparrow of the Circus (short, 1914) and Her Supreme Sacrifice (short, 1915).
Ottima was a character played by actress Marion Leonard in the short film Pippa Passes; or, The Song of Conscience (1909).
Ottola Nesmith was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1960s. She was born in Washington, D.C., in 1889. She was named after her father, Capt. Otto Nesmith.
Ouida Bergère was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in 1886. Her birth name was Eunie Branch. The name Ouida was invented by English author Ouida (b. 1839), whose birth name was Marie Louise Ramé.
Peaches Jackson was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in New York in 1913. Her birth name was Charlotte Jackson. Peaches was also a character played by actress May West in the film Every Day’s a Holiday (1937).
Peavey was a character played by actress Olive Borden in the film Leave It to Me (1933).
Peg Entwistle was an actress who appeared in one film in 1932 (and, the same year, committed suicide by jumping off the H of the Hollywoodland sign). She was born in Wales in 1908. Her birth name was Millicent Lilian Entwistle. Peg was also a character played by actress Anna Neagle in the film Peg of Old Drury (1935).
Peggy Pearce (born a Velma) was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in California in 1894. Peggy Cartwright was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in Canada in 1912. Peggy Moran (Mary) was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1940s. She was born in Iowa in 1918. Peggy Ryan (Margaret) was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1940s. She was born in California in 1924. Finally, Peggy was also a character name in multiple films including Peggy Lynn, Burglar (short 1915) and Confessions of a Co-Ed (1931).
Pert Pert Kelton was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1960s. She was born in Montana in 1907. Pert was also a character name in multiple films, including Danger! Women at Work (1943) and Take It Big (1944).
Pervaneh was a character played by actress Greta Nissen in the film The Lady of the Harem (1926).
Petal Schultze was a character played by actress Amy Veness in the film Red Wagon (1933).
Phyllis Gordon was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1940s. She was born in Virginia in 1889. Phyllis Haver was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in Kansas in 1899. Phyllis Thaxter was an actress who appeared in films from the 1940s to the 1970s. She was born in Maine in 1919. Finally, Phyllis was also a character name in multiple films, including Just Like a Woman (short, 1915) and Wagons Westward (1940).
Pinna Nesbit was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Canada in 1896.
Piquette was a character played by actress Shannon Day in the film Honor First (1922).
Plutina was a character played by actress Clara Kimball Young in the film The Heart of the Blue Ridge (1915).
Pola Negri was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1960s. She was born in Poland in 1897. Her birth name was Barbara Apolonia Chałupec. Pola was also a character played by actress Elizabeth Allan in the film Insult (1932).
Pompeia Plotina was a character played by actress Caroline Frances Cooke in the short film In the Days of Trajan (1913).
Pompilia was a character played by actress Marie Newton in the short film The Ring and the Book (1914).
Pomposia was a character played by actress Helen Ware in the film The Warrior’s Husband (1933).
Poppaea was a character name in multiple films, including Nero (1922) and The Sign of the Cross (1932).
Portland Fancy was a character played by actress Juliet Brenon in the film The Street of Forgotten Men (1925). (Plus there’s radio actress Portland Hoffa was most active during the ’30s and ’40s.)
In 1916, the London Globe mentioned twins named Jere and Miah:
There lived for many years in the village of Twerton, Bath, one named Miah. He was born a twin, and his parents thriftily divided the predestined name of Jeremiah between them, the other babe being christened Jere.
What other names could we divide into two usable mini-names like this?
Here are a few ideas to kick things off…
Abigail, Abi + Gail
Anastasia, Ana + Stasia
Calista, Cal + Ista
Drusilla, Dru + Silla
Elizabeth, Eliza + Beth
Mozelle, Mo + Zelle
Valentina, Valen + Tina
Alexander, Alex + Ander
Christopher, Chris + Topher
Denzel, Den + Zel
Donovan, Dono + Van
Joseph, Jo + Seph
Rexford, Rex + Ford
William, Wil + Liam
I’m anticipating future pushback from readers who, over time, have come to accept and welcome names like ‘Brayden’ and ‘Kaidence’ into their lives. But until that fateful day arrives, I’m sticking to my belief that yoonique names are usually more effective at confusing teachers and government workers than they are at ensuring greatness and instilling confidence in kids.
From the book “A Herman Melville Encyclopedia” by Robert L. Gale:
Melville in a letter to Evert Duyckinck says that he and his wife will probably name their new-born son Stanwix because “this lad’s great grandfather spent his summers [at Fort Stanwix] in the Revolutionary War before Saratoga came into being–I mean Saratoga Springs & Pavilions” (7 November 1851).
(Melville’s baby boy did indeed end up with the name Stanwix. Stanwix’s great-grandfather was Peter Gansevoort, and his siblings were Malcolm, Elizabeth and Frances.)
Celebrity names may also give an insight into public opinion: I enjoyed comparing trends for Jude and Sienna, especially what happens when Jude is exposed as a a CHEATING LOVE RAT in 2005 – the popularity of his name dips sharply, but hers continues to rise.
From a Waltzing More Than Matilda post about our (newly named) galactic supercluster, Laniakea:
The name Laniakea was suggested by Nawa’a Napoleon, associate professor of Hawaiian Language at Kapiolani Community College. The Hawaiian name can be translated in a number of ways, including “open skies”, “wide sky”, or “wide horizons”, but in this case it is understood as “immeasurable heavens”. The name was chosen to honour Polynesian navigators who studied the heavens in order to navigate the Pacific Ocean.
I have a major gripe with the trend of misspelling baby names. On purpose. The parents’ logic runs something like this: “My child is special and unique. Thus, my child deserves a special, uniquely spelled name.”
All across America, parents are mangling names in a misguided mission to trumpet their kid’s individuality. Take the wildly popular name Chase, which is actually not a name at all, but something a dog does to its tail. It was annoying to begin with, but now it gets worse as it slowly mutates from Chase to Chace, and on to Chayce.
Misspelling a child’s name won’t make Junior special, creative or unique. Y’s and I’s are not interchangeable, and apostrophes are not some sort of newfangled confetti to be sprinkled liberally throughout groups of letters. Parents shouldn’t impose cryptic, incoherent or foolish spellings on their own children, nor on society as a whole. And they shouldn’t condemn their children to a lifetime of bleakly repeating that, no, the name in question is spelled “Shaiyahne,” not “Cheyenne.” (And while I’m at it, don’t name your child Cheyenne, either.)