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

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Popularity of the Baby Name George

Number of Babies Named George

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name George

For the Wine Lovers: Oenone & Oeneus

wine baby names, oenone, oeneus

Ok, first things first:

  • Oenone (Œnone) is a female name pronounced ee-NOH-nee.
  • Oeneus (Œneus) is a male name pronounced EE-nee-us.

Both names come from Greek mythology:

  • Oenone was a mountain nymph who was the first wife of Paris of Troy. (Paris later left her and took up with Helen — a move that eventually led to the Trojan War.)
  • Oeneus was a mortal king who, after learning how to make wine from the god Dionysus, introduced it to the region of Aetolia.

And both names are based on the same word: the ancient Greek oinos, meaning “wine.” (The modern words oenology and oenophile are also based on oinos.)

Since it’s St. Valentine’s Day, and I bet many of us will end up having a glass of wine at some point, I thought today would be the perfect day to talk about wine-based names.

I first spotted Oenone while reading about English author Daphne du Maurier, who had a research assistant named Oenone Rashleigh around the time she was writing her bestselling book The King’s General (1946). Interestingly, Daphne’s grandfather was George du Maurier, writer of Trilby (1894).

In terms of real-life usage, I’ve found very few people named Oeneus, but dozens named Oenone, mainly in England and America. I would have assumed that the usage of Oenone was kicked off by the poem “The Death of Oenone” (1829) by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, but records suggest that usage didn’t pick up until the last decades of the 19th century.

So now for the question of the day. Oenone (ee-noh-nee) and Oeneus (ee-nee-us) are clearly unique, and they have a meaning that would appeal to many…but they’re also very difficult to pronounce and spell. Do you think either one is a usable first name for a modern baby?


Name Quotes #57: Gage, Ciku, Abigail Fortitude

George Clooney explaining why he and his wife Amal named their twins Alexander and Ella (People):

“[We] didn’t want to give them one of those ridiculous Hollywood names that don’t mean anything,” George told Paris Match in an interview published Saturday. “They’ll already have enough difficulty bearing the weight of their celebrity.”

Summary of a recent study on the practice of naming winter storms (WBIR):

The researchers presented their subjects with three mock tweets about an upcoming winter storm — either using names like “Bill,” “Zelus,” or no name at all — then asked them about their perceptions of the storm’s potential severity.

It turned out that the survey participants were equally likely to show concern for the storm regardless of whether common names such as Bill were used, rather than uncommon names, such as Zelus. This was a surprise to Rainear, who thought that more “Americanized” names might make people more wary.

On the origin of the name of the Slinky (New York Times):

[N]ext month the Toy Manufacturers of America will induct Betty James, 82, the retired toy maker who gave the Slinky its name, into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame.

Mrs. James came up with the name after deciding that Slinky best described the sound of a metal spring expanding and collapsing. Slinky, of course, meaning sort of stealthily quiet. Mrs. James did not have sexy evening wear in mind; it was 1943, after all, and there was a war.

On changing name trends in Kenya (SDE Kenya):

It is so 1980 for modern Kenyan parents to name their children after biblical figures. Ati names like Grace, Hannah, Sarah, Magdalene or Jane for their daughters is now a no-no. For sons, naming them Abednego or Adonijah sounds like a bad Sunday school dream.

[…]

Names like Peter and Paul, Esther and Lois were fashionable in their grandparents’ time and today, girls are named Tasha, Tanya or Tiffany, while boys go by cooler ones like Cy, Kyle, Declan and Sherwin.

…The article also mentioned that many traditional names now have modernized forms:

  • Wangui -> Kui
  • Waithiageni -> Sheni
  • Wanjiku -> Ciku
  • Wanjiru -> Ciru
  • Wambui -> Foi
  • Wacera -> Cera

“Modern parents have no qualms having them appear like that in official documents. Welcome to baby names in 21st century Kenya.”

Onomastician Cleveland Kent Evans vs. the baby name Gage (Washington Post):

But right now, Evans is pondering the sudden, explosive rise of the male first name Gage. From out of nowhere. There’s no record of this name, nothing in the texts, nothing anywhere. And yet just in the last couple of years, it’s been popping up all around the country.

[…]

Finally, he asked his students at Bellevue College near Omaha. One student got the reference immediately: “Emergency!” he said. Meaning the short-lived 1970s TV series, of course. Turns out there was a character named John Gage on that show, and he was generally addressed as Gage.

[…]

Incredibly, “Emergency!,” which aired opposite “60 Minutes” for four years, was exceedingly popular among elementary-school children.

One mom’s positive experience with revealing her son’s name during pregnancy (Popsugar)

One reason why people don’t reveal the baby’s name is to ward off other people’s opinions. I could tell there were a couple of my friends who didn’t like the name, but just like I didn’t get pregnant to please them, I’m wasn’t going to change his name for them either. Most people that I talked to had enough common sense to keep their opinions to themselves. Even if they didn’t, it wouldn’t have changed a thing.

My son’s name […] is special to me. I didn’t stop feeling that way once I told it to people — if anything, it made the pregnancy a whole lot easier.

From the script for Mother Is a Freshman (1949), about a 35-year-old widow, Abigail, who starts attending the college that her daughter Susan goes to:

Abigail: I mean about the Abigail Fortitude Memorial Scholarship.
Susan: The one they give to any girl whose first two names are Abigail Fortitude?
Abigail: Yes.
Susan: Clara Fettle says no one’s applied for it since 1907, and there’s zillions piling up.
Abigail: And you never told me!
Susan: Of course not.
Abigail: It never occurred to you that my first names are Abigail Fortitude–that I’ve had to put up with them all my life!
Susan: I know, Mom. It must have been awful.
Abigail [struck by thought]: Maybe that’s why my mother gave me those names. Maybe she know about the scholarship.

…Turns out the scholarship had been set up by Abigail’s grandmother, also named Abigail Fortitude.

*

Want to see more quotes about names? Check out the name quotes category.

Popular Baby Names in New Zealand, 2017

According to New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs, the most popular baby names in the country in 2017 were Charlotte and Oliver.

Here are New Zealand’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2017:

Girl Names
1. Charlotte, 277 baby girls
2. Harper, 236
3. Isla, 232
4. Olivia, 225
5. Ava, 217
6. Amelia, 215
7. Mia, 205
8. Mila, 201
9. Sophie, 197
10. Emily, 190

Boy Names
1. Oliver, 314 baby boys
2. Jack, 284
3. Noah, 257
4. William, 251
5. Hunter, 245
6. James, 242
7. George, 234
8. Mason, 230
9. Lucas, 227
10. Arlo, 194

In the girls’ top 10, Mila (was 15th) replaces Ella (now 12th).

In the boys’ top 10, George (was 12th) and Arlo (was 23rd) replace Leo (now 11th) and Max (now 13th).

Arlo, which first entered the top 100 in 2013, is rising fast.

Matilda’s upward ride, on the other hand, seems to be over. It slipped from 24th in 2016 to 33rd in 2017. (I mentioned Matilda in the 2016 rankings post.)

Sources: Charlotte, Oliver top the list of New Zealand’s most popular baby names, Most Popular Male and Female First Names

Name Quotes #56: Albert, Arthur, Otterly

sex and the city, movie quote, name quote

From the 2010 movie Sex and the City 2, characters Carrie and Aidan talk about Aidan’s three sons:

Carrie: “My god, three?”
Aidan: “Homer, Wyatt, Tate.”
Carrie: “Sounds like a country music band.”

From a Telegraph article about creative baby names by Flic Everett (born a Johanna, later changed to Felicity):

Very unusual names can, [psychotherapist Christophe Sauerwein] says, make a child stand out for the wrong reasons. “I have a patient aged ten, named Otterly,” he says (spelling it out, in case I confuse it with Ottilie, which now features regularly in Telegraph birth announcements). “It’s a very unusual name and she’s bullied about it. As a parent, you can love a name, but come on, think twice. Is it embarrassing? Will she have a lifetime of explaining herself to everyone she meets?”

From a Pop Sugar article about the naming Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s sons:

When Diana gave birth to her first son in June 1982, he was given the name William Arthur Philip Louis; two years later, Prince Harry was christened Henry Charles Albert David. In a recorded interview that would go on to be published in the controversial 1992 book Diana: Her Story by Andrew Morton, Diana admitted that she picked the first names for both of her newborn sons after nixing the ones Charles had in mind. When asked, “Who chose [Harry’s] name?,” Diana said, “I did,” adding, “I chose William and Harry, but Charles did the rest.” She went on: “He wanted Albert and Arthur, and I said no. Too old!”

From a biography of English actress Ellen Terry (1847-1928):

“Ellen Terry is the most beautiful name in the world; it rings like a chime through the last quarter of the nineteenth century,” George Bernard Shaw wrote of the Dame when she was at the height of her career.

From a Washington Post article about Korean companies forcing workers to go by English names:

The norm in South Korea is to call your colleagues or superiors not by their given names but by their positions. It’s the same for addressing your older friends or siblings, your teacher or any person on the street. So if your family name is Johnson and you were to be hired in a Korean company as a manager, your co-workers would call you “Johnson-boojang.” To get the attention of your older female friend, you would call for “eunni,” or “older sister.”

[…]

One popular Korean blog was more explicit on shirking honorifics in the workplace: “Dropping your pants and [urinating] in the person’s briefcase would be only a little ruder than calling him/her by his/her first name.”

From the abstract of a study looking at passenger discrimination by transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft (found via Baby Name Wizard):

In Boston, we observed discrimination by Uber drivers via more frequent cancellations against passengers when they used African American-sounding names. Across all trips, the cancellation rate for African American sounding names was more than twice as frequent compared to white sounding names.

From a 2016 Elle interview with comedian Alexandra “Ali” Wong in which Ali talks about her baby:

What’s her name?

Mari, inspired by my hero Marie Kondo, who wrote The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She’s really wonderful, is very into eye contact, and has forced me to be a lot more present. It’s hard to be anxious about the future or depressed about the past when your baby does an explosive poo that somehow ends up in the feet part of her pajamas.

From a New York Times essay about Turkish-American names by Eren Orbey:

Had my mother, Neşe (pronounced neh-sheh), not already published articles under her birth name, she probably would have changed it upon naturalization. Lately, to avoid confusion, she has taken to introducing herself simply as “N,” which her accent converts into an American name. People hear “Anne,” and that is what they call her.

At the start of the essay, Eren mentions that his mother’s name means “joy” in Turkish.

Want to see more quotes about names? Check out the name quotes category.

Popular Baby Names in England and Wales, 2016

According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the most popular baby names in England and Wales last year were Olivia and Oliver.

Here are the top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2016:

Girl Names
1. Olivia, 5,017 baby girls
2. Amelia, 4,777
3. Emily, 3,551
4. Isla, 3,476
5. Ava, 3,285
6. Isabella, 2,729
7. Lily, 2,722
8. Jessica, 2,703
9. Ella, 2,702
10. Mia, 2,662

Boy Names
1. Oliver, 6,623 baby boys
2. Harry, 5,284
3. George, 5,263
4. Jack, 4,751
5. Jacob, 4,485
6. Noah, 4,305
7. Charlie, 4,190
8. Muhammad, 3,908
9. Thomas, 3,898
10. Oscar, 3,894

In 2015, the #1 names were Amelia and Oliver.

In the girls’ top 10, Lily replaced Poppy. In the boys’ top 10, Muhammad replaced William.

Finally, here are some of the rare baby names from the other end of the rankings. Each was given to exactly 3 babies in England and Wales last year.

Rare Girl Names Rare Boy Names
Adrijana, Barira, Clove, Damla, Eloghosa, Flossy, Ginika, Hivda, Irtiqa, Jadesola, Kisa, Lwsi, Merina, Niniola, Oracle, Petruta, Ronny, Sirin, Teuta, Umm, Verona, Winta, Xanthia, Yvette, Zeliha Athavan, Believe, Cuban, Danujan, Endeavour, Finton, Gilby, Hale, Inder, Jeston, Kleart, Lando, Mordche, Nosson, Otli, Pavith, Rune, Smit, Tishan, Ugnius, Vencel, Wilfie, Yanky, Zenith

Sources: Baby names in England and Wales: 2016, Girl name statistics, Boy name statistics