The simple name Kip has a longer history than one might guess. There was a Kip in the 11th century Domesday Book, for instance.
But today’s post isn’t quite about Kip. It’s about the diminutive forms Kippy and Kippie, which saw some interesting usage in the ’50s and ’60s. No doubt the trendiness of Kip during that era set the scene for this usage, but pop culture played a part as well.
|Kippy (boy name)||6||6||18 (peak)||13|
|Kippy (girl name)||.||.||6 (debut)||.|
|Kippie (boy name)||.||.||6 (debut)||.|
|Kippie (girl name)||.||.||.||.|
I think this extra 1955 usage can be attributed to a TV series called The World of Mr. Sweeney. The main character was Mr. Cicero P. Sweeney, who ran the town general store, but another prominent character was Cicero’s young grandson Kippie, played by Glenn Walken. (Fun fact: Glenn is the brother of Christopher Walken.)
The show began as a weekly segment on The Kate Smith Hour in 1953, but was spun off into an independent program — 15-minute episodes, 5 times per week — that lasted from 1954 to 1955. (Father Knows Best (1954-1960) occasionally featured a boy named Kippy as well, but I think Mr. Sweeney better accounts for the spike/debuts.)
Moving on to the ’60s, we see another spike for Kippy in 1960, followed by a relatively strong debut of Kippy as a girl name in 1962:
|Kippy (boy name)||9||17 (spike)||11||8||11|
|Kippy (girl name)||.||8||.||7||5|
|Kippie (boy name)||.||.||.||.||.|
|Kippie (girl name)||.||.||.||12 (debut)||10|
During 1960, a male character named Kippy Clark was featured in the comic strip Mary Worth. (This might seem trivial, but comics were widely read decades ago. The name Mardeen debuted thanks to the very same strip.)
And in 1962, following the sudden death of famous comedian Ernie Kovacs, his widow Edie and his ex-wife Bette battled in court over the custody of his two teenage daughters, Bette and Kippie Kovacs.
Do you like the name Kippy/Kippie? How about Kip itself? Let me know what you think in the comments…
- The Many Lives of Mary Worth
- “The World of Mr. Sweeney.” TV Radio Mirror Jul. 1955: 45.