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

The graph will take a few seconds to load, thanks for your patience. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take nine months.) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.


Popularity of the Baby Name Gregory

Number of Babies Named Gregory

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Gregory

How to Pronounce French Names – Anaïs, Étienne, Guillaume, Hélène

how to pronounce French names like anais, etienne, helene, guillaume

At first glance, Guillaume always looks like gobbledygook to me. It’s the French form of William — that much I know — but it takes a few seconds for me to remember that it’s pronounced ghee-ohm, not not gwill-awm or gwee-awm.

And it’s not just Guillaume that trips me up. I find many other French names (Étienne, Edwige, Anaïs, etc.) equally tricky to pronounce.

So for those of us who struggle with French names, here are some simplified rules of French pronunciation, plus names to illustrate each rule.

This list is far from comprehensive, and my pronunciations are just approximations, but hopefully my fellow non-French speakers out there will find it helpful nonetheless.

Rules of French Pronunciation + French Names

The vowel combination “AU” is pronounced like a long o.

  • Paul, in French, is pronounced pohl.
  • Margaux, a French form of Margaret, is pronounced mar-goh.

The letter combination “CH” is typically pronounced sh.

  • Charles, in French, is pronounced shahrl.

The six consonants “D,” “P,” “S,” “T,” “X” and “Z,” when at the end of a word, are typically silent.

  • Arnaud, the French form of Arnold, is pronounced ar-noh.
  • Denis, the French form of Dennis, is pronounced de-nee (remember the Blondie song?).
  • Lucas, in French, is pronounced loo-kah.
  • Louis, in French, is pronounced loo-ee (think Louis Vuitton).

They’re not always silent, though. Here are some exceptions:

  • Alois, the French form of Aloysius, is pronounced ah-loh-ees.
  • Anaïs, a French form of Anna, is pronounced ah-nah-ees.
  • David, in French, is pronounced dah-veed.

The pronunciation of “Ë” (E with a trema) is like the e in the English word “bet.”

  • Gaël and Gaëlle are pronounced gah-el or gai-el.
  • Joël and Joëlle are pronounced zhoh-el.
  • Maël and Maëlle are pronounced mah-el or mai-el.
  • Noël and Noëlle are pronounced noh-el.

The pronunciation of “É” (E with an acute accent) is somewhere between the ee in “see” and the e in “bet.”

  • Noé, the French masculine form of Noah, is pronounced noh-ee.
  • Salomé, in French, is pronounced sah-loh-mee.

The consonant “G” is soft (zh) when followed by “E” or “I” but hard (gh) otherwise.

  • Georges, the French form of George, is pronounced zhorzh.
  • Guy, in French, is pronounced ghee.

The consonant “H” is silent.

  • Hélène, the French form of Helen, is pronounced eh-lehn.

The vowel “I,” and the forms Ï, and Î, are all pronounced ee.

  • Loïc, a French form of Louis, is pronounced loh-eek.

The consonant “J” is pronounced zh.

  • Jacques, the French form of Jacob, is pronounced zhahk.

The letter combination “LL” is typically pronounced like an l.

  • Achille, the French form of Achilles, is pronounced ah-sheel.
  • Lucille, the French form of Lucilla, is pronounced loo-seel.

But in some cases “LL” is pronounced like a y.

  • Guillaume, the French form of William, is pronounced ghee-yohm or ghee-ohm.

The vowel combination “OI” is pronounced wah.

  • Antoine, the French form of Antony, is pronounced an-twahn.
  • Grégoire, the French form of Gregory, is pronounced gre-gwahr.

The vowel combination “OU” is pronounced oo.

  • Lilou is pronounced lee-loo.

The consonant “R,” when at the end of a word, is typically pronounced.

  • Clair, the French masculine form of Claire, is pronounced kler.
  • Edgar, in French, is pronounced ed-gahr.

When the “R” is preceded by an “E,” though, it is not pronounced.

  • Gauthier, the French form of Walter, is pronounced goh-tee-yay or goh-tyay (remember Gotye?).
  • Olivier, the French form of Oliver, is pronounced oh-lee-vee-yay or oh-lee-vyay (think Laurence Olivier).

The letter combination “TH” is typically pronounced like a t (which makes sense, since “H” is silent).

  • Thibault, the French form of Theobald, is pronounced tee-boh.

The letter combination “TI” is sometimes pronounced like an s or sy.

  • Laëtitia is pronounced lay-tee-sya.

The consonant “W” is pronounced like a v.

  • Edwige, the French form of Hedwig, is pronounced ed-veezh.

And finally, just a few more French names that I tend to have trouble with.

  • Anatole is pronounced ah-nah-tohl.
  • Étienne, the French form of Stephen, is pronounced eh-tyen.
  • Geoffroy, the French form of Geoffrey, is pronounced zho-fwah.
  • Ghislain and Ghislaine are pronounced either ghee-len or zheez-len.
  • Ignace, the French form of Ignatius, is pronounced ee-nyas.

*

Those aren’t too hard, right?

That’s what I tell myself…and then I come across Guillaume in the wild and my mind goes blank all over again. :)

If you know French and would like to add to the above (either another rule of pronunciation or a more precise pronunciation for a particular name) please leave a comment.

If you’re not a French speaker, here’s my question: Which French name gives you the most trouble?

Sources: Beginning French Pronunciation, French e, è, é, ê, ë – what’s the difference?, Google Translate

P.S. Interested in seeing how popular the French names above are in the U.S.? Here are some popularity graphs: Alois, Achille, Anaïs, Anatole, Antoine, Arnaud, Clair, Denis, Edwige, Étienne, Gaël, Gaëlle, Georges, Grégoire, Guillaume, Guy, Hélène, Ignace, Jacques, Laëtitia, Lilou, Loïc, Lucille, Maël, Maëlle, Margaux, Noé, Olivier, Salomé, Thibault.


What Will Happen to the Baby Name Atticus?

Upswing of the baby name Atticus
The rise of Atticus
Atticus Finch is racist? There’s a twist no one saw coming.

Especially all the parents who were inspired by Finch — up to now, one of the most beloved characters in 20th-century American fiction — to call their sons Atticus, a name that has become quite trendy:

  • 2014: 846 baby boys named Atticus [ranked 370th]
  • 2013: 733 baby boys named Atticus [ranked 404th]
  • 2012: 709 baby boys named Atticus [ranked 409th]
  • 2011: 577 baby boys named Atticus [ranked 461st]
  • 2010: 450 baby boys named Atticus [ranked 561st]

Bounding up the U.S. charts over the last decade, Atticus entered the top 1,000 in 2004 and the top 500 in 2011.

Then, last week, Go Set a Watchman was released. In Harper Lee’s Mockingbird sequel, Atticus makes racist comments, reads racist pamphlets, even attends a KKK meeting.

On a societal level, this could be a good thing. I like this quote from Laurel Raymond’s Goodbye And Good Riddance To Atticus Finch And Other ‘White Saviors’:

Atticus Finch — and Gregory Peck’s Oscar-winning portrayal of him — is the quintessential white savior. But the trouble with white saviors is that the story is not about those whom they’re saving. It’s about themselves.

But for the hundreds of young people who’ve been named Atticus in the last few years (and for their parents) this was an unexpected and unwelcome turn of events.

(It’s a good reminder, though, that any baby name strongly associated with just one thing — a person, a character, an entity, etc. — is a risk.)

The year is half over, but sales of Watchman are through the roof, so…what do you think will happen to usage of the baby name Atticus in 2015? Will the rise continue, but at a slower rate? Will usage level off? Will usage turn around and begin to decrease? (Could Atticus become this decade’s Hillary?)

What Would You Rename this Manly Mannequin?

In 1989, Sharper Image began selling a mannequin named Gregory who could supposedly deter crime via “his strong, masculine appearance.”

Gregory the $500 mannequin
Gregory, a man[nequin] to avoid.
He weighed 11 pounds, had no lower legs, and cost $499 with clothes ($449 without).

“Gregory’s stern appearance is no accident. His rugged cleft chin, square-set jaw, firm expression and broad shoulders telegraph to criminals that this is a man to avoid.”

The company primarily marketed Gregory to women who had to drive home alone at night. “He provides the appearance of a strong male in the car next to the female driver.”

I was curious why the name Gregory was chosen — if it sounded particularly “strong” or “rugged” to the marketers — but I was overlooking the simplest explanation: definition. They chose Gregory because it comes from the Greek word gregoros, meaning “watchful.”

Except, of course, Gregory isn’t watchful at all. He’s a dummy who just sits there. Making “Gregory” quite a misnomer, actually.

(And not only is Greg not watchful, but he “would be virtually useless in a real confrontation,” as one police officer put it.)

So let’s pretend you could go back in time 25 years and become part of Sharper Image’s mannequin marketing team. Now you’re in charge of choosing an appropriate name for the crime-deterring man-doll. What name do you pick, and why?

Source: He Sits, He Poses, but Use of $499 Dummy as Bodyguard Gets Mixed Reviews, What Old Sharper Image Catalogs Tell Us About American Life in the ’80s

Baby Named for Winning Racehorse

horseAustralia’s biggest horse race, the Melbourne Cup, has been run every year since 1861.

On November 3, 1936, a horse named Wotan (VO-tahn) — a 100-1 underdog from New Zealand — ran it and won. His surprise victory was one of the biggest upsets in the race’s history.

That same day, a baby boy was born at Crown Street Women’s Hospital in Sydney. The baby’s father, Gregory Swain, announced that his son’s name would be Gregory Wotan Swain.

“I had no money on the winner. He was my Cup–a fine boy, 7 1/2 lb., when born. Our first,” Swain explained.

He expressed surprise to know that Wotan was also one of the names given to the god of battle by the Anglo-Saxons.

The name Wotan is a variant of Woden, which was indeed the name of a major Anglo-Saxon/Germanic deity. Woden and his Norse counterpart, Odin, can trace their names back to a reconstructed proto-Germanic word meaning something along the lines of “raging, mad, inspired.”

Source: “Baby Named After Cup Winner.” Courier-Mail [Brisbane, Australia] 10 Nov. 1936: 16.

Related name story: A baby girl named Jacqueline, born a few years ago in Ireland, was also named after a racehorse. (Her dad was the jockey.)

Baby Names from Cockney Rhyming Slang?

Here’s something I’ve never seen before.

Last month, Canadian singer Bryan Adams and his girlfriend welcomed their second baby girl, Lula RosyLea. Lula’s middle name is a reference to her time of birth, as per this tweet by Adams:

Lula Rosylea arrived @ teatime this wk. a cup of ‘rosie lee’ = ‘cup of tea’ in cockney. Lula comes from Gene Vincent’s song Be-Bop-A-Lula

This is the first baby I know of to be named via Cockney rhyming slang.

What’s Cockney rhyming slang? It involves word substitution based on rhyme. Typically, a word in a sentence is replaced with a rhyming phrase, and then the rhyming part of the phrase is dropped. This makes the resulting sentence hard for those not in-the-know to understand.

Here’s an example: “Use your loaf.” It’s really “use your head,” but the phrase loaf of bread was used instead of head, and then loaf of bread was shortened to just loaf. Hence, “use your loaf.” Get it?

Speaking of bread, if you’ve ever heard people use the slang word bread to mean money, that’s CRS too. Money rhymes with the old expression bread and honey, which shortens to bread.

So that’s how Bryan Adams turned tea into Rosie Lee, which is a common CRS rhyme for tea. (And now, if you’re ever in London and someone asks you if you want a cup of Rosie, you’ll know what they’re talking about!) “Rosie Lee” refers to American burlesque performer Gypsy Rose Lee (1911-1970).

I thought this was a rather cool way to come up with a baby name, so I’ve collected a few dozen other well-known CRS rhymes that involve names. On the left you’ll find the original word, in the middle is the name/phrase substitution, and on the right is the shortened version.

  • back – rhymes with Cilla Black – shortens to Cilla
  • ball – rhymes with Albert Hall – shortens to Albert
  • belly – rhymes with Darby Kelly – shortens to Darby
  • brake – rhymes with Veronica Lake – shortens to Veronica
  • cake – rhymes with Sexton Blake – shortens to Sexton
  • coat – rhymes with Billy goat – shortens to Billy
  • curry – rhymes with Ruby Murray – shortens to Ruby (if these parents had had a girl instead of a boy, Ruby would have been a great option)
  • door – rhymes with Rory O’Moore – shortens to Rory
  • fairy – rhymes with Julian Clairy – shortens to Julian
  • fish – rhymes with Lillian Gish – shortens to Lillian
  • gin – rhymes with Anne Boleyn – shortens to Ann
  • gin – rhymes with Vera Lynn – shortens to Vera
  • ice – rhymes with Vincent Price – shortens to Vincent
  • kettle – rhymes with Hansel and Gretel – shortens to Hansel
  • lisp – rhymes with Quentin Crisp – shortens to Quentin
  • mess – rhymes with Elliot Ness – shortens to Elliot
  • neck – rhymes with Gregory Peck – shortens to Gregory
  • old man (father) – rhymes with Peter Pan – shortens to Peter
  • rail – rhymes with Toby Ale – shortens to Toby
  • Stella (brand of beer) – rhymes with Yuri Geller – shortens to Yuri
  • Stella – rhymes with Nelson Mandela – shortens to Nelson
  • table – rhymes with Betty Grable – shortens to Betty
  • tea – rhymes with Bruce Lee – shortens to Bruce
  • tea – rhymes with Kiki Dee – shortens to Kiki
  • tea – rhymes with Rosie Lee – shortens to Rosie
  • telly – rhymes with Liza Minnelli – shortens to Liza (e.g., “What’s on the Liza?”)
  • trouble – rhymes with Barney Rubble – shortens to Barney
  • 2:2 (lower second-class honors) – rhymes with Desmond Tutu – shortens to Desmond
  • undies – rhymes with Eddie Grundies – shortens to Eddie
  • wedding – rhymes with Otis Redding – shortens to Otis

I think Darby (for “belly”) might be an especially tempting one baby namers, no? :)

Bryan’s first baby girl, Mirabella Bunny, was born last Easter.

Sources: @bryanadams, February 14, 2013, Cockney Rhyming Slang

French Court Rules Against Baby Name Titeuf

In February 2012, a French court ruled against a couple who wanted to name their son after popular French cartoon character Titeuf.

Regional newspaper Ouest France reported that judges described the cartoon character as “a sympathetic caricature designed to make people laugh on the grounds of his naivety and the ridiculous situations he finds himself in.”

As a result, giving this name to a child would “attract mockery” and could risk “constituting a real handicap for a child becoming an adolescent and then an adult, as well as his personal and professional relationships.”

For now, the baby boy is on the books as Grégory.

Source: Court bans cartoon character name for child

Ayanna, Yohance, Inte & Gration

Dick Gregory (b. 1932) is an African-American comedian and civil rights activist.

He’s also, with his wife Lillian, the father of 10 children: Michele, Lynne, Paula & Pamela (twins), Stephanie, Gregory, Christian, Miss, Ayanna (b. 1971) and Yohance (b. 1973).

Those last two births are notable because they inspired other parents to use Ayanna and Yohance, and the resultant upticks in usage made Ayanna and Yohance the top baby name debuts of 1971 and 1973, respectively.

Ayanna

  • 1970 – (fewer than 5)
  • 1971 – 194 baby girls named Ayanna
  • 1972 – 343 baby girls named Ayanna
  • 1973 – 177 baby girls named Ayanna

Dick and Lillian Gregory found the name Ayanna in Jet magazine, which claimed Ayanna was a female name from East Africa meaning “beautiful flower.”

This information probably came from The Book of African Names (1970) by Chief Osuntoki. Name expert Dr. Cleveland Evans says Osuntoki was “half right” about Ayanna:

Ayana is a name used for both males and females in Ethiopia, but its meaning is uncertain. Ayyanaw is a male Amharic name meaning “we saw him.” Ayana is an Oromo word for the spirits believed to mediate between the high god, Waka, and human beings in the ancient indigenous religion of the Oromos, but it’s unclear if either of those is related to the common Ethiopian name. ln any event, it’s easy to see how parents looking through Osuntoki’s book would seize upon Ayanna as one of the few names included that fit in well with the look and sound of American names of the time.

Yohance

  • 1972 – (fewer than 5)
  • 1973 – 44 baby boys named Yohance
  • 1974 – 23 baby boys named Yohance
  • 1975 – 13 baby boys named Yohance

A 1973 issue of Jet states that Dick and Lillian found the name Yohance (Yoh-HAHN-seh) in a book called Names from Africa, and that Yohance “means “God’s gift” in the Hausa language of Nigeria.”

The only sources I’ve found that mention Yohance are baby name books, so I’m not entirely convinced that Yohance is a legitimate Hausa name. Some of the books claim Yohance is a form of John, but an online Hausa bible I found translates John as “Yahaya” — similar, but not quite the same.

Gregory

You’ll note one of Dick Gregory’s children is named Gregory. Just like Tifft and Gatewood, Gregory doesn’t have a first name. Here’s the explanation:

My oldest son, Gregory, has just one name. His birth certificate does not read “Gregory Gregory,” but rather simply “Gregory.” In the American system, whose computers, bureaucracy and institutional requirements demand two names to function, my son Gregory is a symbol of independence of the built-in entanglements which predetermine the destiny of the “two-namers” in a controlled society.

Miss

One of Dick Gregory’s daughters is named Miss, making her full name “Miss Gregory.” Here’s why:

At the time of her birth, racial hangups in the United States made it difficult for some white folks to call a black woman “Miss” and a black man “Mister.” So to be on the safe side, my wife and I named our daughter Miss. All her life, anyone who calls her by her proper name will have to say, “Miss Gregory.”

Inte & Gration

The middle names of Dick Gregory’s twins Paula and Pamela are “Inte” and “Gration.” Dick wrote in his memoir:

On March 18, 1964, one year and three days after Richard Jr. was born, Lil gave birth to Paula and Pam. We gave them the middle names of Inte and Gration so they would always remember the sacrifice their mother had made while they were still in the womb.

Lillian’s sacrifice was that she’d been jailed for attempting to dine at a restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia. (She went to the restaurant knowing she’s be arrested; her intent was the draw attention to the fight for civil rights.)

Sources:

  • “African Names for Your Children.” Jet 16 Sep. 1971: 14.
  • “All in a Name.” Jet 11 Nov. 1971: 33.
  • “Dick Gregory, Wife’s 10th Child Given African Name.” Jet 9 Aug. 1973: 16.
  • Evans, Cleveland Kent. The Great Big Book of Baby Names. Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International, 2006.
  • Gregory, Dick and Sheila P. Moses. Callus on My Soul: A Memoir. New York: Kensington, 2000.
  • Gregory, Dick. Dick Gregory’s Natural Diet for Folks Who Eat. New York: Harper Collins, 1974.