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.

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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.

French Pronunciation + French Names

AU: 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.

CH: The letter combination “CH” is typically pronounced sh.

  • Charles, in French, is pronounced shahrl.

D, P, S, T, X, Z: 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.

Ë: 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.

É: 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.

G: 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.

H: The consonant “H” is silent.

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

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

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

J: The consonant “J” is pronounced zh.

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

LL: 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.

OI: 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.

OU: The vowel combination “OU” is pronounced oo.

  • Lilou is pronounced lee-loo.

R: 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).

TH: 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.

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

  • Laëtitia is pronounced lay-tee-sya.

W: 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

Update, 12/29/16: A reader named Sam recently told me about the Complete Dictionary of Cockney Rhyming Slang, which contains a bunch more names — like Errol Flynn for “chin,” and Euan Blair for “Leicester Square.” Enjoy!