The Diane-variant Diahn made appearances in the U.S. baby name data for five years straight during the 1960s:
1968: 5 baby girls named Diahn
1967: 9 baby girls named Diahn
1966: 6 baby girls named Diahn
1965: 21 baby girls named Diahn
1964: 24 baby girls named Diahn [debut]
The inspiration? Actress Diahn Williams. Her first major role was as one of the girls (Terry) in the single-season sitcom Harry’s Girls (1963-1964). The series, set in then-modern times, featured a small American vaudeville troupe that performed dance numbers in Europe (because acts like theirs had long since fallen out of favor in the United States).
Diahn continued to appear on various television shows until the mid-1970s, when she quit acting to become a lawyer.
In terms of spelling, do you prefer the unusual “Diahn” or the standard “Diane”?
The modern name Croía is based on the Irish word croí, meaning “heart,” “core,” “sweetheart.” The recent trendiness can be attributed to Irish MMA fighter Conor McGregor, who welcomed a baby girl named Croía in January of 2019.
The baby name Leilani — which means both “heavenly flowers” and “royal child” in Hawaiian — is very close to entering the U.S. top 100 for the first time.
It’s been making appearances in the top 1,000, though, for quite a while — starting way back in the 1930s:
1939: 98 baby girls named Leilani [rank: 689th]
1938: 101 baby girls named Leilani [rank: 685th]
1937: 81 baby girls named Leilani [rank: 758th]
1936: 8 baby girls named Leilani
1935: 9 baby girls named Leilani
What gave it that initial boost?
The song “Sweet Leilani” from the film Waikiki Wedding (1937), which starred Bing Crosby. Crosby’s rendition of the song became one of the top songs of 1937, and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in March of 1938.1
The song hadn’t been created with the movie in mind, though. It had been composed by songwriter Harry Owens several years earlier.
Owens, originally from Nebraska, became the musical director of the orchestra at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel2 in Waikiki in 1934. He and his wife were living on Oahu when they welcomed their first child, a baby girl, in October. The day after Leilani Katherine was born, Owens wrote “Sweet Leilani” for her.
What are your thoughts on the Hawaiian name Leilani?
1A few years later, Crosby scored another hit with “Sierra Sue.”
2The Royal Hawaiian Hotel “was fashioned in a Spanish-Moorish style, popular during the period and influenced by screen star Rudolph Valentino.”