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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Hillary

Number of Babies Named Hillary

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Hillary

Name Quotes for the Weekend #38

Another quote post! This installment includes a record number of ellipses. Very exciting.

From The Clintons ruined the name ‘Hillary’ for new parents by Christopher Ingraham:

It…looks like the popularity of first ladies’ names falls more sharply than the popularity of presidents’ names during their time in office. But again, it’s not clear just from these charts if that’s a true presidential spouse effect, or just a reflection of the natural long-term trajectory of those names.

Here’s a blog post I wrote about The Demise of the Baby Name Hillary.

From Keith Ng’s My last name sounds Chinese, in response to the erroneous claim by New Zealand politician Phil Twyford that Chinese people are buying up property in Auckland:

The subtext of this story is that people with Chinese-sounding names are foreigners full of cash who are buying all our houses and chasing hardworking Kiwis out of their homes. This is straight-up scapegoating, placing the blame for a complex, emotive problem at the feet of an ethnic group.


Phil Twyford, Labour, and the Herald – you are fueling racial division in this country. You are encouraging people to question whether ethnically Chinese people ought to be able to buy houses. You are saying that people with “Chinese-sounding names” are dangerous foreigners who will destroy the Kiwi way of life with real estate purchases.

From Royal Caribbean’s press release asking James Hand to name the next Royal Caribbean ship:

“The people of the United Kingdom know the name of a great ship when they see it,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Like the rest of the world, we fell in love with the name Boaty McBoatface when we heard it, and we knew immediately that Royal Caribbean could use James Hand’s talent to name our next ship.”

The “name our next ship” part is an April Fools’ Day joke, but (as far as I can tell) the offer to send Hand on a free cruise is legit.

NERC’s Name Our Ship campaign ends tomorrow, btw.

From the Thomas Alva Edison, Jr. page of the Thomas Edison National Historical Park website:

Thomas Alva, Junior, was born on January 10, 1876. Since his sister Marion was nicknamed “Dot,” he was nicknamed “Dash.”


After selling the use of his name to advertise “quack” medicines and dubious inventions, his father asked Tom Junior to change his name. This he did, briefly going by the name of Thomas Willard.

The nicknames “Dot” and “Dash” are references to Morse Code.

From Why Do I Have to Call This App ‘Julie’? by Joanne McNeil (found via Nancy Friedman’s January Linkfest):

Imagine if the plug-in devices that made housework more efficient were, like Alexa, sold with women’s names and talked about with female pronouns. “Could you hand me the Amanda? She’s in the hall closet.”


I used Julie [a “virtual inbox assistant”] only once, sending an email to a friend, copying the app email, with a time and date to meet for coffee. Julie emailed back promptly confirming the appointment, and it added the meeting to my calendar. The product is an interesting idea and easy to use, but interacting with a fake woman assistant just feels too weird. So I shut “her” off. This Stepford app, designed to make my work more efficient, only reminds me of the gendered division of labor that I’m trying to escape.

From the abstract of the paper Unfortunate First Names: Effects of Name-Based Relational Devaluation and Interpersonal Neglect by Jochen E. Gebauer, Mark R. Leary and Wiebke Neberich:

Can negative first names cause interpersonal neglect? Study 1 (N = 968) compared extremely negatively named online-daters with extremely positively named online-daters. Study 2 (N = 4,070) compared less extreme groups—namely, online-daters with somewhat unattractive versus somewhat attractive first names. Study 3 (N = 6,775) compared online-daters with currently popular versus currently less popular first names, while controlling for name-popularity at birth. Across all studies, negatively named individuals were more neglected by other online-daters, as indicated by fewer first visits to their dating profiles. This form of neglect arguably mirrors a name-based life history of neglect, discrimination, prejudice, or even ostracism.

From What’s in a Necronym? by Jeannie Vanasco (found via Longreads):

I remember the day I first learned about her. I was eight. My father was in his chair, holding a small white box. As my mother explained that he had a dead daughter named Jeanne, pronounced the same as my name, “without an i,” he opened the box and looked away. Inside was a medal Jeanne had received from a church “for being a good person,” my mother said. My father said nothing. I said nothing. I stared at the medal.


Parsed from the Greek, necronym literally translates as “death name.” It usually means a name shared with a dead sibling. Until the late nineteenth century, necronyms were not uncommon among Americans and Europeans. If a child died in infancy, his or her name was often given to the next child, a natural consequence of high birth rates and high infant mortality rates.

The second Notwithstanding Griswold, born in 1764, was named for her deceased older sister.

A post about Union Banner Hunt by Andy Osterdahl of The Strangest Names In American Political History:

Union Banner Hunt was born in Randolph County on September 2, 1864, the son of Joshua Parker and Rachel Howell Hunt. His full birth name is listed as “Union Banner Basil Morton Hunt”, and the 1914 work Past and Present of Randolph County gives some interesting anecdotes as to how his unusual name came about: “At the time of his birth his brother was confined in the Confederate Prison in Andersonville, Ga., having been captured at the Battle of Chickamauga. Hence the name “Union Banner”. Basil (pronounced “Bazil”) is an old family name, and “Morton” is for the great war Governor of Indiana.” This same book mentions that Hunt was “not responsible” for his unusual name and “neither is he ashamed of it.”

That “great war Governor” was Oliver P. Morton.

From an interview with Winona Ryder by Celia Walden:

Ryder’s unconventional childhood has been exhaustively documented and occasionally used to explain the more disturbing events in her life, but the actress — christened Winona Laura Horowitz and named after the Minnesota city in which she was born — speaks fondly of the four years she spent in a commune in Elk, Northern California, from the age of seven.

Winona’s younger brother Uri, born in the 1970s, was named after cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

Have you come across any interesting name-related quotes lately? Let me know!

Name Quotes for the Weekend #36

Pronunciation of Baden-Powell

Verse written by Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell (1857-1941), founder of the Scout Movement:

Pronunciation of Baden-Powell

Man, Nation, Maiden
Please call it Baden.
Further, for Powell
Rhyme it with Noel.

From Otter, Apple, CrimeFighter: celebrities should save stupid baby names for their sons by Eleanor Margolis:

When parents inflict a sickeningly cutesy name on a daughter they’re (unwittingly, I hope) defining her by her cuteness — something that a massive chunk of society was going to do even before they gave her a name that would look stupid on a Bichon Frisé. Either they’re blind to the fact that women have a hard enough time being taken seriously without being called Marshmallow Twinkletits, or they don’t plan on taking their daughter seriously themselves.

So, if idiot parents feel a biological imperative to name their children after “aDORKable” things, I think they should go for it. My one caveat is that they bestow these names on their sons rather than their daughters. Because naming a boy “Otter” may not be revolutionary, but it would definitely take one white, middle-class man down a notch.

From Is Bernie right name for president? by Bernie O’Neill:

Kennedy was the first Catholic president. Obama the first black president. Hillary would be the first woman president.

But more importantly, Sanders would be the first Bernie president. I like the sound of that.

From Intact, Packed Etruscan Tomb Found by Rossella Lorenzi:

So far [archaeologist Clarita] Natalini and colleagues have been able to read the word “Laris.” Lars is a common Etruscan male first name. The stone coffin contains the skeleton of a male individual.

From an article about the US Navy’s most futuristic ship, the USS Zumwalt, which is captained by a guy named James Kirk:

“We are absolutely fired up to see Zumwalt get underway. For the crew and all those involved in designing, building, and readying this fantastic ship, this is a huge milestone,” the ship’s skipper, Navy Capt. James Kirk, said before the ship departed.

(The original captain of Star Trek‘s very futuristic starship Enterprise was named James T. Kirk.)

From What’s in a Name? by Jamaal Allan (who is white, but often assumed to be black):

When people have seen my name before they’ve seen my face, I get “OH — you’re Jamaal.”


It is not uncommon for people to follow up with, “I expected you to be–” and then there’s a pause; a sudden realization they are on the verge of sounding racist. There’s a look–not quite ‘deer in the headlights’, but it is a definite freeze. What to say next? I’ve heard several: taller, older, different (usually accompanied with an uncomfortable chuckle).

Very few people have the courage to say darker.

(Found via NPR.)

From the book Suffolk Surnames (1858) by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch:

The following anecdote was related to me by a friend: At a trial, in which a well-known Liverpool merchant, Ottiwell Wood, was a witness, he was requested by the presiding judge, who was somewhat deaf, to spell his name; which he did as follows: “O double t,
i double u, e double l, double u double o, d.”

From the book From Red Hot to Monkey’s Eyebrow: Unusual Kentucky Place Names (1997) by Robert M. Rennick:

Kentucky’s Mousie, still a post office serving many families in the Jones Fork area of northern Knott County, wasn’t named for a mouse at all but for a young woman — named Mousie. She was then (1916) the twenty-year-old daughter of Clay Martin, a large landowner in that area.

Why would a girl be named Mousie? Why not? Mousie is not at all an unusual given name in eastern Kentucky. Since the Civil War, scores of young Mousies throughout the region have borne this name. Mousie Martin, who later became Mrs. Mart Gibson, used to tell us that she was so named at the suggestion of her grandfather, for she had an older sister named Kitty and he rather liked the idea of having two little varmints in the family.

Want more quote posts?

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?)

Popular Baby Names in Idaho, 2012

Idaho’s most popular baby names of 2012 were announced a year and a half late, as usual.

According to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, the state’s top names two years ago were Sophia for girls and Liam for boys.

Here are Idaho’s top 25 girl names and top 25 boy names of 2012:

Baby Girl Names Baby Boy Names
1. Sophia (115 baby girls)
2. Olivia (113)
3. Emma (100)
4. Ava (79)
5. Abigail (76)
6. Elizabeth (71)
7. Chloe (69)
8. Emily (62) – tie
9. Zoey (62) – tie
10. Brooklyn (61)
11. Hannah* (60)
12. Madison (57)
13. Ella (56) – tie
14. Isabella (56) – tie
15. Lily (56) – tie
16. Avery (54)
17. Grace (51)
18. Amelia (50) – tie
19. Evelyn (50) – tie
20. Hailey* (48)
21. Ellie (46) – tie
22. Natalie (46) – tie
23. Charlotte* (45) – tie
24. Paisley* (45) – tie
25. Addison (44)
1. Liam (133 baby boys)
2. William (94)
3. Mason (81)
4. Jacob (79)
5. Michael* (78) – tie
6. Samuel (78) – tie
7. Wyatt (77)
8. Logan (76)
9. Ethan (75)
10. Carter (73)
11. Hunter (72)
12. Aiden (71)
13. Benjamin (69) – tie
14. Jackson (69) – tie
15. Gabriel (68)
16. Andrew (67)
17. Henry* (66) – tie
18. Noah (66) – tie
19. Cooper* (65) – tie
20. Elijah (65) – tie
21. David* (64)
22. Isaac (63)
23. Alexander* (57) – tie
24. Jayden (57) – tie
25. Joseph* (57) – tie
26. Owen (57) – tie

*New to the top 25 since 2011.

Idaho’s annual report also includes a section called “Selected Unique Baby Names, Yewneek Baybee Spellings,” which is rather awesome.

Here are the handpicked oddballs of 2012:

Unique Girl Names Unique Boy Names
Alixathymia, Aunastasha, Beloved, Blessing, Britannica, Burdyn, Challyss, Echkoe, Exodus, Harlequinn, Idalyz, Killary, Lulubell, Lyrica, Mercy, Miracle, Mystic, Noble, Oasis, Pearadice, Savvy, Secret, Sunshyne, Theory, Versailles Adamant, Arsin, Awesome, Cactus, Captain, Chipper, Cross, Denym, Dually, Dynamic, Falchion, Glacier, Kasteel, Kazys, Krozlee, Lock, Mehdiullah, Mogley, Natavious, Nyte, Peregrin, Pilot, Torque, Truce, Wild


  • Alixathymia – Part name, part medical condition.
  • Adamant – Synonym for stubborn. Or an Adam Ant reference. Or both.
  • Burdyn – “Burden”? Really?
  • Cactus – A nature name I’ve never seen before.
  • Dually – Rosamund Pike should pick this for kid #2. (Her firstborn is “Solo.”)
  • Falchion – A type of sword. (Do they talk about falchions on Game of Thrones?)
  • Glacier – There’s a Glacier in Quebec as well.
  • Killary – This would make a great roller derby name! So would Hellga the American Gladiator name.
  • Truce – Nice to see a name that promotes cooperation/peace instead of conflict/anger (like Rebel, Fury, Rage, Rowdy, Savage, and so on). Truce reminds me of Armistice. Speaking of armistice…
  • Versailles – It’s a pretty word, but what percentage of Americans can spell it correctly? Or even pronounce it?

And, since I never wrote about the Idaho baby names of 2011, I’ll throw in the unique names from that year as well:

Unique Girl Names (2011) Unique Boy Names (2011)
Asma, Ajla, Bandana, Birdie, Candelaria, Cinderella, Courage, Disney-Gin, Elphaba, Jerzi, Kaymin, Khryztale, Kyraeveryn, November, Rainbow, Rockee, Rogue, Ropeer, Satchel, Soliscity, Temperenz, Thunder, Trypzee, Winter, Xxoie Adakiss, Aegis Orion, Beauxdarin, Bluesky, Cinch, Coyote, Dagr, Deevo, Diggory, Doc, Eighthin, Flint, Gator, General, Iron, Jayger, John-Wayne, Khryztian, Maverik, Pistol, Pragedis, Rifle, Riot, Slate, Wilderness


  • Adakiss – Not quite as bad as Addtakizz.
  • Dagr, Pistol, Rifle, Riot – More weaponry & violence. Lovely.
  • Deevo – Inspired by Devo? Perhaps. (Two references to ’80s music in a single post? Yup.) You must whip it

Finally, here are earlier lists of Idaho’s unique baby names (2006 through 2010).

Source: Vital Statistics Annual Report

Could Selfie Become a Baby Name?

Hillary Clinton and Meryl Streep Selfie
Meryl Streep and Hillary Rodham Clinton selfie
(Photo by Ron Sachs – Pool/Getty Images)
Selfie was declared the 2013 Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries back on November 19.

Why? Because the word selfie, which was coined in 2002, became extremely popular in 2013. According to the Oxford Dictionaries press release, “the frequency of the word selfie in the English language has increased by 17,000% since this time last year.”

This makes me wonder…did any parents name their babies Selfie in 2013?

Now, technically, the name Selfie already exists (e.g., Selfie Lee Borom, Selfie M. Moore). But all of the people I’ve found so far named Selfie were born long before the modern term selfie emerged.

Personally, I think there’s a decent chance that a baby or two got the name Selfie last year.

After all, Selfie sounds a lot like the stylish baby names Sophie (currently ranked 52nd) and Sofie (996th).

And, while a lot of people would be turned off by the explicit narcissism of the word, I’m sure others would not be bothered by it. How else could baby names like Awesome, Einstein, Epic, Goddess, Greatness and Prodigy have come to exist?

Would selfie make a good baby name?

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Do you think there’s a chance Selfie could debut on the SSA’s baby name list in 2013?

(For a name to appear on the national list, it needs to be given to at least 5 babies of either gender during a single calendar year.)

Source: Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013

The Demise of the Baby Name Hillary

Hilary Parker’s recent post on the 14 most “poisoned” baby names reminded me that I haven’t yet written about the demise of the baby name Hillary. (Or Hilary. Or Chelsea.)

So let’s travel back to 1992 for a minute.

In mid-July, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton was selected as the Democratic candidate for the presidency. His wife Hillary and daughter Chelsea were now in the national spotlight.

In early November, Bill managed to beat Republican incumbent George H. W. Bush to become the 42nd president of the United States. Hillary and Chelsea would now stay in the national spotlight.

And in late November, a few weeks after the election, the Miami Herald printed this:

Now that the Clinton women are set to move into the White House, both names are becoming more popular among new parents.

For the first time, Chelsea has cracked the top 10 list of the most popular girl names in Florida. Name expert Leonard R. N. Ashley, a Brooklyn College professor, said he expects Hillary to also catch on.


The popularity of Chelsea, on the rise long before the presidential pre-teen made her Democratic convention appearance, is likely to get a boost from the first family pedigree, Ashley said.

The “name expert” got it wrong, of course.

Hillary did not catch on. Nor did Chelsea. Both names had been on the rise, but usage dropped significantly after 1992.

Here are the spikes, both graphically and numerically:

The Baby Name Hillary

Baby Name Hillary - Drop in Popularity After 1992
The Baby Name Hillary
  • 1994: 408 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 566th]
  • 1993: 1,064 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 261st]
  • 1992: 2,522 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 132nd]
  • 1991: 1,789 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 166th]
  • 1990: 1,523 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 192nd]

That’s a 58% drop from 1992 to 1993. Hillary fell so low that it got pushed out of the top 1,000 entirely for two years (2002 and 2003).

The Baby Name Hilary

Baby Name Hilary - Drop in Popularity After 1992
The Baby Name Hilary
  • 1994: 145 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 1,208th]
  • 1993: 343 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 651st]
  • 1992: 1,171 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 233rd]
  • 1991: 1,148 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 243rd]
  • 1990: 1,216 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 232nd]

A 71% drop from 1992 to 1993. Hilary was out of the top 1,000 by 1994 and hasn’t been back since. (Hilary Parker says the name Hilary is “clearly the most poisoned.”)

The Baby Name Chelsea

Baby Name Chelsea - Drop in Popularity After 1992
The Baby Name Chelsea
  • 1994: 7,713 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 38th]
  • 1993: 11,288 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 25th]
  • 1992: 16,176 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 15th]
  • 1991: 13,508 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 18th]
  • 1990: 12,782 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 24th]

The drop here isn’t as dramatic — just 30% — but Chelsea was out of the top 100 by 1999. It currently ranks 222nd.


Why did the name Hillary slip after Hillary Clinton became a fixture in the White House?

Because she violated gender norms — that’s my guess.

Hillary Clinton, 1992

Hillary Clinton was a new kind of First Lady. She was a lawyer, a businesswoman, a scholar and an activist. She was the first First Lady with an earned (vs. honorary) post-graduate degree, and the first to have her own professional career.

But, instead of being praised for her intelligence and ambition, she was criticized for it.

Just two months after the inauguration, Anna Quindlen of the New York Times made note of the double standard:

Maybe some of our daughters took notice of how Hillary Clinton was seen as abrasive, power-hungry and unfeminine when to some of us she seemed merely smart, outspoken and hard-working. Maybe they saw the masquerade and recognized intuitively the age-old message about how much more attractive women are when they are domestic, soft, contented, the message aimed over the years at Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Sanger, Eleanor Roosevelt and many, many others.

To expectant parents, it didn’t matter that Hillary Clinton was smart and successful. They began avoiding the name Hillary in 1993 because the First Lady — the most high-profile Hillary in the nation — was making her name seem “unfeminine.”

Do you agree? Disagree?

P.S. What are the 13 other “poisoned” names? The 9 to drop since the 1960s are Ashanti, Catina, Deneen, Farrah, Iesha, Infant, Katina, Khadijah and Renata. The other four — Celestine, Clementine, Dewey and Minna — are from the 1800s, a time when SSA data wasn’t too reliable.


Name of the Day – Ganon

Ganon is the main antagonist in The Legend of Zelda video games. (Thankfully he dropped his original name, Ganondorf.) A reader named Hillary mentioned the other day that she’d named her son Ganon after the character.

Ganon has never been among the most popular U.S. baby names. Gannon, on the other hand, has been in the top 1,000 since 2002. It ranked 889th in 2006. (Gannon is more likely to come from the surname than from the villain, though I guess you never know.)