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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Ilya


Posts that Mention the Name Ilya

Illya All Over Again

The baby name Illya debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1965.

The name Illya double-debuted in the U.S. baby name data in the mid-1960s:

 YearBoys Named IllyaGirls Named Illya
196755 [rank 980th]10
196678 [rank 828th]11
196535 [debut]5 [debut]
1964unlistedunlisted
1963unlistedunlisted

Illya was the #1 debut name for boys in 1965. In fact, it ended up becoming one of the top boy-name debuts overall, and it reached the top 1000 twice.

So where did it come from?

The influence wasn’t the movie that gave yesterday’s name Ilya a boost, but the Cold War-era spy show The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which premiered on TV in 1964 and ran until 1968. (U.N.C.L.E. was an acronym for “United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.”)

The main characters were CIA agent Napoleon Solo (played by Robert Vaughn) and KGB agent Illya Nickovetch Kuryakin (played by David McCallum). Illya, a Slavic form of Elijah, was spelled out in the opening credits.

The name Napoleon may have also gotten a slight boost from the show, though it’s hard to tell.

Do you like the name Illya?

(Other dual-gender debuts I’ve posted about include Chaffee, Dasani, Dondi, Rikishi, and Sundown.)

The Introduction of Ilya

movie, 1960, ilyaWhen Ilya first popped up in the SSA’s baby name data, it appeared as a girl name in 1961:

  • 1963: unlisted
  • 1962: unlisted
  • 1961: 5 baby girls named Ilya [debut]
  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: unlisted

Why?

Because the Greek romantic comedy Never on Sunday was released in October of 1960. It starred Greek actress Melina Mercouri as a free-spirited prostitute named Ilya.

The movie was a big hit, and Melina Mercouri was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role (she lost to Elizabeth Taylor). The film earned four other nominations as well, but only won the Best Song category.

Interestingly, the trailer for the film starts with a string of names: “On Monday, it’s Tonio. On Tuesday, Boris. Wednesday is Spiro the fisherman’s day. And on Thursday, Jorgo’s the lucky fellow. Friday is devoted to Homer…”

Most sources classify the name Ilya and similar names (Iliya, Illya, Ilia, etc.) as male names — specifically, as forms of Elijah/Elias. So my best guess on the character name is that it was a nickname for Iliana, the feminine form of the Greek name Ilias (yet another form of Elijah/Elias).

Do you like the name Ilya? Do you prefer it as a girl name or as a boy name?

Source: Iliana – Behind the Name

Popular Baby Names in Ukraine

Ukraine’s Minister of Justice recently announced the most popular baby names in Ukraine for the first half of 2010 were Anastasia and Maksym.

I can’t give you proper rankings (because they weren’t included in the press release, oddly) but here are the other baby names that were mentioned:

Boy Names Girl Names
Andriy
Arseniy
Artem
Artur
Bohdan
Daniil (Danylo)
David
Denis
Dmytro
Gleb
Ilya
Ivan
Kyrylo
Marc
Maksym
Mykhaylo
Mykola
Mykyta
Nazar
Oleksandr
Pavlo
Serhiy
Timur
Tymofiy
Vadym
Victor
Vitaliy
Yegor
Yevgeniy
Yuriy
Alina
Anastasia
Angelina
Anna (Hanna)
Arina
Cristina (Hrystyna)
Darya (Daryna)
Diana
Elizabeth
Eva
Iryna
Karina
Kateryna
Maria
Oleksandra
Olga
Polina
Sofia
Tatiana
Valeria
Veronica
Victoria
Yana
Yulia

Sources: The most popular names in Ukraine were Anastasia and Maxim, Most popular baby names in Ukraine

Baby Names from Hockey

A reader named Elizabeth has sent me a rather cool list of hockey-inspired baby names. She writes:

I’m a name enthusiast and a hockey fanatic, and my husband and I have been tossing around the idea of naming our son after hockey players.

They haven’t seen any lists of hockey names for babies, though, so they decided to compile one themselves. It includes “both all-time greats and current players.”

I thought I’d pass it along to share with fellow rink rats who may be reading your blog and can’t think of anything other than Wayne (Gretzky), Herb (Brooks), or Patrick (Roy).

Or Bobby (Orr), whose statue was recently unveiled outside the Garden! But I digress…

Here is the list:

Andreas (Andreas Lilja, Andreas Nödl)
Aurèle (Aurèle Émile Joliat)
Bentley (Max Bentley, Doug Bentley)
Bourque (Ray Bourque, Rene Bourque)
Briere (Danny Briere)
Brooks (Herb Brooks, Brooks Laich)
Crosby (Sidney Crosby)
Dryden (Ken Dryden)
Eaves (Patrick Eaves)
Elias (Patrik Elias)
Émile (Aurèle Émile Joliat)
Ennis (Tyler Ennis)
Evgeni (Evgeni Malkin, Evgeni Nabokov)
Ilya (Ilya Kovalchuk, Ilya Bryzgalov)
Kane (Patrick Kane)
Lach (Elmer Lach)
Lemieux (Mario Lemieux)
Luca (Luca Caputi)
Malkin (Evgeni Malkin)
Malone (Joe Malone, Ryan Malone)
Marek (Marek Svatos)
Mario (Mario Lemieux)
Marleau (Patrick Marleau)
Michal (Michal Handzus)
Milan (Milan Hejduk)
Modano (Mike Modano)
Nikolai (Nikolai Khabibulin)
Parise (Zach Parise)
Pavel (Pavel Datsyuk)
Rene (Rene Bourque)
Savard (Serge Savard, Marc Savard)
Shore (Eddie Shore)
Stephane (Stephane Yelle)
Turco (Marty Turco)

Thanks so much for sharing, Elizabeth!

Another good source of hockey names is the Legends of Hockey website, which is affiliated with the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Which hockey names are your favorites?