How popular is the baby name Janet 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 Janet.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Janet


Posts that Mention the Name Janet

Name Quotes 79: Consuela, Gisele, Jeff

Phoebe Buffay becomes Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock in this month's collection of name-related quotes at Nancy's Baby Names.

From the 2004 Friends episode in which Phoebe changes her name to Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock:

Mike: So what’s new?

Phoebe: Well, I’m no longer Phoebe Buffay.

Mike: That’s great, you changed your name?

Phoebe: Yes I did! Meet Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock.

Lyrics from the song “Dear Winter” (2019) by indie band AJR:

Dear Winter,
I hope you like your name.
I hope they don’t make fun of you
When you grow up and go to school, ok?
‘Cause Winter is a badass name.

(The baby name Winter is already on the rise, but do you think this song could give it an extra boost?)

From an article that asks how it feels when one’s name becomes a meme:

Over the last few years, it has become increasingly popular to end online jokes with a name. The set-up usually goes like this: a person jokes about an annoying behaviour as though they were directly talking to the person annoying them, then they end the joke-angry outburst with a name. That name then slowly becomes cultural shorthand for a type of behaviour. Other names become internet jokes because they were part of movies that were clipped into gifs – such as “Sure, Jan” to denote disbelief, “My name is Jeff” for anyone whose name is, yes, Jeff, or “Bye, Felicia” for anyone irritating.

(Other names used in memes: Karen, Sharon, Janet, Chad, Becky…)

From an article about advocate Shanti Bhushnan, who was named after advocate Shanti Bhushnan (b. 1925):

I was born on March 16, 1977. By then, Senior Advocate Shanti Bhushan was a very big name in India because he had appeared for Raj Narain against then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and won the case.

So my uncle KN Puttegowda, who was an advocate and later served as President of the Bangalore Advocates Association, suggested that I should be named after the legendary lawyer.

[…]

I had not met him until now. I consider it my good luck to be named after such a big man. Many people ask me about this name because it is an unusual name in the South.

From a video about the unhurried baby naming practices of the Borana people of Ethiopia and Kenya:

When a child is a toddler, if you have the means, you call on people to gather and name the child. If you don’t have enough, you can ask your relatives to help you prepare the ceremony. That’s how we name a child. Until you name them, you just call them by random names of your choice.

From an article about Brazilian model Gisele Bündchen:

…Gisele has become a brand in itself. That monicker is fortunate – it’s easy to equate “Gisele” with “gazelle”, which is exactly what comes to mind when you see her strutting down the catwalk…

How rapper Post Malone (born Austin Richard Post) came up with his stage name:

I was like 14, and I had started getting into producing and rapping and singing over my own stuff. And I needed a name, you know, for my s—- mixtape,” he told Jimmy Fallon. “So I ran [my real name] through a random rap name generator… now I’m stuck with it.”

How rapper Childish Gambino (born Donald Glover) came up with his stage name:

“We were all hanging out, chilling and drinking and then we were like, ‘Oh, Wu-Tang name generator, let’s put our name in,'” he revealed on The Tonight Show back in 2011. “And we’re putting them all in, and they’re all funny and stuff, and then mine came up and I was like, ‘you guys, it’s not funny anymore. This is something big.’ I just really liked it.”

How spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle (born Ulrich Tölle) came up with his new name:

Some time after this “inner transformation”, Tolle changed his first name from Ulrich to Eckhart following a dream in which he saw books lying around. On the cover of one was the name Eckhart and he knew he had written it. By coincidence, he bumped into an acquaintance, a psychic, a few days later who, for no apparent reason, called him Eckhart! Having become a completely different person he was ready to relinquish the name Ulrich and the unhappy energy the name held for him.

(Other sources say Tolle chose “Eckhart” in deference to 13th-century German theologian/mystic Meister Eckhart.)

For more name-related quotes, check out the name quotes category.

N. Dakota Towns with Female Names

Here’s a newspaper article from the 1930s that features a list of North Dakota towns with feminine names:

When a train conductor calls “Bessie” and “Josephine” in North Dakota he is not addressing passengers by their first names.

For these and other feminine names were given to towns and villages by rugged pioneers.

Prominent among the list is the cow town of Medora in Billings county, known as the ranching headquarters of Theodore Roosevelt.

Others are: Ines, Norma, Olga, Christine, Silvia, Hannah, Frances, Janet, Stella, Willa, Ella, Mary, Flora, Marion, Alice, Elizabeth, Sophia, Beulah, Kathryn, Jessie, Luverne, Juanita, Freda, Cherry and Mona.

(Only Ella is among the top 10 baby girl names in the state right now.)

Which of the above names do you like best?

Source: “Dakota Pioneers Gave Towns Feminine Names.” Miami Daily News-Record [Miami, OK] 2 Feb. 1936: 8.

Rare Girl Names from Early Cinema: G

Looking for an uncommon girl name with a retro feel?

Here’s a list of rare female G-names associated with the earliest decades of cinema (1910s to 1940s).

I’ve included links to popularity graphs for the names that have seen enough usage to appear in the SSA data.

Gaby
Gaby Derilly was a character played by actress Josette Andriot in the short film The Green God (1913).

  • Usage of the baby name Gaby.

Gail
Gail Kane was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Pennsylvania in 1887. Her birth name was Abigail Kane. Gail Patrick was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1930s. She was born in Alabama in 1911. Her birth name was Margaret LaVelle Fitzpatrick. Gail was also a character name in multiple films, including Dangerous (1935) and Woman Doctor (1939).

  • Usage of the baby name Gail.

Gaile
Gaile Warren was a character played by actress Ruth Robinson in the film An American Tragedy (1931).

  • Usage of the baby name Gaile.

Galatea
Galatea was a character name in multiple films, including Pygmalion and Galatea (short, 1912) and It’s a Cruel World (short, 1918).

Garda
Garda Sloane was a character played by various actresses (Florence Rice, Rosalind Russell, Ann Sothern) in various late-1930s mystery movies (Fast Company, Fast and Loose, Fast and Furious) written by Harry Kurnitz.

  • Usage of the baby name Garda.

Garla
Garla was a character played by actress Florine McKinney in the film Cynara (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Garla.

Garnet
Garnet was a character name in multiple films, including Johnny Eager (1941) and So Goes My Love (1946).

  • Usage of the baby name Garnet.

Gavinia
Gavinia was a character played by actress Kate Davenport in the film Sentimental Tommy (1921).

Gaya
Gaya was a character played by actress Irene Wallace in the short film The Master of the Bengals (1915).

  • Usage of the baby name Gaya.

Gayle
Gayle Adams was a character played by actress Claudia Dell in the film What Becomes of the Children? (1936).

  • Usage of the baby name Gayle.

Gaza
Gaza was a character played by actress Carmen Phillips in the film A Cafe in Cairo (1924).

  • Usage of the baby name Gaza.

Gazella
Gazella Perkins was a character played by actress Helen Jerome Eddy in the film Girls Demand Excitement (1931).

Gee Gee
Gee Gee Graham was a character played by actress Iris Adrian in the film Lady of Burlesque (1943).

Genelle
Genelle was a character played by actress Betty Compson in the film The Green Temptation (1922).

Genesta
Genesta Slott was a character played by actress Sydney Fairbrother in the film All In (1936).

Genevia
Genevia was a character played by actress Nina Vanna in the film The Man Without Desire (1923).

Genevra
Genevra was a character name in multiple films, including The Talk of the Town (1918) and The Man from Brodney’s (1923).

Gentian
Gentian Tyrell was a character played by actress Gladys Franzin in the film Let Not Man Put Assunder (1924).

Genya
Genya Smetana was a character played by actress Pola Negri in the film Hi Diddle Diddle (1943).

  • Usage of the baby name Genya.

George-Anne
George-Anne Carleton was a character played by actress Janet Gaynor in the film The Young in Heart (1938).

Georgette
Georgette was a character name in multiple films, including A Husband’s Awakening (short, 1912) and So This Is Paris (1926).

Georgi
Georgi Gragore was a character played by actress Hedy Lamarr in the film I Take This Woman (1940).

  • Usage of the baby name Georgi.

Georgie
Georgie Hastings was a character played by actress Sally O’Neil in the film The Lovelorn (1927).

Georgine
Georgine was a character name in multiple films, including The French Doll (1923) and Play Girl (1932).

Gerda
Gerda Holmes was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in Illinois in 1892. Gerda was also a character name in multiple films, including Three Sinners (1928) and Babies for Sale (1940).

  • Usage of the baby name Gerda.

Germaine
Germaine De Neel was an actress who appeared in films in the 1930s. She was born in Canada in 1911. Germaine was also a character name in multiple films, including Evening Clothes (1927) and The Great Garrick (1937).

Gerry
Gerry was a character name in multiple films, including Daring Danger (1932) and Tail Spin (1939).

  • Usage of the baby name Gerry.

Gerta
Gerta Klangi was a character played by actress Tala Birell in the film The Captain Hates the Sea (1934).

  • Usage of the baby name Gerta.

Gertie
Gertie was a character name in multiple films, including Lamplighter (1921) and Gold Dust Gertie (1931).

  • Usage of the baby name Gertie.

Gertrude
Gertrude McCoy was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Georgia in 1890. Gertrude Robinson was an actress who appeared in films from the 1900s to the 1920s. She was born in New York in 1890. Gertrude was also a character name in multiple films, such as Coming-Out Party (1934).

Ghirlaine
Ghirlaine was a character played by actress Doris Kenyon in the film The Blonde Saint (1926).

Ghita
Ghita Galin was a character played by actress Alice Brady in the film Metropolitan (1935).

  • Usage of the baby name Ghita.

Ghula
Ghula was a character played by actress Dolly Larkin in the short film The Message of the Rose (1913).

Giacinta
Giacinta was a character played by actress Cissy Fitzgerald in the film Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928).

Giannina
Giannina was a character played by actress Mary Pickford in the short film The Violin Maker of Cremona (1909).

Gigi
Gigi Perreau was an actress who appeared from the 1940s to the 2010s. She was born in France in 1941. Her birth name was Ghislaine Elizabeth Marie Thérèse Perreau-Saussine.

  • Usage of the baby name Gigi.

Gilberta
Gilberta Stanley was a character played by actress Lulu Bowers in the film The Matrimonial Martyr (1916).

Gilberte
Gilberte was a character name in multiple films, including A Hungry Heart (1917) and A Night of Mystery (1928).

Gilda
Gilda was a character name in multiple films, including Go Straight (1925) and Gilda (1946).

  • Usage of the baby name Gilda.

Ginette
Ginette was a character name in multiple films, including The Two Girls (1921) and A Kiss in a Taxi (1927).

Ginna
Ginna was a character played by actress Eve Arden in the film My Reputation (1946).

  • Usage of the baby name Ginna (which debuted in the data in 1947).

Ginny
Ginny Simms was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1950s. She was born in Texas in 1913. Her birth name was Virginia Ellen Simms. Ginny was also a character played by actress Luana Patten in the film Song of the South (1946).

  • Usage of the baby name Ginny.

Girda
Girda was a character name in multiple films, including Fool’s Paradise (1921) and The Girl in the Flat (1934).

Gita
Gita Carteret was a character played by actress Dorothy Mackaill in the film The Crystal Cup (1927).

  • Usage of the baby name Gita.

Giuditta
Giuditta Pasta was a character played by actress Benita Hume in the film The Divine Spark (1935).

Glad
Glad was a character played by various actresses (such as Mary Pickford and Jacqueline Logan) in various movies called The Dawn of a Tomorrow, all based on the novella of the same name by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Glenda
Glenda Farrell was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1970s. She was born in Oklahoma in 1901. Glenda was also a character name in multiple films, including The White Parade (1934) and Down Argentine Way (1940).

  • Usage of the baby name Glenda.

Glenna
Glenna Marsh was a character played by actress Dorothy Revier in the film The Siren (1927).

  • Usage of the baby name Glenna.

Glenny
Glenny was a character played by actress Janet Sully in the film The Lure of Luxury (1918).

  • Usage of the baby name Glenny.

Glinda
Glinda was a character name in multiple films, including The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays (1908) and The Wizard of Oz (1939).

  • Usage of the baby name Glinda.

Glorian
Glorian Gray was an actress who appeared in films in the 1930s.

Gloriana
Gloriana was a character played by actress Zoe Rae in the film Gloriana (1916).

Glorietta
Glorietta Hope was a character played by actress Lucille Carlisle in the short film The Counter Jumper (1922).

Gloriette
Gloriette French was an actress who appeared in 1 film in 1931.

Godiva
Godiva was a character name in multiple films, including Lady Godiva (short, 1911) and The Story of the Blood Red Rose (short, 1914).

  • Usage of the baby name Godiva.

Gonda
Gonda was a character played by actress Belle Bennett in the film Ashes of Hope (1917).

Googie
Googie Withers was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1990s. She was born in British India (now Pakistan) in 1917. Her birth name was Georgette Lizette Withers.

Gora
Gora Dwight was a character played by actress Clarissa Selwynne in the film Black Oxen (1923).

Goytia
Goytia was a character played by actress Lottice Howell in the film In Gay Madrid (1930).

Granella
Granella was a character played by actress Malvina Longfellow in the film The Wandering Jew (1923).

Gratia
Gratia Latham was a character played by actress Pearl White in the film A Virgin Paradise (1921).

  • Usage of the baby name Gratia.

Grazia
Grazia was a character played by actress Evelyn Venable in the film Death Takes a Holiday (1934).

  • Usage of the baby name Grazia.

Gretna
Gretna Hillman was a character played by actress Sally Crute in the short film The Mystery of the Talking Wire (1914).

  • Usage of the baby name Gretna.

Griselda
Griselda was a character name in multiple films, including The Adventure Hunter (short, 1915) and Two-Faced Woman (1941).

Grizel
Grizel was a character name in multiple films, including Sentimental Tommy (1921) and Enchantment (1948).

  • Usage of the baby name Grizel.

Grizette
Grizette was a character played by actress Clara Bow in the film Kiss Me Again (1925).

Gudula
Gudula Rothschild was a character played by actress Helen Westley in the film The House of Rothschild (1934).

Guerda
Guerda Anthony was a character played by actress Constance Bennett in the film Wandering Fires (1925).

Guerita
Guerita was a character played by actress Barbara La Marr in the film Thy Name is Woman (1924).

Guillemette
Guillemette was a character played by actress Arlette Marchal in the film The Hen (1933).

Gulnar
Gulnar was a character played by actress Fanny Ferrari in the film Kismet (1920).

Gunhild
Gunhild was a character played by actress Seena Owen in the film A Yankee from the West (1915).

Guninana
Guninana was a character played by actress Steffi Duna in the film Man of Two Worlds (1934).

Gurtha
Gurtha was a character played by actress Hilda Vaughn in the film Banjo on My Knee (1936).

  • Usage of the baby name Gurtha.

Gussie
Gussie Bosley was a character played by actress Myrta Bonillas in the film The Custard Cup (1923).

  • Usage of the baby name Gussie.

Gusta
Gusta was a character played by actress Gwili Andre in the film A Woman’s Face (1941).

  • Usage of the baby name Gusta.

Gwendoline
Gwendoline was a character played by actress Beverly Bayne in the short film Love and Lavallieres (1913).

Gwennie
Gwennie Lyne was a character played by actress Julia Swayne Gordon in the film The Maelstrom (1917).

Gwenny
Gwenny Miller was a character played by actress June Lang in the film Too Many Women (1942).

Gwili
Gwili Andre was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1940s. She was born in Denmark in 1908. Her birth name was Gurli Andresen.

  • Usage of the baby name Gwili (which debuted the year Andre’s first film came out).

Gwyn
Gwyn Allen was a character played by actress Arline Judge in the film Smith of Minnesota (1942).

  • Usage of the baby name Gwyn.

Gwynne
Gwynne Evans was a character played by actress Leatrice Joy in the film Changing Husbands (1924).

  • Usage of the baby name Gwynne.

Gypsy
Gypsy Abbott was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in Georgia in 1897. Gypsy Rose Lee was an actress who appeared in films in the 1930s to the 1960s. She was born in Washington in 1911. Her birth name was Rose Louise Hovick. Gypsy was also a character played by actress Evelyn Brent in the film Bowery Champs (1944).

  • Usage of the baby name Gypsy.

…Which of the above G-names do you like best?

Source: IMDb

The Rise of Kelly as a Girl Name

kelly and me. movie, 1957, dog

During the first half of the 20th century, the name Kelly was more of a boy name than a girl name. That is, it was given far more often to baby boys than to baby girls.

But things changed in the 1950s, when the overall usage of Kelly began to rise quickly — and rise faster for girls than for boys. The first year that more girls than boys were named Kelly was 1957:

Year # Girls Named Kelly # Boys Named Kelly
1959 6,379 (rank: 74th) 2,436 (rank: 142nd)
1958 4,471 (rank: 108th) 2,299 (rank: 148th)
1957 1,907 (rank: 187th) 1,868 (rank: 167th)
1956 831 (rank: 310th) 1,472 (rank: 189th)
1955 540 (rank: 380th) 1,251 (rank: 204th)
1954 455 (rank: 406th) 960 (rank: 225th)
1953 226 (rank: 590th) 845 (rank: 232nd)

Even though the gender switch happened in 1957, usage for boys continued to rise for several more years. Only in 1962 then did the two trajectories finally start to diverge.

So what’s behind both the popularization and feminization of the name Kelly in the 1950s? There seem to be at least three different influences (and possibly others that I haven’t discovered yet). Here’s what I’ve got so far:

  • Grace Kelly: actress, most popular around 1955/1956
  • Kelly and Me: movie, released in 1957
  • Bachelor Father: television show, aired from 1957 to 1962

I have a big post about Grace Kelly-inspired baby names scheduled for tomorrow, so for now I’ll just say that, if she was an influence here, she wouldn’t be the first famous actress to inspire parents to start using her surname as a girl name. Before her was Janet Gaynor, June Allyson, Cyd Charisse, Debra Paget, Denise Darcel, Pier Angeli, etc.

The movie Kelly and Me, which co-starred Piper Laurie, is weirdly reminiscent of the 2008 movie Marley and Me. Both films feature a male dog as a main character, and both titular names saw increased usage as baby names — particularly girl names — the years the movies were released. Apparently neither the species nor the gender of the character mattered much to parents. (Here’s the popularity graph for Marley.)

The TV show Bachelor Father focused on a wealthy Beverly Hills attorney named Bentley Gregg who is raising his orphaned teenage niece, a female Kelly. The show clearly gave the name Bentley a boost in the late ’50s and early ’60s, nudging it into the top 1,000 for the first time in 1961, so no doubt it also helped American audiences see Kelly as a nice name for a daughter.

Do you like the name Kelly? Do you like it more as a girl name or as a boy name? (Or does it not matter to you?)

The Baby Name Damita

Damita Jo, 1952, singer
© 1952 Jet

The name Damita first appeared in the SSA’s baby name dataset in 1950:

  • 1953: 33 baby girls named Damita
  • 1952: 7 baby girls named Damita
  • 1951: 18 baby girls named Damita
  • 1950: 5 baby girls named Damita [debut]
  • 1949: unlisted

It saw peak usage in the early ’60s:

  • 1963: 74 baby girls named Damita
  • 1962: 102 baby girls named Damita
  • 1961: 117 baby girls named Damita [peak*]
  • 1960: 49 baby girls named Damita
  • 1959: 20 baby girls named Damita

The variant names Demita and Domita debuted in the early ’60s as well.

So what was the influence here?

Singer Damita Jo DeBlanc, born in Texas in 1930 and known simply as “Damita Jo” for most of her decades-long career.

Though she was most successful during the early ’60s — her highest-charting songs were 1960’s “I’ll Save the Last Dance for You” and 1961’s “I’ll Be There” — her first solo singles (like “Believe Me” and “Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere”) were released in 1950 and 1951, and she spent the rest of the ’50s performing and recording with the R&B group Steve Gibson & the Red Caps. She also appeared on, and won, an episode of the TV talent show Chance of a Lifetime in 1952.

In 1960, Jet magazine defined Damita Jo DeBlanc’s name as meaning “little lady of white” in “French and Spanish.”

My wild guess is that she was named after French-born movie star Lili Damita, whose Hollywood career began in the late ’20s. The Spanish word damita does indeed mean “little lady,” but Lili Damita’s claim that it was a nickname given to her by King Alfonso XIII of Spain is harder to prove.

damita jo, janet jackson, 2004

Speaking of namesakes, several of Damita Jo’s namesakes became famous in their own right. There’s Damita Jo Freeman (b. 1953), the memorable Soul Train dancer. There’s Damita Jo Nicholson (b. 1953), “Miss Miami Beach 1972.” And, most notable of all, there’s singer/actress Janet Damita Jo Jackson (b. 1966) – yes, Michael’s sister. Janet even put out an album called “Damita Jo” in 2004 — the year of her infamous wardrobe malfunction.

Do you like the name Damita?

*The name Damita would have entered the top 1,000 in 1961 if the six-way tie between Barrie, Callie, Damita, Freida, Staci, and Tonda — ranked 1,000th through 1,005th — hadn’t included a B-name and a C-name. As it happened, only Barrie made the cut and Damita technically ended up in 1,002nd place.

Sources:

Image: Cover of Jet from July 24, 1952