How popular is the baby name John 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 John.

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Popularity of the Baby Name John


Posts that Mention the Name John

Baby Names from Hill Street Blues

Hill Street Blues, baby names, 1980s, television,

The police drama Hill Street Blues, which aired on NBC from 1981 to 1987, revolutionized the “cop show” TV genre. The series was the first of its kind to feature sequential storylines (vs. stand-alone episodes), an ensemble cast (vs. a single star), overlapping dialogue, hand-held camerawork, and more.

In fact, CNN went ahead and labelled Hill Street Blues “the most influential TV show ever.”

But it wasn’t just influential in the world of television. It also left its mark on American baby names. Hundreds of babies born in the ’80s got a Hill Street Blues-inspired baby name, such as…

Travanti

Actor Daniel J. Travanti, who played main character Capt. Frank Furillo, was nominated for the “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series” Emmy five times in a row (1981 to 1985), winning twice (in ’81 and ’82). Also in 1982, the name Travanti debuted in the baby name data:

  • 1985: 14 baby boys named Travanti
  • 1984: 12 baby boys named Travanti
  • 1983: 8 baby boys named Travanti
  • 1982: 15 baby boys named Travanti [debut]
  • 1981: unlisted
  • 1980: unlisted

Taurean

Actor Taurean Blacque (born Herbert Middleton), who played Det. Neal Washington, was nominated for the “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series” Emmy in 1982. (In fact, all five nominees for the award that year were HSB actors.) The name Taurean debuted in the data for both genders in 1981:

  • 1985: 143 baby boys named Taurean [rank: 745th]
  • 1984: 172 baby boys [rank: 659th] and 10 baby girls named Taurean
  • 1983: 231 baby boys [rank: 554th] and 17 baby girls named Taurean
  • 1982: 210 baby boys [rank: 593rd] and 7 baby girls named Taurean
  • 1981: 91 baby boys [rank: 944th] and 6 baby girls named Taurean [dual-debut]
  • 1980: unlisted

Taurean was the top boy-name debut of 1981, and the variants Taurian, Tauren, and Taureon all popped up in the data as well that year.

(And how did Herbert come up with the stage name “Taurean Blacque”? It’s “a combination of astrology and race with some fancy spelling thrown in.” He wanted a name he “could identify with and one that would stand out on a billboard.”)

Kiel

Actor Kiel Martin played Officer John “J.D.” LaRue. While the show was on the air, the baby name Kiel rose to peak usage among baby boys:

  • 1985: 221 baby boys [rank: 591st] and 5 baby girls named Kiel
  • 1984: 260 baby boys [rank: 534th] and 5 baby girls named Kiel
  • 1983: 277 baby boys [rank: 505th] and 8 baby girls named Kiel
  • 1982: 194 baby boys named Kiel [rank: 623rd]
  • 1981: 68 baby boys named Kiel
  • 1980: 9 baby boys named Kiel

Darylann

Actress Deborah Richter played recurring character Daryl Ann from 1982 to 1987 (but primarily during the last three years). In response, not only did the usage of the name Daryl for baby girls increase, but the name Darylann appeared for the first time:

  • 1989: unlisted
  • 1988: 7 baby girls named Darylann
  • 1987: 5 baby girls named Darylann [debut]
  • 1986: unlisted

Shirret

Actress Van Nessa L. Clarke played minor character Shirret Anders in a pair of back-to-back 1981 episodes. The same year, the baby name Shirret debuted in the data:

  • 1982: unlisted
  • 1981: 5 baby girls named Shirret [one-hit wonder]
  • 1980: unlisted

Have you ever met someone with a Hill Street Blues-inspired baby name?

Sources:

Name Quotes 80: Jamie, Imogen, John

Time for the latest batch of name-related quotations!

From a 1997 article in Jet magazine about how Jamie Foxx (born Eric Bishop) found success in comedy after changing his name:

Foxx, who was determined to make it as a stand-up comedian, went to Santa Monica “where nobody really knew who I was,” he reveals, “and changed my name to Jamie Foxx.” He remembers, “Three girls would show up and 22 guys would show up [at Amateur Night]. They had to put all the girls on who were on the list to break up the monotony. So when they look up and they see Tracey Green, Tracey Brown, and these unisex names I had written on the list, they picked Jamie Foxx. ‘Is she here?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, Brother, right over here man,'” Foxx said in a deep, macho voice. “I’d go up and do my thing with the Cosby and Tyson (impersonations), and they were like ‘Who is this Jamie Foxx kid?'”

From an opinion piece asking scientists to stop naming species after awful people:

There’s even a beetle named after Adolf Hitler, and specimens have become a collectible item among neo-Nazis to the point that it’s actually affecting wild populations of the species.

From an Eater article about the delicious pork product Spam:

Although lore behind the name Spam varies, [George A.] Hormel himself claimed the product was named for a combination of the words “spice” and “ham,” despite the fact that neither ingredient appears in Spam. The confusion has led some to speculate that Spam is an acronym for “Shoulder of Pork And Ham,” but company line gives Kenneth Daigneau, the brother of a Hormel VP, credit for naming the product. As Hormel tells it, he launched a naming contest for the new product during a New Year’s Eve party, when Daigneau spit out “Spam” as if “it were nothing at all,” Hormel told Gill. “I knew then and there that the name was perfect.”

From an article about Amazon Alexa’s influence on the baby name Alexa:

About 4,250 Alexas are turning five in the U.S. this year. One of them is Amazon’s.

The voice-computing technology that can now control more than 85,000 different devices debuted Nov. 6, 2014.

[…]

In 2015, the year after Amazon Alexa debuted, Alexa was the 32nd most popular female baby name in the U.S., bestowed upon 6,052 newborns that year, according to Social Security Administration data.

Alexa as a baby name has since declined in popularity.

From a DMNES blog post announcing the publication of “Names Shakespeare Didn’t Invent“:

In this article, we revisit three names which are often listed as coinages of Shakespeare’s and show that this received wisdom, though oft-repeated, is in fact incorrect. The three names are Imogen, the heroine of Cymbeline; and Olivia and Viola, the heroines of Twelfth Night. All three of these names pre-date Shakespeare’s use. Further, we show in two of the three cases that it is plausible that Shakespeare was familiar with this earlier usage.

From an article about a surname mash-up in Australia:

Sydney couple Courtney Cassar, 31, and Laura Sheldon, 29, welcomed daughter Lyla Jill last month, but rather than using a hyphen between their family names, they bestowed the ‘mashed-up’ moniker ‘Casseldon’ on their baby girl instead.

From a Fader article about musician/rapper (and snappy dresser) Fonzworth Bentley:

That man was Derek Watkins, but he’d become known to millions as Fonzworth Bentley. His moniker was inspired in part by Bootney Lee Farnsworth, the underdog boxer from the 1975 Sidney Poitier-directed movie Let’s Do It Again.

From an article about the most common names among students at Michigan’s conservative Hillsdale College, which has about 1,500 undergraduates:

The most popular names at Hillsdale are John, with 22 carrying the name; Hannah, appearing 20 times; and Andrew, Emma, and Jacob, which all appear 19 times. Other popular names include Jacob [sic], Michael, Joseph, Matthew, Nicholas, Sarah, and Emily.

Several of these names are popular nationwide, but Hillsdale bucks certain national trends. Many of these students are namesakes to biblical or family figures. 

[…]

The majority of Hillsdale students are between the ages of 18 and 22, with a large portion born in the early 2000s.

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

Pop Culture Baby Name Game, 2019

pop culture baby name game, 2019

Time for the annual Pop Culture Baby Name Game!

But first: Happy birthday, Elvis Presley! (He would have been 85 today.)

So now, think back to 2018. Think of all the pop culture that caught your attention. Think of movies, music, TV shows, social media, sports, video games, news, politics, products, and so forth.

Which of these things had an influence on U.S. baby names last year, do you think? Which baby names will see higher usage (or appear for the very first time) in the 2018 data thanks to 2018 pop culture?

Here are some names to start with:

  • Adeya – from celebrity baby Adeya (born in March to Kehlani)
  • Alita – from the movie Alita: Battle Angel
  • Archie – from royal baby Archie (born in May to Harry & Meghan)
  • Billie – from singer Billie Eilish
  • Brixton – from the movie Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
  • Deckard – from the movie Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
  • Dorian – from hurricane Dorian
  • Eilish – also from singer Billie Eilish
  • Gloria – from the St. Louis Blues anthem “Gloria
  • Greedy – from NFL player Andraez Montrell “Greedy” Williams
  • Greta – from environmental activist Greta Thunberg
  • Lizzo – from rapper/singer Lizzo (originally a Melissa)
  • Luce – from the movie Luce
  • Maleficent – from the movie Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
  • Post – from rapper Post Malone
  • Psalm – from celebrity baby Psalm (born in May to Kim & Kanye)
  • Saybie – from newsworthy baby Saybie
  • Shaed – from the band Shaed (“Trampoline”)
  • Sulwe – from the book Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o
  • Wick – from the movie John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

A few names from the 2018 game (Kamala? Kelleth? Sanni? Marsai?) might still be applicable as well.

What other names should we add to the list? Let me know by commenting below. Please don’t forget to mention the pop culture influence!

I’ll be posting the game results in May of 2020, a few days after the SSA releases the 2019 baby name data. If you don’t want to miss the results post, just subscribe to NBN!

Baby Names from “The Edge of Night”

edge of night, soap opera, teal ames, 1950s, 1960s
Sara, Laurie Ann, and Mike Karr
(characters on The Edge of Night)

The Edge of Night (1956-1984) was a television soap opera with heavy crime drama elements (e.g., courtroom scenes). It was based directly on the radio drama Perry Mason (1943-1955). In fact, the central character of EoN — a police officer/lawyer named Mike Karr — was played by actor John Larkin, who had been the voice of Perry during the last eight years of the radio show.

EoN was a popular soap, ranking anywhere from 2nd to 6th from its inception until the early 1970s. More importantly, though, several EoN characters/actors ended up influencing the U.S. baby name charts.

First we have Teal, which debuted in the data in 1957:

  • 1962: 24 baby girls named Teal
  • 1961: 35 baby girls named Teal
  • 1960: 28 baby girls named Teal
  • 1959: 21 baby girls named Teal
  • 1958: 28 baby girls named Teal
  • 1957: 14 baby girls named Teal [debut]
  • 1956: unlisted

Teal was inspired by actress Teal Ames, who played Mike’s girlfriend/wife Sara Karr on the show from 1956 to 1961. When Teal decided to quit show business, the character was killed off Edge of Night in a car crash. “CBS received so many anxious and hysterical calls after this episode that actress Teal Ames had to go on the air the following day to assure her fans that she was still very much alive.”

(That said, another potential influence on the name was Japanese-American jazz singer Teal Joy — real name Elsie Itashiki — who put out an album and started appearing on TV in late 1957.)

Next is Laurieann, which debuted in 1959. (And, a year later, the similar name Laurieanne popped up.)

  • 1964: 25 baby girls named Laurieann
  • 1963: 39 baby girls named Laurieann
  • 1962: 35 baby girls named Laurieann
  • 1961: 23 baby girls named Laurieann
  • 1960: 21 baby girls named Laurieann
  • 1959: 5 baby girls named Laurieann [debut]
  • 1958: unlisted

No doubt Laurieann and Laurieanne were given a nudge by Laurie, which was at peak popularity in the early ’60s (perhaps thanks to Piper Laurie). But the more direct influence was fictional Laurie Ann Karr, Mike and Sara’s only daughter, who was born in the storyline in September of 1959.

Ratings for EoN weren’t as good from the mid-1970s onward, but by then the show was becoming known for something entirely different: unusual character names. These included Taffy, Lobo, Morlock, Cookie, Gunther, Didi, Smiley, Raven, and Schuyler. (Raven and Sky were a couple, of course.) And several of these unusual names got a boost in real life, thanks to the show.

For instance, character Draper Scott was featured in the storyline from 1975 to 1981. The baby name Draper re-emerged in the SSA data in 1976 and saw peak usage in 1980:

  • 1981: 40 baby boys named Draper
  • 1980: 46 baby boys named Draper
  • 1979: 39 baby boys named Draper
  • 1978: 36 baby boys named Draper
  • 1977: 35 baby boys named Draper
  • 1976: 15 baby boys named Draper
  • 1975: unlisted

And female character Winter Austin, who was on the show from 1978 to 1979, pushed the baby name Winter into the top 1,000 for the first time in the late ’70s:

  • 1980: 140 baby girls named Winter
  • 1979: 241 baby girls named Winter [rank: 705th]
  • 1978: 137 baby girls named Winter [rank: 1,000th]
  • 1977: 29 baby girls named Winter

Were you a regular viewer of The Edge of Night? Did you have any opinions on the character names?

Sources:

Image: from TV Radio Mirror, July 1961

P.S. Here’s a post with a bunch more soap opera-inspired baby names.

Name Quotes 78: Brene, Neal, SanDeE*

The name SanDeE* from LA Story (1991).
SanDeE* from LA Story

From the 1991 movie LA Story, a conversation between Harris (played by Steve Martin) and SanDeE* (played by Sarah Jessica Parker):

H: What was your name again?

S: SanDeE*

H: I’m sorry, Sandy, Sandy… It’s a nice name. Everybody has such weird names now, it’s like Tiffany with a P-H-I, and instead of Nancy it’s Nancine. [He begins to write her name down.]

S: Big S, small A, small N, big D, small E, big E.

H: What?

S: Big S, small A, small N, big D, small E, big E. [She grabs his hand and writes directly on it.] Big S, small A, small N, big D, small E, big E. Then there’s a little star at the end.

Anna Wintour recently talking about her new puppy, named Finch [vid]:

She’s called Finch because we call all of our dogs after characters in To Kill a Mockingbird. So we have had a Scout, a Radley, and a Harper. And let me tell you, they are not happy about Finch’s arrival.

From a 1995 interview with R.E.M. vocalist Michael Stipe, whose paternal grandfather was a Methodist minister:

Well, Methodism was started by John Wesley, who was, in his way, a really radical guy who believed in a lot of individual responsibility. It’s not the kind of religion that’s right around your throat. Actually, I was named after him, John Michael Stipe.

From an article about Lara Prescott, author of the new book The Secrets We Kept, a fictional account of the dangers of publishing Doctor Zhivago in the 1950s:

You could say she was born to write this historical novel: Prescott’s mother named her after the doomed heroine from her favorite movie, the 1965 adaptation of Boris Pasternak’s epic.

A non-edited tweet from Cardi B, whose sister’s name is Hennessy:

Fun fact :Always wanted a daughter and I always used to say imma name her HennyLynn. It’s a cute mix of my sisters name but then I started calling my sister HennyLynn then it became one of the nicknames I gave my sister so it woulda been weird naming my daughter that .

From an article about a Georgia man whose name, Neal, came from a POW bracelet:

His father, the late John Carpenter, was an aircraft mechanic in the Navy and was deployed overseas at the time. He arrived home in time for his son’s birth. When it became necessary to scramble and find a boy’s name, John Carpenter looked down at the POW/MIA bracelet he was wearing.

The engraved name was Neal Clinton Ward Jr. He had been listed as Missing in Action since June 13, 1969. An airman, his plane had been shot down over Laos in the jungles of Southeast Asia, nine days before his 24th birthday.

The Carpenters named their son Neal Ward Carpenter.

(Neal’s mom had been convinced the baby would be a girl. Neal said: “I was going to be April Michelle, and that’s all there was to it.”)

Research professor and author Brené Brown on her unique name:

Growing up, every time we drove from San Antonio to Houston, going to Stuckey’s — all these places where you buy monogrammed shirts and glasses — I was so put out because there was never a “Brené.” So I think I made up in my head that it was French. And then I hitchhiked across Europe after high school and I got to France and I was like, “Je suis Brené!” And they were like, “What kind of name is that?” They’d never heard of it. My parents just made it up. I had a whole narrative in high school — “When I bust out of this suburban Spring, Texas, high school I’m going to go back to France where my people are!” But, no, it’s not French — it’s south side San Antonio.

Marketing expert Seth Godin’s take on the best middle name ever:

It’s not Warren or Susan or Otis or Samuel or Tricia.

It’s “The.”

As in Attila The Hun or Alexander The Great or Zorba The Greek.

When your middle name is ‘The’, it means you’re it. The only one. The one that defines the category. I think that focus is a choice, and that the result of appropriate focus is you earn the middle name.

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