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

Name Quotes 89: Shelley, Kelly, Bill

Dram EP

From an Uproxx article about DRAM’s most recent EP:

Virginian rap crooner DRAM returned last night with the release of his new, three-song EP, That’s A Girl’s Name. Produced and co-written by Josh Abraham and Oligee, the EP’s title refers to DRAM’S real name, Shelley Massenburg-Smith, which means “that’s a girl’s name” is probably a phrase he heard quite a bit growing up.

(“DRAM” is an acronym for “Does Real Ass Music.” DRAM’s goldendoodle also has an interesting name: Idnit [vid] — “as in, idnit so cute.”)

DRAM with his dog, Idnit

From an Us Magazine article about Matthew McConaughey’s new book Greenlights:

The Texas native also revealed that when he was born his father wasn’t there. Instead, he explained that James “called my mom and said, ‘Only thing I have to say is if it’s a boy, don’t name him Kelly.’”

From a New York Times article about the marriage of Sugar Good, a Dunkin’ Donuts manager, to one of her drive-through customers:

A year would go by before she gathered the courage to pass him her sprinkle-bedecked business card with his breakfast in September 2018. But when she did, it came as a relief to both. The man, John Thompson, a recently retired Marine working as a car salesman in Oklahoma City, had been wondering how he was going to figure out what her real name was.

“When I started going through the drive-through, I noticed she would smile with her eyes, and I thought, maybe if I read the receipt I can see what her name is,” he said. “But it said ‘Sugar No. 7.'” He figured Sugar must have been a reference to how he likes his coffee. With the card, which listed her cellphone number at the bottom, she cleared up the mystery — as well as her own case of the blues.

(I discovered this one via Nancy Friedman — thank you!)

From a Harper’s Bazaar article about genderless beauty brands:

“As a culture, we are realizing that gender is no longer a fixed concept,” says Sam Cheow, senior vice president of corporate innovation and product development at the Estée Lauder Companies, which owns brands like M.A.C, Tom Ford Beauty, Le Labo, and Frédéric Malle . . . Cheow points to evidence that the needle is moving forward: the growing backlash surrounding gender-reveal parties; a rise in gender-neutral baby names (for example, in 2018, 51 percent of “Charlies” were female); and the arrival of Q, the world’s first genderless voice assistant.

From a Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources blog post entitled “The Tiffany Problem“:

Wait, what? No way there’s a Tiffany in this book! Not when there are other women running around with convincing names like Blanchefleur, Isolde, and Ermentrude.

[…]

[T]he Tiffany Problem describes the tension between historical fact and the average, everyday person’s idea of history. So even though authors may research carefully and want to include historically accurate information in their book—like a medieval character named Tiffany—a popular audience likely won’t buy it.

From a piece in Blue Ridge Outdoors about not wanting a trail name:

I remember a guy named Bill. His view on trail names mirrored mine. He didn’t have one, didn’t want one. He was thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, not seeking a new identity. As he walked the white-blazed path, he simply introduced himself as “Bill”.

The most-often stated reply to him was, “What’s your trail name?”

His standard answer, “I don’t have a trail name. My name is just Bill.”

He became “Just Bill.”

From a Pitchfork interview with The Good Place actress D’Arcy Carden:

I put an apostrophe in my name that wasn’t there before, like Smashing Pumpkins bassist D’Arcy Wretzky, because of how influential this band was to me. D’Arcy was just the epitome of cool to me. In 1993, I was really into alternative and grunge music, and whereas the Nirvanas and the Pearl Jams felt so masculine, there was something sweeter and lighter about Smashing Pumpkins. The fact that they had a girl in their band was huge for me and my friends. I learned the guitar part to “Today,” and it made me feel like such a badass. It was like, “Wow, I can play guitar!” But, of course, anybody can play the beginning of “Today.”

(Name Quotes #73 mentioned another Good Place actress…)

From an amNewYork article about Broadway actress Tovah Feldshuh (born Terri Sue Feldshuh in 1952):

What ever happened to Terri Sue Feldshuh?

“I fell in love with a Christian boy, Michael Fairchild, who didn’t want to kiss a Terri Sue. He said: ‘Terri Sue doesn’t fit you at all. What’s that other name of yours? Tovah? Now that’s a name!'”

(Her stage name was initially “Terri Fairchild,” according to Wikipedia.)

Baby Named “Cyclone Cape Dove Four Bells”

The Waipa in the late 19th century.

In November of 1878, a baby boy was born aboard the New Zealand ship Waipa, which was under the command of Capt. John Gorn at the time.

The baby, “born in a cyclone at four bells off Cape Dove,” ended up with the name Cyclone Cape Dove Four Bells Gorn Bendall.

The 1924 book I’m using as a source claims that the ship’s name was also part of the list, but the baby’s baptism record doesn’t include the word “Waipa.”

(The Waipa, by the way, was owned and operated by the New Zealand Shipping Company, which had a policy requiring ships crossing the Pacific to make a stop at the Pitcairn Islands — which is where Thursday October Christian was born.)

Source: Brett, Henry. White Wings: Fifty Years of Sail in the New Zealand Trade, 1850 to 1900. Vol. 1. Auckland, NZ: The Brett Printing Company Limited, 1924, p. 263.

Image: View of the crew in the bow of the sailing ship Waipa at Port Chalmers

The Introduction of Turiya

baby name, turiya, music, 1970s, album
Illuminations (1974) by Turiya Alice Coltrane and Devadip Carlos Santana

The rare name Turiya has appeared in the SSA’s baby name data just twice so far, in 1974 and 1975:

  • 1977: unlisted
  • 1976: unlisted
  • 1975: 7 baby girls named Turiya
  • 1974: 6 baby girls named Turiya [debut]
  • 1973: unlisted

Where did it come from?

Signs point to Alice Coltrane, who wasn’t just the widow of famous jazz saxophonist John Coltrane, but also an accomplished jazz musician in her own right. She played piano and organ professionally starting in the early 1960s, and later learned to play the harp as well.

Following the death of her husband in 1967, Alice did two things: she “devoted herself to Vedic practice,” and she began recording albums as a bandleader (instead of as a sideman).

In the ten years that followed, she released about a dozen albums on Impulse! and Warner Bros., many of them masterpieces that imagine a meeting point between jazz and psychedelic rock, gospel traditions and Indian devotional music.

So how does “Turiya” fit into all this?

At some point in the early ’70s, Alice adopted the name Turiyasangitananda, which she translated as “the Transcendental Lord’s highest song of bliss.” The Sanskrit components of the name are: turiya, meaning “the fourth (state of the soul),” sangita, meaning “music,” and ananda, meaning “bliss.”

The shortened version, Turiya, soon started appearing in song titles: “Turiya & Ramakrishna” (1970) and “Galaxy In Turiya” (1972).

But its most prominent appearance came in 1974 with the album Illuminations, which was co-created by “Turiya Alice Coltrane” and “Devadip Carlos Santana.” (In Sanskrit, deva means “god,” dip means “lamp” or “light.” Like Narada Michael Walden, Carlos Santana was a follower of Sri Chinmoy.)

Though Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda eventually left her professional music career to head a spiritual community — not to mention raise four children (Michelle, John Jr., Ravi and Oranyan) as a single mother — she never stopped making music.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Turiya?

Sources: Alice Coltrane – Wikipedia, Alice Coltrane’s Devotional Music, Alice Coltrane – Discogs

U.S. Boy Names 2019: Popular, Rising, Falling, Debuts

Yesterday we looked at some of the latest girl name data, so today let’s check in on the 2019 boy names…

Here are the most popular boy names overall:

  1. Liam, 20,502 baby boys
  2. Noah, 19,048
  3. Oliver, 13,891
  4. William, 13,542
  5. Elijah, 13,300
  6. James, 13,087
  7. Benjamin, 12,942
  8. Lucas, 12,412
  9. Mason, 11,408
  10. Ethan, 11,241

Ethan kicked Logan out of the top 10 last year. (Logan is now ranked 16th.)

The boy names that saw the largest increases in usage in terms of absolute numbers of babies were…

  1. Brooks, increased by 1,114 babies
  2. Miles, 860
  3. Legend, 832
  4. Luca, 797
  5. Theodore, 775
  6. Mateo, 757
  7. Leo, 702
  8. Maverick, 701
  9. Noah, 698
  10. Luka, 652

The boy names that saw the largest increases in usage in terms of relative numbers of babies were…

  1. Ermias, increased by 3360%
  2. Sekani, 1992%
  3. Amenadiel, 500%
  4. Kross, 481%
  5. Alexios, 429%
  6. Taz, 340%
  7. Ezran, 333%
  8. Andoni, 309%
  9. Kaleel, 300%
  10. Taysom, 295%

Some explanations…

  • Ermias was the legal first name of rapper Nipsey Hussle (who died on March 31, 2019).
  • Sekani was the name of a young character in the film The Hate U Give (2018).
  • Amenadiel is a character on the TV series Lucifer.
  • Ezran is the name of a character on the Netflix series The Dragon Prince. (Ezran debuted in the data in 2018, the year the show started airing.)
  • Taysom Hill is a professional football player with the New Orleans Saints.

Here are the boy names that debuted most impressively in the 2019 data:

  1. Armias, debuted with 54 baby boys
  2. Izhaan, 50
  3. Jsan, 33
  4. Jaiari, 29
  5. Ripp, 26
  6. Sakani, 21
  7. Jardani, 19
  8. Iskender, 17
  9. Kamiri, 17
  10. Siar, 14
  • Armias and Sakani are spelling variants of Ermias and Sekani (above).
  • Izhaan is a celebrity baby: Izhaan Mirza Malik was born in October of 2018 to Indian tennis player Sania Mirza and Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik.
  • Jardani could be from Jardani Jovonovich, the “real” name of popular movie character John Wick…?

The boy names that saw the largest decreases in usage in terms of absolute numbers of babies were…

  1. Logan, decreased by 1,911 babies
  2. Michael, -1,174
  3. Jacob, -1,159
  4. Dylan, -1,076
  5. Mason, -1,065
  6. William, -1,048
  7. Connor, -932
  8. David, -871
  9. Ryan, -837
  10. Joshua, -836

The boy names that saw the largest decreases in usage in terms of relative numbers of babies were Nomar and Gianlucas (tied at -73%), and the boy name that saw the steepest drop off the list was Stephano (from 21 babies in 2018 to fewer than 5 in 2019).

If you can explain any of these rises (or drops), please leave a comment!

Baby Name Crossword Coincidence

crossword

On the evening of June 11, a baby boy was born to Jennifer and Danny Cairns of Glasgow, Scotland. The baby was named Finn Cairns.

A couple of hours later, Jennifer’s mom began calling family members to tell them about the baby. When she got to her brother John — who completes the crossword in the Daily Record every day — she learned that both “Finn” and “Cairns” had been answers in the crossword that day.

John said:

It’s just amazing and the day it happened, I will never forget.

When my sister Marjorie told me his name, I thought ‘wait a minute, that was in the crossword’ so found it and there it was.

I thought ‘this is not real!’ and kept it to pass on to my mother.

And it’s even more strange because Finn was born on the 11th, and 11 is my lucky number.

He went on to say that the coincidence was “out of this world!”

Mom Jennifer likewise said that this was one of the most “absolutely bizarre coincidences” of her life.

Source: ‘Crazy coincidence’ as Scots baby’s name predicted in Daily Record crossword clues

P.S. The crossword clue for Finn was “Nordic part of fish, reportedly (4)” and for Cairns was “This city’s hot dogs (6).”