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

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Popularity of the Baby Name King

Number of Babies Named King

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name King

What’s Wrong with U? (7 Usable U-Names)

u names, ursa, upton, upson, umber, ukiah, unity, union

What’s wrong with U?

No, I don’t mean you. I mean the letter U.

If 1 is the loneliest number, then U is definitely the loneliest letter. Because, ever since I started looking at first letter frequency in baby names, U has always been the least-used.

Currently just four U-names are in in the boys’ top 1,000, and exactly zero are in the girls’ top 1,000. And those four boy names — Uriel, Uriah, Ulises, and Urijah — make up a sizable chunk of what little U-usage there happens to be.

Does this anti-U trend signify something about modern society, do you think?

We’re more individualistic than ever before — some say more narcissistic. And we do see this individualism reflected in the rise of unusual names, particularly ones that glorify the self, like Amazing, Awesome, Celebrity, Epic, Famous, Gorgeous, Handsome, King, Messiah, President, and Prodigy.

So is this individualism also being reflected in first the letters/sounds we choose? After all, a handful of I-names (Isabella/Isabelle/Isabel, Isla, Isaac, Isaiah) have become prominent lately. So have a pair of “me” names (Mia, Mila).

Meanwhile, the humble U remains at the bottom of the heap. Is it because no one wants to open a name with a letter that reminds them of “you”?

Hm…

If you’re interested in giving U-names a boost, here are 7 under-the-radar options to consider:

Ursa

We’re all familiar with Ursula. She’s a sea-witch, a Bond girl, and a Catholic saint. In other words, Ursula has some strong associations.

Not so with Ursa, the word upon which Ursula was based. Ursa doesn’t have any strong human/character associations — just a couple of celestial ones: Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

Ursa is based on the Latin word ursus, meaning “bear.” (Bear is itself a trendy choice among celebs these days.) And even though four-letter, vowel-bounded girl names (like Emma, Ella, Aria, Isla, Ayla, and Elsa) are trendy right now, Ursa remains rare.

Upton & Upson

Many toponymic surnames — from Milton and Clifton 100 years ago to Easton and Ashton today — have gone on to become popular baby names. But not Upton and Upson, which are uncommon despite their optimistic sound (up!).

The surnames stem from any of several similar place names that, in most cases, can be traced back to a pair of Old English words meaning “upper, above” (in terms of either altitude or status) and “farm, settlement.”

The most famous Upton was muckraking journalist Upton Sinclair, whose best-known work, a 1906 exposé of the meatpacking industry called The Jungle, led to the passage of both the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act (which, eventually, gave rise to the FDA).

Umber

We all know an Amber. Maybe even an Ember. But how many of us know an Umber? Probably not many of us, as the name is so rare that it’s only appeared in the SSA data one time (in 1995, when 5 baby girls were named Umber).

You know how ombre hair color is fashionable right now? The words ombre and umber are related — both can be traced back to the Latin word umbra, meaning “shadow.”

Along with Ochre and Sienna, Umber is an “earth pigment” — a naturally occurring mineral used by humans since prehistoric times (i.e., for coloring cave walls, clothing, tools, even skin). The color ranges from brown to reddish-brown. Many famous historical artists, including Caravaggio and Rembrandt, used umber in their paintings.

Ukiah

(yoo-KYE-uh)

Uriah is a Biblical name. So are Josiah, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, Obadiah, and many other names with that telltale “-iah” ending. Sounds like Ukiah should be part of this group, right? But it isn’t.

Ukiah is the name of a place in California. It’s based on Yokaya, which comes from Rancho Yokaya — the name of the mid-19th century Mexican land grant that encompassed what is now the Ukiah Valley. The word yokaya means “south valley” in the language of the Pomo people, the original inhabitants of the region.

In 1973, the California-based band The Doobie Brothers released a song about Ukiah.

Though Ukiah has always been rare as a baby name, usage has picked up slightly since the turn of the century.

Unity & Union

Unique is the most self-focused U-name I’m aware of. And now that thousands of people have been named Unique, well, the name just isn’t very unique anymore.

Want to really stand out in the world of baby names today? Choose a name that emphasizes the oneness of the whole as opposed to the oneness of the self.

The names Unity and Union could be seen as opposites of the name Unique. And yet all three are ultimately derived from the same Latin word: unus, meaning “one.”

Unity is given to a couple dozen baby girls per year these days, but Union hasn’t appeared in the SSA data since the 1920s.

*

Do you like any of the U-names above? What other U-names would you recommend?

Sources: Upston – Surname DB, Ukiah, California – Wikipedia


Popular Baby Names in the Netherlands, 2016

According to data released by Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB) in mid-January, the most popular baby names in the Netherlands in 2016 were Anna and Daan.

Here are the Netherlands’ top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2016:

Girl Names
1. Anna, 665 baby girls
2. Emma, 664 (tie)
2. Tess, 664 (tie)
4. Sophie, 644
5. Julia, 639
6. Zoë, 558
7. Evi, 557
8. Mila, 549
9. Sara, 542
10. Eva, 526

Boy Names
1. Daan, 681 baby boys
2. Noah, 679
3. Sem, 663
4. Lucas, 651
5. Jesse, 645
6. Finn, 640
7. Milan, 630
8. Max, 617
9. Levi, 597
10. Luuk, 595

On the girls’ list, Anna replaces Emma as the #1 name and Evi replaces Lotte in the top 10.

And on the boys’ list? All kinds of drama! Liam, which rose very quickly over the last few years to reach the top spot in 2015, not only lost that top spot to Daan, but dropped out of the top 10 entirely (!), replaced by Max. Liam now ranks unlucky 13th.

And what about unique names in the Netherlands? Here are a whole bunch, each used just once last year:

Unique Girl Names Unique Boy Names
Aimée-Amélie
Alien
Alouette
Annephine
Anthillia
Aprilmoon
Aunorin
Ayudissa
Bardot
Bellefien
Berfu
Berilinci
Bixx
Blue-Ivy
Cacharell
Carovienne
Cephei
Cleodie
Coco-Chloè
Comfort
Cortana
Daxana
Daylite
Dimphey
Djoody
Dorka
Ecrin Ans
Egberdina
El’genneallèe
Eliflina
Emily-Vespii
Fairlychiona
Farangis
Faten
Faybe
Floore
Foxx
Frozan
Gigi-Ice
Gilviëntelly
Gynniva
Hillegonda
Indivancely
Ismini
Jochempje
Joomony
Kicky
Kricheliënne
Lammerdina
Lemon
Lilly-Phylou
Marryth
Medellín
Medusa
Meritxell
Nawprisca
Ot
Peggy-Sue
Pidoux
Pippilotta
Pluk
Ponyo
Quby
Quvenshané
Raidiënsheanix
Riva-Beaugeane
Ro-Quennety
Rover
Safrinza
Sensabelle
Seven
Sharvienshelly
Shomookh
Similiza
Ska
Smadar
Spogmay
Stin-cay
Swendelyn
Sybrecht
Tanzilla
Tippie-Tipper
Tulp
Umm
Utopia
Valexiane
Vellizar
Vilouella
Wesseldina
Xee’D
Yesmae
Yf
Ypie
Yucki
Zeltia
Zwanny
Aizeyosabor
Alain-Rainièr
Alaith
Alpcan
Amazing
Andrianiaina
Apache
Avestan
Bentivolio
Boef (“crook”)
Bonifacius
Bowdy
C-cayden
Casey-Chase
Chyrome
Cimarrón
Cornelis-Wilhelmus
Criff
D’Har-Chenoo
Daex
Dandy
Day-sravencio
Depp
Diablo
Digentley
Divinepraise
Djesco
Dubbele
Earlysean
Exegese
Ferdixon
Fince
Floki
G-Wendley
Gantulga
Ghevently
Ginuwine
Givenchy
Guevara
Guswently
Haliltalha
Heavenly-ion
Hunk
Iody
Jaap-Joost
Jacquill
Jill-Qiano
Jinx
Kainoa
Kiff
King-Maldive
Laiphanara
Largo
Marcus-Aurelius
Mcnelly
Mees-Senn
Motomichi
Mowgli
Mylox
Myway
Niamh
Ntsinzi
Oovy
Phat
Pit
Poppy
Pux
Q’ZHN
Quintyliano
Rafflow
Ridge
Rowinio
S’Lienio
Scato
Sergiovanni
Sicco
Solve
Splinther
Stork
Sunnery
T’cxzayneau
Tamonry
Taverdu
Thaividley
Trelawny
Typhoon
Vishnu
Wagdy
Wart
Xuze
Ymt
Yucca
Zbigniew
Zhyphienyoh
Zjurvendell
Zweder

At first I thought Sergiovanni might be an epic mash-up of Sergio and Giovanni, but then I found out that it’s just an Italian surname — Giovanni prefixed by ser, an occupational word for a notary.

Sources: De populairste kindernamen, Daan and Anna top the list of most popular Dutch baby names

100 Years Ago, Were Black Names Beneficial?

© Cook, Logan, and Parman
© Cook, Logan, and Parman

In generations past, was it advantageous for a black man to have a distinctively black name?

Yes, according to a study published recently in the journal Explorations in Economic History.

Researchers Lisa D. Cook, Trevon D. Logan, and John M. Parmanc analyzed over 3 million death certificates from Alabama, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina from 1802 to 1970. They looked specifically at the life expectancy of men with the following distinctively black names:

  • Abe, Abraham
  • Alonzo
  • Ambrose
  • Booker
  • Elijah
  • Freeman
  • Isaac
  • Isaiah
  • Israel
  • King
  • Master
  • Moses
  • Percy
  • Perlie, Purlie, Pearlie
  • Presley, Presly
  • Prince
  • Titus

What did they find?

That black men with these names lived more than a full year longer (on average) than other black men. In fact, according to the abstract, “[a]s much as 10% of the historical between-race mortality gap would have been closed if every black man was given a black name.”

So what’s behind this beneficial effect?

It’s hard to say, but Lisa D. Cook believes that the black men with Biblical names specifically could have been “held to a higher standard in academic and other activities […] and had stronger family, church or community ties,” and that this could have played a part in their relative longevity.

Studies of modern black names, in contrast, regularly find that such names are a hindrance in the workplace, in academia, etc. My most recent post about this is: Men with “Black” Names Seen as Aggressive, Low Status.

Sources: What’s in a name? In some cases, longer life, The mortality consequences of distinctively black names (abstract)

More Baby Names Banned in New Zealand

In 2011, New Zealand released a list of banned baby names. Names from that list have be circulating for years now, but I’d never seen any legit updates…until a few weeks ago.

Here are four baby names that were rejected by the NZ Department of Internal Affairs in 2015:

  • Commodore
  • Empress
  • Royahl
  • Superintedent

And here’s what the country’s Registrar-General had to say about intentionally misspelled names like Royahl:

“People will try it on, they will try to change a letter here or there and say it’s not an official title because it’s spelt differently. But if it sounds like an official title I won’t approve it, and that’s because potentially that child is going to end up perhaps in a court, and that name would be read out in court, and that would be inappropriate.”

He also noted that “about 60 names…[come] to his attention” every year. He didn’t specify, though, whether or not all of these names eventually get rejected.

The names above join previously rejected baby names such as Anal, Christ, Justice, King, Lucifer, Mafia No Fear, Messiah, Queen Victoria, Rogue, Senior Constable, and V8.

Source: When bad baby names go too far

Empire Baby Name Predictions – Cookie? Jussie?

Cookie, Empire

The first season of hit drama Empire aired from January through March of this year.

The show’s audience grew bigger and bigger with each successive episode (no small feat!) and the first-season finale was the most successful of “any new series on any broadcast network” since the first-season finale of Grey’s Anatomy back in 2005.

I think the show — which will be back on the air with new episodes in September — could have a big impact on baby names in 2015. Some Empire names to keep an eye on:

  • Taraji, for actress Taraji P. Henson.
  • Cookie, for character Cookie Lyon. This name was last on the SSA’s list in the early 1990s, but the character is giving the name Cookie a whole new image, so…will it be back in 2015?
  • Lyon, for the family surname.
  • Lucious, for character Lucious Lyon. It gets a fraction of the usage that Lucius gets, but could this character change that?
  • Lola, for character Lola Lyon. Not a major character, but extremely adorable — and when it comes to names, that’s sometimes all that matters.
  • Trai, for actor Trai Byers.

And three names that might debut on the SSA’a list in 2015…

  • Bryshere, for actor Bryshere Y. Gray.
  • Jussie, for actor Jussie Smollett. Smollett has been in and out the spotlight for a long time now, and his name has never made the list, but maybe this will change in 2015. (His character, Jamal, is probably the most likable person on the show.)
  • Empire, for the show itself. This one might seem improbable, but I wouldn’t count it out as similar names (e.g., King, Kingdom, Emperor, Sire, Sovereign) do exist.

What are your thoughts on the names in Empire? Did I miss any good ones?

Sources: Empire – Wikipedia, ‘Empire’ strikes back as season’s hottest show, ‘Empire’ Finale Ratings Rise Even More, Best New Series Result In 10 Years – Update

P.S. Actor Terrence Howard, who plays Lucious, recently welcomed a son named Qirin. The name was derived from qilin, the name of a mythical Chinese creature.