The Turkish baby name Kismet (meaning “fate”) debuted in the U.S. data in the mid-1950s:
- 1958: unlisted
- 1957: 8 baby girls named Kismet
- 1956: 9 baby girls named Kismet
- 1955: 11 baby girls named Kismet [debut]
- 1954: unlisted
Was it due to immigration?
Nope! Pop culture.
My initial theory was the movie Kismet, a musical that came out in late 1955. It was based on the stage musical of the same name that ran on Broadway from December of 1953 to April of 1955. While the stage production won three Tony Awards (including Best Musical) in 1954, the film’s reviews were “mixed to dismal” and it didn’t make a big splash at the box office.
Then, while doing some research on mid-century comics, I randomly happened upon a much more logical answer: Kismet Kildare, a female character from the Rip Kirby comic strip. She was featured in the storyline “The Eyes of Kismet Kildare,” which ran from December of 1954 to April of 1955.
Kismet was a beautiful, Paris-trained artist who got into a romantic relationship with Rip, but whose ultimate aim was to dump him in revenge for the part he played in sending her father to prison years before. By the end of the storyline, Rip had re-investigated the case and discovered that Kismet’s father had been framed.
The name Kismet has never been common in the U.S., but Destiny, which has the same meaning, nearly reached the top 20 in the early 2000s. Which name do you like more, Kismet or Destiny?