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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Kurt

Number of Babies Named Kurt

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Kurt

Popular Baby Names in Alberta, 2013

Alberta’s top baby names of 2013 were announced a couple of weeks ago.

According to data from Service Alberta, the most popular baby names last year were Olivia and Liam.

© Service Alberta
© Service Alberta

Here are Alberta’s top 20 girl names and top 20 boy names of 2013:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Olivia, 293 baby girls
2. Emma, 271
3. Emily, 249
4. Sophia, 241
5. Ava, 198
6. Avery, 172
7. Abigail, 164
8. Charlotte, 156
9. Chloe, 156
10. Lily, 156
11. Ella, 152
12. Isabella, 144
13. Hannah, 138
14. Amelia, 132
15. Brooklyn, 126
16. Madison, 123
17. Sadie, 118
18. Grace, 115
19. Mia, 115
20. Elizabeth, 111
1. Liam, 310 baby boys
2. Lucas, 254
3. Ethan, 244
4. Noah, 234
5. Logan, 225
6. Benjamin, 222
7. William, 217
8. Jacob, 204
9. Mason, 198
10. Carter, 192
11. Alexander, 185
12. Jack, 177
13. Nathan, 177
14. Samuel, 170
15. Owen, 168
16. Oliver, 164
17. Hunter, 162
18. Jackson, 156
19. James, 156
20. Jaxon, 155

Lucas rose from 7th place in 2012 to 2nd place last year, and Noah rose from 10th to 4th. Meanwhile, Jacob fell from 3rd to 8th and Mason fell from 5th to 9th.

Usage of Sadie more than doubled from 51 baby girls in 2012 to 118 in 2013. (Sadie shot up in the U.S. last year as well.)

Here are some of the more unusual names I spotted on the list:

Unusual Girl Names Unusual Boy Names
Avexis, Azkadellia, Beatle, Blissannie, Caliber, Calyannabella, Dignity, Ecclesia, Edgely, D’Or, Emathyst, Emma-Tiger, Fra’Oll, Freixelyne, Glamour, Hannaneh, Izumi, Jilmil, Kayyo, Kree-Dance, Klarybel, Koket, Lava, Lootii, Lszybelle, Maple, Maquinna, Mòrag-Elizabeth, Nebraska, Qori, Shanaekqaheart, Slash, Solomiya, Taynjerine, Thiingdong, Trudith, Venelope, Vyllain, Winter-Wray, Zxianne Aerlwilliam, Aidence, Arismendy, Bemba, Blacker, Brenver, Buffalochild, Chrysogonus, Cooch, Crisxander, Dentley, Dulee’O, Ezzekielle, Godbless, Goodluck, Grady-Best, Gurmn, Hurricane, Isaiah-Ron-Kurt, Jax-Jude, Jet-Lee, Jixxr, Kairaratjo, Klutch, Kris-n, Linclon, Mambo, Mickdam, Neepin-Neepsy, Noah-Niño, Phyo, Sun-Rise, Sunstar, Thunderheart, Trigger, Unitus-Judah, Whiskeyjack, Wintersky, Zancent

If marshmallow peeps could magically come alive, I think “neepin-neepsy” is the sound they would make. (Also “peep,” of course.)

Jamie Dirom of the Calgary Herald went through all of the available Alberta lists (1980 to 2013) and found even more great ones, including:

  • Arson, Coco-Janelle, Codeine, Dancingeaglewhistle, Deemon, Invincible, Itty, Lethal, Nytewolf, Oreo, RocRock, Selphie, Sensimillia, Soda, Tiramisu

Tiramisu! If that exists, there has to be a Cheesecake out there somewhere…

Here are my posts on Alberta’s top names from 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006.

Sources: Alberta’s Top Baby Names, Alberta baby names 2013 list reveals kids called Kindle, Lava, Daenarys and Peeta, but Olivia, Liam still tops, Unique? Not so unique: 101 unusual Alberta baby names

What Will Happen to the Name Lance?

Barbara's Baby Named Lance
Newspaper headline from March, 1936.
The baby name Lance started picking up steam in the U.S. in the late 1930s.


Because on February 24, 1936, American socialite and Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton and her Danish nobleman husband, Count Kurt von Haugwitz-Hardenberg-Reventlow, welcomed a baby boy and named him Lance.

What really gave the name a boost, though, was the couple’s divorce in 1938. Little Lance was mentioned in the news a lot that year.

  • 1939: 291 baby boys named Lance [rank: 322nd]
  • 1938: 267 baby boys named Lance [rank: 339th]
  • 1937: 70 baby boys named Lance [rank: 724th]
  • 1936: 72 baby boys named Lance [rank: 704th]
  • 1935: 41 baby boys named Lance

The name remained moderately popular during the second half of the 20th century. It even reached top-100 status in 1970 and 1971.

By the 1990s, though, it was in decline.

Then Lance Armstrong (b. 1971) came along, “winning” the Tour de France seven years in a row (1999 to 2005):

  • 2006: 1,001 baby boys named Lance [rank: 319th]
  • 2005: 1,253 baby boys named Lance [rank: 264th]
  • 2004: 1,161 baby boys named Lance [rank: 275th]
  • 2003: 1,166 baby boys named Lance [rank: 269th]
  • 2002: 1,232 baby boys named Lance [rank: 261st]
  • 2001: 1,285 baby boys named Lance [rank: 256th]
  • 2000: 1,221 baby boys named Lance [rank: 267th]
  • 1999: 1,003 baby boys named Lance [rank: 287th]
  • 1998: 880 baby boys named Lance [rank: 316th]
  • 1997: 918 baby boys named Lance [rank: 297th]

Lance Armstrong

Usage of the name Lance was buoyed temporarily by Armstrong, but as soon as his run was over, it started sinking again:

  • 2011: 574 baby boys named Lance [rank: 467th]
  • 2010: 602 baby boys named Lance [rank: 444th]
  • 2009: 638 baby boys named Lance [rank: 438th]
  • 2008: 749 baby boys named Lance [rank: 395th]
  • 2007: 825 baby boys named Lance [rank: 372nd]

Now that the Lance Armstrong’s reputation has been trashed, will the name Lance fall out of favor even faster?

UPDATE, 7/2014: In 2013, the name fell out of the top 500 for the first time since 1937.

  • 2013: 454 baby boys named Lance [rank: 570th]
  • 2012: 537 baby boys named Lance [rank: 495th]

P.S. Before you name your kid after a sports star

Baby Names Inspired by Clubs, Charities, Organizations

What clubs are you a member of? What charities do you support? What organizations have helped you (or someone you love) become a better person? Perhaps the story behind one of these groups could inspire a meaningful baby name.

Organization Founder(s)
Alcoholics Anonymous William Wilson
Robert Smith
American Red Cross Clara Booth
ASPCA Henry Bergh
Heifer International Dan West
Jane Addams Hull House Assoc. Jane Addams
Ellen Starr
Kiwanis Joseph Prance
Allen Browne
Knights of Columbus Michael McGivney
Lions Clubs International Melvin Jones
National Audubon Society George Grinnell
Outward Bound Kurt Hahn
Lawrence Holt
Peace Games Francelia Butler
RAINN Scott Berkowitz
Rotary Club Paul Harris
WWF Julian Huxley
Max Nicholson

The founder of the group would be the best place to start (if the group does indeed have a founder). But don’t stop there. Who were important early members of the group? Who helped popularize or expand the group? Who personally introduced you to the group and/or encouraged you to get involved?

Baby Name Needed – Boy Name that Goes with Gripe

A reader named Sarah writes:

We need help finding a boy name for a very challenging last name…Gripe. We tend to like classic names (Henry, Charles).

Ah, the surname-that-is-also-a-word. I know this one well: my married name is one of these. They can turn great first names into puns, insults, unpleasant phrases, and who knows what else. Names like Kurt, Will, Harry and Roman just won’t do with a surname like Gripe.

I think the key to dealing with a word-surname is to select a first name that does not call attention to that surname, in terms of either meaning or sound.

  • Meaning: Steer clear of first names that are words, that sound like words, or that have short forms that are similarly word-like. We want people to think of Gripe as a name, not as a verb or a noun. (I’d also keep away from A-names and I-names, which could turn into A. Gripe and I. Gripe on, say, a résumé. Not too helpful for making a good first impression.)
  • Sound: Avoid names with the same sounds as Gripe, especially those with a G, long I, or G-R combination. The repetition in Gregory Gripe, for instance, makes the name sound like it belongs to a character, not a human–and it’s easy to think of character names in an abstract, meaning-laden sort of way. (Think Holly Golightly.)

The names below seem to me to be good matches for Gripe:


Do you like any of the above? What other names would you suggest to Sarah?

Update: The baby has arrived! Scroll down to see what name Sarah chose.

Name Your Munchkin after a Munchkin?

If you’re a huge Oz fan — or just a fan of old-fashioned names generally — here’s a list of (most of) the people who played Munchkins in the legendary 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz”:

Male Female
Billy (2)
Carl (2)
Charles (4)
Frank (3)
George (2)
Jakob (2)
James (2)
John (2)
Johnny (3)
Joseph (2)
William (2)
Betty (2)
Gladys (2)
Hazel (2)
Helen (2)
Hilda (2)
Margaret (3)
Ruth (2)

While the majority of the 132 Munchkins in the film were played by little people, a handful of the female Munchkins were actually played by child actresses.

Source: The Wizardry of Oz by Jay Scarfone and William Stillman, via Kansas Wizard of Oz ‘N More.

Most Popular Baby Names in Malta in 2006

The National Statistics Office of Malta, a tiny island nation in the Mediterranean Sea, compiles baby name rankings by lumping variant spellings of names (like Matthew, Matteo and Matthias) together into a single entry.

The most popular baby names in Malta last year were:

Boy Names

  1. Luke/Luca (79 babies)
  2. Matthew/Matteo/Matthias (78)
  3. Jake (67)
  4. Andre & Isaac & Michael/Michele (tie; 49 each)
  5. Nicholas (46)
  6. Aidan (42)
  7. Kieran (41)
  8. Daniel (40)
  9. Kyle (37)
  10. Nathan/Nathaniel (31)
  11. Gabriel (30)
  12. Christian & Julian & Liam (tie; 27 each)
  13. Alexander (26)
  14. Zachery (23)
  15. Thomas (22)
  16. James (21)
  17. Benjamin (18)
  18. Tristan (17)
  19. Jaydon & Kurt & Leon & Sven (tie; 16 each)
  20. Denzel & John Paul (tie; 15 each)

Girl Names

  1. Maria/Mariah (73 babies)
  2. Maya (53)
  3. Amy (43)
  4. Martina & Emma (tie; 40 each)
  5. Shania (36)
  6. Ylenia & Michela/Michaela & Sarah (tie; 35 each)
  7. Elisa/Eliza (33)
  8. Julia (32)
  9. Jasmin (30)
  10. Hailey (72)
  11. Nicole (26)
  12. Francesca (25)
  13. Catherine/Katarina/Kate (23)
  14. Amber & Hannah (tie; 19 each)
  15. Emily & Kelsey (tie; 18 each)
  16. Thea (16)
  17. Kaylie & Lara (tie; 15 each)
  18. Matthea (14)
  19. Mireille & Naomi (tie; 13 each)
  20. Aaliyah (12)

There were 2,039 boys and 1,846 girls born in Malta in 2006. (The country only has 402,000 inhabitants total.) Based on the numbers above, 46% of those boys and 41% of those girls were given a top-20 name.

Unique Baby Names from Literature

The was originally the round-up post of a 31-post series on literature names for National Book Month. I’ve since condensed all of those individual posts into this one post.

I picked many of these names because they were either popularized by literature or first used as given names in literature:


Amanda is based on the Latin gerundive amanda, which means “she who must be loved.” It was used as a name in Europe starting in the mid-17th century. In literature, Amanda perhaps first appeared in the comedy Love’s Last Shift (1696) by English playwright and actor Colley Cibber (1671-1757).


Before Amaryllis was a plant, it was a name: Amaryllis was created by the Latin poet Virgil (70-19 BC) for a shepherdess in his pastoral Eclogues. Amaryllis is based on the Latin word amarysso, which means “to sparkle.”

Take ashes, Amaryllis, fetch them forth,
And o’er your head into the running brook
Fling them, nor look behind: with these will
Upon the heart of Daphnis make essay.
(Eclogue VIII)


Amory Blaine is the main character in This Side of Paradise (1920), the successful debut novel of American writer Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (1896-1940). Many believe that Fitzgerald modeled the wealthy, handsome protagonist after himself (at least in part).


Harper Lee‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) features Atticus Finch, respected lawyer and father of the book’s protagonist, Scout. Lee named Atticus after Roman eques Titus Pomponius Atticus.


Belinda was a character in The Provok’d Wife (1697), a comedic play written by English architect and dramatist Sir John Vanbrugh (c.1664-1726). Belinda may have been based on the Italian word bella, which means beautiful. It was later used by Alexander Pope in The Rape of the Lock (1712).


The romance between Beren and Lúthien was first told in prose in The Silmarillion, by writer and Oxford professor John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973).

Therefore at the last he yielded his will, and Beren took the hand of Lúthien before the throne of her father.
(The Silmarillion, Chapter 19)

A romantic sidenote: The name Beren is engraved on Tolkien’s gravestone, while Lúthien is on the gravestone belonging to Tolkien’s wife, Edith.


John Binkerson “Binx” Bolling is the film-obsessed main character of The Moviegoer (1961), a National Book Award-winning novel by American author Walker Percy (1916-1990).


Cedric was created by Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) for his novel Ivanhoe, which was written in 1819 but set in the 12th century. The name was probably inspired by that of Cerdic, the legendary founder of the Kingdom of Wessex.


Clarinda was coined by English poet Edmund Spenser (c.1552-1599) in The Faerie Queene.

Goe now, Clarinda, well thy wits aduise,
And all thy forces gather vnto thee;
(The Faerie Queene, Book V, Canto V)

Two centuries later, Robert Burns (1759-1796) addressed several poems to ‘Clarinda.’

Fair Empress of the Poet’s soul,
And Queen of Poetesses;
Clarinda, take this little boon,
This humble pair of glasses:
(Verses To Clarinda)


French author Victor Hugo (1802-1885) created the orphan Cosette for his novel Les Misérables (1862).

Les Misérables the musical, which debuted in London in October of 1985, has become one of the most successful musicals in history.

UPDATE: The latest Les Miserables movie comes out Dec. 25, 2012.


Dorian Gray, whose portrait ages while Dorian himself does not, was invented by Anglo-Irish writer Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) for the gothic horror novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Wilde may have borrowed the name from the ancient Hellenic tribe the Dorians.


Dulcinea del Toboso is a fictional character who’s referred to (but does not appear) in Don Quixote de la Mancha, written by Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616).


Eglantine is another name for sweetbrier, a pink-flowered plant native to Britain and northern Europe. Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400) first employed Eglantine as a given name, using it for Madame Eglantine in his Canterbury Tales:

Ther was also a nonne, a prioresse,
That of hir smylyng was ful symple and coy;
Hire gretteste ooth was but by Seinte Loy;
And she was cleped Madame Eglentyne.
(Prologue, lines 118-121)


Geraldine was originally an adjective that referred to Ireland’s FitzGerald dynasty. It was first used as a name by English aristocrat Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517-1547).

Honsdon did first present her to mine yien:
Bright is her hewe, and Geraldine she hight.
(Description and praise of his loue Geraldine.)

Geraldine was later popularized by Samuel Taylor Coleridge‘s poem Christabel.

Yet he who saw this Geraldine,
Had deemed her sure a thing divine.
(Christabel, Part II, Stanza 11)


Holden Caulfield is the cynical, sensitive teenage protagonist of The Catcher in the Rye (1951), written by reclusive American author J. D. Salinger. Holden also appears in several of Salinger’s short stories. Holden was the second-best fictional character of the 20th century, according to Book magazine.


Imogen is the name of the king’s daughter in Shakespeare’s play The Tragedy of Cymbeline, King of Britain (c.1609). The prevailing theory is that Imogen was actually meant to be Innogen — a name based on the Gaelic word inghean, meaning “girl, maiden” or “daughter” — but it was misspelled and the mistake was never corrected.


The character of Jancis Beguildy was created by English romantic novelist Mary Webb (1881-1927) for her book Precious Bane (1924). Jancis is a modern blend of the names Jan and Francis.


Kilgore Trout regularly appears in books by Kurt Vonnegut. (And in other books, like phone books.) The character of Kilgore may be based on Theodore Sturgeon, or may be a parody of Vonnegut himself.


Lesley is a variant of the name Leslie, which is derived from a Scottish place name. Lesley-with-a-y is interesting because it was first used by Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796) in his poem/song Saw Ye Bonie Lesley (1792).

Thou art a queen, fair Lesley,
Thy subjects, we before thee;
Thou art divine, fair Lesley,
The hearts o’ men adore thee.
(Saw Ye Bonie Lesley, Stanza 3)


Lestat de Lioncourt is a character in The Vampire Chronicles, a series of novels by Anne Rice. Rice “thought Lestat was an old Louisiana name.” She learned later that the name she was thinking of was actually Lestan.


Lucasta was first used by English poet Richard Lovelace (1618-1658). It’s a contraction of Lux Casta (Chaste Lucy), Lovalace’s nickname for a woman he’d been courting.

If to be absent were to be
Away from thee;
Or that when I am gone,
You or I were alone;
Then, my Lucasta, might I crave
Pity from blustering wind or swallowing wave.
(To Lucasta, going beyond the Seas)


The name Miranda was invented by William Shakespeare (1564-1616) for a character in The Tempest. Miranda is based on the Latin word mirandus, which means “admirable.”

Twelve year since, Miranda, twelve year since,
Thy father was the Duke of Milan and
A prince of power.
(The Tempest, Act 1, Scene II)

Uranus’s small moon Miranda, discovered in 1948, was named after the Shakespearean character.


Mireille is the French title of Provençal poem Mirèio (1859). The poem was written by French writer Frédéric Mistral (1830-1914), who shared the 1904 Nobel Prize for Literature with José Echegaray y Eizaguirre. Mistral probably derived ‘Mirèio’ from the Provençal verb mirar, which means “to admire.”


Orinthia was used by Nobel Prize-winning Irish-British playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) in his play The Apple Cart (1929). In the play, King Magnus refers to his mistress as “Orinthia.” When the mistress discovers that Magnus did not invent the name especially for her, she becomes angry. He responds:

Well, one poet may consecrate a name for another. Orinthia is a name full of magic for me. It could not be that if I had invented it myself. I heard it at a concert of ancient music when I was a child; and I have treasured it ever since.
(The Apple Cart, Interlude)

At that “concert of ancient music,” Magnus must have heard the old English ballad The Pilgrim of Love, which–according to the Catalogue of Ballads at Oxford’s Bodleian Library–begins “Orinthia my béloved, I call in vain…”


Pamela was created by English writer Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586) for The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia. The name was probably derived from the Greek words pan (all) and meli (honey). A century and a half later, Samuel Richardson‘s first novel–named Pamela in honor of Sidney’s heroine–was published.


Quoyle is the main character in E. Annie Proulx‘s The Shipping News (1993), which won the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and happens to be one of my favorite books. The novel was inspired by The Ashley Book of Knots, and, aptly, “quoyle” is an Old English spelling of coil.


The name Selima was first used in literature by English writer and scholar Thomas Gray (1716-1771). He used it as the name of a cat. Neither the name nor the cat were Gray’s inventions, though. Selima the cat had belonged to fellow Englishman and writer Horace Walpole (1717-1797).


The male name Shirley became feminized with the 1849 publication of Charlotte Bronte’s novel Shirley. Previously, Shirley had been a surname and, before that, a place name.

She had no Christian name but Shirley: her parents, who had wished to have a son…bestowed on her the same masculine family cognomen they would have bestowed on a boy, if with a boy they had been blessed.
(Shirley, Part 2, Chapter XI)


The rebellious Sula Peace, who becomes a pariah in her socially conservative Ohio town, is the main character of Toni Morrison‘s novel Sula (1973). Sula may be short for Ursula, a Latin name meaning “little bear.”


Vanessa was invented by Irish author Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) as a pseudonym for his friend (and perhaps lover) Esther Vanhomrigh: “van” comes from Vanhomrigh, and “essa” is based on a pet form of Esther.

While thus Cadenus entertains
Vanessa in exalted strains,
The nymph in sober words intreats
A truce with all sublime conceits.
(Cadenus and Vanessa)

Vanessa was later used as the name of a genus of butterfly.


Though Scottish writer J. M. Barrie (1860-1937) didn’t invent the name Wendy, he did popularize it with his character Wendy Darling. For Barrie, the name was inspired by a young acquaintance (the daughter of poet William Henley, 1849-1903), who mispronounced the word friend as “fwendy.”

“What’s your name?” he asked.
“Wendy Moira Angela Darling,” she replied with some satisfaction. “What is your name?”
“Peter Pan.”
(Peter Pan, Chapter 3)

There are many other interesting literature names out there. Did I miss any particularly good ones?