How popular is the baby name Lars 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 Lars.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Lars


Posts that Mention the Name Lars

“Real World” Baby Names: Amaya, Baya, Brynn…

“This is the true story…of seven strangers…picked to live in a loft…and have their lives taped…”

Several months ago, the cast of the inaugural season of MTV’s The Real World held a 6-day reunion in the very same NYC loft they shared back in 1992. The reunion — which was filmed, of course — is now airing as a series on the Paramount+ platform. (Here’s the trailer.)

When I was a teenager, I loved watching The Real World. (And I appreciated that the names of the cast members were always prominently displayed in the opening credits!) So I think now would be a great time to go back and see if any Real World cast member names had an influence on U.S. baby names.

First, let’s start with a comprehensive list of all the cast member names from each of RW‘s 33 (!) seasons…

  1. The Real World: New York (1992): Andre, Becky, Eric, Heather, Julie, Kevin, Norman
  2. The Real World: California (1993): Aaron, Beth (x2), David, Dominic, Glen, Irene, Jon, Tami
  3. The Real World: San Francisco (1994): Cory, Jo, Judd, Mohammed, Pam, Pedro, Puck, Rachel
  4. The Real World: London (1995): Jacinda, Jay, Kat, Lars, Mike, Neil, Sharon
  5. The Real World: Miami (1996): Cynthia, Dan, Flora, Joe, Melissa, Mike, Sarah
  6. The Real World: Boston (1997): Elka, Genesis, Jason, Kameelah, Montana, Sean, Syrus
  7. The Real World: Seattle (1998): David, Irene, Janet, Lindsay, Nathan, Rebecca, Stephen
  8. The Real World: Hawaii (1999): Amaya, Colin, Justin, Kaia, Matt, Ruthie, Teck
  9. The Real World: New Orleans (2000): Danny, David, Jamie, Julie, Kelley, Matt, Melissa
  10. The Real World: Back to New York (2001): Coral, Kevin, Lori, Malik, Mike, Nicole, Rachel
  11. The Real World: Chicago (2002): Aneesa, Cara, Chris, Keri, Kyle, Theo, Tonya
  12. The Real World: Las Vegas (2002-2003): Alton, Arissa, Brynn, Frank, Irulan, Steven, Trishelle
  13. The Real World: Paris (2003): Ace, Adam, Chris, Christina, Leah, Mallory, Simon
  14. The Real World: San Diego (2004): Brad, Cameran, Charlie, Frankie, Jacquese, Jamie, Randy, Robin
  15. The Real World: Philadelphia (2004-2005): Karamo, Landon, Melanie, M.J., Sarah, Shavonda, Willie
  16. The Real World: Austin (2005): Danny, Johanna, Lacey, Melinda, Nehemiah, Rachel, Wes
  17. The Real World: Key West (2006): Janelle, John, Jose, Paula, Svetlana, Tyler, Zach
  18. The Real World: Denver (2006-2007): Alex, Brooke, Colie, Davis, Jenn, Stephen, Tyrie
  19. The Real World: Sydney (2007-2008): Ashli, Cohutta, Dunbar, Isaac, KellyAnne, Parisa, Shauvon, Trisha
  20. The Real World: Hollywood (2008): Brianna, Brittini, Dave, Greg, Joey, Kimberly, Nick, Sarah, Will
  21. The Real World: Brooklyn (2009): Baya, Chet, Devyn, J.D., Katelynn, Ryan, Sarah, Scott
  22. The Real World: Cancun (2009): Ayiiia, Bronne, CJ, Derek, Emilee, Jasmine, Joey, Jonna
  23. The Real World: D.C. (2009-2010): Andrew, Ashley, Callie, Emily, Erika, Josh, Mike, Ty
  24. The Real World: New Orleans (2010): Ashlee, Eric, Jemmye, McKenzie, Preston, Ryan (x2), Sahar
  25. The Real World: Las Vegas (2011): Adam, Dustin, Heather (x2), Leroy, Michael, Nany, Naomi
  26. The Real World: San Diego (2011): Alexandra, Ashley, Frank, Nate, Priscilla, Sam, Zach
  27. The Real World: St. Thomas (2012): Brandon (x2), LaToya, Laura, Marie, Robb, Trey
  28. The Real World: Portland (2013): Anastasia, Averey, Jessica, Johnny, Joi, Jordan, Marlon, Nia
  29. Real World: Ex-Plosion (2014): Arielle, Ashley (x2), Brian, Cory, Hailey, Jamie, Jay, Jenna, Jenny, Lauren, Thomas
  30. Real World: Skeletons (2014-2015): Bruno, Jason, Madison, Nicole, Sylvia, Tony, Violetta
  31. Real World: Go Big or Go Home (2016): CeeJai, Chris, Dean, Dione, Dylan, Jenna, Kailah, Sabrina
  32. Real World Seattle: Bad Blood (2016-2017): Anika, Anna, Jennifer, Jordan, Kassius, Katrina, Kimberly, Mike, Orlana, Peter, Robbie, Theo, Tyara, Will
  33. The Real World: Atlanta (2019): Arely, Clint, Dondre, Justin, Meagan, Tovah, Yasmin

The names in boldface line up with a discernible increase in baby name usage. (Other Real World names may have affected baby names as well, but it can be hard to tell when, say, a name is already common, or already on the rise.)

Here are details on all the boldfaced names, plus two more influential RW names (from seasons 6 and 18) that didn’t even belong to primary cast members.

  • The name Jacinda (from season 4; 1995) saw peak usage in 1996.
  • The name Flora (5; 1996) saw increased usage in 1997.
  • The name Kameelah (6; 1997) saw increased usage in 1998.
  • The name Syrus (6; 1997) saw increased usage in 1997.
  • The name Jason (6; 1997) was probably not affected, but the name of Jason’s girlfriend, Timber, saw increased usage in 1998.
  • The name Amaya (8; 1999) saw sharply increased usage in 1999 and 2000.
  • The name Kaia (8; 1999) saw increased usage in 1999.
  • The name Ruthie (8; 1999) saw increased usage in 1999.
  • The name Aneesa (11; 2002) saw peak usage in 2002.
  • The name Arissa (12; 2002-3) saw peak usage in 2003.
  • The name Brynn (12; 2002-3) saw sharply increased usage in 2003.
  • The name Irulan (12; 2002-3) debuted in the data in 2003.
    • It looks like she was named after the fictional character Princess Irulan from Frank Herbert’s Dune books…?
  • The name Trishelle (12; 2002-3) saw peak usage in 2004.
  • The name Mallory (13; 2003) saw increased usage in 2003 and 2004.
  • The name Cameran (14; 2004) saw peak usage in 2004.
  • The name Jacquese (14; 2004) both returned to the data and saw peak usage in 2004.
  • The name Johanna (16; 2005) saw increased usage in 2005.
  • The name Nehemiah (16; 2005) saw increased usage in 2005 and 2006.
  • The name Janelle (17; 2006) saw increased usage in 2006.
  • The name Svetlana (17; 2006) saw peak usage in 2007.
  • The name Colie (18; 2006-7) both returned to the data and saw peak usage in 2007.
  • The name Tyrie (18; 2006-7) saw peak usage in 2007.
  • The name of Tyrie’s girlfriend, Jazalle, debuted in 2007 and is a one-hit wonder so far.
  • The name Kellyanne (19; 2007-8) returned to the data in 2008.
  • The name Baya (21; 2009) saw sharply increased usage in 2009. In fact, Baya was one of the fastest-rising baby names of 2009.
  • The name Averey (28; 2013) saw peak usage in 2013.
  • The name Kassius (32; 2016-17) saw increased usage in 2017.

Of all the names above, which one(s) do you like most?

And, for all the Real World fans out there: which season(s) do you like most? :)

Source: The Real World (TV series) – Wikipedia

Where did the baby name Torben come from?

torben ulrich, tennis, baby name, 1960s
Torben Ulrich (in 1957)

The name Torben first emerged in the U.S. baby name data in the late 1960s:

  • 1971: unlisted
  • 1970: unlisted
  • 1969: 6 baby boys named Torben
  • 1968: 7 baby boys named Torben [debut]
  • 1967: unlisted
  • 1966: unlisted

Where did it come from?

Sports…sort of.

The source seems to be Danish professional tennis player Torben Ulrich. But he’d been playing professionally for many years by the late ’60s. What happened in 1968?

That year, Torben was memorably profiled in American newspapers by sports columnist Murray Olderman. The article wasn’t about Torben’s tennis-playing as much as it was about Torben’s unapologetic nonconformism. Here’s how it began:

Behind dark glasses framed by swirls of long brown hair, Torben Ulrich looks out on a curious world. It’s the world that’s curious–not necessarily Torben–because it sees him as a slightly hunched, slender, effete, bearded and tressed hippie. It also sees him, curiously, as an athlete who has made his living, more or less, for 20 years by playing tennis. We say more or less because Torben also plays the tenor sax in a rock ‘n’ roll band, tootles a classical flute, writes a weekly column for a Copenhagen newspaper, broadcasts on the Danish national radio and raises a family.

In a tone that vacillated between mockery and admiration, Olderman described Ulrich’s nomadic lifestyle, sleeping habits (night owl), language skills (Danish, English, French, German, Italian, etc.), and sense of style (including “a bracelet made from the hair of an elephant’s tail”).

I imagine the profile would have struck a chord with counterculture readers. In fact, maybe it was those readers specifically who were enticed enough by the name Torben — which is a variant of Torbjörn, which can be traced back to Old Norse elements meaning “thunder” (Thor) and “bear” — to choose it for their newborns that year.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Torben?

P.S. The article also mentioned that Torben had a 4-year-old son. That son, Lars Ulrich, grew up to become the co-founder/drummer of the heavy metal band Metallica. (Metallica is also a baby name, btw.)

Sources:

Image: Tennis – Wimbledonsterren in Noordwijk – Nationaal Archief

Popular Baby Names in Greenland

According to Statistics Greenland, the most popular baby names in the country in 2018 were Inuk & Norsaq (boy names) and Ivaana & Malu (girl names).

The year before, in 2017, the top baby names were Inuk and Pipaluk.

Greenland doesn’t release top-10 lists every year, but does occasionally put out a name report. The most recent, published in mid-2011, includes top-10 lists for five recent decades…

Top Baby Names in Greenland, 1960s

Girl Names (1961-1970) Boy Names (1961-1970)
1. Ane
2. Marie
3. Karen
4. Sofie
5. Johanne
6. Kristine
7. Margrethe
8. Dorthe
9. Else
10. Anna
1. Hans
2. Jens
3. Karl
4. Lars
5. Peter
6. Niels
7. Ole
8. Kristian
9. Jørgen
10. Johan

Top Baby Names in Greenland, 1970s

Girl Names (1971-1980) Boy Names (1971-1980)
1. Ane
2. Karen
3. Marie
4. Dorthe
5. Johanne
6. Mette
7. Naja*
8. Susanne
9. Anna
10. Sofie
1. Hans
2. Karl
3. Jens
4. Peter
5. Lars
6. Niels
7. Thomas
8. Jakob
9. Martin
10. Knud

*Naja means “younger sister (of a male)” in Greenlandic.

Top Baby Names in Greenland, 1980s

Girl Names (1981-1990) Boy Names (1981-1990)
1. Ane
2. Johanne
3. Marie
4. Karen
5. Paninnguaq*
6. Sofie
7. Louise
8. Anna
9. Nivi*
10. Naja
1. Hans
2. Karl
3. Jens
4. Malik*
5. Peter
6. Lars
7. Kristian
8. Ole
9. Thomas
10. Niels

*Paninnguaq means “little daughter,” Nivi means “girl, maiden,” and Malik means “wave.”

Top Baby Names in Greenland, 1990s

Girl Names (1991-2000) Boy Names (1991-2000)
1. Paninnguaq
2. Ane
3. Nivi
4. Naja
5. Ivalu*
6. Pipaluk*
7. Sofie
8. Sara
9. Marie
10. Camilla
1. Malik
2. Hans
3. Karl
4. Jens
5. Peter
6. Kristian
7. Lars
8. Aputsiaq*
9. Inunnguaq*
10. Nuka*

*Ivalu means “sinew,” Pipaluk means “little possession,” Aputsiaq means “snow flake,” Inunnguaq means “little person/human being,” and Nuka means “younger brother (of a male).”

Top Baby Names in Greenland, 2000s (first decade)

Girl Names (2001-2010) Boy Names (2001-2010)
1. Ivaana*
2. Pipaluk
3. Nivi
4. Paninnguaq
5. Ivalu
6. Naasunnguaq*
7. Julie
8. Ane
9. Isabella
10. Kimmernaq*
1. Malik
2. Aputsiaq
3. Minik*
4. Hans
5. Inunnguaq
6. Kristian
7. Nuka
8. Salik*
9. Peter
10. Inuk* and Ivik* (tied)

*Ivaana means “brood egg,” Naasunnguaq means “little flower,” Kimmernaq means “lingonberry,” minik is a glue-like whale oil that is used as a sealing for skin boats, Salik means “the cleanser,” Inuk means “human being” — Inunnguaq from the ’90s list is a diminutive form of Inuk — and Ivik means “(blade of) grass.”

The recent rise of Salik can be traced back to the 1980s:

In the beginning of the ’80s the artist Keld Hansen published a series of children’s books about a boy named Salik, who lived in Greenland in the 1600s. In that same period, Peter Berliner, a psychologist, did a series of radio programs where the main character was named Salik. Statistics Greenland depicted a rise in the number of boys names immediately after that.

The 2011 report includes many other Greenlandic names as well, but I’ll put those into a separate post a few days from now. Until then, which of all the above names do you like best?

P.S. Almost forgot to define Malu and Norsaq from the first sentence! Malu is a short form of Marie-Louise, and a norsaq is a harpoon-throwing stick.

Sources: Statistics Greenland, Greenland in Figures 2018 (PDF), Greenland in Figures 2019 (PDF), Names in Greenland as of 1 July 2011 (PDF), Nordic Names, Search Names – Oqaasileriffik

Arrr! Baby Names for Talk Like a Pirate Day

pirate baby

Avast! Did you know that today is Talk Like a Pirate Day?

“Arrr” itself doesn’t make a great name — even for pirates — but here’s the next best thing: over 120 names that feature the “ar”-sound.

Araminta
Arcadia
Arden
Aretha
Aria
Arianna
Arlene
Arlette
Artemis
Barbara
Barbie
Carla
Carlene
Carley
Carmel
Carmella
Carmen
Charlene
Charlotte
Charmaine
Darcy
Daria
Darla
Darlene
Gardenia
Harbor
Harlow
Harmony
Hildegarde
Karla
Katarina
Larisa
Mara
Marcella
Marcia
Margaret
Margot, Margaux
Maria
Mariah
Mariana
Marie
Marina
Mariska
Marissa
Marjorie
Marla
Marlena
Marlene
Marley
Marnie
Marta
Martha
Marva
Martina
Narcissa
Parthenia
Pilar
Rosario
Scarlett
Skylar
Starla
Arcadio
Archer
Archibald
Archie
Ari
Arlo
Arnold
Arsenio
Arthur
Balthazar
Barnaby
Barton
Bernard (…Bernarr?)
Carl
Carlisle
Carlton
Carson
Carter
Carver
Charles
Clark
Dario
Darius
Darwin
Edgar
Edward
Finbar
Garfield
Gerard
Gunnar
Hardy
Harley
Harper
Harvey
Howard
Karl
Lars
Larson
Lazarus
Leonard
Marcel
Marcellus
Mario
Marius
Marc, Mark
Marcus, Markus
Marlow
Marshall
Martin
Marvin
Nazario
Oscar
Parker
Richard
Stewart, Stuart
Ward
Warner
Warren
Warrick
Willard
Yardley

Which of the “ar”-names above do you like best? Did I miss any good ones?

(Image from Pixabay)

Additions, 9/20:

Name Quotes #36: Laris, Jamaal, Otter

Verse written by Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell (1857-1941), founder of the Scout Movement:

Pronunciation of Baden-Powell

Man, Nation, Maiden
Please call it Baden.
Further, for Powell
Rhyme it with Noel.

From Otter, Apple, CrimeFighter: celebrities should save stupid baby names for their sons by Eleanor Margolis:

When parents inflict a sickeningly cutesy name on a daughter they’re (unwittingly, I hope) defining her by her cuteness — something that a massive chunk of society was going to do even before they gave her a name that would look stupid on a Bichon Frisé. Either they’re blind to the fact that women have a hard enough time being taken seriously without being called Marshmallow Twinkletits, or they don’t plan on taking their daughter seriously themselves.

So, if idiot parents feel a biological imperative to name their children after “aDORKable” things, I think they should go for it. My one caveat is that they bestow these names on their sons rather than their daughters. Because naming a boy “Otter” may not be revolutionary, but it would definitely take one white, middle-class man down a notch.

From Is Bernie right name for president? by Bernie O’Neill:

Kennedy was the first Catholic president. Obama the first black president. Hillary would be the first woman president.

But more importantly, Sanders would be the first Bernie president. I like the sound of that.

From Intact, Packed Etruscan Tomb Found by Rossella Lorenzi:

So far [archaeologist Clarita] Natalini and colleagues have been able to read the word “Laris.” Lars is a common Etruscan male first name. The stone coffin contains the skeleton of a male individual.

From an article about the US Navy’s most futuristic ship, the USS Zumwalt, which is captained by a guy named James Kirk:

“We are absolutely fired up to see Zumwalt get underway. For the crew and all those involved in designing, building, and readying this fantastic ship, this is a huge milestone,” the ship’s skipper, Navy Capt. James Kirk, said before the ship departed.

(The original captain of Star Trek‘s very futuristic starship Enterprise was named James T. Kirk.)

From What’s in a Name? by Jamaal Allan (who is white, but often assumed to be black):

When people have seen my name before they’ve seen my face, I get “OH — you’re Jamaal.”

[…]

It is not uncommon for people to follow up with, “I expected you to be–” and then there’s a pause; a sudden realization they are on the verge of sounding racist. There’s a look–not quite ‘deer in the headlights’, but it is a definite freeze. What to say next? I’ve heard several: taller, older, different (usually accompanied with an uncomfortable chuckle).

Very few people have the courage to say darker.

(Found via NPR.)

From the book Suffolk Surnames (1858) by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch:

The following anecdote was related to me by a friend: At a trial, in which a well-known Liverpool merchant, Ottiwell Wood, was a witness, he was requested by the presiding judge, who was somewhat deaf, to spell his name; which he did as follows: “O double t, i double u, e double l, double u double o, d.”

From the book From Red Hot to Monkey’s Eyebrow: Unusual Kentucky Place Names (1997) by Robert M. Rennick:

Kentucky’s Mousie, still a post office serving many families in the Jones Fork area of northern Knott County, wasn’t named for a mouse at all but for a young woman — named Mousie. She was then (1916) the twenty-year-old daughter of Clay Martin, a large landowner in that area.

Why would a girl be named Mousie? Why not? Mousie is not at all an unusual given name in eastern Kentucky. Since the Civil War, scores of young Mousies throughout the region have borne this name. Mousie Martin, who later became Mrs. Mart Gibson, used to tell us that she was so named at the suggestion of her grandfather, for she had an older sister named Kitty and he rather liked the idea of having two little varmints in the family.