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

The graph will take a few seconds to load, thanks for your patience. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take nine months.) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.


Popularity of the Baby Name Lightning

Number of Babies Named Lightning

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Lightning

Name Quotes #62: Alice, Donna, Shachar

Ready for another batch of name-related quotes gathered from all over the place?

Let’s start with Liberian midwife Alice Sumo:

…[S]he was both surprised and delighted when quickly babies were named after her.

“I said ‘oh wow’ because with some of them I didn’t even know that they had named the baby after me! When you go to the market everybody is called Alice of Alex or Ellis. The last time I counted it was 862 Alices but now it has increased to 1,000 plus!

“To me the name Alice is an action name. Alice people are active people, they are caring people, they are loving people. A, the first letter in the alphabet. A for action.”

From Jack Burton’s article about songwriters Harry and Albert Von Tilzer in the April 9, 1949, issue of Billboard magazine:

After a season of tanbark and tinsel, Harry caught on with a traveling repertoire company, playing juvenile roles, singing songs of his own composing, and abandoning the family name of Gumm for a more glamorous and professional moniker. He took his mother’s maiden name of Tilzer and added “Von” for a touch of class. This switch in nomenclature proved to be the keystone of a songwriting dynasty which was destined to make history in Tin Pan Alley with the turn of the century.

The family’s surname was originally Gumbinsky. The phrase “tanbark and tinsel” refers to the circus; Harry was part of a traveling circus for a time as a teenager.

From an article about names in Israel by Abigail Klein Leichman:

I figured [Forest Rain’s] parents must have been hippies or Native Americans. In mainstream American culture, it is unusual to name children after elements of nature. How many people do you know named Rainbow, Lightning, Juniper Bush, Boulder, Valley, Oak, Prairie, Wellspring, or Wave?

In Israel, such names are extremely commonplace. If Forest Rain translated her name to Ya’ara Tal, no Israeli would think it exotic in the least. The words mentioned above translate to the everyday Hebrew names Keshet, Barak, Rotem, Sela, Guy, Alon, Bar, Ma’ayan, and Gal.

Another difference is that many modern Israeli names are unisex. You often cannot tell by name alone if someone is male or female. Tal, Gal, Sharon, Noam (pleasant), Shachar (Dawn), Inbar (amber), Inbal (bell), Neta (sapling), Ori (my light), Hadar (splendor), Amit (friend), and myriad other common names are used for either gender.

From an essay in which birder Nicholas Lund contemplates naming his baby after a bird (found via Emily of Nothing Like a Name):

Eventually Liz asked me to think about why I was pushing for this, and whether a birdy name was in the best interests of our kid. Did he need to carry on my own birding legacy? She was right. My son may very well grow up to love birds—I really hope he does—but he also might not. It should be his choice and not mine. If my dad had named me after some of his hobbies, you’d be calling me Carl Yastrzemski Lund or Rapala Lure Lund, and then I’d have to live with that.

From Nelson Mandela’s 1994 autobiography Long Walk to Freedom:

Apart from life, a strong constitution, and an abiding connection to the Thembu royal house, the only thing my father bestowed upon me at birth was a name, Rolihlahla. In Xhosa, Rolihlahla literally means “pulling the branch of a tree”, but its colloquial meaning more accurately would be “troublemaker.” I do not believe that names are destiny or that my father somehow divined my future, but in later years, friends and relatives would ascribe to my birth name the many storms I have both caused and weathered.

From an Irish newspaper article about the CSO disregarding fadas in Irish baby names:

The CSO recently unveiled its Baby Names of Ireland visualisation tool recently published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) tool allowing users to check the popularity of names officially registered in Ireland. However, it does not allow for names with the síneadh fada or other diacritical marks that denote pronunciation or meaning.

[…]

“Our language, while having a special status afforded it in the Constitution has been progressively marginalised to the fringes of bureaucracy.

“It behoves the Central Statistics Office above all other institutions to be correct in all matters it reports. This is where historians will first go to research,” [author Rossa Ó Snodaigh] said.

From an essay by Donna Vickroy about the difficulty of being named Donna in 2018:

[L]ately people ask “Vonna”? or “Dana?” or “What?” Maybe the whole language movement has taken a toll.

Still, with its solid D beginning, short O solidified by double Ns and that ubiquitous feminine A at the end, Donna is — and should continue to be — easy to understand, pronounce, spell.

And yet, the struggle is real. Donna appears to be aging out.

From an Atlas Obscura article about a disgruntled former 7-Eleven owner:

The owner, Abu Musa, named his new convenience store “6-Twelve,” a one-up of the 7-Eleven name, which references the chain’s original operating hours of 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Musa’s store operates from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m.

For lots more name quotes, click that link.

Popular and Unique Baby Names in Iowa, 2016

I love that the Social Security Administration releases so much baby name data to the public. But I’ve always had mixed feelings about that 5-baby threshold for inclusion. (Due to privacy concerns, the government doesn’t release names given to fewer than 5 babies per gender, per year.)

Part of me appreciates the threshold. For instance, I like that it adds significance to the pop culture debut names I’m always posting about, as these names had to hit a certain minimum level of usage in order to register in the data.

But the other part of me? The other part just really, really wants to see those rare/crazy names at the bottom of the list.

So I get excited when I find U.S. data from an official source that does go down to single-instance usage. Up until recently, I only knew about Sonoma County and Los Angeles County, but recently I discovered that Iowa (an entire state!) also releases down-to-1 baby name data. Yay!

But before we get to the rare names, let’s look at the state of Iowa’s top baby names of 2016:

Girl Names
1. Olivia, 203 baby girls
2. Emma, 181
3. Charlotte, 158
4. Harper, 156
5. Ava & Evelyn, 148 each (2-way tie)
6. Amelia, 125
7. Nora, 123
8. Sophia, 112
9. Addison, 101
10. Grace, 96

Boy Names
1. Oliver, 197 baby boys
2. Owen, 178
3. William, 174
4. Wyatt, 170
5. Henry, 165
6. Liam, 159
7. Noah, 149
8. Benjamin, 148
9. Jackson, 144
10. Lincoln, 123

  • In the girls’ top 10, Addison and Grace replace Avery.
  • In the boys’ top 10, Benjamin and Lincoln replace Mason and Elijah.
  • In 2015, the top two names were Emma and Liam.

(The SSA rankings for Iowa are similar, but not exactly the same. One notable difference on is that the SSA ranks Grayson 10th on the boys list, and puts Lincoln down in 13th.)

And now for the rarities!

Iowa’s website offers interactive baby name usage graphs that include all names bestowed at least once from 2000 to 2016. Here’s a sampling:

Rare baby names in Iowa (2000-2016 total usage)
Girl Names Boy Names
Arabia (1)
Bishop (1)
Currency (1)
Dream (3)
Eros (1)
Fairy (1)
Gatsby (1)
Heritage (1)
Irish (5)
Jasper (1)
KeyEssence (1)
Lisbon (1)
Michigan (1)
Nirvana (3)
Orchid (1)
PairoDice (1)
Qy (1)
Reminisce (1)
Scully (1)
Tear (1)
Unity (4)
Veruca (1)
Windy (2)
Xanadu (1)
Yawh (1)
Zinnia (1)
Arcade (1)
Banksy (1)
Cactus (1)
Denali (2)
Elvis (18)
Fonzy (1)
Galaxy (1)
Helium (1)
Indigo (2)
Jeep (3)
Kal-El (3)
Lightning (1)
Mowgli (1)
Notorious (1)
Opttimus (1)
Player (1)
Quest (3)
Racer (3)
Sanctify (1)
Tavern (1)
Universe (1)
Vegas (1)
Winner (4)
Xyn (1)
Young-Sky (1)
Zealand (1)

If you decide to dig through the data, leave a comment and let me know what you spot!

And if you’re friends with any expectant parents in Iowa, tell those lucky ducks that they have access to full sets of baby name rankings for their state. Either send them a link to this post or to one of the pages below…

Sources: Top Baby Names – Iowa Department of Public Health, Baby Names Popularity Over Time – Iowa Department of Public Health

Name Quotes for the Weekend #6

Nick Lachey on how his son Camden was named (via Inquisitr):

“It’s kind of a funny story. I’ve always liked the name Colin. We thought that Colin would be the name. And John is my dad’s name…But as we got further into it, I learned that Vanessa wasn’t a big fan of the name Colin, so we started looking for another ‘C’ name.”

But Minnillo’s OB-GYN was located on Camden Drive, and Nick Lachey says it was there that inspiration struck, and he suggested the street name to Vanessa. It was then, he says, the name stuck:

“We didn’t really know anyone else named Camden. It was such a neat name. We fell in love with it and decided on it five or six months ago.”

Jools Oliver–wife of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, and mom to Poppy Honey, Daisy Boo, Petal Blossom Rainbow and Buddy Bear–on baby names (via Gurgle magazine):

I hate people’s opinions on names; whatever you call your baby is your decision.

The #1 thing this expectant mom would have done differently regarding her pregnancy (via Momaroo):

1) Keep the name choices to myself. […] We got a few positive reactions, with questions, because the names we chose weren’t common but have deep meaning for us. One friend, however, made a face & said the boy name we picked was old fashioned & he would be teased for it & asked why we picked it in the first place. Then she told my husband that the first boy was “supposed to be named after him” & reiterated the teasing part. All of this caused quite a few arguments between me & my husband.

From UK radio DJ Andy Walker, who asked listeners to call in with “the most unusual names you have heard for someone.”

Charlene Fitzgerald told me her friend named her twins Storm and Lightning. Oh, come on! Was the mother a fan of the weather, or superheroes?

The names kept on coming – Michelle Edwards knows of a dad who is an avid Manchester United fan, so much so that his daughter is called Manchester and his son is named Bobby.

The randomness did not cease as Caroline Loughrey posted on kmfm Drivetime Facebook page that her sister-in-law has named her daughter Galactica.

Clare Turk said that is becoming popular to name a daughter, Lanesra – which is Arsenal backwards. Really? That is the first time I have ever heard of doing that.

Other names that came to my attention were Simba for a son, Seksy for a daughter – good luck with that during the school register – and a boy called Trucker. You can guess what his father did for a living.

From “Don’t name your Jewish baby Meth, if that was the plan” in j.weekly:

Names are, as scientists know, critical to one’s success in life and how people perceive us. It’s unlikely you’d name your newborn son “Methuselah,” since the name connotes an old man with a long beard and exhausted medical benefits. Nor would it help to nickname your son “Meth.”

From “Amarillo’s first baby of 2009” in the Amarillo Globe-News:

When Dominic James Brown entered the world shortly after midnight on New Year’s Day, he brought with him controversy that shook the maternity ward of Baptist St. Anthony’s Hospital.

The newborn, named after a character from the film “Kindergarten Cop,” beat out his closest competition by a mere six minutes – snatching the title of Amarillo’s first baby of the year.

I’m kinda shocked that people not only remember Kindergarten Cop, but still like it enough after all these years to name a baby after one of the characters.

From “Malaysia’s ‘Baby-Dumping’ Epidemic” at Bloomberg.com:

Out-of-wedlock children across Malaysia are given this same surname (illegitimate boys receive “bin Abdullah”), permanently stigmatizing them in a very family-oriented society.

The surname for girls (mentioned a few sentences earlier) was “binti Abdullah.”

Popular and Unique Baby Names in Alberta, Canada in 2009

Canada’s province of Alberta has just released baby name statistics for 2009. Here are the top names for each gender, followed by some of the names that were used only once last year.

Boys Girls
Popular Names Ethan
Liam
Jacob
Logan
Noah
Olivia
Isabella
Ava
Emma
Hailey
Unique names Alias
Bison
Crazyhorse
Dat
Edgerrin*
Folly-Noah
Guch
Hawkar
Iex
Jhazriel
Kduss
Lightning**
Maxxwel
Neptune
Owies
Philopateer
Qron
Rayon
Seige
Thunder**
Uyohoini
Voltaire
Wrath
Xayden
Yak
Zenry
Albertarose
Beauty
Cred
Dessarhey
Eloquence
Fury
Gallary
Heart
Ibiza
Joy-Joviale***
Kwynn
Lashes
Manhattan
Noof
Ortal
Poetic
Qhloe
RoyLe
Society
Temprance
Uniqua
Veditha
Weency
Xanet
Yejee
Zimmel

*Possibly after American football player Edgerrin James.
**These kids need to have a playdate together one day.
***Joviale is French for jovial.

Update – Just discovered that Ericlindross is also on the list. It’s a boy name. Looks like it was inspired by former NHL player Eric Lindros.

P.S. Here is last year’s post on baby names in Alberta.

Source: Service Alberta