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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Lily

Number of Babies Named Lily

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Lily

Lalage: Chatterbox Baby Name?

lalage, baby name, greek

Lalage’s quirky definition is what first caught my eye.

Horace, the Roman poet, created the name Lalage over two thousand years ago from the ancient Greek word lalagein, meaning “to chatter,” “to prattle,” “to babble,” or (in the case of a bird) “to chirp.” He invented it as a fitting alias for the “sweetly laughing, sweetly talking” woman described in Ode 1.22:

dulce ridentem Lalagen amabo,
dulce loquentem.

The name Lalage has since appeared in other literary works, including the play Politian (1835) by Edgar Allan Poe, the poem “Rimini” (1906) by Rudyard Kipling, and the novel The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1969) by John Fowles.

In The French Lieutenant’s Woman, the mother of the child named Lalage “pronounced it as a dactyl, the g hard.” So: LAL-a-ghee. But I checked other sources (such as this one) and found a variety of pronunciation suggestions.

There are two distinct camps regarding the G, for instance — the hard-G camp (lal-a-ghee) and the soft-G camp (lal-a-dgee). I think the soft-G makes the most sense for English-speakers, as the English forms of other Greek-origin names (like George and Eugene) also tend to have soft G’s, but that’s just personal opinion.

Lalage has since become the name of an asteroid (822 Lalage) and a genus of birds (the trillers), but my favorite association so far is the mid-20th-century circus performer.

Lalage — whose real name was Hedwig Roth — was an aerialist with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. According to one circus program, she was a “dusty blonde of French-Swiss origin” and she pronounced her name lä-lä-gay, but she had “given up trying to sell people that idea” because most people assumed it was lä-LÄZH. (See what I mean about the various pronunciations?)

Here’s the first stanza of the poem “Lalage!” (1946) by American poet Charles Olson:

The legs of Lalage toss, and toss, and toss
(l’esprit de femme)
against the canvas of the circus sky

What do you think of the name Lalage? Would it be a good alternative to popular girl names like Lillian or Lily?

Sources:


Five-Name Friday: Soft, Flowery Girl Name

five name friday, girl name

You’re standing by the taco truck, waiting for your carne asada, when a woman who happens to be pregnant walks up and places an order. The two of you chat for a few minutes, and she mentions that she and her partner haven’t chosen a name for the baby yet. As your order is handed to you, she tells you the gist of what they’re looking for:

We need a girl’s name that preferably starts with S (but definitely not a R, M, or A); middle name will be Cathleen. Mom wants something soft and flowery (Lilah and Lily are contenders).

“Do you have any suggestions?”

As a name-lover, you could potentially give her dozens of suggestions on the spot. But you’ve got a delicious taco to eat, so you only have time to give her five baby name suggestions before digging in.

But here’s the fun part: Instead of blurting out the first five names you come up with (which is what you’d have to do in real life) you get to press a magical “pause” button, brainstorm for a bit, and then “unpause” the scenario to offer her the best five names you can think of.

As you come up with your names, keep these things in mind:

  • Be independent. Decide on your five names before looking at anyone else’s five names.
  • Be sincere. Would you honestly suggest these particular baby names out loud to a stranger?
  • Five names only! I will replace all names/nicknames beyond the first five in your comment with nonsense words.

Finally, here’s the request again:

We need a girl’s name that preferably starts with S (but definitely not a R, M, or A); middle name will be Cathleen. Mom wants something soft and flowery (Lilah and Lily are contenders).

Which five boy names are you going to suggest?

[To send in your own 2-sentence baby name request, here are the directions, and here’s the contact form.]

Most Popular First Letters for Baby Names, 2016

What were the most popular first letters for baby names in 2016?

Here’s a chart showing the first letter breakdown for girl names:

first letter, girl names, baby names, 2016, chart

For girls, the most-used first letter was A, followed by M and E. The least-used first letter was U.

The three most-used girl names per letter last year were…

A: Ava, Abigail, Amelia
B: Brooklyn, Bella, Brianna
C: Charlotte, Chloe, Camila
D: Delilah, Daisy, Daniela
E: Emma, Emily, Evelyn
F: Faith, Finley, Fiona
G: Grace, Genesis, Gabriella
H: Harper, Hannah, Hazel
I: Isabella, Isabelle, Ivy
J: Julia, Josephine, Jade
K: Kennedy, Kaylee, Kylie
L: Lily, Lillian, Layla
M: Mia, Madison, Mila
N: Natalie, Nora, Naomi
O: Olivia, Olive, Oakley
P: Penelope, Paisley, Piper
Q: Quinn, Queen, Quincy
R: Riley, Ruby, Reagan
S: Sophia, Sofia, Scarlett
T: Taylor, Trinity, Teagan
U: Unique, Uma, Una
V: Victoria, Violet, Vivian
W: Willow, Willa, Winter
X: Ximena, Xiomara, Xena
Y: Yaretzi, Yareli, Yamileth
Z: Zoey, Zoe, Zara

Here’s the breakdown for boy names:

first letter, boy names, baby names, 2016, chart

For boys, the most-used first letter was J, followed by A and C. The least-used letter was U.

The three most-used boy names per letter last year were…

A: Alexander, Aiden, Anthony
B: Benjamin, Brayden, Bryson
C: Carter, Christopher, Caleb
D: Daniel, David, Dylan
E: Elijah, Ethan, Eli
F: Finn, Felix, Francisco
G: Gabriel, Grayson, Gavin
H: Henry, Hunter, Hudson
I: Isaac, Isaiah, Ian
J: James, Jacob, Jackson
K: Kevin, Kayden, Kingston
L: Liam, Lucas, Logan
M: Mason, Michael, Matthew
N: Noah, Nathan, Nicholas
O: Oliver, Owen, Oscar
P: Parker, Patrick, Preston
Q: Quinn, Quentin, Quincy
R: Ryan, Robert, Roman
S: Samuel, Sebastian, Sawyer
T: Thomas, Theodore, Tyler
U: Uriel, Uriah, Ulises
V: Vincent, Victor, Valentino
W: William, Wyatt, Wesley
X: Xavier, Xander, Xzavier
Y: Yusuf, Yosef, Yahir
Z: Zachary, Zayden, Zane

Finally, here are both genders side-by-side:

first letter, baby names, 2016, chart

Overall, the top first letter was A, followed by J and M. And the least popular letter was, of course, U.

Here’s last year’s post on the most and least popular first letters of 2015.

Most Popular Lengths for Baby Names, 2016

The long and short of it is that U.S. parents don’t choose long and short baby names as often as they choose mid-length baby names. The most popular lengths for baby names in 2016? 6 letters, followed by 5 letters, followed by 7 letters…yet again.

Here’s a chart showing the length breakdown for girl names:

lengths, girl names, baby names, 2016, chart

The most-used girl names per length (from 2 to 10 letters) last year were…

And here’s the breakdown for boy names:

lengths, boy names, baby names, 2016, chart

The most-used boy names per length (from 2 to 10 letters) were…

Finally, here are both genders on the same chart:

lengths, boy names, baby names, girl names, 2016, chart

Here’s last year’s post on the top name lengths of 2015, if you’d like to compare.

Ariosa – Possible Baby Name?

arbuckles coffee, ariosa, advertisement,

I came across the name-like word Ariosa while doing research for the Isla Tudor post. What did Ariosa refer to? A coffee blend sold during the late 1800s and early 1900s by Arbuckle Bros., which was a well-known East Coast coffee company at that time.

The Arbuckle brothers, John and Charles, started selling coffee that was pre-roasted and packed in convenient one-pound bags in the 1860s. (Up to that point, coffee was typically sold green and in big sacks or barrels). They also extended the shelf-life of their roasted beans by glazing them with an egg-sugar mix. Perhaps most importantly, they marketed their coffee products aggressively (and rather cleverly).

Ariosa, a blend that was introduced in 1873, ended up becoming the first coffee brand to attain national renown in the United States. Arbuckles’ Ariosa was particularly popular among Westerners, including cowboys and ranchers. It was often referred to as “the coffee that won the west,” in fact. Ariosa dominated the Western coffee market for many decades, and was available for purchase until the 1940s.

The word Ariosa caught my eye because of its resemblance to the trendy baby name Aria (now ranked 29th). It also reminded me of Liliosa, which could be considered a fanciful form of Lily (ranked 25th) or Lillian (ranked 26th).

How did the Arbuckles come up with the word “Ariosa”? No one knows for sure, but the two most popular theories suggest it’s an acronym:

  • Arbuckle + Rio + South America
  • Arbuckle + Rio + Santos (another Brazilian coffee port)

The word Ariosa is also similar to the Italian musical term arioso, which is basically operatic singing that is not quite as formal as an aria.

So has Ariosa ever been used as a baby name before? Yes, but infrequently. It has never appeared in the SSA’s baby name data, but I do see one Ariosa in the SSDI and I’ve spotted several others on historical U.S. censuses.

What do you think — would Ariosa make a good name for babies being born today?

Sources:

  • Balthazar, Scott L. Historical Dictionary of Opera. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2013.
  • Funderburg, Anne Cooper. “Cowboy Coffee.” True West 1 Jul. 2001.
  • Ukers, William Harrison. All About Coffee. New York: The Tea and Coffee Trade Journal Company, 1922.
  • Williams, Jacqueline Block. “Arbuckles’.” The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink, ed. by Andrew F. Smith. Oxford: Oxford Publishing Company, 2007.

P.S. Here are a few more names names associated with coffee.