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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Maeve

Number of Babies Named Maeve

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Maeve

The Baby Names Shevawn and Siobhan

siobhan mckenna, 1956, life, magazine
Siobhán McKenna on the cover of LIFE
Tara, Maeve, and many of the other
Irish names used in the U.S. today weren’t popularized by Irish immigrants. Instead, they gained traction after being introduced to the public via movies, television, and other types of pop culture.

Siobhan is no different. But it’s also a special case, because Americans heard about the name before they saw it written down. The result? The Irish spelling made a splash on the U.S. baby name charts…but only after a phonetic respelling made a similar splash. In fact, the misspelled version and the correctly spelled version were consecutive top girl name debuts in the mid-1950s.

So who’s the person behind the launch of Siobhan? Irish actress Siobhán McKenna (1923-1986).

In 1955, McKenna was nominated for a Tony for her role as Miss Madrigal in the play The Chalk Garden by Enid Bagnold (who had written National Velvet two decades earlier). The same year, the name Shevawn debuted in the U.S. data:

  • 1960: 5 baby girls named Shevawn
  • 1959: unlisted
  • 1958: 9 baby girls named Shevawn
  • 1957: 8 baby girls named Shevawn
  • 1956: 24 baby girls named Shevawn
  • 1955: 36 baby girls named Shevawn [debut]
  • 1954: unlisted

The spellings Shevon, Shevonne, Chavonne, and Chevonne also debuted in ’55.

The next year, Siobhán McKenna impressed audiences with her portrayal of Joan of Arc in the George Bernard Shaw play Saint Joan. Her popularity in this role earned her the cover of LIFE magazine in September. Next to her image was her name, Siobhan, spelled correctly (but missing the fada). Right on cue, the name Siobhan debuted in the data:

  • 1960: 90 baby girls named Siobhan
  • 1959: 85 baby girls named Siobhan
  • 1958: 54 baby girls named Siobhan
  • 1957: 67 baby girls named Siobhan
  • 1956: 58 baby girls named Siobhan [debut]
  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: unlisted

Once U.S. parents learned how to spell “Siobhan,” the alternative spellings became less common, though they remained in use.

Siobhan was boosted into the top 1,000 in 1979 and remained popular during the 1980s thanks to the soap opera Ryan’s Hope, which introduced a character named Siobhan in 1978.

It’s rather fitting that Siobhán McKenna was best known for playing Saint Joan, as both “Siobhán” and “Joan” were derived from the name Jeanne, which is French feminine form of John (meaning “Yahweh is gracious”).

How do you feel about the name Siobhan? If you were going to use it, how would you spell it?

Sources: Siobhán McKenna – Wikipedia, SSA


Most Popular Baby Names in Ireland, 2012

Most popular baby names in Ireland, 2012
The most popular baby names in Ireland came out a few days ago.

According to the Central Statistics Office, the country’s top names are Jack for boys and Emily for girls.

Here are the top 100 girl names and top 100 boy names of 2012:

Baby Girl Names Baby Boy Names
1. Emily
2. Sophie
3. Emma
4. Grace
5. Lily
6. Mia
7. Ella
8. Ava
9. Lucy
10. Sarah
11. Aoife
12. Amelia
13. Hannah
14. Katie
15. Chloe
16. Caoimhe
17. Saoirse
18. Kate
19. Holly
20. Ruby
21. Sophia
22. Anna
23. Lauren
24. Leah
25. Amy
26. Isabelle
27. Molly
28. Ellie
29. Jessica
30. Olivia
31. Roisin
32. Ciara
33. Kayla
34. Julia [tie]
34. Zoe [tie]
36. Laura
37. Niamh
38. Abbie
39. Erin
40. Rachel
41. Robyn
42. Aisling
43. Faye
44. Rebecca
45. Eva [tie]
45. Layla [tie]
47. Ellen
48. Cara
49. Freya
50. Abigail [tie]
50. Eve [tie]
50. Isabella [tie]
53. Megan
54. Aine [tie]
54. Clodagh [tie]
56. Aoibhinn
57. Millie
58. Nicole
59. Aoibheann
60. Maja
61. Sadhbh
62. Eabha
63. Charlotte
64. Amber [tie]
64. Caitlin [tie]
64. Sofia [tie]
67. Alannah
68. Zara
69. Alice
70. Maria
71. Elizabeth [tie]
71. Lena [tie]
71. Mary [tie]
74. Emilia
75. Aimee [tie]
75. Lilly [tie]
77. Hollie
78. Aoibhe
79. Victoria
80. Eimear [tie]
80. Maya [tie]
82. Isabel [tie]
82. Orla [tie]
84. Evie
85. Kayleigh
86. Brooke [tie]
86. Clara [tie]
88. Meabh
89. Lexi
90. Tara
91. Daisy [tie]
91. Katelyn [tie]
93. Ailbhe [tie]
93. Amelie [tie]
93. Natalia [tie]
93. Sara [tie]
97. Hanna [tie]
97. Laoise [tie]
97. Ruth [tie]
100. Madison [tie]
100. Maeve [tie]
100. Maisie [tie]
100. Rose [tie]
1. Jack
2. James
3. Daniel
4. Sean
5. Conor
6. Adam
7. Harry
8. Ryan
9. Dylan
10. Michael
11. Luke
12. Charlie
13. Liam
14. Oisin
15. Cian
16. Jamie
17. Thomas
18. Alex
19. Noah
20. Darragh
21. Patrick
22. Aaron
23. Cillian
24. Matthew
25. John
26. Nathan
27. David [tie]
27. Fionn [tie]
29. Evan
30. Ethan
31. Jake
32. Kyle
33. Rian
34. Ben [tie]
34. Max [tie]
36. Eoin
37. Tadhg
38. Finn
39. Callum
40. Samuel
41. Joshua
42. Rory
43. Jayden
44. Joseph
45. Tyler
46. Sam
47. Shane
48. Mark [tie]
48. Robert [tie]
50. Aidan
51. William
52. Ronan
53. Eoghan
54. Alexander [tie]
54. Leon [tie]
56. Cathal
57. Mason
58. Tom
59. Oliver
60. Andrew
61. Oscar
62. Ciaran
63. Bobby
64. Jacob
65. Senan
66. Rhys
67. Scott
68. Benjamin [tie]
68. Cormac [tie]
70. Kevin
71. Lucas
72. Alan
73. Donnacha [tie]
73. Jakub [tie]
75. Christopher
76. Filip [tie]
76. Killian [tie]
78. Josh
79. Alfie
80. Tommy
81. Ruairi
82. Odhran
83. Oran
84. Leo
85. Isaac
86. Dara [tie]
86. Jason [tie]
88. Zach
89. Martin [tie]
89. Peter [tie]
91. Brian
92. Danny
93. Niall [tie]
93. Tomas [tie]
95. Edward [tie]
95. Stephen [tie]
97. Logan
98. Kacper
99. Anthony
100. Billy

New to the top 100 list are Isaac, Danny and Logan for boys and Evie, Amelie, Hanna, Maisie and Rose for girls.

Some of the specifically Irish names in the top 100 are…

  • Girls: Aoife, Caoime, Saoirse, Roisin, Ciara, Niamh, Aisling, Aine, Clodagh, Aoibhinn, Aoibheann, Sadhbh, Eabha, Aoibhe, Eimear, Meabh, Ailbhe, Laoise, Maeve
  • Boys: Liam, Oisin, Cian, Darragh, Cillian, Fionn, Rian, Eoin, Tadhg, Finn, Callum, Rory, Ronan, Eoghan, Cathal, Ciaran, Senan, Cormac, Donnacha, Ruairi, Odhran, Niall

Sources: Jack and Emily most popular baby names, Irish Babies’ Names – CSO

The Baby Name Maeve

my son my son, 1940, movie, posterMaeve is an Anglicized form of the ancient Gaelic name Medb, meaning “intoxicating.” It wasn’t widely used in the U.S. until it got three distinct boosts from popular culture.

The movie My Son My Son! (1940), which featured a character named Maeve O’Riorden (played by Laraine Day), put the name on the map:

  • 1943: 6 babies named Maeve
  • 1942: unlisted
  • 1941: 10 babies named Maeve
  • 1940: 8 babies named Maeve [debut]
  • 1939: unlisted

It didn’t really pick up steam, though, until the soap opera Ryan’s Hope (1975-1989) gave it exposure via the character Maeve Ryan (played by Helen Gallagher):

  • 1989: 52 babies named Maeve
  • 1988: 56 babies named Maeve
  • 1987: 41 babies named Maeve
  • 1986: 45 babies named Maeve
  • 1985: 32 babies named Maeve
  • 1984: 30 babies named Maeve
  • 1983: 23 babies named Maeve
  • 1982: 19 babies named Maeve

In the ’90s, Maeve entered the top 1,000 for the first time. Irish writer Maeve Binchy may have had something to do with this — her book Circle of Friends (1990) was made into a popular movie of the same name in 1995 — but more likely the inspiration was the character Maeve on the action/adventure TV show The Adventures of Sinbad (1996–1998).

  • 1999: 343 babies named Maeve (ranked 669th)
  • 1998: 240 babies named Maeve (ranked 881st)
  • 1997: 207 babies named Maeve (ranked 955th)
  • 1996: 141 babies named Maeve
  • 1995: 133 babies named Maeve
  • 1994: 102 babies named Maeve

In 2010, 546 baby girls were named Maeve (ranking: 536th). How high do you think the name will climb?

Update: Five years on, in 2015, Maeve ranks 450th. Still climbing!

Baby Names Needed for Quintuplets

A reader named Allison and her husband Dawson are expecting 5 (!) little ones. Three will be boys, two will be girls, and their surname will sound a lot like “Barber.” Here’s more from Allison:

We have twins Holden Patrick (Holden is from Catcher In the Rye and Patrick is my father’s middle name) and Theo Drummey (Theo because we liked it and Drummey is a family name.) I’m Irish and my husband is Canadian but doesn’t really have a name preference (other then if he had his wish our first daughter would be Jasmine Atlanta). As you can see I like to have my heritage in the names but I know from my family that names spelled in Gaelic form don’t usually go over well with the western way we pronounce things. At the same time I really like simple classy names and names with meaning… We have a large mix of name choices the only thing we knew is we don’t want any Winifreds or Paulinas or Alfreds or Richards, we also would like to stay away from Liam, Aidan, Maeve, Finn, Brigid all family names that have been taken. We are stuck! Here is our list of names so far, completely mixed up…

Tadgh- pronounced Tighe
Cian- pro. Keean
Callum- pro. Kaylum
Caelum
Rory
Christian
Samuel
Benjamin
Maxwell
Emmett

Ryann
Cecelia/Cecilia
Auden
Caoimhe- pro. Keevah
Kate
Jillian
Rosalie
Thea (I know we can’t use this because of Theo but I love it!)
Jasmine

Family Names: (we would use these as middle names)
Drummey
Patrick
Marie
Jeremy
Brian
Patricia
Bryanna
Pearl

Thank you! Any help is appreciated! :)

First of all, congratulations!

I think Holden and Theo have great names. Of the options listed, the five I like best with Holden and Theo are Benjamin, Christian, Maxwell, Kate and Cecilia, though I like many of the others as well.

I’d be wary about using names like Tadgh and Caoimhe because, where I am, names like these require explanation. Things will probably be tricky enough with quints…why add extra complication? :) But perhaps Allison and her family live in a place where Irish names are common and this isn’t an issue.

Here are some other ideas:

Conor
Cormac
Henry
Hugh
Kevin
Lucas
Neil
Nolan
Owen
Ronan
Ryan
Sean
Sebastian
Thomas
William
Abigail
Adele
Charlotte
Clara
Dorothy
Hannah
Lucy
Michelle
Molly
Nicole
Nola
Nora
Orla
Una/Oona
Willa

It’s hard to talk about middles before the first names are in place. I’d probably use short middles with long firsts and vice versa (e.g. Cecilia Pearl, Kate Patricia), just for balance. And I’d avoid the combo Jasmine Pearl, as that’s a type of tea. It’s delicious, but still.

Which of the above (3 boy names, 2 girl names) do you like best with Holden and Theo? What other names would you suggest to Allison?

UPDATE – Allison has just learned that there will actually be 3 girls and 2 boys!

Baby Name Needed for 6th Baby

A reader named Juliet writes:

My husband Ralph and I have five children, and I am four months pregnant with our sixth.

We’ve always had a difficult time choosing names, but Ralph and I have always found names that we’ve both loved early on in the pregnancy (agreeing on the name was another story).

This time around, however, it seems like there are no names out there that either of us even like. Can you help us?

Our kids are:
Felix Lysander
Olive Matilda
Maeve Tallulah
Susannah Blair (she goes by Sunny)
Edward Atticus (we call him Ned)

We’re looking for names that are quirky, light, vintage-y, and that will age well and go with my other children’s.

Wow, a lot of great names there! (In fact, Juliet’s large, well-named family reminded me of Cora’s large, well-named family from a few years ago.)

For #6, here are some boy names that came to mind:

Alastair
Alfred
Arthur
Baxter
Bennett
Calvin
Clarence
Declan
George
Henry
Hugo
Lawrence
Louis
Lucian
Nigel
Nolan
Thaddeus
Thomas
Tobias
Vincent
Winston

And some girl names:

Alice
Bethany
Camilla
Cecily
Charlotte
Cora
Davina
Della
Dorothy
Harriet
Helen
Katherine
Lillian
Lydia
Penelope
Phoebe
Priscilla
Prudence
Tabitha
Willa
Victoria

I focused on first letters that aren’t already in use, only because everyone else seems to have a unique first initial. Not sure if this is something that matters to Juliet or not, though.

Which of the above do you like best with Felix, Olive, Maeve, Susannah and Edward? What other names would you suggest?

Update: It’s a boy! Scroll down or click here to learn what his name is.

Baby Name Needed – Girl Name for Maeve’s Sister

A reader named Kelly is expecting her second daughter in May, and she’d appreciate a few name suggestions. She writes:

Our first daughter, Maeve, was named really easily, and we grow to love the name more and more. However, we are having an exceptionally difficult time finding a second girl’s name that we like as much. I especially like Gaelic/Celtic names, but am willing to consider other options as well.

Here are some names that I think could work with Maeve:

Beatrix
Bevin
Blythe
Bree/Brígh
Bridget
Brynn
Caitlin
Carys
Chloe
Clio
Darcy
Deirdre
Eileen
Fiona
Freya
Gemma
Greta
Gwen
Hazel
Iona
Isla*
Ivy
Lorna
Lucy
Lyra
Miriam
Moira
Nora
Oona
Opal
Orla/Orlagh
Phoebe
Piper
Quinn
Rhona
Riona
Stella
Sylvie
Tamar
Tatum
Tegan
Tess
Tirzah
Zelda

*Pronounced EYE-la, but happens to looks just like the Spanish word for island, isla, pronounced EES-la.

Which of the above do you like best for Maeve’s little sister? What other names would you suggest to Kelly?

Baby Name Needed – Girl Name like Tatum

A reader named Kate writes:

I am currently pregnant with my first baby. We do not know whether a boy or girl yet, but we are brainstorming names. I love the girl’s name Tatum, but my best friend’s daughter has that name. Can you think of any similar girl’s names I might like?

I get this question every once in a while — probably because Tatum is such an idiosyncratic name.

Sloane has always been my default answer. But it only works for non-UK babies, thanks to the Sloane Rangers.

Other names that come to mind are:

Ainsley
Astrid
Beatrix
Blair
Blythe
Bryony
Cleo
Darcy
Deirdre
Hazel
Imogen
Kendall
Maeve
Meredith
Miriam
Morgan
Piper
Quinn
Reese
Rory
Rowena
Sybil
Tamar
Tanith

What other Tatum-like names can you come up with for Kate?