How popular is the baby name Mary 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 Mary.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Mary


Posts that Mention the Name Mary

The Inception of Sway

sway, gone in 60 seconds, movie, character
Angelina Jolie as Sara “Sway” Wayland

The word Sway popped up for the first time in the U.S. baby name data in 2001:

  • 2003: 14 baby girls and 5 baby boys named Sway
  • 2002: 12 baby girls named Sway
  • 2001: 8 baby girls named Sway [debut]
  • 2000: unlisted
  • 1999: unlisted

For a long time I assumed the main influence was MTV personality Sway Calloway. But, while I still think Sway had an influence on male usage, I’ve since discovered a much better explanation for the 2001 debut as a female name.

One of the main characters in the 2000 car heist film Gone in 60 Seconds was mechanic-slash-bartender Sara “Sway” Wayland (played by Angelina Jolie). She was the love interest of protagonist Randall “Memphis” Raines (played by Nicolas Cage), who was tasked with stealing 50 specific, expensive cars inside of 72 hours.

The film didn’t get great reviews, but I do remember appreciating the fact that each of the 50 cars was assigned a feminine code-name:

Mary, Barbara, Lindsey, Laura, Alma, Madeline, Patricia, Carol, Daniela, Stefanie, Erin, Pamela, Olga, Anne, Kate, Vanessa, Denise, Diane, Lisa, Nadine, Angelina, Rose, Susan, Tracey, Rachel, Bernadene, Deborah, Stacey, Josephine, Hillary, Kimberley, Renee, Dorothy, Donna, Samantha, Ellen, Gabriela, Shannon, Jessica, Sharon, Tina, Marsha, Natalie, Virginia, Tanya, Grace, Ashley, Cathy, Lynn, Eleanor

So, how do you feel about the name Sway? If you were having a baby girl, would you be more likely to name her something modern, like Sway, or something traditional, like Sara or Susan?

Sources: Gone in 60 Seconds (2000 film) – Wikipedia, Talk:Gone in 60 Seconds (2000 film) – Wikipedia

Name Story: Anna May Wong

Anna May Wong photo

Chinese-American movie star Anna May Wong was born “Wong Liu Tsong” in Los Angeles in 1905.

Here’s what she had to say about her birth name in 1926:

I was named Wong Lew Song, which means Frosted Yellow Willows. A rather unusual name, isn’t it. Most Chinese children have names, which, interpreted into English, sound rather attractive, though they wouldn’t do for everyday use. They are all right in poetry, but I wouldn’t want to be called Frosted Yellow Willows by my acquaintances. It sounds altogether too quaint for a modern Chinese girl.

Here’s what she had to say about her American name and her stage name in 1928:

I was educated in Los Angeles. […] Our family did not live in the Chinese quarter but on Figueroa Street, where our neighbors were Americans and we were called by our English names. The doctor who brought me into the world named me ‘Anna’; my Chinese name is Tsong. When I was old enough to begin to think about a career, I added ‘May’ to ‘Anna,’ partly because we [daughters] all had four-letter names and I wanted to be different, and partly because it made a prettier signature.

(Her siblings’ American names were Lulu, James, Mary, Frank, Roger, and Richard.)

And, finally, here’s something funny I spotted in a newspaper about the 1924 movie Thief of Bagdad, which featured Wong:

The Mongol slave, a part that required emotional subtlety and balance, was played by Anna May Wong, a Chinese girl, educated in America. Her Chinese name is Lew Wong Song [sic], and means two yellow willows. When the picture was being filmed Miss Wong almost walked out on her job because an enthusiastic press agent misunderstood the translation of her name and published it as “two yelling widows.”

I saw several versions of this “two yelling widows” story, but never managed to track down the press agent’s original mis-translation.

Sources:

Rare Girl Names from Early Cinema: A (part 2)

auriol

Looking for an uncommon A-name for your baby girl? Here’s half of the final installment of names from the early cinema series. The other half of the A-list will go up in a few weeks.

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Amabel
Amabel was a character played by actress Andree Tourneur in the film The Gilded Highway (1926).

  • Usage of the baby name Amabel.

Amanata
Amanata was a character played by actress Josephine West in the short film The Curse of the Great Southwest (1913).

Amarilly
Amarilly Jenkins was a character played by actress Mary Pickford in the film Amarilly of Clothes-Line Alley (1918).

Ambrosia
Ambrosia was a character played by actress Ella Hall in the films The Love Girl (1916) and The Charmer (1917).

Ameia
Ameia was a character played by actress Viola Dana in the film God’s Law and Man’s (1917).

  • Usage of the baby name Ameia.

Amenset
Amenset was a character played by actress Edith Storey in the film The Dust of Egypt (1915).

Amo
Amo Ingraham was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1940s. She was born in New York in 1909.

  • Usage of the baby name Amo.

Amphirosa
Amphirosa was a character played by actress Helen Lindroth in the film The Swan (1925).

Amrah
Amrah was a character played by actress Dale Fuller in the film Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925).

  • Usage of the baby name Amrah.

Amzie
Amzie Strickland was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to 2000s. She was born in 1919 in Oklahoma.

  • Usage of the baby name Amzie.

Anaioe
Anaioe was a character played by actress Mary Fuller in the short film A Daughter of the Nile (1915).

Anastasie
Anastasie Goriot was a character played by actress Jocelyn Lee in the film Paris at Midnight (1926).

Anbella
Anbella was a character played by actress Maria Montez in the film The Exile (1947).

Ancaria
Ancaria was a character played by actress Joyzelle Joyner in the film The Sign of the Cross (1932).

Andra
Andra West was a character played by actress Heather Angel in the film Cry ‘Havoc’ (1943).

  • Usage of the baby name Andra.

Andree
Andree was a character name in multiple films, including The Eternal Struggle (1923) and Human Desires (1924).

  • Usage of the baby name Andree.

Anemone
Anemone Breckenridge was a character played by actress Mary Pickford in the film The Eagle’s Mate (1914).

Aneth
Aneth Consinor was a character played by actress Vivian Reed in the film The Last Egyptian (1914).

  • Usage of the baby name Aneth.

Angella
Angella was a character played by actress Marian Swayne in the short film The Heavenly Widow (1913).

Angharad
Angharad was a character played by actress Maureen O’Hara in the film How Green Was My Valley (1941).

  • Usage of the baby name Angharad (which debuted in the data in 1943).

Angine
Angine Sprunt was a character played by actress Charlotte Merriam in the film The Nth Commandment (1923).

Angy
Angy was a character name in multiple films, including The Famous Mrs. Fair (1923) and Here Comes the Groom (1934).

  • Usage of the baby name Angy.

Anice
Anice was a character name in multiple films, including The Wrong Man (1917) and The Railroader (1919).

  • Usage of the baby name Anice.

Anielka
Anielka Elter was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1930s. She was born in 1901.

Anitah
Anitah was a character played by actress Zena Keefe in the film Out of the Snows (1920).

Anitia
Anitia was a character played by actress Annette Kellerman in the film A Daughter of the Gods (1916).

  • Usage of the baby name Anitia.

Anitra
Anitra was a character name in multiple films, including Runaway, Romany (1917) and The Amazing Woman (1920).

  • Usage of the baby name Anitra.

Aniuta
Aniuta was a character played by actress Bernice Claire in the film Song of the Flame (1930).

Annana
Annana was a character played by actress Movita in the film Captain Calamity (1936).

Annetta
Annetta von Tollen was a character played by actress Beverly Bayne in the short film The Ambition of the Baron (1915).

Anni
Anni Pavlovitch was a character played by actress Joan Crawford in the film The Bride Wore Red (1937).

  • Usage of the baby name Anni.

Annice
Annice Van Dorn was a character played by actress Grace Darmond in the film Where the Worst Begins (1925).

  • Usage of the baby name Annice.

Annis
Annis Grand was a character played by actress Kathleen Kirkham in the film The Foolish Matrons (1921).

  • Usage of the baby name Annis.

Annushka
Annushka was a character played by actress Amy Veness in the film Black Roses (1936).

Anola
Anola was a character played by actress Caroline Frances Cooke in the short film Metamorphosis (1914).

  • Usage of the baby name Anola.

Anthea
Anthea Dane was a character played by actress Elissa Landi in the film The Price of Things (1930).

  • Usage of the baby name Anthea.

Antinea
Antinea was a character name in multiple films, including Missing Husbands (1921) and Siren of Atlantis (1949).

Antiope
Antiope was a character played by actress Elissa Landi in the film The Warrior’s Husband (1933).

Antonita
Antonita was a character played by actress Merle Oberon in the film The Private Life of Don Juan (1934).

Anyana
Anyana was a character played by actress Movita in the film El Capitan Tormenta (1936).

Apricottia
Apricottia was a character played by actress Ethel Teare in the short film The Knaves and the Knight (1915).

Arabel
Arabel Barrett was a character played by actress Katharine Alexander in the film The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934).

  • Usage of the baby name Arabel.

Arai
Arai was a character played by actress Movita in the film The Hurricane (1937).

  • Usage of the baby name Arai.

Araminta
Araminta was a character name in multiple films, including David Garrick (1912) and Love Birds (1934).

Arathea
Arathea Manning was a character played by actress Mae Murray in the film Big Little Person (1919).

Arbutus
Arbutus Quilty was a character played by actress Louise Fazenda in the film Listen Lester (1924).

Ardis
Ardis Delafield was a character played by Nora Lane in the film Careless Lady (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Ardis.

Ardita
Ardita was a character name in multiple films, including The Off-Shore Pirate (1921) and The Siren of Seville (1924).

  • Usage of the baby name Ardita.

Argyl
Argyl Crawford was a character played by actress Ann Little in the film Under Handicap (1917).

  • Usage of the baby name Argyl.

Aritana
Aritana was a character played by actress Adele Mara in the film Call of the South Seas (1944).

Arla
Arla Dean was a character played by actress Dorothy Lamour in the film Moon Over Burma (1940).

  • Usage of the baby name Arla.

Arleta
Arleta Vance was a character played by actress Marie Prevost in the film Call of the Rockies (1929).

  • Usage of the baby name Arleta.

Arline
Arline Pretty was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1950s. She was born in Washington, D.C., in 1885. Arline was also a character name in multiple films, including Only Thing (1925) and Back in Circulation (1937).

  • Usage of the baby name Arline.

Arly
Arleta “Arly” Harolday was a character played by actress Ella Raines in the film Tall in the Saddle (1944).

  • Usage of the baby name Arly.

Armida
Armida Vendrell, often credited simply as Armida, was an actress who appeared in films films from the 1920s to the 1950s. She was born in Mexico in 1911.

  • Usage of the baby name Armida.

Arna
Arna was a character played by actress Rose Tapley in the short film War (1911).

  • Usage of the baby name Arna.

Arnice
Arnice was a character played by actress Ella Hall in the film Secret Love (1916).

  • Usage of the baby name Arnice.

Arrah
Arrah Meelish was a character played by actress Gene Gauntier in the film Arrah-Na-Pogue (1911).

  • Usage of the baby name Arrah.

Arria

Arria was a character played by actress Helen Wright in the film Damon and Pythias (1914).

  • Usage of the baby name Arria.

Arrita
Arrita was a character played by actress Reina Valdez in the short film Italian Love (1914).

Arte
Arte O’Neill was a character played by actress Helen Lindroth in the short film The Shaughraun (1912).

Artemisia
Artemisia Stebbins was a character played by actress Mabel Stoughton in the short film Balked at the Alter (1908).

Arvia
Arvia was a character played by actress Carmel Myers in the film The Dancer of the Nile (1923).

  • Usage of the baby name Arvia.

Arvilla
Arvilla Howe was a character played by actress Ruth Roland in the short film The Egyptian Mummy (1913).

Ashubetis
Ashubetis was a character played by actress Valda Valkyrien in the film The Image Maker (1917).

Aspasia
Aspasia Conti was a character played by actress Agnes Moorehead in the film Mrs. Parkington (1944).

Assina
Assina was a character played by actress Mrs. George O. Nichols in the short film Women of the Desert (1913).

Asta
Asta Nielsen was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in Denmark in 1881. Asta was also a character played by actress Esther Ralston in the film Rome Express (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Asta.

Ata
Ata was a character played by actress Elena Verdugo in the film The Moon and Sixpence (1942).

  • Usage of the baby name Ata.

Atala
Atala was a character played by actress Bessie Eyton in the short film Atala (1912).

Athene
Athene Seyler was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1960s. She was born in England in 1889.

  • Usage of the baby name Athene.

Athole
Athole Shearer was an actress who appeared in films in the 1920s. She was born in Canada in 1900.

Atoline
Atoline France was a character played by actress Carol Dempster in the film The Girl Who Stayed Home (1919).

Attarea
Attarea was a character played by actress Seena Owen in the film The Fall of Babylon (1919).

Attosa
Attosa was a character played by actress Gale Sondergaard in the film Night in Paradise (1946).

Auber
Auber was a character played by actress Lana Turner in the film The Great Garrick (1937).

Audelle
Audelle Higgins was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s.

Augusta
Augusta was a character played by actress Emily Fitzroy in the film Timbuctoo (1933).

Augustina
Augustina was a character played by actress Mary Alden in the film The Beloved Brute (1924).

Aurelie
Aurelie Lindstrom was a character played by actress Bessie Love in the film The Midlanders (1920).

Auriol
Auriol Lee was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1940s. She was born in England in 1880. Auriol was also a character played by actress Anna Q. Nilsson in the film The Side Show of Life (1924).

Auriole
Auriole Praed was a character played by actress Marjorie Rambeau in the film The Greater Woman (1917).

Aurore
Princess Aurore was a character played by actress Elissa Landi in the film Crimson Dynasty (1935).

  • Usage of the baby name Aurore.

Australia
Australia was a character name in multiple films, including Lovey Mary (1926) and Children of Chance (1949).

Australy
Australy was a character played by actress May McAvoy in the film Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1919).

Averil
Averil Rochester was a character played by actress Benita Hume in the film A South Sea Bubble (1928).

  • Usage of the baby name Averil.

Avesa
Avesa Pomeroy was a character played by actress Elisabeth Risdon in the film The Mother of Dartmoor (1917).

Avice
Avice Bereton was a character played by actress Enid Markey in the film The Phantom (1916).

  • Usage of the baby name Avice.

Avis
Avis was a character name in multiple films, including The Roughneck (short, 1915) and Beyond (1921).

  • Usage of the baby name Avis.

Avonia
Avonia was a character played by actress Gwen Lee in the film The Actress (1928).

Avonne
Avonne Taylor was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1930s. She was born in Ohio in 1899.

  • Usage of the baby name Avonne.

Awaneta
Awaneta was a character played by actress Teddy Sampson in the short film The Boundary Line (1915).

Awretha
Awretha Pickering was an actress who appeared in 1 film in 1919.

Axelle
Axelle von Meirbach was a character played by actress Leila Hyams in the film Surrender (1931).

  • Usage of the baby name Axelle.

Azaline
Azaline was a character played by actress Emily Barrye in the film Volcano! (1926).

Azamora
Azamora was a character played by actress Lila Leslie in the short film A Clean Slate (1915).

Azella
Azella was a character played by actress Gloria Jetter in the film Dixie Jamboree (1944).

  • Usage of the baby name Azella.

Azuri
Azuri was a character played by actress Myrna Loy in the film The Desert Song (1929).

  • Usage of the baby name Azuri.

*

…Which of the above names do you like best?

Source: IMDb

Name Quotes 83: Bek, Frankie, Monarch

monarch, bear, california, flag,

From article in which musician Beck talks about his first name:

He was born on July 8, 1970, as Bek David Campbell. He and his brother later took their mother’s maiden name, Hansen, and Beck added the “c” to his first name, with the hope that it might help people pronounce it properly. “I still got Brock, Breck, Beak,” he said. “I remember leaving a meeting with some record executives, and one said, ‘Very nice to meet you, Bic.'”

From Orlando Bloom’s Instagram post about fixing the Morse Code spelling of his son’s name (Flynn) in his forearm tattoo:

••-••-••-•—•-• finally dot it right! How do you make a mistake like that?

From an article about the naming of lesbian and bisexual characters:

The nice thing about having an internal database of LGBTQ+ women and non-binary television characters is that you can get really, truly obsessive about various patterns in the data. Like, for example, what queer characters are often named.

[According to the article, some of the top names for queer female TV characters are Nicole/Nikki/Nico, Franky/Frankie, Alex, and Susan. “Some minor abundances: Debs, Deborahs and Debbies. Quite a few more-than-expected Ginas, Naomis and, most oddly, Ruby.” “We are, however, suspiciously low on Marys.”]

Speaking of Frankie…from an article about the popularity of the name Frankie in Australia:

Obviously, there’s a lot of love for Frankie right now. But the interesting thing is that Australian parents love Frankie a lot more than anyone else. Frankie has been among the top 50 girls’ names in Australia for the past couple of years, while not even making the top 100 in either the UK or the US.

From a video in which Emma Thompson talks about “posh” English slang [vid]:

“Pip pip” is “bye-bye.” […] Like, for instance, when I was born, yonks ago, on the BBC, on the world service, there would be the pip, pip, pip. So that’s the “pips.” And you say pip, pip. And I was known as “pip Emma” because I was born as the pips were sounding.

[The pips were used to mark the start of each hour. “Pip Emma” is also the way to say “p.m.” in RFC WWI signalese. I’m not sure if Emma Thompson was likewise born in the afternoon/evening, though.]

From an article about the bear on the California state flag:

[William Randolph] Hearst put the bear on display [in 1889] in Golden Gate Park and named him Monarch. At more than 1,200 pounds, Monarch was the largest bear ever held captive.

[…]

Taking a cue from the Sonoma revolt in 1846 [after which a flag featuring a bear was created to represent the captured region], the state again decided to make the California Grizzly the flag’s focal point. Only this time they wanted a bear that actually looked like a bear.

Illustrators used the recently deceased Monarch as the model for the bear on our state flag.

[Newspaper magnate Hearst took the name “Monarch” from the tagline of the San Francisco Examiner, the “Monarch of the Dailies.”]

For more name-related quotes, check out the name quotes category.