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

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Popularity of the Baby Name May

Number of Babies Named May

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name May

Poll: Favorite “Feminine Blend”?

Nope, this isn’t a post about a pink smoothies. “Feminine blend” was a phrase Henry Louis (H. L.) Mencken used in his 1921 book The American Language to describe a female name created by blending two other names together. Here are the feminine blends he lists:

(Addie + Lloyd)

(Addison + Nellie)

(Adrienne + Belle)

(Ardelia + Wilhelmina)

(Elizabeth + Christine)

(Birdie + Pauline)

(Charles + Pauline)

(Leila + Elizabeth)

(Luna + Nettie)

(Marjorie + Henrietta)

(May + Elizabeth)

(Ola + Isabel)

(Olive + Louise)

(Romeo + Juliette)

(Rose + Bella)

If you had to use one of the above in real life, which one would you choose?

Favorite "feminine blend"?

View Results

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Source: H. L. Mencken. The American Language. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1921.

Popular Baby Names in Scotland, 2015 (Take 2)

According to finalized data from National Records of Scotland (NRS), the most popular baby names in Scotland in 2015 were Emily and Jack.

Here are Scotland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Emily, 497 baby girls
2. Sophie, 468
3. Olivia, 452
4. Isla, 419
5. Jessica, 357
6. Ava, 354
7. Amelia, 352
8. Ella, 341
9. Lucy, 317
10. Lily, 279
1. Jack, 565 baby boys
2. Oliver, 448
3. James, 416
4. Lewis, 371
5. Alexander, 349
6. Charlie, 342
7. Lucas, 316
8. Logan, 311
9. Harris, 306
10. Daniel, 282

This finalized 2015 list is a lot like (but not exactly like) the preliminary rankings that came out in December.

It’s also a lot like the 2014 rankings, the the main difference being that Harris has replaced Noah in the boys’ top ten.

And now for the fun part! Here are some of the baby names that were bestowed just once last year in Scotland. Ladies first:

  • Aara
  • Aerith
  • Albatool
  • Aneu
  • Aragon
  • Aria-Denver
  • Arracah
  • Avana-Solaris
  • Awesome
  • Beatrix-Gwendoline
  • Bebe-Rose
  • Bexlie
  • Caledonia – Caledonia was what the Ancient Romans called the region that became Scotland. It’s now used as a poetic name for Scotland.
  • Calypso
  • Christine-Smart – I’ve seen “smart” used as a name before, but all the examples I know of are historical.
  • Ciorstaidh
  • Csenge
  • Debsther
  • Duoduo
  • Dzeiviana
  • Elenaria
  • Ersjola
  • Esme-May
  • Ginijane
  • Glencora
  • Iphigenia
  • Izzy-Mary-Bel
  • Juveria
  • Lithisha
  • Littlest
  • Lohasna
  • Midelle
  • Mirrany
  • Ndack
  • Nettle
  • Peryl
  • Piali
  • Ptarmigan – A bird name I almost never see used as a baby name. Ironically, the word “ptarmigan” happens to be based on a Scottish Gaelic word (tàrmachan).
  • Renae-Esmae
  • Roux-Jane
  • Splendor
  • Styliani
  • Tjitske
  • Twylabelle – Another -belle name to add to the list of -bella and -belle names.
  • Xrysoula
  • Zazilia
  • Zephyra
  • Zerfin
  • Zymal

And now the gents:

  • Albany
  • Aodee
  • Bonus
  • Bowie
  • Brando
  • Bucci
  • Bully
  • Charlieboy
  • Chrisvin
  • Claigh
  • Cobain
  • Coist
  • Corryvreckan – The Gulf of Corryvreckan (from the Gaelic Coire Bhreacain) is a narrow strait off Scotland’s west coast famous for its large whirlpool.
  • Csoma
  • Firth
  • Feynman
  • Frankie-Boy
  • Gruffydd
  • Harrison’jai
  • Highlande
  • Innes-Ross
  • Jesuferanmi
  • Jevgenijs
  • Jotvingis
  • Lansana
  • Leonce
  • Oomo – Reminds me of Omoo.
  • Panache
  • Roux
  • Roxus
  • Sonnyboy
  • Stuarttie
  • Taighearnach
  • Turki
  • Tybalt
  • Ythan
  • Zaff
  • Zanemvula
  • Zeteny
  • Zion-Antoine

For more sets of rankings, check out the name rankings category.

Source: Jack and Emily are Scotland’s top baby names

Popular Baby Names in Providence, RI, 1866

providenceLast month we looked at the top Providence names of 1867, so today let’s check out the rankings from the year before — 1866.

First, some stats:

  • 1,633 babies were babies were born in Providence in 1866, by my count. (The number given by the author of the document is 1,632.)
  • 1,457 of these babies (707 girls and 750 boys) had names that were registered with the government at the time of publication. The other 176 babies got blank spaces.
  • 234 unique names (123 girl names and 108 boy names) were shared among these 1,457 babies.

And here’s some extra information I forgot to mention in the last post: In 1860, the city of Providence was home to 29.0% of Rhode Island’s population. In 1870, it was home to 31.7% of the population. So each of these 3 sets of rankings (1866, 1867, 1868) ought to account for roughly 30% of the residents of the state.

Now, on to the names…

Top 5

The top 5 girl names and boy names of 1866 were, unsurprisingly, very similar to the top names of 1867.

Top Baby Girl Names Top Baby Boy Names
1. Mary
2. Catherine
3. Ellen
4. Margaret
5. Sarah
1. John
2. William
3. James
4. George
5. Thomas

The girls’ top 5 is identical, while the boys’ top 5 includes Thomas instead of George.

Girl Names

As expected, Mary was the front-runner by a huge margin. And, while there were dozens of Catherines, and a single Catharine, there weren’t any Katherines.

  1. Mary, 149 baby girls
  2. Catherine, 43
  3. Ellen, 40
  4. Margaret, 37
  5. Sarah, 36
  6. Elizabeth, 32
  7. Alice, 18
  8. Annie, 15
  9. Anna & Eliza, 14 each (2-way tie)
  10. Clara, 13
  11. Ann, 11
  12. Carrie, Emma, Jane & Susan, 10 each (4-way tie)
  13. Grace & Ida, 9 each (2-way tie)
  14. Esther, Martha & Minnie, 7 each (3-way tie)
  15. Anne & Julia, 6 each (2-way tie)
  16. Agnes, Charlotte, Cora, Harriet, Jennie, Joanna, Maria & Rosanna, 5 each (8-way tie)
  17. Amelia, Bridget, Ella, Frances, Hattie, Lydia, Nellie & Theresa, 4 each (8-way tie)
  18. Abby, Emily, Florence, Josephine, Laura, Lillian, Lizzie, Louise & Marion, 3 each (9-way tie)
  19. Ada, Amy, Augusta, Deborah, Edith, Etta, Eva, Fannie, Georgianna, Hannah, Henrietta, Honora, Isabel, Isabella, Lottie, Lucy, Mabel, Marietta, Maud & Teresa, 2 each (20-way tie)
  20. Almira, Annette, Bertha, Catharine, Cedelia, Celia, Christina, Delia, Diana, Dora, Dorcas, Eldora, Eleanor, Elsie, Emeline, Etherine, Eugenie, Evangeline, Fanny, Flora, Geneva, Georgia, Gracie, Helen, Helena, Imogene, Janette, Jessie, Kate, Lena, Louisa, Lucia, Lucinda, Madelina, Marian, Marsalin, May, Millie, Mina, Mini, Minna, Neatah, Nettie, Phebe, Rebecca, Rosa, Roselia, Rosetta, Ruth, Sophia, Stella, Susanna, Susannah, Tillie & Winnifred, 1 each (55-way tie)

Boy Names

John had an even more commanding lead in 1866 than in 1867.

  1. John, 109 baby boys
  2. William, 78
  3. James, 62
  4. George, 44
  5. Thomas, 41
  6. Charles, 36
  7. Edward, 28
  8. Joseph, 27
  9. Frederick, 20
  10. Henry, 18
  11. Frank, 17
  12. Michael, 15
  13. Francis, 14
  14. Daniel, 13
  15. Albert, Patrick & Robert, 12 each (3-way tie)
  16. Walter, 11
  17. Arthur, Peter & Samuel, 8 each (3-way tie)
  18. Alfred, Harry, Louis & Stephen, 7 each (4-way tie)
  19. Martin, 6
  20. Matthew, 5
  21. Christopher, Clarence, Herbert, Howard & Hugh, 4 each (5-way tie)
  22. Benjamin, Eugene, Ira & Jeremiah, 3 each (4-way tie)
  23. Aaron, Alvin, Arnold, Earl, Edgar, Elisha, Freddie, Harrison, Lewis, Marcus, Nicholas, Philip, Richard & Timothy, 2 each (14-way tie)
  24. Abner, Adam, Adolph, Alanson, Alden, Ambrose, Antonio, August, Augustavus*, Augustus, Bartholomew, Bernard, Bradford, Byron, Chauncey, Clinton, David, Duncan, Eben, Ebenezer, Edwin, Elias, Elliott, Ethan, Everett, Ezra, Ferdinand, Frederic, Fullerton, Gilbert, Gwynn, Harold, Herman, Isaac, Jesse, Josiah, Lauriston, Luther, Manuel, Marks, Maurice, Miles, Mortimer, Oliver, Olney, Oscar, Otto, Rana, Rectol, Salisbury, Shamball, Simon, Terence, Theodore, Victor, Willard, Willie & Wilton, 1 each (58-way tie)

(I didn’t combine any variant spellings, but I did lump the abbreviated names Chas., Benj., and Fred’k in with Charles, Benjamin and Frederick.)

*Does Augustavus = Augustus + Gustav, I wonder?


I counted 19 pairs of twins born in Providence in 1866. I didn’t notice any triplets this year. (All of these names have already been accounted for above.)

Twins (b/b) Twins (b/g) Twins (g/g)
Edgar & Oscar
Edward & James
Francis & James
James & John
John & Thomas
(blank) & (blank)
Frederick & Alice
John & Alice
Samuel & Sarah
Stephen & Annie
(blank) & Catherine
Agnes & Anna
Eldora & Ellen
Eliza & Mary
Elizabeth & Julia
Frances & Mary
Josephine & Mary
Mary & Sarah
Theresa & (blank)

I’ll try to finish/post the final set of rankings before the end of the year.

Source: Snow, Edwin M. Alphabetical Lists of Persons Deceased, Born and Married in the City of Providence During the Year 1866. Providence: Hammond, Angell & Co., 1867.

Popular Baby Names in Providence, RI, 1867

providence baby names 1867The registrar of Providence, Rhode Island, published a series of documents listing all “of the names of persons deceased, born and married in the city of Providence” during years 1866, 1867 and 1868. The series may have been longer, but these are the only documents I could find online.

I’ve finally finished creating a set of rankings using one of the documents — 1867. But before we get to the rankings, here are some stats:

  • 1,547 babies were born in Providence in 1867, going by the number of babies listed in the document itself. According to the document’s introduction, though, the number is 1,625. Not sure what to make of this discrepancy.
  • 1,431 of these babies (713 girls and 718 boys) had names that were registered with the government at the time of publication. The other 116 babies got blank spaces. Either their names hadn’t been registered yet, or they hadn’t been named yet, or perhaps they died young and never received a name.
  • 254 unique names (141 girl names and 113 boy names) were shared among these 1,431 babies.

And now, on to the names…

Top 5

A quick look at the top 5 girl names and boy names in Providence in 1867:

Top Baby Girl Names Top Baby Boy Names
1. Mary
2. Catherine
3. Ellen
4. Margaret
5. Sarah
1. John
2. William
3. James
4. Charles
5. George

Girl Names

Notice how the #1 name, Mary, was bestowed three times as often as the #2 name, Catherine.

  1. Mary, 138 baby girls
  2. Catherine, 46
  3. Ellen, 37
  4. Margaret, 34
  5. Sarah, 31
  6. Annie, 19
  7. Elizabeth, 16
  8. Alice, 15
  9. Florence, 14
  10. Ann, Emma & Ida, 12 each (3-way tie)
  11. Minnie, 11
  12. Harriet & Julia, 9 each (2-way tie)
  13. Anna, Caroline, Carrie, Jennie, Joanna & Louisa, 8 each (6-way tie)
  14. Cora & Eliza, 7 each (2-way tie)
  15. Agnes, Clara, Edith, Rosanna & Theresa, 6 each (5-way tie)
  16. Bertha, Grace, Hannah, Hattie, Jane, Lillian, Maria, Martha, Nellie & Susan, 5 each (10-way tie)
  17. Eleanor, Fannie, Gertrude, Helen, Isabella, Lucy & Rosa, 4 each (7-way tie)
  18. Anne, Bridget, Ella, Emily, Esther, Eva, Lizzie, Mabel, Matilda & Ruth, 3 each (10-way tie)
  19. Ada, Amelia, Charlotte, Dora, Eleanora, Elvira, Henrietta, Jessie, Josephine, Kate, Louise, Lydia, Maggie & Rosella, 2 each (14-way tie)
  20. Abby, Addie, Adelaide, Adelia, Almina, Almira, Amanda, Amey, Amy, Anastasia, Angelie, Annis, Antoinette, Augusta, Aurelia, Bethiah, Cecelia, Celia, Clarissa, Clementina, Corielynn, Cornelia, Drusilla, Effie, Emeline, Estella, Ethelin, Fanny, Florentina, Frances, Gelie, Genevieve, Georgiana, Georgianna, Helena, Honora, Irene, Isabel, Issie, Juliann, Julietta, Katie, Laura, Leah, Leonora, Lillie, Lillis, Lily, Lottie, Luella, Margaretta, Margery, Margret, Marietta, Maude, May, Millie, Myra, Nelly, Phebe, Robie, Rosalthe, Rose, Selina, Sophia, Susanna, Susannah, Vienna, Viola, Vira, Virginia & Winifred, 1 each (72-way tie)

Boy Names

  1. John, 87 baby boys
  2. William, 75
  3. James, 64
  4. Charles, 50
  5. George, 45
  6. Thomas, 40
  7. Joseph, 30
  8. Walter, 21
  9. Edward, 16
  10. Francis & Michael, 14 each (2-way tie)
  11. Patrick, 13
  12. Arthur & Robert, 12 each (2-way tie)
  13. Frank, Frederick & Henry, 11 each (3-way tie)
  14. Albert, 9
  15. Daniel & Peter, 8 each (2-way tie)
  16. David, Eugene, Howard & Samuel, 6 each (4-way tie)
  17. Alexander, Louis & Stephen, 5 each (3-way tie)
  18. Harry, Herbert, Hugh & Martin, 4 each (4-way tie)
  19. Carl, Edgar, Everett, Jeremiah & Willie, 3 each (5-way tie)
  20. Abraham, Alfred, Clarence, Cornelius, Dennis, Ernest, Ezra, Franklin, Freddie, Jacob, Jesse, Lewis, Luke, Nicholas, Philip, Sylvester, Theodore, Timothy, 2 each (18-way tie)
  21. Abner, Adam, Adolph, Amos, Andrew, Appleton, Archibald, Ashel, August, Benjamin, Benno, Bernard, Bertram, Burt, Byron, Clifford, Davis, Dexter, Dunlap, Edmund, Edwin, Elmer*, Embert, Forrest, Freddy, Gustav, Herman, Isaac, Jeffrey, Jerome, Josiah, Lucian, Malcolm, Matthew, Maurice, Milton, Nathan, Nehemiah, Nelson, Oren, Oscar, Otto, Owen, Paul, Ralph, Reginald, Richard, Sanford, Seth, Shirley, Sullivan, Terence, Theobald, Victor, Wanton, Warren, Weston, Wheelan, Wilford, 1 each (59-way tie)

*Elmer, who had the middle initial “E.,” was likely named after Civil War casualty Elmer E. Ellsworth.

Twins & Triplets

Twenty-one sets of twins and two sets of triplets were born in Providence in 1867. (All of these names were accounted for above — I just thought it’d be fun to check out the sibsets.)

Twins (b/b) Twins (b/g) Twins (g/g) Triplets
Abraham & George
Charles & George
Charles & John
Daniel & David
Dunlap & Frank
Eugene & Timothy
George & John
George & William
James & John
John & Martin
Albert & Harriet
Ashel & Ida
George & Grace
James & Mary
Maurice & Ann
Annie & Fannie
Annie & Mary
Ann & Ellen
Jennie & Minnie
Margaret & Martha
(blank) & (blank)
Carl, (blank) & (blank)
James, Alexander & Sarah

I’ll post Providence’s 1866 and 1868 rankings as soon I get them done. Until then, here are two older posts featuring uniquely named Rhode Islanders: Aldaberontophoscophornia (b. 1812) and Idawalley (b. 1842).


Names in the News: Kodie, Waverley, Jamie

Three recent baby name stories with connections to Scotland & Ireland:

  • Kodie: In late 2014, a baby boy born to a couple that met at a Kodaline concert was named Kodie after the Irish band. A few months later, the band played in the background while the couple got engaged in a London pub.
  • Waverley: In April of 2015, a baby girl born to a couple in Scotland was named Odell-May Waverley — middle name taken from the historical Waverley railway, which ran from Edinburgh to Carlisle from the mid-1800s until 1969. The line was named with Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley Novels in mind.
  • Jamie: Not long ago in Dublin, a young man named Jamie convinced a suicidal stranger to come down off a ledge and accept medical help. Several months later (in mid-2015) the stranger told Jamie that he and his wife were expecting, and that the baby boy would be named Jamie in his honor.

Sources: Kodaline help fan propose to his girlfriend, Borders Railway couple name baby after Waverley, This Irish teen saved a man from taking his own life – and had a baby named after him

Gaiety Girl Names – Ellaline, Florence, Moya

Gaiety Girl Camille Clifford
Camille Clifford
Before there were Follies girls, there were Gaiety Girls.

These were showgirls appearing in Edwardian musical comedies at London’s Gaiety Theatre during the 1890s.

There’s no definitive list of all the Gaiety Girls, but here are a few of them:

  • Alice Delysia
  • Billie Carleton – birth name Florence
  • Blanche Massey
  • Camille Clifford – birth name Camilla
  • Cicely Courtneidge – birth name Esmerelda
  • Connie Gilchrist – birth name Constance
  • Constance Collier – birth name Laura
  • Denise Orme – birth name Jessie
  • Dorothy Minto
  • Eleanor Souray
  • Ellaline Terriss – birth name Mary (Ellaline was her middle name)
  • Evelyn Laye – birth name Elsie
  • Florence Smithson
  • Gaby Deslys – birth name Marie-Elise-Gabrielle
  • Gabrielle Ray
  • Gertie Millar – birth name Gertrude
  • Gina Palerme
  • Gladys Cooper
  • Irene: Irene Desmond, Irene Richards
  • Jessie Matthews
  • Jose Collins – birth name Charlotte
  • Kitty Gordon – birth name Constance
  • Lily Elsie – birth name Elsie
  • Mabel: Mabel Love, Mabel Russell
  • Mamie Watson
  • Marie Studholme – birth name Caroline
  • May: May Etheridge, May Gates
  • Moya Nugent
  • Olive May
  • Phyllis Dare
  • Rosie Boote – birth name Rose
  • Sylvia: Sylvia Grey, Sylvia Lillian Storey
  • Zena Dare – birth name Florence

Which of the above names do you like best?

Sources: Gaiety Girls – Wikipedia, Gaiety Girls exhibition – National Portrait Gallery
Image: Camille Clifford – National Portrait Gallery

5 Curious Names – Darcy, Iyla, Manahil, Ruzgar, Tulisa

This is my last post on the 2013 England and Wales baby name list, I promise.

Here are five names from the list that made me curious enough to do some digging…


Darcy just keeps rising, doesn’t it? Wonder how high it will go. Two variants of the name are now in the top 100, and a third is just three spots away:

  • Darcey (651 baby girls) – ranks 84th
  • Darcy (588) – ranks 93rd
  • Darcie (540) – ranks 103rd

Lower down on the list there are 22 more variants (I’m including compound names here):

  • Darci (56), D’arcy (11), Darcee (9)
  • Darcie-Mae (22), Darcy-Mae (13), Darcie-Mai (11), Darcy-May (9), Darcie-May (7), Darcey-Mai (5), Darcey-Mae (4), Darcey-May (3), Darci-Mae (3)
  • Darcie-Rae (12), Darcey-Rae (3), Darcy-Rae (3)
  • Darcy-Leigh (9), Darcie-Leigh (8), Darcey-Leigh (4)
  • Darcey-Rose (6), Darcie-Rose (6), Darcy-Rose (3)
  • Darcie-Louise (3)

In total, 1,989 baby girls share these 25 versions of Darcy. If we could rank the entire group, it would fall between #24 Phoebe and #25 Millie on the 2013 list.

As Lou of Mer de Noms noted in a post about female names on the rise, dancer Darcey Bussell became a judge on the TV show Strictly Come Dancing in 2012. This explains why Darcey overtook the more traditional spelling Darcy that year.

And the name is still being used for boys, at least for now. Last year, more than 2 dozen baby boys were named Darcy.


The 5th most popular girl name in England and Wales right now is Isla, which is pronounced EYE-la. The –s– is silent, the same way the –s– is silent in the word “isle.”

But more and more parents are opting to simplify the name by respelling it Iyla. Watch how the number of baby girls named Iyla has been rising in the shadow of skyrocketing Isla:

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Isla 964 1,599 1,908 2,384 2,849 3,501 3,526
Iyla 9 22 33 46 72 118 137

I doubt Iyla will ever overtake the traditional version of the name, but you never know, alternative spellings sometimes catch on. Darcey is now ahead of Darcy, after all, and Zoey has been more popular than Zoe here in the U.S. since 2011.


Last year, two variants of this name entered the girls’ top 1,000 for the first time:

  • Manahil (52 baby girls) – ranks 750th
  • Minahil (47) – ranks 813th
  • Menahil (4)

And I found a fourth variant, Minaahil, on the list from 2012.

Manahil is an Arabic name that means “springs, fountains.” It’s the plural form of the word Manhal.


Ruzgar, given to 20 baby boys last year, comes from the Turkish word rüzgâr, meaning “wind.” You can hear the proper pronunciation of Rüzgâr at Forvo.


Usage of the name Tulisa plummeted last year, but that’s only part of the story. The name also increased in popularity markedly from 2009 to 2012:

  • 2013: 33 baby girls named Tulisa [out of the top 1,000 again]
  • 2012: 126 baby girls named Tulisa [ranked 375th]
  • 2011: 86 baby girls named Tulisa [ranked 494th]
  • 2010: 34 baby girls named Tulisa [ranked 988th]
  • 2009: 6 baby girls named Tulisa [debut]
  • 2008: unlisted

What accounts for the steep rise and the even steeper drop?

English singer and television personality Tulisa (born Tula Paulinea Contostavlos). She became famous as a member of the hip hop group N-Dubz (2000-2011) and was a judge on the TV show The X Factor (2011-2012).

But 2013 was not a good year for Tulisa. First, she left television. Second, she was arrested on drug charges. These two things were enough to knock the baby name Tulisa out of the top 1,000.

Though the stage name is pronounced tu-lee-sa, her name was originally pronounced tu-litz-a and was used to distinguish her from her grandmother (and namesake) Tula. The Greek name Tula/Toula is a short form of any Greek feminine name ending with the diminutive –toula such as Aretoula, Fotoula, Kostoula, Kritoula, Margaritoula, Panagiotoula or Stamatoula.


Have you had a chance to scan the list? Which of the baby names there made you curious?


  • Gandhi, Maneka, and Ozair Husain. The Complete Book of Muslim and Parsi Names. New Delhi: Penguin Books India, 2004.
  • Smith, Sean. Tulisa. London: Simon & Schuster UK, 2012.