How popular is the baby name Melissa 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 Melissa.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Melissa


Posts that Mention the Name Melissa

Popular Baby Names in NYC, 1990-2019

Did you know that New York City’s website hosts vital statistics reports (PDFs) going all the way back to the 1960s? And that, from 1991 onward, these annual reports include baby name rankings for NYC?

I don’t want you to have to comb through a whole bunch of PDFs to find the city’s historical top-ten lists, though, so I gathered all the lists into a single blog post.

The name tables in the reports also incorporate several older sets rankings (from 1990, 1985, 1980, 1948, 1928, and 1898 specifically) for comparison, and those are here well — just scroll to the bottom.


2019

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2019. (Here’s my post about the 2019 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2019)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2019)
1. Emma
2. Olivia
3. Sophia
4. Mia
5. Isabella
6. Leah
7. Ava
8. Chloe
9. Amelia
10. Charlotte
1. Liam
2. Noah
3. Ethan
4. Jacob
5. Lucas
6. Aiden
7. Daniel
8. Michael
9. David
10. Matthew

2018

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2018. (Here’s my post about the 2018 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2018)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2018)
1. Emma
2. Isabella
3. Sophia
4. Mia
5. Olivia
6. Ava
7. Leah
8. Sarah
9. Amelia
10. Chloe
1. Liam
2. Noah
3. Ethan
4. Jacob
5. Aiden
6. David
7. Lucas
8. Matthew
9. Daniel
10. Alexander

2017

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2017. (Here’s my post about the 2017 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2017)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2017)
1. Emma
2. Olivia
3. Mia
4. Sophia
5. Isabella
6. Ava
7. Leah
8. Emily
9. Sarah
10. Abigail
1. Liam
2. Noah
3. Jacob
4. Ethan
5. David
6. Lucas
7. Matthew
8. Jayden
9. Aiden
10. Daniel

2016

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2016. (Here’s my post about the 2016 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2016)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2016)
1. Olivia
2. Sophia
3. Emma
4. Isabella
5. Mia
6. Ava
7. Emily
8. Leah
9. Sarah
10. Madison
1. Liam
2. Jacob
3. Ethan
4. Noah
5. Aiden
6. Matthew
7. Daniel
8. Lucas
9. Michael
10. Dylan

2015

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2015. (Here’s my post about the 2015 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2015)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2015)
1. Olivia
2. Sophia
3. Emma (tie)
4. Mia (tie)
5. Isabella
6. Leah
7. Emily
8. Ava
9. Chloe
10. Madison
1. Ethan
2. Liam
3. Noah
4. Jacob
5. Jayden
6. Matthew
7. David
8. Daniel (tie)
9. Dylan (tie)
10. Aiden

2014

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2014. (Here’s my post about the 2014 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2014)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2014)
1. Sophia
2. Isabella
3. Olivia
4. Mia
5. Emma
6. Emily
7. Leah
8. Ava
9. Sofia
10. Chloe
1. Ethan
2. Jacob
3. Liam
4. Jayden
5. Noah
6. Daniel
7. Michael
8. Alexander
9. David
10. Matthew

2013

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2013.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2013)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2013)
1. Sophia
2. Isabella
3. Emma
4. Olivia
5. Mia
6. Emily
7. Leah
8. Sofia
9. Madison
10. Chloe
1. Jayden
2. Ethan
3. Jacob
4. Daniel
5. David
6. Noah
7. Michael
8. Matthew
9. Alexander
10. Liam

2012

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2012.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2012)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2012)
1. Sophia
2. Isabella
3. Emma
4. Olivia
5. Emily
6. Mia
7. Chloe
8. Madison
9. Leah
10. Ava
1. Jayden
2. Ethan
3. Jacob
4. Daniel
5. Matthew
6. Michael
7. Aiden
8. David
9. Ryan
10. Alexander

2011

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2011. (Here’s my post about the 2011 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2011)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2011)
1. Isabella
2. Sophia
3. Olivia
4. Emma
5. Mia
6. Emily
7. Madison
8. Leah
9. Chloe
10. Sofia
1. Jayden
2. Jacob
3. Ethan
4. Daniel
5. Michael
6. Matthew
7. Justin
8. David
9. Aiden
10. Alexander

2010

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2010.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2010)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2010)
1. Isabella
2. Sophia
3. Olivia
4. Emily
5. Madison
6. Mia
7. Emma
8. Leah
9. Sarah
10. Chloe
1. Jayden
2. Ethan
3. Daniel
4. Jacob
5. David
6. Justin
7. Michael
8. Matthew
9. Joseph
10. Joshua

2009

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2009.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2009)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2009)
1. Isabella
2. Sophia
3. Mia
4. Emily
5. Olivia
6. Madison
7. Sarah
8. Ashley
9. Leah
10. Emma
1. Jayden
2. Daniel
3. Ethan
4. Michael
5. David
6. Justin
7. Matthew
8. Joshua
9. Alexander
10. Christopher

2008

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2008.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2008)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2008)
1. Sophia
2. Isabella
3. Emily
4. Olivia
5. Sarah
6. Madison
7. Ashley
8. Mia
9. Samantha
10. Emma
1. Jayden
2. Daniel
3. Michael
4. Matthew
5. David
6. Joshua
7. Justin
8. Anthony
9. Christopher
10. Ethan/Ryan (tied for 10th)

2007

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2007. (Here’s my post about the 2007 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2007)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2007)
1. Isabella (tie)
2. Sophia (tie)
3. Emily
4. Ashley
5. Sarah
6. Kayla
7. Mia
8. Olivia
9. Samantha
10. Rachel
1. Daniel
2. Jayden
3. Michael
4. Matthew
5. Justin
6. Joshua
7. David
8. Anthony
9. Christopher
10. Joseph

2006

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2006. (Here’s my post about the 2006 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2006)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2006)
1. Ashley
2. Emily
3. Isabella
4. Sarah
5. Kayla
6. Sophia
7. Mia
8. Madison
9. Brianna (tie)
10. Samantha (tie)
1. Michael
2. Daniel
3. Matthew
4. Joshua
5. Justin
6. David
7. Christopher
8. Joseph
9. Anthony
10. Jayden

2005

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2005.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2005)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2005)
1. Emily
2. Ashley
3. Kayla
4. Sarah
5. Isabella
6. Samantha
7. Sophia
8. Nicole
9. Olivia
10. Rachel
1. Michael
2. Daniel
3. Joshua
4. David
5. Justin
6. Matthew
7. Anthony
8. Christopher
9. Joseph
10. Nicholas

2004

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2004.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2004)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2004)
1. Emily
2. Ashley
3. Kayla
4. Sarah
5. Samantha
6. Isabella
7. Brianna
8. Sophia
9. Nicole
10. Olivia
1. Michael
2. Daniel
3. Matthew
4. Justin
5. Joshua
6. David
7. Anthony
8. Christopher (tie)
9. Joseph (tie)
10. Ryan

2003

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2003.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2003)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2003)
1. Emily
2. Ashley
3. Kayla
4. Sarah
5. Samantha
6. Brianna
7. Isabella
8. Nicole
9. Rachel
10. Jessica
1. Michael
2. Justin
3. Daniel
4. Matthew
5. Christopher
6. Anthony
7. David
8. Joshua
9. Joseph
10. Kevin

2002

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2002.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2002)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2002)
1. Ashley
2. Emily
3. Kayla
4. Brianna
5. Samantha
6. Sarah
7. Nicole
8. Jessica
9. Michelle
10. Isabella
1. Michael
2. Justin
3. Daniel
4. Matthew
5. Christopher
6. Joseph
7. Anthony
8. Joshua
9. Nicholas
10. David

2001

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2001.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2001)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2001)
1. Ashley
2. Kayla
3. Samantha
4. Emily
5. Jessica
6. Brianna
7. Nicole
8. Sarah
9. Destiny
10. Michelle
1. Michael
2. Justin
3. Christopher
4. Daniel
5. Matthew
6. Joseph
7. Anthony
8. David
9. Joshua
10. Kevin

2000

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2000.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2000)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2000)
1. Ashley
2. Samantha
3. Kayla
4. Emily
5. Brianna
6. Sarah
7. Jessica
8. Nicole
9. Michelle
10. Amanda
1. Michael
2. Justin
3. Christopher
4. Matthew
5. Daniel
6. Anthony
7. Joshua
8. David
9. Joseph
10. Kevin

1999

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1999.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1999)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1999)
1. Ashley
2. Samantha
3. Emily
4. Sarah
5. Nicole
6. Kayla
7. Jessica
8. Brianna
9. Amanda
10. Jennifer
1. Michael
2. Justin
3. Matthew
4. Christopher
5. Joseph
6. Daniel
7. Anthony
8. David
9. Kevin
10. Joshua

1998

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1998.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1998)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1998)
1. Ashley
2. Samantha
3. Jessica
4. Amanda
5. Nicole
6. Emily
7. Jennifer
8. Sarah
9. Brianna
10. Stephanie
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Justin
4. Joseph
5. Matthew
6. Anthony
7. Daniel
8. Brandon
9. Nicholas
10. David

1997

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1997.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1997)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1997)
1. Ashley
2. Samantha
3. Jessica
4. Nicole
5. Amanda
6. Sarah
7. Stephanie
8. Jennifer
9. Emily
10. Brianna
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Joseph
4. Matthew
5. Justin
6. Daniel
7. Anthony (tie)
8. Brandon (tie)
9. David
10. Jonathan

1996

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1996.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1996)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1996)
1. Ashley
2. Jessica
3. Samantha
4. Stephanie
5. Nicole
6. Amanda
7. Jennifer
8. Sarah
9. Michelle
10. Emily
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Anthony
4. Kevin
5. Daniel
6. Joseph
7. Matthew
8. Justin
9. Jonathan
10. David

1995

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1995.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1995)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1995)
1. Ashley
2. Jessica
3. Amanda
4. Samantha
5. Stephanie
6. Jennifer
7. Nicole
8. Sarah*
9. Michelle
10. Emily
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Kevin
4. Daniel
5. Jonathan
6. Joseph
7. Anthony
8. Matthew
9. David
10. Justin

*The name was spelled “Sara” (without the h) in the 1995 annual report, but “Sarah” (with the h) on all the other reports. So, assuming that “Sara” was a typo, I’ve spelled it with the h here.

1994

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1994.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1994)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1994)
1. Ashley
2. Jessica
3. Stephanie
4. Samantha
5. Amanda
6. Nicole
7. Jennifer
8. Michelle
9. Tiffany
10. Danielle
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Kevin
4. Anthony
5. Jonathan
6. Daniel
7. Joseph
8. Matthew
9. David
10. Brandon

1993

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1993.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1993)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1993)
1. Ashley
2. Stephanie
3. Jessica
4. Amanda
5. Samantha
6. Nicole
7. Jennifer
8. Michelle
9. Melissa
10. Christina
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Kevin
4. Jonathan
5. Anthony
6. Daniel
7. Joseph
8. David
9. Matthew
10. John

1992

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1992.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1992)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1992)
1. Ashley
2. Stephanie
3. Jessica
4. Amanda
5. Samantha
6. Jennifer
7. Nicole
8. Michelle
9. Melissa
10. Christina
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Jonathan
4. Anthony
5. Joseph
6. Daniel
7. David
8. Kevin
9. Matthew
10. John

1991

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1991.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1991)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1991)
1. Stephanie
2. Ashley
3. Jessica
4. Amanda
5. Samantha
6. Jennifer
7. Nicole
8. Michelle
9. Melissa
10. Christina
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Jonathan
4. Anthony
5. Joseph
6. Daniel
7. David
8. Matthew
9. Kevin
10. John

1990

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1990.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1990)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1990)
1. Stephanie
2. Jessica
3. Ashley
4. Jennifer
5. Amanda
6. Samantha
7. Nicole
8. Christina
9. Melissa
10. Michelle
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Jonathan
4. Anthony
5. David
6. Daniel
7. Joseph
8. Matthew
9. John
10. Andrew

1985

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1985.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1985)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1985)
1. Jennifer
2. Jessica
3. Christina
4. Stephanie
5. Melissa
6. Nicole
7. Elizabeth
8. Amanda
9. Danielle
10. Lauren
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Daniel
4. David
5. Anthony
6. Joseph
7. Jonathan
8. Jason
9. John
10. Robert

1980

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1980.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1980)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1980)
1. Jennifer
2. Jessica
3. Melissa
4. Nicole
5. Michelle
6. Elizabeth
7. Lisa
8. Christina
9. Tiffany
10. Maria
1. Michael
2. David
3. Jason
4. Joseph
5. Christopher
6. Anthony
7. John
8. Daniel
9. Robert
10. James

1948

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1948.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1948)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1948)
1. Linda
2. Mary
3. Barbara
4. Patricia
5. Susan
6. Kathleen
7. Carol
8. Nancy
9. Margaret
10. Diane
1. Robert
2. John
3. James
4. Michael
5. William
6. Richard
7. Joseph
8. Thomas
9. Stephen
10. David

1928

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1928.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1928)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1928)
1. Mary
2. Marie
3. Annie
4. Margaret
5. Catherine
6. Gloria
7. Helen
8. Teresa
9. Joan
10. Barbara
1. John
2. William
3. Joseph
4. James
5. Richard
6. Edward
7. Robert
8. Thomas
9. George
10. Louis

1898

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1898.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1898)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1898)
1. Mary
2. Catherine
3. Margaret
4. Annie
5. Rose
6. Marie
7. Esther
8. Sarah
9. Frances
10. Ida
1. John
2. William
3. Charles
4. George
5. Joseph
6. Edward
7. James
8. Louis
9. Francis
10. Samuel

NYC typically waits until the following December to release their baby name rankings, so I don’t expect the 2020 rankings to be available until the end of this year.

Sources: New York City‘s Summary of Vital Statistics for 2018 (pdf), 2017 (pdf), 2016 (pdf), 2015 (pdf), 2014 (pdf), 2013 (pdf), 2012 (pdf), 2011 (pdf), 2010 (pdf), 2009 (pdf), 2008 (pdf), 2007 (pdf), 2006 (pdf), 2005 (pdf), 2004 (pdf), 2003 (pdf), 2002 (pdf), 2001 (pdf), 2000 (pdf), 1999 (pdf), 1998 (pdf), 1997 (pdf), 1996 (pdf), 1995 (pdf), 1994 (pdf), 1993 (pdf), 1992 (pdf), 1991 (pdf)

“Real World” Baby Names: Amaya, Baya, Brynn…

“This is the true story…of seven strangers…picked to live in a loft…and have their lives taped…”

Several months ago, the cast of the inaugural season of MTV’s The Real World held a 6-day reunion in the very same NYC loft they shared back in 1992. The reunion — which was filmed, of course — is now airing as a series on the Paramount+ platform. (Here’s the trailer.)

When I was a teenager, I loved watching The Real World. (And I appreciated that the names of the cast members were always prominently displayed in the opening credits!) So I think now would be a great time to go back and see if any Real World cast member names had an influence on U.S. baby names.

First, let’s start with a comprehensive list of all the cast member names from each of RW‘s 33 (!) seasons…

  1. The Real World: New York (1992): Andre, Becky, Eric, Heather, Julie, Kevin, Norman
  2. The Real World: California (1993): Aaron, Beth (x2), David, Dominic, Glen, Irene, Jon, Tami
  3. The Real World: San Francisco (1994): Cory, Jo, Judd, Mohammed, Pam, Pedro, Puck, Rachel
  4. The Real World: London (1995): Jacinda, Jay, Kat, Lars, Mike, Neil, Sharon
  5. The Real World: Miami (1996): Cynthia, Dan, Flora, Joe, Melissa, Mike, Sarah
  6. The Real World: Boston (1997): Elka, Genesis, Jason, Kameelah, Montana, Sean, Syrus
  7. The Real World: Seattle (1998): David, Irene, Janet, Lindsay, Nathan, Rebecca, Stephen
  8. The Real World: Hawaii (1999): Amaya, Colin, Justin, Kaia, Matt, Ruthie, Teck
  9. The Real World: New Orleans (2000): Danny, David, Jamie, Julie, Kelley, Matt, Melissa
  10. The Real World: Back to New York (2001): Coral, Kevin, Lori, Malik, Mike, Nicole, Rachel
  11. The Real World: Chicago (2002): Aneesa, Cara, Chris, Keri, Kyle, Theo, Tonya
  12. The Real World: Las Vegas (2002-2003): Alton, Arissa, Brynn, Frank, Irulan, Steven, Trishelle
  13. The Real World: Paris (2003): Ace, Adam, Chris, Christina, Leah, Mallory, Simon
  14. The Real World: San Diego (2004): Brad, Cameran, Charlie, Frankie, Jacquese, Jamie, Randy, Robin
  15. The Real World: Philadelphia (2004-2005): Karamo, Landon, Melanie, M.J., Sarah, Shavonda, Willie
  16. The Real World: Austin (2005): Danny, Johanna, Lacey, Melinda, Nehemiah, Rachel, Wes
  17. The Real World: Key West (2006): Janelle, John, Jose, Paula, Svetlana, Tyler, Zach
  18. The Real World: Denver (2006-2007): Alex, Brooke, Colie, Davis, Jenn, Stephen, Tyrie
  19. The Real World: Sydney (2007-2008): Ashli, Cohutta, Dunbar, Isaac, KellyAnne, Parisa, Shauvon, Trisha
  20. The Real World: Hollywood (2008): Brianna, Brittini, Dave, Greg, Joey, Kimberly, Nick, Sarah, Will
  21. The Real World: Brooklyn (2009): Baya, Chet, Devyn, J.D., Katelynn, Ryan, Sarah, Scott
  22. The Real World: Cancun (2009): Ayiiia, Bronne, CJ, Derek, Emilee, Jasmine, Joey, Jonna
  23. The Real World: D.C. (2009-2010): Andrew, Ashley, Callie, Emily, Erika, Josh, Mike, Ty
  24. The Real World: New Orleans (2010): Ashlee, Eric, Jemmye, McKenzie, Preston, Ryan (x2), Sahar
  25. The Real World: Las Vegas (2011): Adam, Dustin, Heather (x2), Leroy, Michael, Nany, Naomi
  26. The Real World: San Diego (2011): Alexandra, Ashley, Frank, Nate, Priscilla, Sam, Zach
  27. The Real World: St. Thomas (2012): Brandon (x2), LaToya, Laura, Marie, Robb, Trey
  28. The Real World: Portland (2013): Anastasia, Averey, Jessica, Johnny, Joi, Jordan, Marlon, Nia
  29. Real World: Ex-Plosion (2014): Arielle, Ashley (x2), Brian, Cory, Hailey, Jamie, Jay, Jenna, Jenny, Lauren, Thomas
  30. Real World: Skeletons (2014-2015): Bruno, Jason, Madison, Nicole, Sylvia, Tony, Violetta
  31. Real World: Go Big or Go Home (2016): CeeJai, Chris, Dean, Dione, Dylan, Jenna, Kailah, Sabrina
  32. Real World Seattle: Bad Blood (2016-2017): Anika, Anna, Jennifer, Jordan, Kassius, Katrina, Kimberly, Mike, Orlana, Peter, Robbie, Theo, Tyara, Will
  33. The Real World: Atlanta (2019): Arely, Clint, Dondre, Justin, Meagan, Tovah, Yasmin

The names in boldface line up with a discernible increase in baby name usage. (Other Real World names may have affected baby names as well, but it can be hard to tell when, say, a name is already common, or already on the rise.)

Here are details on all the boldfaced names, plus two more influential RW names (from seasons 6 and 18) that didn’t even belong to primary cast members.

  • The name Jacinda (from season 4; 1995) saw peak usage in 1996.
  • The name Flora (5; 1996) saw increased usage in 1997.
  • The name Kameelah (6; 1997) saw increased usage in 1998.
  • The name Syrus (6; 1997) saw increased usage in 1997.
  • The name Jason (6; 1997) was probably not affected, but the name of Jason’s girlfriend, Timber, saw increased usage in 1998.
  • The name Amaya (8; 1999) saw sharply increased usage in 1999 and 2000.
  • The name Kaia (8; 1999) saw increased usage in 1999.
  • The name Ruthie (8; 1999) saw increased usage in 1999.
  • The name Aneesa (11; 2002) saw peak usage in 2002.
  • The name Arissa (12; 2002-3) saw peak usage in 2003.
  • The name Brynn (12; 2002-3) saw sharply increased usage in 2003.
  • The name Irulan (12; 2002-3) debuted in the data in 2003.
    • It looks like she was named after the fictional character Princess Irulan from Frank Herbert’s Dune books…?
  • The name Trishelle (12; 2002-3) saw peak usage in 2004.
  • The name Mallory (13; 2003) saw increased usage in 2003 and 2004.
  • The name Cameran (14; 2004) saw peak usage in 2004.
  • The name Jacquese (14; 2004) both returned to the data and saw peak usage in 2004.
  • The name Johanna (16; 2005) saw increased usage in 2005.
  • The name Nehemiah (16; 2005) saw increased usage in 2005 and 2006.
  • The name Janelle (17; 2006) saw increased usage in 2006.
  • The name Svetlana (17; 2006) saw peak usage in 2007.
  • The name Colie (18; 2006-7) both returned to the data and saw peak usage in 2007.
  • The name Tyrie (18; 2006-7) saw peak usage in 2007.
  • The name of Tyrie’s girlfriend, Jazalle, debuted in 2007 and is a one-hit wonder so far.
  • The name Kellyanne (19; 2007-8) returned to the data in 2008.
  • The name Baya (21; 2009) saw sharply increased usage in 2009. In fact, Baya was one of the fastest-rising baby names of 2009.
  • The name Averey (28; 2013) saw peak usage in 2013.
  • The name Kassius (32; 2016-17) saw increased usage in 2017.

Of all the names above, which one(s) do you like most?

And, for all the Real World fans out there: which season(s) do you like most? :)

Source: The Real World (TV series) – Wikipedia

Obscene, but Obscure: Yea or Nay?

While working on the Phaedra post from earlier this week, I came across the fact that Greek playwright Euripides had two wives: Melite and Choerine.

The name Melite I recognized as coming from the Melissa/Melitta/Melita family. All these names can be traced back to the Greek word meli, meaning “honey.”

But the name Choerine didn’t ring a bell, so I went off in search of a definition.

Before tracking it down, I happened to find this enticing little snippet:

“Choerine” is an attested Athenian name, but it could easily be used for obscene puns.

Obscene puns?!

After more digging, I discovered that Choerine (and the male equivalent Choerus) were based on the Greek word choiros, meaning “pig.” And that the equivalent word in Latin, porcus, had given rise to the names Porcius and Porcia/Portia.

But “pig” isn’t he obscene part:

In classical Latin the word porcus was occasionally used as an informal term for the vulva (Greek choiros, ‘young pig,’ was employed similarly).

Here’s more:

Porcus (pig) was apparently a Roman nursery word for the external pudenda of girls […] Perhaps the allusion is to a perceived resemblance between the part in question and the end of a pig’s snout.

In fact, this obscene sense of porcus is precisely how porcelain came to be named. The word porcelain can be traced back to the Italian word for the cowrie shell, porcellana (“young sow”), which was named in reference to its vulva-like shape.

Now for the question of the day: Would information like this (i.e., obscene-but-obscure associations) ever dissuade you from choosing a particular baby name?

Sources:

  • Laqueur, Thomas Walter. Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud, Harvard University Press, 1990, p. 270.
  • Porcelain – Online Etymology Dictionary
  • “Pork.” Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories, Merriam-Webster, 1991, p. 371.
  • Scodel, Ruth. “The Euripidean Biography.” A Companion to Euripides, ed. by Laura K. McClure, John Wiley & Sons, 2017, pp. 27-41.

Pop Culture Baby Name Game, 2019

pop culture baby name game, 2019

Time for the annual Pop Culture Baby Name Game!

But first: Happy birthday, Elvis Presley! (He would have been 85 today.)

So now, think back to 2019. Think of all the pop culture that caught your attention. Think of movies, music, TV shows, social media, sports, video games, news, politics, products, and so forth.

Which of these things had an influence on U.S. baby names last year, do you think? Which baby names will see higher usage (or appear for the very first time) in the 2019 data thanks to 2019 pop culture?

Here are some names to start with:

  • Adeya – from celebrity baby Adeya (born in March to Kehlani)
  • Alita – from the movie Alita: Battle Angel
  • Archie – from royal baby Archie (born in May to Harry & Meghan)
  • Billie – from singer Billie Eilish
  • Brixton – from the movie Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
  • Deckard – from the movie Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
  • Dorian – from hurricane Dorian
  • Eilish – also from singer Billie Eilish
  • Gloria – from the St. Louis Blues anthem “Gloria
  • Greedy – from NFL player Andraez Montrell “Greedy” Williams
  • Greta – from environmental activist Greta Thunberg
  • Lizzo – from rapper/singer Lizzo (originally a Melissa)
  • Luce – from the movie Luce
  • Maleficent – from the movie Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
  • Nipsey – from the late rapper Nipsey Hussle
  • Post – from rapper Post Malone
  • Psalm – from celebrity baby Psalm (born in May to Kim & Kanye)
  • Saybie – from newsworthy baby Saybie
  • Shaed – from the band Shaed (“Trampoline”)
  • Sulwe – from the book Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o
  • Wick – from the movie John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

A few names from the 2018 game (Kamala? Kelleth? Sanni? Marsai?) might still be applicable as well.

What other names should we add to the list? Let me know by commenting below. Please don’t forget to mention the pop culture influence!

I’ll be posting the game results in May of 2020, a few days after the SSA releases the 2019 baby name data. If you don’t want to miss the results post, just subscribe to NBN!

The Emergence of Maxx

Norman and Maxx

The baby name Maxx — which briefly reached the boys’ top 1,000 about a decade ago — first appeared in the SSA data back in 1980. In fact, it was a rare dual-gender debut:

  • 1982: unlisted
  • 1981: 7 baby boys named Maxx
  • 1980: 5 baby girls and 8 baby boys named Maxx
  • 1979: unlisted
  • 1978: unlisted

What boosted it into the data that year?

A short-lived sitcom called Me and Maxx, which lasted just 10 episodes (March to July, 1980). One of the main characters was an 11-year-old girl named Maxx (played by Melissa Michaelsen). The other main character was Maxx’s father, Norman, “who trie[d] to balance the responsibility of fatherhood with his romantic adventures.”

Maxx’s character was inspired by and named after Maxx Komack, the real-life daughter of the show’s creator, James Komack.

What do you think of the double-X name Maxx — do you like it more or less than the single-X version, Max?

Source: Me and Maxx – Wikipedia, Me and Max – TV Guide