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

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

Numerology & Baby Names: Number 6

baby names that add up to 6, numerologically

Here are hundreds of baby names that have a numerological value of “6.”

I’ve sub-categorized them by overall totals, because I think that some of the intermediate numbers could have special significance to people as well.

Within each group, I’ve listed up to ten of the most popular “6” names per gender (according to the current U.S. rankings).

Beneath all the names are some ways you could interpret the numerological value of “6,” including descriptions from two different numerological systems.

6

The following baby names add up to 6.

  • “6” girl names: Ada
  • “6” boy names: Abba

6 via 15

The following baby names add up to 15, which reduces to six (1+5=6).

  • “15” girl names: Aida, Adia, Alaa, An, Ama, Aala, Daia, Adai, Abcde
  • “15” boy names: Jad, Gabe, Aadi, An, Ej, Alaa

6 via 24

The following baby names add up to 24, which reduces to six (2+4=6).

  • “24” girl names: Ava, Nia, Maia, Alaia, Hana, Amia, Rae, Dara, Kaci, Edna
  • “24” boy names: Ian, Dean, Aden, Dane, Kage, Kal, Abdel, Blade, Edan, Ahan

6 via 33

The following baby names add up to 33, which reduces to six (3+3=6).

  • “33” girl names: Kali, Mabel, Anahi, Mara, Alena, Shea, Aimee, Andie, Arie, Elana
  • “33” boy names: Aiden, Isaac, Wade, Fabian, Kobe, Sam, Abdiel, Amar, Shea, Don

6 via 42

The following baby names add up to 42, which reduces to six (4+2=6).

  • “42” girl names: Eliana, Maria, Cecilia, Callie, Elaina, Lilah, Maggie, Amira, Amari, Anaya
  • “42” boy names: Evan, Axel, Damian, Alex, Joel, Nash, Amari, Andre, Odin, Deacon

6 via 51

The following baby names add up to 51, which reduces to six (5+1=6).

  • “51” girl names: Layla, Lydia, Delilah, Khloe, Myla, Camilla, Phoebe, Haley, Charli, Greta
  • “51” boy names: Michael, Asher, Hugo, Raiden, Issac, Jamir, Boone, Gary, Lachlan, Deandre

6 via 60

The following baby names add up to 60, which reduces to six (6+0=6).

  • “60” girl names: Hailey, Millie, Kehlani, Miranda, Nylah, Raven, Averie, Skye, Wren, Emely
  • “60” boy names: Landon, Kayden, Silas, Grant, Thiago, Enzo, Bryan, Ibrahim, Kason, Ruben

6 via 69

The following baby names add up to 69, which reduces to six (6+9=15; 1+5=6).

  • “69” girl names: Riley, Lillian, Stella, Parker, Harley, Giselle, Rylie, Addilyn, Oakley, Maliyah
  • “69” boy names: Jeremiah, Cameron, Brayden, Parker, Jasper, Griffin, Riley, Hector, Conner, Malcolm

6 via 78

The following baby names add up to 78, which reduces to six (7+8=15; 1+5=6).

  • “78” girl names: Genesis, Kennedy, Melissa, Madilyn, Esmeralda, Scarlet, Viviana, Kayleigh, Oaklyn, Julieta
  • “78” boy names: Robert, Tucker, Patrick, Emiliano, Karson, Daxton, Troy, Dominick, Colson, Vicente

6 via 87

The following baby names add up to 87, which reduces to six (8+7=15; 1+5=6).

  • “87” girl names: Paisley, Everly, Mackenzie, Veronica, Justice, Journi, Marisol, Marlowe, Blessing, Tallulah
  • “87” boy names: Vincent, Victor, Stephen, Joaquin, Kolton, Dustin, Braylon, Justice, Layton, Sonny

6 via 96

The following baby names add up to 96, which reduces to six (9+6=15; 1+5=6).

  • “96” girl names: Destiny, Mallory, Kristen, Vivianne, Shirley, Ellisyn, Kirsten, Maddilynn, Blakelynn, Journii
  • “96” boy names: Weston, Stanley, Ernesto, Turner, Jayvion, Pierson, Knowledge, Townes, Triton, Rexton

6 via 105

The following baby names add up to 105, which reduces to six (1+0+5=6).

  • “105” girl names: Wynter, Dorothy, Christine, Esperanza, Viktoria, Kristine, Alysson, Jessalyn, Huntley, Cypress
  • “105” boy names: Lorenzo, Maximilian, Gustavo, Tristen, Xzavier, Johnathon, Tytus, Huntley, Cypress, Giovonni

6 via 114

The following baby names add up to 114, which reduces to six (1+1+4=6).

  • “114” girl names: Rosemary, Jazzlyn, Josslyn, Brynnleigh, Joselynn, Vittoria, Waylynn, Treazure, Austynn, Alyssandra
  • “114” boy names: Winston, Princeton, Demetrius, Juancarlos, Townsend, Stavros, Waylynn, Sovereign, Leanthony, Moustapha

6 via 123

The following baby names add up to 123, which reduces to six (1+2+3=6).

  • “123” girl names: Monserrat, Antoinette, Riverlyn, Kimberlynn, Quetzalli, Preslynn, Joycelynn, Maryfrances, Starlynn, Rosealynn
  • “123” boy names: Maxamillion, Johnthomas, Timmothy, Greyston, Alexzavier, Grizzly, Lovensky, Cordarious

6 via 132

The following baby names add up to 132, which reduces to six (1+3+2=6).

  • “132” girl names: Westlynn, Timberlynn, Ramatoulaye
  • “132” boy names: Maximilliano, Bartholomew, Marcanthony, Apostolos, Ellsworth, Truxton, Alexanderjames, Josedejesus

6 via 141

The following baby names add up to 141, which reduces to six (1+4+1=6).

  • “141” girl names: Livingston
  • “141” boy names: Youssouf, Livingston, Fiyinfoluwa, Trystyn

6 via 150

The following baby names add up to 150, which reduces to six (1+5+0=6).

  • “150” girl names: Kourtlynn, Morireoluwa, Ibukunoluwa, Montzerrat
  • “150” boy names: Ibukunoluwa, Luisenrique, Morireoluwa, Oluwamayowa

6 via 159

The following baby names add up to 159, which reduces to six (1+5+9=15; 1+5=6).

  • “159” girl names: Krystalynn, Charlotterose

6 via 168

The following baby names add up to 168, which reduces to six (1+6+8=15; 1+5=6).

  • “168” girl names: Oluwasemilore, Chrysanthemum
  • “168” boy names: Quintavious, Oluwasemilore

6 via 177

The girl name Oluwajomiloju adds up to 177, which reduces to six (1+7+7=15; 1+5=6).

What Does “6” Mean?

First, we’ll look at the significance assigned to “6” by two different numerological sources. Second, and more importantly, ask yourself if “6” or any of the intermediate numbers above have any special significance to you.

Numerological Attributes

“6” (the hexad) according to the Pythagoreans:

  • “They rightly call it ‘reconciliation’: for it weaves together male and female by blending, and not by juxtaposition as the pentad does. And it is plausibly called ‘peace,’ and a much earlier name for it, based on the fact that it organizes things, was ‘universe’: for the universe, like 6, is often seen as composed of opposites in harmony”
  • “They also called it ‘health’ and ‘anvil’ (as it were, the unwearying one), because it is reasonable to think that the most fundamental triangles of the elements of the universe partake in it, since each triangle is six, if it is divided by three perpendiculars”
  • “It arises out of the first even and first odd numbers, male and female, as a product and by multiplication; hence it is called ‘androgynous.'”
  • “It is also called ‘marriage,’ in the strict sense that it arises not by addition, as the pentad does, but by multiplication. Moreover, it is called ‘marriage’ because it is equal to its own parts, and it is the function of marriage to make offspring similar to parents.”
  • “They also called it…’measurer of time in twos’ because of the distribution of all time, which is accomplished by a hexad of zodiacal signs over the Earth and another under the Earth, or because time, since it has three parts [past, present, future], is assimilated to the triad, and the hexad arises from two threes.”
  • “It is also called ‘Thaleia’ [etym. Greek, “the plentiful one”] because of its harmonizing different things, and ‘panacea,’ either because of its connection with health…or as it were self-sufficiency, because it has been furnished with parts sufficient for wholeness.”

“6” according to Edgar Cayce:

  • “Six – the strength of a three, with a helpful influence” (reading 261-14).
  • “Six being the changes that have been made in the double strength of three” (reading 261-15).
  • “Six – again makes for the beauty and the symmetrical forces of all numbers, making for strength” (reading 5751-1).
Personal/Cultural Significance

Does “6” — or do any of the other numbers above (e.g., 33, 42, 96, 123) — have any special significance to you?

Think about your own preferences and personal experiences: lucky numbers, birth dates, music, sports, and so on. For example, maybe your favorite book is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which highlights the number 42.

Also think about associations you may have picked up from your culture, your religion, or society in general.

If you have any interesting insights about the number 6, or any of the other numbers above, please leave a comment!

Source: Theologumena Arithmeticae, attributed to Iamblichus (c.250-c.330).

More Top Baby Name Drops

A couple of weeks a go we checked out the list of top raw-number rises in the U.S. baby name data, so today let’s balance things out with the list of top raw-number drops.

Just remember that the SSA data doesn’t become very accurate until the mid-to-late 20th century, so many of the numbers below don’t reflect reality all that well.

Same format as usual: Girl names on the left, boy names on the right. Numbers represent single-year decreases in usage. From 1880 to 1881, for instance, usage of the girl name Mary dropped by 146 babies and usage of the boy name William dropped by 1,008 babies.

  • 1881: Mary, -146; William, -1,008
  • 1882: Lulu, -34; Garfield, -78
  • 1883: Mary, -136; William, -911
  • 1884: Mina, -33; Albert, -61
  • 1885: Sarah, -94; William, -853
  • 1886: Nancy, -35; Grover, -361
  • 1887: Minnie, -157; John, -916
  • 1888: Dorothea, -24; Rudolph, -17
  • 1889: Emma, -203; William, -933
  • 1890: Mollie, -53; William, -278
  • 1891: Mary, -375; John, -821
  • 1892: Jennie, -26; Enoch & Irving, -16 each (tie)
  • 1893: Mary, -390; John, -990
  • 1894: Ruth, -286; Grover, -171
  • 1895: Laura, -87; Charles, -155
  • 1896: Jessie, -197; John, -182
  • 1897: Anna, -431; John, -589
  • 1898: Sophie, -49; Hobart, -63
  • 1899: Mary, -1,234; William, -1,314
  • 1900: Manila, -24; Dewey, -154
  • 1901: Mary, -3,572; John, -2,931
  • 1902: Sophie, -45; Manuel, -32
  • 1903: Mary, -211; William, -305
  • 1904: Lillie, -121; Leo, -83
  • 1905: Florence, -94; Alton, -138
  • 1906: Minnie, -173; Theodore, -146
  • 1907: Bessie & Alice, -85 each (tie); Austin, -27
  • 1908: Evelyn, -178; Theodore, -69
  • 1909: Mae, -154; Ernest, -115
  • 1910: Allie, -35; Delmar & Bruce, -24 each (tie)
  • 1911: Annie, -220; Willie, -405
  • 1912: Dessie, -20; Lawyer & Blas, -12 each (tie)
  • 1913: Carrie, -62; Emerson, -28
  • 1914: Tomasa, -27; Woodrow, -547
  • 1915: Juana, -32; Kermit, -79
  • 1916: Mollie, -88; Willard, -476
  • 1917: Edna, -204; Woodrow, -239
  • 1918: Rose, -215; Frederick, -103
  • 1919: Helen, -2,447; John, -3,029
  • 1920: Sophie, -234; Woodrow, -1,033
  • 1921: Gertrude, -449; Willie, -391
  • 1922: Helen, -2,314; Warren, -3,315
  • 1923: Helen, -1,017; George, -321
  • 1924: Elizabeth, -512; Warren, -1,231
  • 1925: Mary, -2,910; John, -1,878
  • 1926: Mary, -2,773; William, -1,358
  • 1927: Helen, -1,582; William, -479
  • 1928: Mary, -3,756; William, -2,360
  • 1929: Mary, -3,361; John, -1,652
  • 1930: Ruth, -1,079; Herbert, -2,187
  • 1931: Dorothy, -3,884; John, -4,026
  • 1932: Betty, -1,688; Robert, -1,255
  • 1933: Mary, -4,381; Robert, -5,052
  • 1934: Dorothy, -761; Franklin, -1,209
  • 1935: Betty, -2,408; Franklin, -1,543
  • 1936: Shirley, -7,202; Donald, -1,025

(From the SSA: “Note that many people born before 1937 never applied for a Social Security card, so their names are not included in our data.”)

  • 1937: Shirley, -8,337; Donald, -771
  • 1938: Shirley, -3,048; Donald, -1,207
  • 1939: Shirley, -3,320; Robert, -2,630
  • 1940: Shirley, -2,573; Donald, -962
  • 1941: Betty, -1,172; Wendell, -533
  • 1942: Deanna, -408; Billy, -352
  • 1943: Carole, -1,900; Douglas, -3,001
  • 1944: Barbara, -4,242; Robert, -4,008
  • 1945: Mary, -3,184; James, -2,497
  • 1946: Victoria, -280; Victor, -492
    • Top 5 boy-name drops of ’46, in order: Victor, Truman, Franklin, Delano, Roosevelt/Homer (tie)
  • 1947: Carole, -793; Richard, -369
  • 1948: Patricia, -5,144; Richard, -7,570
  • 1949: Linda, -5,192; Ronald, -2,026
  • 1950: Linda, -10,549; John, -1,642
  • 1951: Linda, -6,553; Larry, -1,016
  • 1952: Linda, -6,808; Larry, -2,224
  • 1953: Linda, -5,819; Larry, -3,081
  • 1954: Linda, -5,884; Dennis, -2,860
  • 1955: Mary, -4,830; Gary, -3,499
  • 1956: Deborah, -4,476; David, -4,588
  • 1957: Deborah, -7,778; Gary, -2,286
  • 1958: Cynthia, -8,311; James, -5,502
  • 1959: Debra, -4,166; Michael, -5,209
  • 1960: Debra, -4,626; Richard, -3,619
  • 1961: Donna, -5,468; Richard, -2,432
  • 1962: Mary, -4,163; Mark, -4,234
  • 1963: Linda, -3,754; Mark, -4,150
  • 1964: Lori, -5,280; Mark, -4,073
  • 1965: Mary, -6,709; John, -10,972
  • 1966: Karen, -7,431; John, -6,519
  • 1967: Lisa, -4,483; James, -3,495
  • 1968: Mary, -3,592; David, -3,058
  • 1969: Lisa, -4,494; Timothy, -3,153
  • 1970: Lisa, -6,077; David, -1,953
  • 1971: Lisa, -6,053; David, -8,650
  • 1972: Lisa, -5,357; John, -8,340
  • 1973: Lisa, -4,883; David, -5,267
  • 1974: Lisa, -2,889; Robert, -1,681
  • 1975: Jennifer, -4,926; Brian, -3,864
  • 1976: Michelle, -3,116; Scott, -1,571
  • 1977: Amy, -4,613; Scott, -1,541
  • 1978: Amy, -3,509; Jason, -4,027
  • 1979: Kelly, -1,686; Kevin, -1,373
  • 1980: Melissa, -2,420; Jason, -2,203
  • 1981: Melissa, -3,623; Jason, -6,268
  • 1982: Brooke, -2,183; Jeremy, -2,643
  • 1983: Jennifer, -2,767; Jason, -5,512
  • 1984: Jennifer, -3,784; Jason, -5,167
  • 1985: Jennifer, -7,903; Jason, -3,905
  • 1986: Jennifer, -6,474; Joshua, -4,655
  • 1987: Jennifer, -3,483; Jason, -3,054
  • 1988: Ashley, -4,873; Jason, -3,441
  • 1989: Jennifer, -3,888; Jason, -3,292
  • 1990: Tiffany, -2,555; Adam, -2,216
  • 1991: Brittany, -7,446; Christopher, -5,219
  • 1992: Jessica, -5,047; Michael -6,409
  • 1993: Chelsea, -4,885; Michael, -4,821
  • 1994: Ashley, -4,571; Michael, -5,089
  • 1995: Jessica, -4,175; Michael, -3,060
  • 1996: Jessica, -3,752; Michael, -3,043
  • 1997: Jessica, -3,142; Cody, -2,660
  • 1998: Jessica, -2,816; Christopher, -2,104
  • 1999: Brittany, -1,903; Austin, -2,710
  • 2000: Brittany, -2,760; Austin, -4,824
  • 2001: Hannah, -2,366; Brandon, -2,445
  • 2002: Taylor, -2,220; Jacob, -1,968
  • 2003: Ashanti, -1,983; Austin, -2,850
  • 2004: Hannah, -2,034; Zachary, -1,832
  • 2005: Alexis, -1,503; Jacob, -2,059
  • 2006: Emily, -2,540; Ryan, -1,557
  • 2007: Emily, -2,050; Joshua, -1,664
  • 2008: Hannah, -3,738; Christopher, -2070
  • 2009: Emily, -2,084; Anthony, -2,099
  • 2010: Madison, -2,059; Joshua, -2,219
  • 2011: Isabella, -3,032; Jacob, -1,783
  • 2012: Chloe, -1,361; Jacob, -1,370
  • 2013: Isabella, -1,536; Ethan, -1,494
  • 2014: Sophia, -2,657; Jayden, -1,834
  • 2015: Isabella, -1,523; Jase, -1,459
  • 2016: Sophia, -1,311; Logan, -1,697
  • 2017: Sophia, -1,281; Mason, -1,728
  • 2018: Emily, -1,125; Matthew, -1,747
  • 2019: Emma, -1,655; Logan, -1,911

I’ve already written about some of the names above (click the links to see the posts) and will write about others in the future. In the meanwhile, feel free to beat me to it! Comment below with the backstory on the fall of Shirley in the late ’30s, Linda in the early ’50s, etc.