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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Merle

Number of Babies Named Merle

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Merle

Rare Girl Names from Early Cinema: Letter M (part 2)

merna kennedy, actress, cinema, nameLooking for a rare girl name with a retro feel? Here are dozens of ideas. All came straight from very old films that were released from the 1910s to the 1940s.

This is part of a series of posts featuring female names from early cinema. The names below are the second half of the M-list (Me- to My-). The first half includes all the Ma- names.

Enjoy!

Medelina
Medelina was a character played by actress Laura La Varnie in the short film The Nurse at Mulberry Bend (1913).

Meena
Meena was a character played by actress Dorothy Gish in the film Little Meena’s Romance (1916).

  • Usage of the baby name Meena.

Menne O Wa
Meene O Wa was a character played by actress Gertrude Robinson in the short film Before the White Man Came (1912).

Meenie
Meenie Van Winkle was a character played by actress Gertrude Messinger in the film Rip Van Winkle (1921).

Meetah
Meetah was a character played by actress Soledad Jimenez in the film Forbidden Valley (1938).

Meggie
Meggie was a character played by actress Jean Cadell in the film Jassy (1947).

  • Usage of the baby name Meggie.

Mehitable
Mehitable was a character played by actress Eugenie Forde in the film The Road to Divorce (1920).

Melahi
Melahi was a character played by actress Maria Montez in the film South of Tahiti (1941).

Melba
Melba was a character name in multiple films, including Mind Your Own Business (1936) and Pinky (1949).

  • Usage of the baby name Melba.

Melisande
Melisande was a character played by actress Renée Adorée in the film The Big Parade (1925).

Melisse
Melisse was a character played by actress Eugenie Besserer in the short film Partners (1912).

Melissy
Melissy was a character played by actress Ethel Wales in the film Lovers’ Lane (1924).

Melitta
Melitta was a character name in multiple films, including The Alcalde’s Conspiracy (short, 1912) and The Cohens and Kellys in Atlantic City (1929).

Mellitta
Mellitta was a character played by actress Lya De Putti in the film Phantom (1922).

Mem
Remember “Mem” Steddon was a character played by actress Eleanor Boardman in the film Souls for Sale (1923).

Memory
Memory Baird was a character played by actress Fritzi Brunette in the film Jacques of the Silver North (1919).

  • Usage of the baby name Memory.

Menote
Menote was a character played by actress Francelia Billington in the short film The Pride of Angry Bear (1913).

Mera
Mera Donovan was a character played by actress Vola Vale in the film The Iron Rider (1920).

  • Usage of the baby name Mera.

Merapi
Merapi was a character played by actress Maria Corda in the film The Moon of Israel (1924).

Mercedita
Mercedita was a character played by actress Margaret Cullington in the film Tropical Love (1921).

Merceita
Merceita Esmond was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Pennsylvania in 1869.

Mercia
Mercia was a character name in multiple films, including Another Man’s Shoes (1922) and The Sign of the Cross (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Mercia.

Merle
Merle Oberon was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1970s. She was born in British India in 1911. Her birth name was Estelle Merle Thompson.

  • Usage of the baby name Merle.

Merna
Merna Kennedy was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1930s. She was born in Illinois in 1908. Her birth name was Maude Kahler.

  • Usage of the baby name Merna.

Merope
Merope was a character played by actress Mrs. A. C. Marston in the short film Madelaine Morel (1916).

Merrilla
Merrilla was a character played by actress Annette Kellerman in the film Queen of the Sea (1918).

Merta
Merta Sterling was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Wisconsin in 1883.

  • Usage of the baby name Merta.

Mertice
Mertice Kenare was a character played by actress Francelia Billington in the short film The Father (1915).

Meryllyn
Meryllyn was a character played by actress Ollie Kirby in the short film The Barnstormers (1915).

Mesquite
Mesquite was a character played by actress Marin Sais in the short film The Big Horn Massacre (1913).

Messalina
Messalina was a character name in multiple films, including Safety in Numbers (1930) and I, Claudius (1937).

Meta
Meta was a character name in multiple films, including Misbehaving Ladies (1931) and Out of the Past (1947).

  • Usage of the baby name Meta.

Metta
Metta was a character played by actress Muriel Ostriche in the film The Dormant Power (1917).

  • Usage of the baby name Metta.

Michelna
Michelna Libelt was a character played by actress Vivian Martin in the film The Trouble Buster (1917).

Mici
Mici was a character played by actress Marguerite Clark in the film The Seven Sisters (1915).

Mickey
Mickey was a character played by actress Mabel Normand in the film Mickey (1918).

  • Usage of the baby name Mickey.

Mida
Mida was a character name in multiple films, including Grand Central Murder (1942) and Mystery Broadcast (1943).

  • Usage of the baby name Mida.

Midge
Midge was a character name in multiple films, including The Two-Fisted Sheriff (1925) and Time Out for Romance (1937).

  • Usage of the baby name Midge.

Mifanwy
Mifanwy was a character name in multiple films, including Mifanwy: A Tragedy (1913) and A Welsh Singer (1916).

Mignon
Mignon Anderson was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Maryland in 1892. Mignon was also a character name in multiple films, including The Drive for a Life (short, 1909) and Mignon (short, 1912).

  • Usage of the baby name Mignon.

Mignonne
Mignonne Golden was an actress who appeared in films in the 1920s. She was born in England in 1904.

Miki
Miki was a character played by actress Olga San Juan in the film Rainbow Island (1944).

  • Usage of the baby name Miki.

Milada
Milada Mladova was an actress who appeared in films from the 1940s to the 1950s. She was born Oklahoma in 1921. Her birth name was Annabel Milada Mraz. Milada was also a character played by actress Luise Rainer in the film Hostages (1943).

  • Usage of the baby name Milada.

Mima
Mima was a character played by actress Dorothy Lamour in the film Road to Singapore (1940).

  • Usage of the baby name Mima.

Mimba
Mimba was a character played by actress Mathilde Comont in the film The Sea Bat (1930).

Mimi
Mimi was a character name in multiple films, including The Call of the Traumerei (1914) and Who’s Your Lady Friend? (1937).

  • Usage of the baby name Mimi.

Mimitta
Mimitta was a character played by actress Iris Ashton in the film The Dancer of the Nile (1923).

Mimsey
Mimsey was a character played by actress Virginia Weidler in the film Peter Ibbetson (1935).

Mimsi
Mimsi was a character played by actress Elsie Ferguson in the film Forever (1921).

Min
Min was a character name in multiple films, including The Fringe of Society (1917) and Min and Bill (1930).

  • Usage of the baby name Min.

Minetta
Minetta was a character played by actress Jessie Ralph in the film The Kid from Texas (1939).

Minette
Minette Bunker was a character played by actress Viola Dana in the film The Great Love (1925).

Minna
Minna Grey was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in England in 1877. Minna Gombell was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1950s. She was born in Maryland in 1892. Minna was also a character name in multiple films, including Perils of the Secret Service (1917) and The Oath (1921).

  • Usage of the baby name Minna.

Minnetake
Minnetake was a character played by actress Hedda Nova in the film The Gold Hunters (1925).

Minnette
Minnette Christiewas a character played by actress Edna Murphy in the film Ermine and Rhinestones (1925).

Minta
Minta Durfee was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1970s. She was born in California in 1889. Her birth name was Araminta Estelle Durfee.

Minty
Minty Sharpe was a character played by actress Beatriz Michelena in the film A Phyllis of the Sierras (1915).

Miora
Lady Miora was a character played by actress Kate Lester in the film Beau Brummel (1924).

Mirabel
Mirabel was a character played by actress Frances Dee in the film The Gay Deception (1935).

Mirah
Mirah was a character played by actress Ethel Kauffman in the short film Gwendolin (1914).

  • Usage of the baby name Mirah.

Mirami
Mirami was a character played by actress Alma Rubens in the short film Banzai (1913).

Mirandy
Mirandy was a character name in multiple films, including Mirandy Smiles (1918) and His Buddy’s Wife (1925).

Mirella
Mirella was a character played by actress Dria Paola in the film Mr. Desire (1934).

Miriamne
Miriamne Esdras was a character played by mononymous actress Margo in the film Winterset (1936).

Mirza
Mirza was a character played by actress Anna Q. Nilsson in the short film The Second Commandment (1915).

  • Usage of the baby name Mirza.

Mississippi
Mississippi was a character name in multiple films, including Out in Happy Hollow (1914) and Red Barry (1938).

Missouri
Missouri Martin was a character played by Glenda Farrell in the film Lady for a Day (1933).

Missy
Missy Rose was a character played by actress Victoria Spivey in the film Hallelujah (1929).

  • Usage of the baby name Missy.

Mitchette
Mitchette Dubois was a character played by actress Winifred Allen in the film The Long Trail (1917).

Mitsi
Mitsi was a character played by actress Mary Philbin in the film The Rose of Paris (1924).

  • Usage of the baby name Mitsi.

Mittie
Mittie was a character played by actress Dorothy Tree in the film While the Patient Slept (1935).

  • Usage of the baby name Mittie.

Mitty
Mitty Whipple was a character played by actress Fanny Midgley in the film The Heart of Youth (1919).

  • Usage of the baby name Mitty.

Mitzel
Mitzel was a character played by actress Betty Compson in the film Love Me and the World Is Mine (1927).

  • Usage of the baby name Mitzel.

Mitzi
Mitzi was a character name in multiple films, including The Enemy (1927) and My Weakness (1933).

  • Usage of the baby name Mitzi.

Mizzi
Mizzi was a character name in multiple films, including The Marriage Circle (1924) and A Sister of Six (1926).

M’liss
M’liss was a character name in multiple films, including M’Liss (1918) and The Girl Who Ran Wild (1922).

  • Usage of the baby name Mliss.

Moala
Moala was a character played by actress Lucille Moulton in the film The Adorable Savage (1920).

Modesta
Modesta was a character played by actress Goldie Colwell in the film The Yaqui (1916).

Modiste
Modiste was a character played by actress Betty Blythe in the film Stolen Love (1928).

Moina
Moina Robina was a character played by actress Margaret Gibson in the short film The Mystery of the Hidden House (1914).

  • Usage of the baby name Moina.

Moitle
Moitle Perry was a character played by actress Fay Tincher in the short film Foiled Again (1914).

Molee
Molee was a character played by actress Linda Perry in the film The Great Garrick (1937).

Molla
Molla Hansen was a character played by actress Blanche Sweet in the film Why Women Love (1925).

  • Usage of the baby name Molla.

Momba
Momba was a character played by actress Winifred Greenwood in the film The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910).

Mombi
Mombi was a character name in multiple films, including The New Wizard of Oz (1914) and The Land of Oz (1932).

Monaei
Monaei Lindley was an actress who appeared in films in the 1930s.

Monah
Monah was a character played by actress Mary Charleson in the short film The Ancient Bow (1912).

  • Usage of the baby name Monah.

Monelle
Monelle Picart was a character played by actress Dany Robin in the film Monelle (1948).

Monika
Princess Monika was a character played by Kathleen Vaughan in the film The Prince and the Beggarmaid (1921).

  • Usage of the baby name Monika.

Moonlight
Moonlight was a character played by actress Ruth Roland in the short film The Loneliness of the Hills (1912).

Moonyean
Moonyean was a character played by actress Jeanette MacDonald in the film Smilin’ Through (1941).

Moonyeen
Moonyeen was a character name in multiple films, including Smilin’ Through (1922) and Smilin’ Through (1932).

Morag
Morag Lannon was a character played by actress Madge Stuart in the film A Gamble with Hearts (1923).

  • Usage of the baby name Morag.

Morella
Morella was a character name in multiple films, including Beyond the Rocks (1922) and Quicker’n Lightnin’ (1925).

  • Usage of the baby name Morella (which debuted in the data the year after Beyond the Rocks came out).

Morgianna
Morgianna was a character played by actress Gertrude Messinger in the film Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1918).

Morn
Morn Light was a character played by actress Ora Carew in the film Loot (1919).

Morna
Morna Dabney was a character played by actress Susan Hayward in the film Tap Roots (1948).

  • Usage of the baby name Morna.

Mousali
Mousali was a character played by actress Leah Baird in the film The Miracle (1912).

Movita
Movita was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1950s. She was born in Arizona in 1917. Her birth name was Maria Castaneda.

  • Usage of the baby name Movita.

Moya
Moya was a character name in multiple films, including Forked Trails (short, 1915) and My Wild Irish Rose (1922).

  • Usage of the baby name Moya.

Moyna
Moyna MacGill was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1960s. She was born in Ireland in 1895. Her birth name was Charlotte Lillian McIldowie. Moyna was also a character played by actress Colleen Moore in the film Come on Over (1922).

Moyra
Moyra was a character played by actress Alice Hollister in the short film The Shaughraun (1912).

  • Usage of the baby name Moyra.

Mozelle
Mozelle Britton was an actress who appeared in films in the 1930s. She was born in Oklahoma in 1912.

Mula
Mula was a character played by actress Mathilde Comont in the film The Sea Beast (1926).

Mulie
Mulie Davenant was a character played by actress Vivian Martin in the film The Wax Model (1917).

Mulvinia
Mulvinia Minchen was a character played by actress Flora Finch in the short film The Mistake in Typesetting (1915).

Muriel
Muriel Ostriche was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in New York in 1896.

  • Usage of the baby name Muriel.

Murieska
Murieska was a character played by actress Carrie Clark Ward in the film His Hour (1924).

Musa
Musa was a character played by actress Helen Gardner in the short film The Still, Small Voice (1915).

  • Usage of the baby name Musa.

Musette
Musette was a character name in multiple films, including La Vie de Boheme (1916) and On Ze Boulevard (1927).

Musidora
Musidora was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in France in 1889. Her birth name Jeanne Roques.

Myone
Myone Madrigal was a character played by actress Betty Francisco in the film Her Night of Nights (1922).

Myrle
Myrle Davis was a character played by actress Heather Angel in the film Time to Kill (1942).

  • Usage of the baby name Myrle.

Myrna
Myrna Loy was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1980s. She was born in Montana in 1905. Myrna Dell was an actress who appeared in films from the 1940s to the 1980s. She was born in California in 1924. Her birth name was Marilyn Adele Dunlap. Myrna was also a character name in multiple films, including The Face or the Voice (short, 1912) and Broadway to Cheyenne (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Myrna.

Myrta
Myrta Bonillas was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1930s. She was born in Massachusetts in 1890. Myrta was also a character played by actress Ollie Kirby in the short film The Trap (1917).

  • Usage of the baby name Myrta.

Myrtle
Myrtle Gonzalez was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in California in 1891. Myrtle Stedman was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in Illinois in 1885. Myrtle was also a character name in multiple films, including Salvation Nell (1931) and Rackateers in Exile (1937).

  • Usage of the baby name Myrtle.

Mystie
Mystie Stafford was a character played by actress Miriam Cooper in the short film Tide of Battle (1912).

  • Usage of the baby name Mystie.

Mytyl
Mytyl was a character name in multiple films, including The Blue Bird (1918) and The Blue Bird (1940).

…Which of the above names do you like best?

Source: IMDb

The Rise of the Baby Name Cheryl

Cheryl Walker, Stage Door Canteen (1943)
© LIFE

It’s hard to pinpoint the origin of the name Cheryl (Cherie + Beryl? Cherry + Beryl?) but it’s clear that the name saw a drastic rise in popularity during the first half of 20th century. Cheryl went from a rarity in the early 1900s to one of the most popular girl names in the U.S. by the mid-1950s.

I doubt Cheryl could have achieved this kind of popularity without a series of pop culture boosts — two caused by the same person, interestingly.

The first (and smallest) boost happened in 1938:

  • 1940: 285 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 408th] – 42 in CA
  • 1939: 289 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 390th] – 49 in CA
  • 1938: 397 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 312th] – 76 in CA
  • 1937: 145 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 563rd] – 16 in CA
  • 1936: 94 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 688th] – 10 in CA

Many of these babies were born in California specifically.

The cause?

A 19-year-old from Pasadena named Cheryl Walker. In late 1937, she was selected as the 1938 Queen of the Tournament of Roses. Local newspapers (including the Los Angeles Times) talked about Cheryl quite a bit during the last month of 1937 and the first few months of 1938.

She signed a film contract with Paramount around that time, but didn’t have much success in the entertainment industry until five years later.

That’s when she played the romantic lead in the wartime hit Stage Door Canteen, released in the middle of 1943. Dozens of major celebrities — including Tallulah Bankhead, Helen Hayes, Katharine Hepburn, George Jessel, Gertrude Lawrence, Gypsy Rose Lee, Ethel Merman, Paul Muni, Merle Oberon, Mary Pickford, and Johnny Weissmuller — had cameos in the film, which was one of the highest-grossing of the year.

(Notably, several months before Stage Door Canteen came out, LIFE magazine published a series of photos of the actress along with a short article subtitled “Cheryl Walker rises from stand-in for Veronica Lake to stardom.”)

In both 1943 and 1944, the number of babies named Cheryl increased significantly:

  • 1945: 8,150 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 32nd]
  • 1944: 7,970 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 36th]
  • 1943: 2,878 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 102nd]
  • 1942: 590 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 280th]
  • 1941: 439 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 311th]

The name of Cheryl’s character, Eileen, also saw increased usage, as did many variants of Cheryl (asterisks denote debuts):

Name 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946
Cheryl 590 2,878 7,970 8,150 11,525
Sheryl 324 588 949 1,055 1,632
Sherrill 202 207 263 206 250
Cheryle 27 80 176 184 238
Sherryl 49 71 104 140 203
Cheryll 11 41 69 98 120
Sheryle 12 19 26 31 52
Cherryl 9 19 59 58 104
Sharelle** 28* 10
Charyl 24* 27 17 21
Scheryl 11* 11 7 5
Cherril 6 6 7
Sherral 6 6 8
Sherelle 6*
Sheril 5 11 6 9
Chyrl 5* 8 7 10
Cheril 6* 7
Cherl 6* 5 8
Sherryll 5 6 5
Cherill 5*
Cheyrl 5* 5 9
Chyrel 7* 10
Cheryal 6* 5
Cherryle 5*
Sherell 5*
Sherrille 5*
Chryl 9*
Sherryle 7*
Cherel 5*
Cherle 5*
Cherryll 5*
Chyral 5*
Shyrel 5*

**Sharelle was the top debut name of the year in 1943.

Usage of the name Cheryl plateaued in the late ’40s and early ’50s, then began to rise again in 1954:

  • 1956: 21,280 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 18th]
  • 1955: 19,100 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 19th]
  • 1954: 15,000 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 22nd]
  • 1953: 12,271 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 28th]
  • 1952: 12,197 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 31st]

Why?

It wasn’t Cheryl Walker — she’d retired from acting by this time.

Instead it was a short-lived TV show called Waterfront (1954-1956). The central character, John Herrick, was the captain of a San Pedro Harbor tugboat called the “Cheryl Ann.”

The show also gave a boost to the compound names Cherylann, Cherylanne and Sherylann.

[EDIT, 6/10 – Diana reminded me about Mouseketeer Cheryl, who was on The Mickey Mouse Club from 1956 to 1958. No doubt she contributed to the name’s popularity as well in the mid-to-late ’50s!]

Cheryl became one of the top 20 baby names in the country in 1955, and it remained in the top 20 until 1961, peaking at 13th in 1958.

After that, usage began to decline. Cheryl fell out of the top 50 in 1972, then out of the top 100 in 1980. (This despite a late-1970s uptick inspired by actress Cheryl Ladd, singer Cheryl Lynn, and/or model Cheryl Tiegs.)

[EDIT, 7/7 – Cheryl M. reminded me to include Cheryl Ladd.]

And in 1998, exactly 40 years after nearly reaching the top 10, Cheryl fell out of the top 1,000 entirely.

What are your thoughts on the name Cheryl?

Do you like it more or less than Cherrill?

Sources:

P.S. Other WWII-era names: Dorie, Jesse Roper, Sea Bee, MacArthur, Swoosie, Roger, Adolf Hitler.

List of Interesting Names

The profiles of famous people at Biography.com are sorted into groups like “Barnard College Alumni,” “Epileptics,” “Olympic Opening Ceremony Performers,” “Sagittarians,” and “U.S. Vice Presidents.”

So I was very curious when I noticed a group simply called “Names We Like.”

Here are the 23 people on that list:

  • Bella Abzug (b. 1920) activist, lawyer
  • Tycho Brahe (b. 1546) astronomer
  • Archibald Butt (b. 1865) military leader
  • Hoagy Carmichael (b. 1899) songwriter
  • Hawley Crippen (b. 1862) murderer, doctor
  • Mullah Dadullah (b. 1966) military leader
  • Nigel Dempster (b. 1941) journalist
  • Eadweard Muybridge (b. 1830) photographer, filmmaker
  • Jubal A. Early (b. 1816) general, journalist
  • Henry Ossian Flipper (b. 1856) military leader
  • Googoosh (b. 1950) film actress, singer
  • Merle Haggard (b. 1937) singer, songwriter
  • Simmie Knox (b. 1935) painter
  • Bonar Law (b. 1858) prime minister
  • El Lissitzky (b. 1890) artist
  • Mungo Park (b. 1771) explorer
  • Pepin III (b. 714) general, king
  • Pinckney Pinchback (b. 1837) activist, governor
  • Ottorino Respighi (b. 1879) songwriter
  • Ving Rhames (b. 1959) film actor
  • Ségolène Royal (b. 1953) political leader
  • Picabo Street (b. 1971) athlete
  • Megawati Sukarnoputri (b. 1947) world leader

Which of the above do you like best?

(Want to see more lists of interesting names? Check out Long List of Unusual Real Names and Names that Make Me Smile.)

Source: Names We Like