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

The graph will take a few seconds to load, thanks for your patience. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take nine months.) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.


Popularity of the Baby Name Messiah

Number of Babies Named Messiah

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Messiah

What’s Wrong with U? (7 Usable U-Names)

u names, ursa, upton, upson, umber, ukiah, unity, union

What’s wrong with U?

No, I don’t mean you. I mean the letter U.

If 1 is the loneliest number, then U is definitely the loneliest letter. Because, ever since I started looking at first letter frequency in baby names, U has always been the least-used.

Currently just four U-names are in in the boys’ top 1,000, and exactly zero are in the girls’ top 1,000. And those four boy names — Uriel, Uriah, Ulises, and Urijah — make up a sizable chunk of what little U-usage there happens to be.

Does this anti-U trend signify something about modern society, do you think?

We’re more individualistic than ever before — some say more narcissistic. And we do see this individualism reflected in the rise of unusual names, particularly ones that glorify the self, like Amazing, Awesome, Celebrity, Epic, Famous, Gorgeous, Handsome, King, Messiah, President, and Prodigy.

So is this individualism also being reflected in first the letters/sounds we choose? After all, a handful of I-names (Isabella/Isabelle/Isabel, Isla, Isaac, Isaiah) have become prominent lately. So have a pair of “me” names (Mia, Mila).

Meanwhile, the humble U remains at the bottom of the heap. Is it because no one wants to open a name with a letter that reminds them of “you”?

Hm…

If you’re interested in giving U-names a boost, here are 7 under-the-radar options to consider:

Ursa

We’re all familiar with Ursula. She’s a sea-witch, a Bond girl, and a Catholic saint. In other words, Ursula has some strong associations.

Not so with Ursa, the word upon which Ursula was based. Ursa doesn’t have any strong human/character associations — just a couple of celestial ones: Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

Ursa is based on the Latin word ursus, meaning “bear.” (Bear is itself a trendy choice among celebs these days.) And even though four-letter, vowel-bounded girl names (like Emma, Ella, Aria, Isla, Ayla, and Elsa) are trendy right now, Ursa remains rare.

Upton & Upson

Many toponymic surnames — from Milton and Clifton 100 years ago to Easton and Ashton today — have gone on to become popular baby names. But not Upton and Upson, which are uncommon despite their optimistic sound (up!).

The surnames stem from any of several similar place names that, in most cases, can be traced back to a pair of Old English words meaning “upper, above” (in terms of either altitude or status) and “farm, settlement.”

The most famous Upton was muckraking journalist Upton Sinclair, whose best-known work, a 1906 exposé of the meatpacking industry called The Jungle, led to the passage of both the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act (which, eventually, gave rise to the FDA).

Umber

We all know an Amber. Maybe even an Ember. But how many of us know an Umber? Probably not many of us, as the name is so rare that it’s only appeared in the SSA data one time (in 1995, when 5 baby girls were named Umber).

You know how ombre hair color is fashionable right now? The words ombre and umber are related — both can be traced back to the Latin word umbra, meaning “shadow.”

Along with Ochre and Sienna, Umber is an “earth pigment” — a naturally occurring mineral used by humans since prehistoric times (i.e., for coloring cave walls, clothing, tools, even skin). The color ranges from brown to reddish-brown. Many famous historical artists, including Caravaggio and Rembrandt, used umber in their paintings.

Ukiah

(yoo-KYE-uh)

Uriah is a Biblical name. So are Josiah, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, Obadiah, and many other names with that telltale “-iah” ending. Sounds like Ukiah should be part of this group, right? But it isn’t.

Ukiah is the name of a place in California. It’s based on Yokaya, which comes from Rancho Yokaya — the name of the mid-19th century Mexican land grant that encompassed what is now the Ukiah Valley. The word yokaya means “south valley” in the language of the Pomo people, the original inhabitants of the region.

In 1973, the California-based band The Doobie Brothers released a song about Ukiah.

Though Ukiah has always been rare as a baby name, usage has picked up slightly since the turn of the century.

Unity & Union

Unique is the most self-focused U-name I’m aware of. And now that thousands of people have been named Unique, well, the name just isn’t very unique anymore.

Want to really stand out in the world of baby names today? Choose a name that emphasizes the oneness of the whole as opposed to the oneness of the self.

The names Unity and Union could be seen as opposites of the name Unique. And yet all three are ultimately derived from the same Latin word: unus, meaning “one.”

Unity is given to a couple dozen baby girls per year these days, but Union hasn’t appeared in the SSA data since the 1920s.

*

Do you like any of the U-names above? What other U-names would you recommend?

Sources: Upston – Surname DB, Ukiah, California – Wikipedia


Biggest Changes in Boy Name Popularity, 2016

Which boy names increased the most in popularity from 2015 to 2016? And which ones decreased the most?

The U.S. SSA likes to answer this question by analyzing ranking differences within the top 1,000. I prefer to answer it by looking at raw number differences, and to take the full list into account. So let’s check out the results using both methods…

Boy Names: Biggest Increases, 2015 to 2016

baby names, boy names, more popular

Rankings

1. Kylo, +2,368 spots — up from 3,269th to 901st
2. Creed, +370 spots — up from 1,352nd to 982nd
3. Benicio, +356 spots — up from 1,331st to 975th
4. Adonis, +307 spots — up from 701st to 394th
5. Fox, +288 spots — up from 1034th to 746th
6. Kye, +281 spots — up from 984th to 703rd
7. Hakeem, +256 spots — up from 1,161st to 905th
8. Shepherd, +242 spots — up from 1,105th to 863rd
9. Wilder, +238 spots — up from 961st to 723rd
10. Zayn, +222 spots — up from 643rd to 421st

Kylo was influenced by the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).

Creed and Adonis were influenced by the movie Creed (2015).

Hakeem was influenced by the TV show Empire (2015-). So was Bryshere, which debuted last year.

Wilder could have been influenced by either Gene Wilder or by boxer Deontay Wilder, or both. (Or neither.)

Zayn was influenced by British singer/songwriter Zain “Zayn” Malik.

Raw Numbers

1. Mateo, +1,516 baby boys — up from 5,010 to 6,526
2. Oliver, +1,340 baby boys — up from 11,635 to 12,975
3. Bryson, +1,239 baby boys — up from 3,094 to 4,333
4. Lincoln, +1,094 baby boys — up from 5,982 to 7,076
5. Benjamin, +899 baby boys — up from 13,670 to 14,569
6. Grayson, +735 baby boys — up from 7,887 to 8,622
7. Theodore, +723 baby boys — up from 4,136 to 4,859
8. Greyson, +704 baby boys — up from 3,591 to 4,295
9. Leo, +678 baby boys — up from 4,582 to 5,260
10. Maverick, +675 baby boys — up from 2,265 to 2,940

Other names that saw raw number increases in the 200+ range included Owen, Sebastian, Ezekiel, Lucas, Ezra, Leonardo, Santiago, Conor, Gael, Everett, Rhett, Jameson, Killian, Tobias, Arlo, Easton, Finn, Rowan, Elias, Asher, Calvin, Thiago, Bodhi, Legend, Lukas, River, Elliot, Harrison, Roman, Adriel, Paxton, Julian, Ace, Josiah, Waylon, Messiah, Nash, Ellis, Matias, George, Barrett, Connor, Wade, Kyrie, Milo, Amir, Bennett, Elliott, Silas, Matteo, and Axel.

Rowan is rising quickly for both boys and girls right now.

Kyrie, which was once given primarily to girls, is now being given primarily for boys thanks to basketball player Kyrie Irving.

Boy Names: Biggest Decreases, 2015 to 2016

baby names, boy names, less popular

Rankings

1. Jonael, -475 spots — down from 921st to 1,396th
2. Aaden, -239 spots — down from 784th to 1,023rd
3. Triston, -230 spots — down from 957th to 1,187th
4. Freddy, -222 spots — down from 993rd to 1,215th
5. Yaakov, -213 spots — down from 992nd to 1,205th
6. Braeden, -203 spots — down from 792nd to 995th
7. Chace, -202 spots — down from 935th to 1,137th
8. Brantlee, -176 spots — down from 777th to 953rd
9. Gannon, -173 spots — down from 533rd to 706th
10. Robin, -171 spots — down from 969th to 1,140th

The name Jonael got a lot of exposure in 2015 thanks to 11-year-old Puerto Rican singer Jonael Santiago, who won the 3rd season of La Voz Kids, which aired from March to June. It didn’t get as much exposure in 2016, which accounts for the drop in usage.

Raw Numbers

1. Logan, -1,697 baby boys (12,897 to 11,200)
2. Jacob, -1,498 baby boys (15,914 to 14,416)
3. Jayden, -1,455 baby boys (11,518 to 10,063)
4. Mason, -1,399 baby boys (16,591 to 15,192)
5. Ethan, -1,291 baby boys — down from 15,049 to 13,758
6. Aiden, -1,271 baby boys (13,429 to 12,158)
7. Alexander, -1,186 baby boys (14,507 to 13,321)
8. Jackson, -1,032 baby boys (12,242 to 11,210)
9. Brandon, -1,024 baby boys (5,100 to 4,076)
10. Blake, -951 baby boys (4,220 to 3,269)

blake, baby name, gender, switchUnlike Rowan, Blake is falling on the boys’ list, but rising on the girls’ list. In fact, the graph (right) makes a gender switch look inevitable. This is not something I would have anticipated a decade ago, before the emergence of Blake Lively.

Other names that saw raw number drops in the 200+ range included Landon, Caleb, Gavin, Anthony, Christopher, Andrew, David, Parker, Colton, Jase, Hunter, Brody, Brantley, Gabriel, Jonathan, Jordan, Tyler, Kevin, Nathan, Joshua, Carter, Daniel, Joseph, Dylan, Christian, Noah, Angel, Brayden, Iker, Chase, Nicholas, Austin, Dominic, Camden, John, Ayden, Michael, Colin, Bryan, Riley, Kyle, Hayden, Bradley, Nathaniel, Jake, Samuel, Luke, Cayden, Evan, Zachary, Steven, Kaden, Cooper, Marcus, Ryan, Tristan, Bryce, Ryder, Micah, Brady, Bentley, Kaleb, Levi, Alex, Conner, Jeremy, Isaac, Ian, Gage, Brian, Kayden, Jaden, Carlos, Sean, Jeremiah, Abel, Devin, Adrian, Giovanni, Garrett, and Adam.

Jase has seen a dramatic rise and fall over the last few years: big gains in 2012 and 2013, followed by big losses in 2014, 2015, and now 2016.

Similarly, Iker was on the rise for a while, with partcularly big leaps in 2011 and 2012, but usage is now on the wane.

Do you have any other explanations/guesses about any of the names above? If so, please leave a comment.

(In 2015, the big winners were Oliver and Riaan, and the big losers were Jase and Arnav.)

Sources: Change in Popularity from 2015 to 2016, Emma and Noah Remain Social Security’s Most Popular Baby Names for 2016

More Baby Names Banned in New Zealand

In 2011, New Zealand released a list of banned baby names. Names from that list have be circulating for years now, but I’d never seen any legit updates…until a few weeks ago.

Here are four baby names that were rejected by the NZ Department of Internal Affairs in 2015:

  • Commodore
  • Empress
  • Royahl
  • Superintedent

And here’s what the country’s Registrar-General had to say about intentionally misspelled names like Royahl:

“People will try it on, they will try to change a letter here or there and say it’s not an official title because it’s spelt differently. But if it sounds like an official title I won’t approve it, and that’s because potentially that child is going to end up perhaps in a court, and that name would be read out in court, and that would be inappropriate.”

He also noted that “about 60 names…[come] to his attention” every year. He didn’t specify, though, whether or not all of these names eventually get rejected.

The names above join previously rejected baby names such as Anal, Christ, Justice, King, Lucifer, Mafia No Fear, Messiah, Queen Victoria, Rogue, Senior Constable, and V8.

Source: When bad baby names go too far

Indonesian Man Asked to Change Name

tuhanNot long ago, the image of an I.D. card belonging to an Indonesian man named Tuhan went viral.

The joke? Tuhan happens to mean “god” or “lord” in Indonesian.

This brought the name to the attention of the Indonesian Ulema Council, Indonesia’s top Muslim clerical body. The group is now asking Tuhan — a 42-year-old Muslim from East Java — to either change his name or prefix it with Abdu, meaning “servant of.” They’re also threatening to exclude him from “any public service until such time as the name [is] amended.”

But according to Antariksawan Jusuf, an expert on the Osing people of East Java, Tuhan’s name has an entirely different origin:

The offending word, Antariksawan said, came from maftuhan, which means “open” in the Osing language. Members of the tribe, however, tend to abbreviate names according to speech. Thus, maftuhan is often shortened to [Tuhan].

“We must be careful not to equate a word in a traditional language with a similar one used in another language, including Indonesian,” Antariksawan said.

So far, Tuhan has decided to keep his birth name as-is.

(Something similar happened to both Justice of New Zealand and Messiah of Tennessee, whose names had been deemed acceptable before coming to the attention of the wrong person/group.)

Sources: This man’s name means ‘God,’ and he’s being asked to change it, East Java man’s divine name upsets local clerics, Man’s divine name is dialect, says expert (found via Nothing Like a Name)

Empire Baby Name Predictions – Cookie? Jussie?

Cookie, Empire

The first season of hit drama Empire aired from January through March of this year.

The show’s audience grew bigger and bigger with each successive episode (no small feat!) and the first-season finale was the most successful of “any new series on any broadcast network” since the first-season finale of Grey’s Anatomy back in 2005.

I think the show — which will be back on the air with new episodes in September — could have a big impact on baby names in 2015. Some Empire names to keep an eye on:

  • Taraji, for actress Taraji P. Henson.
  • Cookie, for character Cookie Lyon. This name was last on the SSA’s list in the early 1990s, but the character is giving the name Cookie a whole new image, so…will it be back in 2015?
  • Lyon, for the family surname.
  • Lucious, for character Lucious Lyon. It gets a fraction of the usage that Lucius gets, but could this character change that?
  • Lola, for character Lola Lyon. Not a major character, but extremely adorable — and when it comes to names, that’s sometimes all that matters.
  • Trai, for actor Trai Byers.

And three names that might debut on the SSA’a list in 2015…

  • Bryshere, for actor Bryshere Y. Gray.
  • Jussie, for actor Jussie Smollett. Smollett has been in and out the spotlight for a long time now, and his name has never made the list, but maybe this will change in 2015. (His character, Jamal, is probably the most likable person on the show.)
  • Empire, for the show itself. This one might seem improbable, but I wouldn’t count it out as similar names (e.g., King, Kingdom, Emperor, Sire, Sovereign) do exist.

What are your thoughts on the names in Empire? Did I miss any good ones?

Sources: Empire – Wikipedia, ‘Empire’ strikes back as season’s hottest show, ‘Empire’ Finale Ratings Rise Even More, Best New Series Result In 10 Years – Update

P.S. Actor Terrence Howard, who plays Lucious, recently welcomed a son named Qirin. The name was derived from qilin, the name of a mythical Chinese creature.