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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Miriam

Number of Babies Named Miriam

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Miriam

Which Hurricane-Inspired Sibset Do You Like Best?

Tracks of Atlantic-Pacific crossover hurricanes
Tracks of Atlantic-Pacific crossover hurricanes

An Atlantic-Pacific crossover hurricane is one that developed in the Atlantic Ocean and moved into the Pacific Ocean (or, more rarely, the other way around) without dissipating/re-developing.

There have been about ten crossover storms that we know of, and five were named. In fact, they were named twice because they received new designations after the crossover.

  • In 1971, Atlantic Hurricane Irene became Northeast Pacific Tropical Storm Olivia.
  • In 1974, Atlantic Hurricane Fifi became Northeast Pacific Tropical Storm Orlene.
  • In 1978, Atlantic Hurricane Greta became Northeast Pacific Hurricane Olivia.
  • In 1988, Atlantic Hurricane Joan became Northeast Pacific Hurricane Miriam.
  • In 1996, Atlantic Hurricane Cesar became Northeast Pacific Hurricane Douglas.

Let’s pretend these name-pairs are actually sibsets. Which pairing do you like best?

Which pairing do you like best for siblings?

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Sources: List of Atlantic–Pacific crossover hurricanes, What tropical storms and hurricanes have moved from the Atlantic to the Northeast Pacific or vice versa?
Image: “Tracks of Atlantic-Pacific crossover storms” by Cyclonebiskit

Top Hebrew Baby Names in Israel, 5774

The top Hebrew baby names in Israel were announced a few days ago.

According to data from the Population and Immigration Authority, the most popular Hebrew baby names for the Hebrew Calendar year 5774 (September 5, 2013, to September 24, 2014) were Tamar and Yosef.

The rest of the top ten:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Tamar
2. Noa
3. Shira
4. Adele
5. Talya
6. Yael
7. Lian
8. Miriam
9. Maya
10. Avigayil
1. Yosef
2. Daniel
3. Ori
4. Itai
5. Omer
6. Adam
7. Noam
8. Ariel
9. Eitan
10. David

Last year’s top Hebrew names were Noa and Noam, according to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. (Later this year, the CBS will release all 3 sets of baby name rankings: Jewish, Muslim and Christian).

Source: Psst! The most popular boy’s name in Israel in 5774 was really Mohammed

Baby Name Backlash – The Tale of Baby Yitzhak Rabin

baby yitzhak rabin
Yitzhak Rabin and Miriam in March, 1996.
© Reuters
On January 28, 1996, a Muslim baby was born in Jordan.

The controversial baby name he was given? Yitzhak Rabin.

His parents chose the name “in honor of the historic Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty signed in 1994 by [Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin and Jordan’s King Hussein.”

The name was initially rejected by Jordan’s state registrar on the grounds that Jewish names were illegal. But Yitzhak’s parents, Rajai and Miriam, fought to keep the name and won.

The couple was relentlessly harassed about Yitzhak’s name — by strangers, neighbors, even relatives. Rajai lost his job. Miriam and the baby “were forced to move from place to place like fugitives, even spending nights in bus depots and a safehouse with an uncle in Amman.”

No longer safe in Jordan, the family relocated to Israel in 1998 with the help of Leah Rabin (Yitzhak’s widow).

They had a hard time adjusting, but “the most tragic situation befell Miriam’s brother back in Jordan, who, according to Miriam, was murdered by a group of thugs as revenge for his nephew’s name.”

Miriam took Yitzhak to Jordan with the intention of attending her brother’s funeral, but, in her telling, a melee ensued at the border crossing, where a small group of protesters awaited them. She put Yitzhak, still a toddler, back on the bus to Israel, bruised and bleeding. It was the last time he would set foot on the soil of his native country.

Ever since, the family has lived in exile. The Israeli government has promised to make the family permanent residents, but that hasn’t happened yet, so there’s a chance they could one day be sent back to Jordan.

Yitzhak, now 18, considers himself an Israeli. He speaks only Hebrew, plans to convert to Judaism, and hopes to enlist in the Israeli army one day.

Despite everything, Miriam strongly defends her son’s name:

“Why should I have regrets?” Miriam fired back without hesitation. “Yitzhak [Isaac] was a prophet for both Jews and Muslims. And Rabin? [Most] Jordanians want peace. So why should I regret it?”

Try to imagine being in Miriam’s shoes back in the late 1990s. Would you have changed your young son’s name, to protect your family? Or would you have kept the name, despite the dangers?


Most Popular Baby Names in Israel, 2012

Israel recently released three lists of popular baby names.

According to the Central Bureau for Statistics, the country’s top names last year were:

  • Noam and Noa for Jewish babies,
  • Mohammad and Maryam for Muslim babies, and
  • George and Maria for Christian babies.

Here are more of the most popular baby names of 2012 within each religious group:


Top Girl Names Top Boy Names
1. Noa
2. Shira
3. Tamar
4. Talia
5. Maya
6. Yael
7. Sarah
8. Adele/Edel
9. Ayala
10. Michal
1. Noam
2. Uri/Ori
3. Itai
4. Yosef
5. David
6. Yehonatan
7. Daniel
8. Ariel
9. Moshe
10. Eitan

The Jewish names above were listed in my source article, but the Muslim and Christian names below (beyond the #1 names) I had to translate from Hebrew using various online tools/dictionaries, so they might not be perfect.


Top Girl Names Top Boy Names
1. Maryam
2. Linn
3. Rahaf
4. Lian
5. Rimas
6. Hala
7. Nur
8. Bisan
9. Malek
10. Aya
1. Mohammad
2. Ahmed
3. Mahmad
4. Yosef
5. Adam
6. Abd
7. Omar
8. Ali
9. Mahmoud
10. Amir


Top Girl Names Top Boy Names
1. Maria
2. Celine
3. Aline
4. Maya
5. Nur
6. Lian
7. Miriam
8. Natalie
9. Tala
10. Miral
1. George
2. Elias
3. Majd
4. Daniel
5. Joseph
6. Hana
7. Julian
8. Charbel
9. Jude
10. Emir

A few years ago, a group of Israeli rabbis released a list of names they thought should be off-limits to Jewish children. Ariel, the 8th most popular name for Jewish baby boys last year, was on their forbidden name list. :)

Sources: Noa, Noam top baby names for 2012, Central Bureau of Statistics

Maureen and Mavourneen – Too Close for Twin Names?

Maureen O’Connor, former San Diego mayor (1986-1992), was charged with money laundering in federal court earlier this month.

I don’t know much about the situation, but I was intrigued to learn that Maureen had 12 siblings, including a twin sister with a very similar name — Mavourneen.

(The other siblings are Patrick, Michael, Dennis, Sharon, Dianne, Colleen, Sheila, Timothy, Karen, Thomas and Shawn.)

The names Maureen and Mavourneen [pronounced muh-VOOR-neen] are both Irish, but they have different etymologies:

Maureen is an anglicized form of Máirín, which is a pet form of Máire, which — like the English name Mary — is based on the French name Marie, which comes from the Latin name Maria. In Ancient Rome, Maria was originally a feminine form of Marius, but it was later popularized as a version of the Hebrew name Miriam. The meaning of Miriam is unknown, though hypothesized definitions abound: “beloved,” “rebellious,” “strong sea,” “bitter sea,” “drop of the sea,” etc.

Mavourneen is an anglicized form of the Irish phrase mo mhúirnín, meaning “my darling.” It began as a term of endearment, but morphed into a given name probably when the song “Kathleen Mavourneen” (1837) became popular in the mid-1800s. (A number of the 19th-century Mavourneens I’ve tracked down were named “Kathleen Mavourneen.” Many of the 20th century Mavourneens too, actually.)

In terms of popularity, Maureen was one of the top 100 baby names in the U.S. from 1947 until 1954. Mavourneen, on the other hand, has never cracked the U.S. top 1,000.

And now the main question: What do you think of the names Maureen and Mavourneen for twins? Cute? Too close? Somewhere in between?

[Related poll: How Similar Should Twin Names Be?]

Baby Name Needed – Sister of Emma and Grace

A reader expecting a baby girl in March writes:

We have two daughters already “Emma Katherine” and “Grace Elizabeth.” Could you suggest a few names that are similar in style & feeling?

Absolutely. Below are some names similar to Emma and Grace and some names similar to Katherine and Elizabeth. Maybe we can mix-and-match a few good combinations.

Firsts Middles

Here are some combinations I like: Mary Victoria, Clare Anastasia, Rose Theresa, Nora Charlotte.

What combinations do you like?

What other first/middles/combinations would you suggest?

Names Needed for Twin Baby Girls

A reader named Grace would like some help naming her twin girls, due in a couple of months. She and her husband John already have three boys, Jackson, Samuel and Lucas.

So far, their favorite girl names are Juliet, Isla, Susannah and Norah. But they’re also considering a family name:

We would love to honor my mother, Denise Marie, but we despise both names. I would love some ideas on how to use that without actually using those names.

For the middle spots, they’re aiming for virtue names. They already have Honor picked out, and “[i]f there is another virtue name you would suggest so they both had one that would be great!”

Their last name is similar to Cawston.

On the current favorites…
I like all of the current favorites. The pairing I like best, though, is Juliet and Susannah. I just think they sound good together. I also like how they can both be shortened, just like the boys’ names — Jack, Sam, Luke, Jules & Sue (or Julie & Susie).

On incorporating Denise Marie…
One way to incorporate Denise Marie would be to find a name that features the sounds of both Denise and Marie (especially those D- and M-sounds). Names with these sounds include Madeline, Demetria, Dominique/Domenica, Damaris, Adamina, Amadea and Idamae.

Another approach would be to use initials — either the initials “D. M.” for one twin or a D-name for twin #1 and an M-name for twin #2. Some possibilities (beyond the names above) include Dahlia, Daisy, Damiana, Daphne, Dara, Delphine, Diana, Dina, Dora, Dorothy and Drusilla for D-names and Mara, Marian, Marlene, Martina, Mina, Mirabelle, Miranda, Miriam, Molly, Monica and Mona for M-names.

On virtuous middles…
My first thought was Mercy, because it sounds a lot like Marie. Other virtue names that might make nice middles are Amity, Charity, Clementine/Clemency, Hope, Joy, Patience, Peace/Pax, Temperance and Verity.

Now it’s your turn! Which of Juliet, Isla, Susannah and Norah do you like best for twins? What names can you come up with to honor Denise Marie? Which virtue names do you like best for middle names?