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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Nils

Number of Babies Named Nils

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Nils

The Last Intellectual to Latinize His Name?

Rudolf Clausius, originally Rudolf GottliebGerman physicist and mathematician Rudolf Clausius (1822-1888) was one of the founders of the science of thermodynamics.

Another interesting thing about Rudolf Clausius? He was born Rudolf Gottlieb.

I couldn’t find a concrete explanation for the name change, but I did find this in a college physics book: “Born with the name Rudolf Gottlieb, he adopted the classical name of Clausius, which was a popular thing to do in his time.”

(Clausius is based on the Latin clausus, meaning “closed, shut off.” Some sources say Clausius is an alternate name for Janus, the Ancient Roman god of beginnings and endings.)

Yes, many historical European scholars/artists did adopt Latinized names. Astronomer Tycho Brahe was born Tyge Ottesen Brahe. Artist Jheronimus (Hieronymus) Bosch was born Jeroen van Aken. Violin maker Antonius Stradivarius was born Antonio Stradivari. Map maker Gerardus Mercator was born Gerard de Cremer.

But these folks lived during the 1400s, 1500s and 1600s. It was trendy for Renaissance thinkers, who embraced Classical philosophies and attitudes, to Latinize their names. (Wikipedia has a long list of Latinized names coined during the Renaissance if you want more examples.)

Rudolf Clausius, on the other hand, lived during the 1800s. I can’t think of any other public figure who adopted a Latinized name as late as the mid-19th century.

Was Rudolf Clausius the last European intellectual to Latinize his name? Or do other outliers exist?

(At first I thought Carl Linnæus (1707-1778) might fit the bill, but his surname was the legitimate family name, coined by his father Nils before Carl was born. It’s based on the Småland dialect word “linn,” meaning “linden tree,” in reference to a stately linden tree on the family property.)

Sources:


Name Quotes for the Weekend #30

Mr. Rogers Quote

From a letter written by Mr. Rogers to a fan named Jason in 1987:

You asked me what my middle name is. When you care about people, you want to know more about them. My middle name is McFeely. I was named after my Grandfather McFeely. That’s the name we decided to use for the man who does the deliveries on our television visits.

From “What’s In A Child’s Name” by Rich Cromwell:

Before Aoife, we were never big on meaningful names, on names that represented something. With Greer and Scout, we just went with ones that were right for the moment, oblivious to what serendipity had in store. With Aoife, there was a purpose, a reason. And if when she curses us for it, we have a story to tell her. A story she can tell. She may not immediately appreciate it, but in time she will.

From the about page of blogger ShezCrafti (a.k.a. Jaime):

I was named after Jaime Sommers, The Bionic Woman. True story. My mom was a huge fan and evidently watched a lot of it while pregnant with me. But these days it’s cooler to tell people I spell it like Jaime Lannister.

(The “ShezCrafti” handle comes from the Beastie Boys song “She’s Crafty.”)

From an essay called “Your Kid is a Little Asshole” by Nils Parker:

Most of the little girls were what you’d expect from the affluent suburbs of a major American city. They were cute, thin, predominantly blond, with WASPy names that were so white they were practically invisible.

From an article about Christmas Day babies (same place I found EFC):

Weighing in at 6lb 14oz Kirra Smith was born at 5.09am to the delight of Ella and her mum Claire, 42, and dad Richard, 46, from Neston.

Gazing at her new-born, Claire, a speech and language therapist, said: “Yes. Ella wished for a sister and now she has got one. It was a shock as she was not due until January 6 but this is very special and I will never forget this Christmas.”

Kirra’s unusual name was inspired by Kirra Beach on Australia’s Gold Coast where Richard likes to surf when visiting Claire’s ex-pat mum Triana, 65, who flew over to be at the birth.

From an article called “The newest species of catfish is named after Greedo from Star Wars” by Elahe Izadi:

“We were trying to figure out what the characteristics on it were,” he said. “We share a lab with some arachnologists, and one of them looked at it and said, ‘You know, that looks like that guy from Star Wars.'”

[Jonathan] Armbruster and his colleagues figured out the arachnologist had been referring to Greedo. “As soon as we heard that, we knew what the species would be,” Armbruster said.

From an article called “I’m a Princess and don’t you dare forget it!” by Charlotte Oliver (thank you to Clare of Name News for this one):

At university, I accrued the ear-splitting nickname Choliver, until I simply refused to respond. And while my favourite, Carlotta, worked when I lived in Mexico — mostly with Mojito in hand and salsa on the stereo — I soon realised it caused something of a stink when I returned to the UK. Like a very English John, who replies: “Ay, no papi, call me Juan.”

From an Amy Schumer stand-up act from 2011 (3:18-3:48):

I have this one friend Sabina, though, we’ve been friends forever. She’s gorgeous. She’s a Ford model, she’s dating a professional athlete. And that name Sabina, that’s one of those annoying names you have to be really hot to pull off, right? … You can’t have a bum knee and a lazy eye and be like, “I’m Sabina!”

[….]

If you’re really hot you can be like, I’m Gorgonzola, whut.”

(For the record, I have yet to find a person legally named Gorgonzola.)

For more quotes, check out the name quotes category.

Popular Baby Names in Quebec, 2014

According to data from the Régie des rentes du Québec (RRQ), the most popular baby names in Quebec in 2014 were Lea and William.

Here are the province’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2014:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Lea, 575 baby girls
2. Emma, 569
3. Olivia, 508
4. Florence, 482
5. Chloe, 472
6. Alice, 459
7. Zoe, 422
8. Rosalie, 410
9. Charlie, 386
10. Charlotte, 369
1. William, 773 baby boys
2. Thomas, 733
3. Felix, 711
4. Liam, 695
5. Nathan, 672
6. Jacob, 611
7. Alexis, 594
8. Logan, 593
9. Olivier, 582
10. Samuel, 579

Charlotte replaces Juliette in the girls’ top 10, and Logan replaces Gabriel in the boys’ top 10.

The biggest moves within the top 10 were the fall of Samuel (down 7 spots) the rises of both Chloe and Thomas (up 5 spots each).

Quebec is one of the wonderful places that releases all of its baby name data (yay!) so now let’s check out some of the names at the other end of the spectrum.

The following names were bestowed only once in Quebec last year:

Rare Girl Names Rare Boy Names
Aberdeen, Acacia, Alghalia, Allegresse, Alimata, Alypier, Amorelle Simo, Anabia, Aonnhi Io, Armiella Sylene, Astoria, Ausalie, Auxanne, Ayqut, Balsam, Berangere, Brunaica, Bremellia, Cassou, Coumba, Coramely, Cydra, Dahlianne, Delnaz, Edmaelle, Ejona, Eliabelle, Elielle, Eliora, Elisapie, Elowen, Eluvia, Ember, Eolie, Eunicia, Fedaelle, Felune, Greyelle, Hyzalie, Inuluk, Isatis*, Izalee, Janabelle, Jedia, Juniper, Kalixie, Kazelly, Koubrah, Lessika Sibi, Leocadie, Lilafee, Lilwenn Sage, Losokola Victoria, Lysea, Lysmee, Macdara, Massylia, Mavie, Mayura, Mazaly, Mervedie Hope, Miaphee, Mijanie, Moon, Myrannie, Nauralie, Neelamy, Nektaria, Nephthalie, Nima, Nourcine, Nuunia, Oonq, Orkida, Orzala, Ozia, Phiji, Poeme, Prunille, Quinn Logan, Quppiak, Ralph-Emma, Rivlynca, Rizelane, Rosemma, Runa, Saby-Lina, Sauriane, Sensylia, Sheltoina Nissie, Sherodie Norah, Siella, Sillija, Siska, Sonoma, Spring Kimberly, Stratus, Sylenad, Syrianne, Tassadit, Taurie, Taurielle, Tillia, Toltzy, Tshiala, Twiggy, Upoma, Velesie, Venba, Yaralee Phedianie, Yebga Johanne, Yolbie, Zazyl Alarik, Asher Zelig, Ateronhiahere, Audric, Avigdor, Benjamin Rebel, Carther, Carlvin, Charvey, Clyvens, Curry-Tianlang, Dannic, Darwin, Detroit, Dillis Della Mcnjiss, Dimaben, Donadel Theo, Dzoti-Dylan, Ednershley Josue, Eluann, Enxu, Eudovic Nicanor, Exode Baelo, Faucher-Levasseur, Fenryr, Fulgence, Fundy, Glennfrey, Glory-Honneuramons, Godlycharacter, Gonzalo Kai Fei, Harley Davidson, Heliodore, Hugolin, Imix, Jayssijay, Joelvino, Jusipi, Kaherahere, Kallytrie, Karmany Alain, Kerfala, Klooff, La Fleche, Leith, Leolo, Lowry Nessi, Madden-Steeve, Malorik, Markernald, Maverix, Maxange, Med Reda, Maydenlee, Micipsa, Monzonto Bertinel, Mor Talla, Mordechai Max, Namory, Neven, Nick-Jovi, Nils, Noeliam*, Nowlan, Ossimbo, Providence Nathanael, Renzo, Rozzel Emmanuel, Savio, Sederi, Sphinx Jones, Syphax, Taliby, Tauren, Techeley, Thymote, Trencely, Turic, Tylian, Valliant-Bob, Vanguard, Vyber Biao, William-Wallace, Willie Ittuk, Y Rambo, Xquenda, Yansyl, Yartine, Yizo, York, Yulrick, Zacchaeus Righteous, Zeegar, Zineddine Zidane, Zino

*Isatis is a genus of Old World plants/herbs that includes woad (Isatis tinctoria).

**Noeliam might be a mashup of Noel + Liam. Maybe his parents are big Oasis fans?

Here are Quebec’s top baby names of 2013, 2012, 2009 and 2006, if you’d like to compare.

Source: RRQ – List of Baby Names in Québec

Road Trip Roundup: Calantha & Borghild

In Pierre, South Dakota, we visited the capitol building. It was quite nice on the inside:

Capitol - Pierre, SD

In one hallway, we found a few display cases featuring photos of former South Dakota first ladies/families.

Two names that caught my eye were Calantha and Borghild.

Calantha was the step-daughter of governor William Bulow, in office from 1927 to 1931.

She was the daughter of his second wife, Sarah. Sarah’s younger daughter, Venice, had died as a baby. Bulow’s children with his first wife, Katherine, were named Maurene, William Jr., and Kathleen.

Borghild was the sister of governor Nils Boe, in office from 1965 to 1969.

Nils wasn’t married, so Borghild served as first lady while he was governor. Their parents were Norwegian immigrants named Nils and Sissel (Sissel is a form of Cecilia). Their three sisters were named Karen, Dagney and Lois.

[What’s this road trip all about?]

Related post: Baby named “Speaker” by South Dakota state legislature

Names Needed for Baby Boy

A reader named Leigh will be having a baby boy within the next few weeks. She writes:

I am a teacher and have heard so many names that I don’t want to name our child. My husband and I really like the name Miles, however, there are many new baby boys in my friend circle, named Miles. I really like Emmett, but my husband is afraid he’ll be mocked because people might only know of his name from the Twilight series. We’re interested in two or three syllable strong, unique (not necessarily unusual) names. A current front runner is Anders, possibly Anders Gray Hollyard*. We also like the name Lars. I guess I’m finding we like names that end in s!

First name and possible middle name suggestions to go with Anders would be greatly appreciated.

*Their surname isn’t Hollyard, but a like-sounding two-syllable h-name.

A few thoughts on the current favorites:

  • Miles: The popularity of this one has been on the rise for years, so it makes sense that you’re hearing it more often. I’m sure this has already come up, but just in case: Have you considered Milo or Niles as alternatives? They both sound a lot like Miles, but they’re not nearly as popular (i.e. only 29 babies were named Niles in 2010).
  • Emmett: Personally, I associate this name with Emmitt Smith, not the fictional vampire. And I’m not even a sports fan. This Twilight craze will blow over one day (thankfully!) and, when it does, these vampire/werewolf associations will fade. Exception: Renesmee.
  • Anders: I really like this one. I especially like that it shortens to the nickname Andy, allowing anyone with this name to flip back and forth between formal/unusual and informal/familiar, depending on the occasion. Versatility is always a good thing.
  • Lars: I have a strong association with this one as well, though I’m not sure how many others have it — Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich. So this one may prompt people to ask about the possible Metallica connection. Much cooler than a Twilight question, anyway.

Here are some other names, many with s-endings:

Adam
Boris
Clark
Curtis
Elliot
Ellis
Eric
Felix
Grant
James
Jasper
Jens
Joel
Levi
Linus
Lucas
Marcus
Marius
Matthias
Max
Neil
Nils
Oliver
Oscar
Peter
Reed
Thomas
Victor

As far as middle names for Anders go, I think Gray is great. I think a one-syllable name with a hard sound (that g) sounds good in that spot. Other names that fit this description are Brett, Craig, Drake, Frank, Grant, Jack, Kent, Mark and Paul.

Which of the above names do you like best? What other names would you suggest to Leigh?

Update: The baby has arrived! Scroll down for the name (or just click here).

One-Hit Wonder Baby Names from the 1880s

The names below are “one-hit wonder” names that ranked among the 1,000 most popular U.S. baby names only once–sometime during the 1880s.

This list is much longer than the 1940s and 1950s lists, but it’s also probably a lot less reliable. Why? Because the SSA‘s baby name data for the late 1800s and early 1900s is pretty skewed. As a result, a lot of random names (and not-quite-names) managed to rank among the statistical “top 1,000” during this period.

Girls

  • 1880 – Adina, Almyra, Chanie, Chrissie, Clemie, Cordella, Dayse, Delina, Delle, Elmire, Elzada, Estie, Fronnie, Lovisa, Lucina, Manerva, Manervia, Minervia, Neppie, Nolie, Orilla, Rillie, Sybilla, Tella, Thursa
  • 1881 – Achsah, Ala, Alabama, Amey, Chestina, Chloie, Crissie, Daisye, Dema, Dollye, Eithel, Mila, Senora, Siddie, Sylvania, Tiney, Zilpah
  • 1882 – Affie, Arah, Artelia, Birdella, Cathern, Cilla, Elizbeth, Fannye, Francina, Genevra, Iza, Jerusha, Loda, Lucetta, Lucindy, Luda, Mahalie, Modena, Nanna, Nelie, Olena, Sinda, Vicy
  • 1883 – Almina, Argie, Beatrix, Cappie, Caro, Cloe, Deetta, Dorathea, Ermine, Felicie, Icey, Junia, Lovey, Marianita, Mattye, Pearla, Simona
  • 1884 – Alzina, Annice, Georganna, Leala, Lurana, Milly, Nealy, Olivine, Oney, Savilla, Sussie, Theodocia, Violetta
  • 1885 – Aurilla, Dosia, Emmy, Essa, Ica, Ilma, Lolla, Medora, Octa
  • 1886 – Alwilda, Angele, Betha, Clytie, Ermina, Hilah, Louisiana, Metha, Oline, Pricilla
  • 1887 – Alwine, Anice, Clemma, Eppie, Gustie, Octavie, Orelia
  • 1888 – Francies, Margretta, Orra, Pairlee, Pallie
  • 1889 – Chessie, Erla, Herma, Lulah, Noemie

Boys

  • 1880: Agustus, Baldwin, Candido, Ceylon, Clemente, Firman, Friend, Hays, Hence, Hunt, Isam, Jabez, Obed, Rafe, Redden, Salomon, Sannie, Tilden
  • 1881 – Ambers, Cas, Casimiro, Dixon, Elonzo, Emry, Erving, Esequiel, Manly, Marius, Marrion, Mercer, Obe, Philo, Primus, Prosper, Pryor, Roll, Wiliam, Wing, York
  • 1882 – Alanzo, Alby, Alcee, Auguste, Caswell, Clabe, Ell, Greene, Hansford, Lone, Marsh, Pearley, Wenzel
  • 1883 – Blanchard, Bose, Charle, Emett, Grove, Hanson, Jep, Jeptha, Linzy, Lute, Milas, Thurlow
  • 1884 – Blain, Bowman, Bunk, Donaciano, Ebenezer, Ignatz, Odin, Oley, Osborn, Shep, Vollie
  • 1885 – Drury, Elon, Fielding, Fleet, Fount, Lark, Lim, Nim, North, Orvis, Reason, Virge, Worley, Zenas
  • 1886 – Acey, Algernon, Amasa, Amil, Calhoun, Colbert, Elby, Fuller, Ham, Lilburn, Lovett, Pratt, Ruffin
  • 1887 – Bliss, Dorr, Ethelbert, Gilford, Gilman, Graves, Hillery, Shepherd
  • 1888 – Benjman, Celestino, Hart, Hilmer, Le, Liston, Lott, Nils, Vere
  • 1889 – Abie, Alver, Anatole, Boone, Branch, Bush, Claiborne, Edw, Fed, Governor, Hjalmar, Levin, Redmond

All one-hit wonder lists: 1880s, 1890s, 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s.