How popular is the baby name North 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 North.

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Popularity of the Baby Name North

Posts that Mention the Name North

Pop Culture Baby Name Game Results, 2013

Here are the results of the 2013 pop culture baby name game!

But I’m writing them up a bit differently this year — I’m only focusing on 20 big winners.

How did I choose these 20? First, I eliminated all the names that didn’t see increased usage in 2013. Then I eliminated the names that saw relatively small increases in usage. Then I eliminated the names that saw more or less expected increases in usage, given their trajectories.

That left me with about 20 names that became more popular in 2013 due mainly (in some cases entirely) to pop culture influence.

The links will take you to popularity graphs.

1. Jace

  • Increase: +1,649 baby boys (4,692 to 6,341) and +8 baby girls (36 to 44).
  • Inspiration: “Duck Dynasty” character Jason “Jase” Robertson.
  • Even more impressive, the name Jase increased +3,410 and +13.

2. Lincoln

  • Increase: +1,112 baby boys (2,898 to 4,010) and +28 baby girls (33 to 61).
  • Inspiration: The film Lincoln (2012).

3. Ariana

  • Increase: +816 baby girls (3,568 to 4,384).
  • Inspiration: Singer/actress Ariana Grande.
  • 4,384 baby girls is a new all-time high for Ariana. The previous high was 4,322 baby girls in 2007.

4. Everly

  • Increase: +517 baby girls (287 to 804).
  • Inspiration: Celebrity baby Everly, daughter of Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan.

5. Kendrick

  • Increase: +472 baby boys (570 to 1,042).
  • Inspiration: Rapper Kendrick Lamar.
  • 1,042 baby boys is a new all-time high for Kendrick. The previous high was 763 baby boys in 1991.

6. Milan

  • Increase: +333 baby boys (151 to 484) and +89 baby girls (382 to 471).
  • Inspiration: Celebrity baby Milan, son of Shakira and Gerard Pique.

7. George

  • Increase: +194 baby boys (2,328 to 2,522).
  • Inspiration: Royal baby George, son of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

8. Francis

  • Increase: +101 baby boys (429 to 530) and +13 baby girls (44 to 57).
  • Inspiration: The election of Pope Francis.
  • Even more impressive, the name Francisco increased +125.

9. Bruno

  • Increase: +91 baby boys (284 to 375).
  • Inspiration: Singer Bruno Mars.
  • 375 baby boys is a new all-time high for Bruno. The previous high was 353 in 1916.

10. Paul

  • Increase: +78 baby boys (1,939 to 2,017).
  • Inspiration: The death of actor Paul Walker.
  • Walker saw an even bigger increase (+128) but I thought Paul’s rise was more compelling as it went against a decades-long decline in usage.

11. Robin

  • Increase: +48 baby boys (104 to 152).
  • Inspiration: Singer Robin Thicke.

12. Diamond

  • Increase: +41 baby girls (345 to 386).
  • Inspiration: Rihanna song “Diamonds” (2012).

13. Wendy

  • Increase: +37 baby girls (357 to 394).
  • Inspiration: Texas politician Wendy Davis.
  • I’m dying to see how much of Wendy’s increase can be attributed to Texas specifically. The SSA’s state lists haven’t been updated yet, though.

14. Nori

  • Increase: +18 baby girls (11 to 29).
  • Inspiration: Celebrity baby “Nori” (North), daughter of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.
  • 29 baby girls is a new high for Nori. The previous high was 20 in 2009.

15. Primrose

  • Increase: +17 baby girls (17 to 34).
  • Inspiration: Hunger Games (2012) character Primrose Everdeen.
  • Prim, a nickname for Primrose, debuted with 7 baby girls.

16. Marnie

  • Increase: +14 baby girls (13 to 27).
  • Inspiration: “Girls” character Marnie Michaels.

17. Rainbow

  • Increase: +9 baby girls (7 to 16).
  • Inspiration: Celebrity baby Rainbow, daughter of Holly Madison and Pasquale Rotella.

18. Kitai

  • Debuted with 16 baby boys.
  • Inspiration: After Earth (2013) character Kitai Raige.
  • Cypher, the name of another After Earth character, increased +4.

19. Sansa

  • Debuted with 11 baby girls.
  • Inspiration: “Game of Thrones” character Sansa Stark.

20. Malala

  • Debuted with 9 baby girls.
  • Inspiration: Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai.

Did any of the above surprise you?

Past PCBNG results: 2012, 2011, 2010.

41 Pun Names for April Fools’ Day (4/1)

pun names for april fool's day, gravestones

I can’t play a prank on you for April Fools’ Day, but I can give you a list of personal names that seem like pranks.

Except, they’re not.

All of the below are legit first & last names that belonged to real people — often multiple people. (In parentheses is a rough estimate of how many I’ve come across so far.)

Which one do you think is the worst?

  1. Alma Mater (several)
  2. April Showers (dozens)
  3. Bear Trapp (one)
  4. Candy Cane (several)
  5. Cliff Hanger (several)
  6. Constant Agony (two)
  7. Constant Craps (one)
  8. Crystal Ball (dozens)
  9. Death Knox (one)
  10. Drew Peacock (dozens)
  11. Gettysburg Battle (one)
  12. Gold Mine (two)
  13. Green Bean (several)
  14. Hazel Nut/Nutt (dozens)
  15. Ima Hogg (one)
  16. Jed I Knight (one)
  17. London England (dozens)
  18. Mud Brown (three)
  19. Never Fail (two)
  20. Norman Conquest (two)
  21. North West (hundreds)
  22. Nude Mann (one)
  23. Orbit Moon (one)
  24. Orchestra Harp (one)
  25. Paris France (several)
  26. Preserved Fish (one)
  27. Pullman Carr (several), one with the middle name Palace, as in the Pullman Palace Car Company.
  28. Rainy Day (one)
  29. River Bottom (one)
  30. Rocky Mountain (dozens)
  31. Sandy Beach (dozens)
  32. Sea Shore (several)
  33. Seymour Butts (two) — not just a Bart Simpson prank call!
  34. Silence Bellows (one)
  35. Soda Popp (one)
  36. Strong Beer (one)
  37. Tell No Lyes (several)
  38. Ten Million (one), who had a daughter named Decillian Million.
  39. Timber Wood* (one), who has a sister named Drift Wood.
  40. Truly Wright (several)
  41. Tu Morrow (one)

Some of the above are also on my Unusual Name Combinations list.

Finally, don’t forget about the best April Fools’ Day name of all time, April Fool Harris!

*Reminded of this one by @jessiejensen – thanks!

Images from Find a Grave: Constant Craps by user Tonya Sapp Hames; Crystal Kay Ball by user Connie Lagasse Russell; Never McNeil Fail, Sr by user P Black-Avitts; Pullman P Carr by user Emily; Rocky D. Mountain by user Bobbi Janes; Seymour Butts by user suscat.

Pop Culture Baby Name Game 2013

pop culture baby name game 2013

Every year on Britney Spears’s birthday (December 2) we start another round of the annual Pop Culture Baby Name Game.

What is the Pop Culture Baby Name Game, you ask? Good question! It’s not a “game” really, but more of a group brainstorm. We try to guess which baby names became more popular during the year thanks to pop culture — music, movies, television, sports, politics, current events, products, etc.

I’ve searched for all the 2013 predictions we’ve made so far (in posts & comments) and listed them below. I also threw in a few more possibilities — mostly celebrity baby names. So here’s what we’re starting with:

  • Ace – Jessica Simpson’s baby boy, born in June
  • Armand or ArmieLone Ranger actor Armand “Armie” Hammer
  • Axl – Fergie’s baby boy, born in August
  • Bailey (per skizzo) – Grey’s Anatomy baby
  • Benedict (per Rita) – Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Bilbo (per elbowin) – The Hobbit character
  • Cressida or Cressie – Prince Harry’s girlfriend Cressida “Cressie” Bonas
  • Cricket – Busy Philipps’s baby girl, born in July
  • CypherAfter Earth character
  • D’Ussé – Jay Z-endorsed cognac
  • Elon – Tesla founder Elon Musk
  • Evanora (per skizzo) – Oz the Great and Powerful character
  • Everly – Channing Tatum’s baby girl, born in May
  • Evo (per elbowin) – Bolivian president Evo Morales
  • FantineLes Mis character (especially since the Oscars)
  • Finley (per skizzo) – Oz the Great and Powerful character
  • Francesco, Francis, Francisco – Pope Francis, elected in March
  • Gatsby (per skizzo) – movie The Great Gatsby
  • George – Kate and William’s royal baby boy, born in July
  • Harley (per skizzo) – Iron Man character
  • KitaiAfter Earth character
  • Ladar (per elbowin) – Lavabit owner Ladar Levison
  • Lincoln – movie Lincoln
  • Lula – Bryan Adams’s baby girl, born in February
  • Luna – Penelope Cruz’s baby girl, born in July
  • Macklemore – rapper Macklemore
  • Malala – young Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai
  • Marnie – Lily Allen’s baby girl, born in January
  • Milan – Shakira’s baby boy, born in January
  • Minaj – singer Nicki Minaj
  • Neymar (per Rita) – Brazillian football player Neymar
  • North or Nori – Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s baby girl, born in June
  • Philomena – movie Philomena
  • Quvenzhané (per Rita) – child actress Quvenzhané Wallis
  • Rainbow – Holly Madison’s baby girl, born in March
  • Robin (per Rita) – singer Robin Thicke
  • Snowden – NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden
  • Tesla – Tesla cars
  • TessanneThe Voice contestant winner Tessanne Chin
  • Thatcher (per Rita) – Margaret Thatcher, died in April
  • Theodora (per skizzo) – Oz the Great and Powerful character
  • Turbo – movie Turbo
  • Wendy – Texas politician Wendy Davis
  • Winnie – Jimmy Fallon’s baby girl, born in July
  • Yeezus or Yeezy – Kanye West album Yeezus
  • Zoella – beauty blogger Zoella

Wanna play? Tell me in the comments which baby names you think got a boost from pop culture in 2013. Don’t forget to mention the reason.

I’ll post the results of the game after the SSA updates the national baby name data in May. If you don’t want to miss the results post, subscribe to the blog!

Previous rounds of the Pop Culture Baby Name Game: 2012, 2011 #1, 2011 #2, 2010

The Name Nancy Transliterated into Chinese

Nancy in Chinese characters
The name Nancy transliterated into Chinese.

My husband visited China recently and brought back a cute little gift for me. (Thank you, E!)

It’s a jade stamp in the shape of a horse (because I was born in the year of the horse). The stamp itself is my name written in two ways — the normal way, and transliterated into Mandarin Chinese.

He thinks he remembers the shop-girl telling him the characters meant “beautiful flower from the south.”

When I tried translating the characters myself, though, I wasn’t able to come up with that.

Here’s my attempt:

On the left is ?, nán, which means “south” or “southern.”

So that part of the definition makes sense.

But on the right is ?, which can be pronounced either qiàn or x?. We want the second pronunciation (nán + x? = Nancy, more or less). With that pronunciation, the only definition I can find is “used in the transliteration of people’s names.”


So I have no idea where the “beautiful flower” part could have come from. Seems like that character doesn’t really mean anything at all.

Which is sad, because that bottom symbol, ?, could have been used on its own and given the name a much cooler meaning. It’s also pronounced x?, and means “west” or “western,” so my name could have been ? ?, or “south west.”

Southwest would have been awesome for two reasons. First, I’m actually from the Northeast. :) Second, a directional pun-name could have made me one of the cool kids (finally!).

Oh well.

Have you ever had your name transliterated into Chinese, or any other writing system? How did it come out?

Will “North West” Make Pun Names Trendy?

North West - Pun Baby Name

Last week, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian welcomed their first child, a baby girl.

Most people thought the couple would opt for a K-name, in keeping with family tradition (Kris, Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Kendall, Kylie). Did they?

Nope! Instead they went for North, with no middle name. So the baby girl’s full name is North West.

Ironically, Kim laughed at the suggestion of “North West” on Jay Leno just a few weeks ago.

Here’s what Grandma Kris had to say about the name:

Kim sort of explained it to me. She said North is the highest power. And their baby North, their little girl, is the highest point and power between the two of them. So I thought that was really cool.

Personal significance aside, the internet has been abuzz with reactions — mostly negative:

The name quickly spawned plenty of punchlines, with many Twitter users joking that “Key” and “Wild” must already have been taken.

Perhaps in anticipation of this type of response, Kim and Kanye were sure to leak the fact that they’d be calling North by the noncontroversial pet name “Nori.”

At the end of the day, though, a pet name cannot offset a pun name.

So now, here’s the question:

  • Do you think “North West” will inspire/embolden more parents to bestow pun names this year?

I don’t have a way to measure pun name frequency, unfortunately, so we’ll have to rely on anecdotal evidence for this one. So I’ll keep my eyes peeled for pun names in the coming months. If you spot any, please let me know.

Update, 10/20/20: Wondering whether baby North West had an influence on U.S. baby names?

She had a slight influence on North, which saw an uptick in usage as a boy name in 2013, and finally debuted as a girl name in 2015:

  • 2015: 6 baby girls and 10 baby boys named North [debut for girls]
  • 2014: 13 baby boys named North
  • 2013: 21 baby boys named North [peak]
  • 2012: 13 baby boys named North
  • 2011: 20 baby boys named North

She had a much stronger influence on the Nori, which, according to the latest data (2019), is currently sitting just outside the top 1,000.

  • 2015: 134 baby girls and 9 baby boys named Nori
  • 2014: 102 baby girls and 13 baby boys named Nori
  • 2013: 29 baby girls named Nori
  • 2012: 11 baby girls named Nori
  • 2011: 18 baby girls named Nori

(Nori is reminding me of Naleigh, which also saw higher usage thanks to a celebrity baby nickname.)

And, while I’m in here updating this post, I’ll throw in the names of the three babies Kim and Kanye have welcomed since the arrival of Nori…

Saint (boy, born in December 2015) was named after the fact that his parents considered him a “blessing” after Kim’s difficult pregnancy. In 2018, the name Saint entered the top 1,000 for the first time ever.

  • 2018: 256 baby boys named Saint [rank: 858th]
  • 2017: 141 baby boys named Saint
  • 2016: 115 baby boys named Saint
  • 2015: 39 baby boys named Saint
  • 2014: 33 baby boys named Saint
  • 2013: 22 baby boys named Saint

Chicago, “Chi” (girl, born in January 2018) was named after the city where Kanye was raised. The same year, the name Chicago, which had only ever popped up as a boy name in the data, debuted as a girl name:

  • 2019: 5 baby boys named Chicago
  • 2018: 6 baby girls and 5 baby boys named Chicago [debut for girls]
  • 2017: unlisted
  • 2016: unlisted

Psalm (boy, born May 2019) got his name from the biblical Book of Psalms. We don’t have the 2020 data yet, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens with the name Psalm, but in 2019 it more than doubled in usage for baby boys:

  • 2020: …?
  • 2019: 7 baby girls and 16 baby boys named Psalm
  • 2018: 8 baby girls and 7 baby boys named Psalm
  • 2017: 11 baby girls and 5 baby boys named Psalm

Which of these four noun-names names — North, Saint, Chicago, or Psalm — do you like best?

Sources: Others named North praise Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s baby name choice, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West Name Baby Daughter North West, Nicknamed “Nori”, Kris Jenner: Kim Kardashian, Kanye West Made a “Joint Decision” in Naming Baby North, From Chicago and Psalm to Reign and Stormi: The Meanings Behind the Kardashian Kids’ Names