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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Olive

Number of Babies Named Olive

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Olive

Poll: Favorite “Feminine Blend”?

Nope, this isn’t a post about a pink smoothies. “Feminine blend” was a phrase Henry Louis (H. L.) Mencken used in his 1921 book The American Language to describe a female name created by blending two other names together. Here are the feminine blends he lists:

Adelloyd
(Addie + Lloyd)

Adnelle
(Addison + Nellie)

Adrielle
(Adrienne + Belle)

Armina
(Ardelia + Wilhelmina)

Bethene
(Elizabeth + Christine)

Birdene
(Birdie + Pauline)

Charline
(Charles + Pauline)

Leilabeth
(Leila + Elizabeth)

Lunette
(Luna + Nettie)

Marjette
(Marjorie + Henrietta)

Maybeth
(May + Elizabeth)

Olabelle
(Ola + Isabel)

Olouise
(Olive + Louise)

Romiette
(Romeo + Juliette)

Rosella
(Rose + Bella)

If you had to use one of the above in real life, which one would you choose?

Favorite "feminine blend"?

View Results

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Source: H. L. Mencken. The American Language. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1921.


How Did Thurgood Marshall Get His Name?

Thurgood Marshall, 1967Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) was the first African-American to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. He served from 1967 until 1991.

Prior to that, he was known for having won 29 of the 32 cases he’d argued argued before the Supreme Court. Most were civil rights cases, including the famous Brown v. Board of Education case that ended legal segregation in public schools in 1954.

The year he died, the name Thurgood debuted on the U.S. baby name charts:

  • 1994: unlisted
  • 1993: 5 baby boys named Thurgood [debut]
  • 1992: unlisted

…and it never returned, making Thurgood a statistical one-hit wonder.

So how did Thurgood Marshall get his unusual first name?

It was passed down from his paternal grandfather, who apparently went by either of two names: Thorneygood and Thoroughgood.

The elder Thoroughgood/Thorneygood served in the U.S. Army, and he didn’t know which name to use when he enlisted, so he used both. And he ended up getting two sets of retirement checks because of it.

Thurgood Marshall told TIME: “I was named Thoroughgood after him but by the time I was in the second grade, I got tired of spelling all that and shortened it.”

His maternal grandfather also had a distinctive name: Isaiah Olive Branch Williams. Isaiah and his wife Mary had six children, all with fascinating names — several inspired by Isaiah’s travels abroad with the U.S. merchant marine.

  • Avonia Delicia – first name after Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Avon Nyanza – first name also after Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Denmedia Marketa – after the family’s grocery store, located on Baltimore’s Denmead Street
  • Norma Arica – after the opera Norma and the place where Isaiah first heard it, the Chilean port city of Arica
  • Fearless Mentor – because, according to Isaiah:

    Most kids don’t open their eyes until they’re at least a few hours old. This one looked me straight in the eye as soon as I came in. He’s a fearless little fellow and Fearless will be his name.

  • Ravine Silestria – after a ravine in the Bulgarian/Romanian port city of Silistra

Norma was Thurgood Marshall’s mother. He called Fearless and Denmedia “Uncle Fee” and “Aunt Medi.”

Sources:

Giggleswick & Alkelda

st-alkeldaI recently read something that mentioned the English village of Giggleswick. That name was so fun I had to look it up: it’s a two-part place name made up of the Old English personal name Gikel or Gichel plus the Old English word wic meaning “dairy farm” or “dwelling.”

And inside the village is another interesting name: Alkelda. The church of St. Alkelda in Giggleswick is one of two churches in the North Yorkshire region named after the legendary local saint who may have been an Anglo-Saxon princess…or may have been entirely made up. Doubters note that the name “Alkelda” is suspiciously similar to haeligkeld, an Anglo-Saxon place name meaning “holy spring” or “holy well.”

So have any real-life babies been named after St. Alkelda? Yes, I found records for more than a dozen Alkeldas — all were born in England, and most were born in Yorkshire specifically.

The earliest Alkelda I found was Alkelda Browne, who married Willus Hill in Giggleswick in 1578. Next was Algitha Alkelda Brenda Orde-Powlett, who was born and died in 1871. (Elea mentioned Algitha Alkelda her Finds from 1871 post.)

Here are a few of the other Alkeldas:

  • Olive Alkelda Clark, b. 1879, in Essex
  • Enid Alkelda Brocklehurst, b. 1902 in Yorkshire
  • Frances Alkelda Outhwaite, b. 1904 in Yorkshire
  • Alkelda A George, b. 1926 in Yorkshire

What are your thoughts on the name Alkelda?

Sources:

Image: Adapted from Middleham Church by John Clift under CC BY-NC 2.0.

The Baby Name Marcheta

Marcheta, songThe baby name Marcheta wouldn’t have become trendy back in the 1920s if not for a newfangled invention: radio.

Marcheta debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1923:

  • 1927: 25 baby girls named Marcheta
  • 1926: 41 baby girls named Marcheta
  • 1925: 46 baby girls named Marcheta
  • 1924: 57 baby girls named Marcheta
  • 1923: 14 baby girls named Marcheta [debut]
  • 1922: unlisted

One year later, usage peaked.

The obvious explanation is the song “Marcheta: A Love Song of Old Mexico” (1913) written by Victor Schertzinger. Except the song was published ten years too early. Also, it was a flop.

A decade later, though, the radio had been invented and the song was revived.

By the end of 1922, “Marcheta” was a hit. Millions of copies were sold in the early-to-mid 1920s, and various artists recorded the song, including Elsie Baker and Olive Kline in 1922:

Victor Schertzinger went on to become a successful motion picture director, but he never used “Marcheta” in one of his movies. In fact, I don’t believe the song was ever used in a movie.

But it had an impact on the movies, because in 1924 the otherwise rare name Marcheta was used in not once but twice as the name of a lead character in a film:

  • Marcheta, character played by Estelle Taylor in the movie Tiger Love
  • Marcheta, character played by Derelys Perdue in the movie Untamed Youth

Because of this, there’s no telling how much of Marcheta’s usage in 1924 was due to radio and how much was due to cinema.

What do you think of the baby name Marcheta?

Sources:

Image: Marcheta; Love song of old Mexico

Name Quotes for the Weekend #32

Thana, cover of LIFE, 1947

Happy Friday! Here’s another batch of random, name-related quotes to end the week…

From the description of the December 15, 1947, cover of LIFE magazine:

Among the prettiest showgirls in New York’s nightclubs are (from left) brunette Dawn McInerney, red-haired Thana Barclay and blond Joy Skylar who all work in the Latin Quarter. […] Thana, also 22, was named after her mother’s favorite poem Thanatopsis. She is married to a song plugger named Duke Niles and owns a dachshund named Bagel.

The poem “Thanatopsis” was written by William Cullen Bryant. The word itself means “a view or contemplation of death.” In Greek mythology, Thanatos was the god of death.

From the All Music Guide to Hip-hop by Vladimir Bogdanov:

Ginuwine was born in Washington, D.C., on October 15, 1975, with the unlikely name of Elgin Baylor Lumpkin (after D.C.-born Basketball Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor).

Elgin Baylor, born in 1934, was named after the Elgin National Watch Company. (He’s on my Long List of Unusual Real Names.)

From “The Art Of Knowing When Less Is More” by Greg Dawson, published in the Orlando Sentinel in 1997:

Fellow immigrants…Here is proof that we need that national “conversation about race” urged by President Clinton: Last week in a whimsical moment I argued that official hurricane names are too “white bread” (like Greg) and don’t reflect America’s ethnic stew. To make my point I looked at the births page of the Sentinel for names that you never see attached to a hurricane — names such as Attaliah, Desjambra, Ofori. A reader called to complain about the “white bread” line and added, “A lot of those names aren’t even American.”

“Excuse me,” I said, “but they were born in this country. They’re just as American as you and me.”

“You know what I mean,” he said.

Yes, unfortunately, I think I do.

From The Making of Cabaret by Keith Garebian, regarding the name of English actress Valerie Jill Haworth, who was born on Victory over Japan Day (Aug. 15, 1945):

The initials of her baptismal names (Valerie Jill) were in honor of her birth on VJ Day.

Related: American actress Robin Vee Strasser was born on Victory in Europe Day.

A quote from Freddie Prinze, Jr., in the documentary Misery Loves Comedy (sent to me by Anna of Waltzing More Than Matilda):

“When you’re a Junior you’re pretty much just a statue to what went before.”

From “My Daughter Will Be Named Ruby Daffodil” in US magazine article

Back when Drew Barrymore was only 20 years old, she already had a name picked out for her future child.

During an interview with Rolling Stone in June 1995, Barrymore opened up about her relationship at the time with Hole musician Eric Erlandson.

[…]

“I never thought I’d have a sense of family until I had my own kids. I want two: a boy and a girl,” she revealed. “My daughter will be named Ruby Daffodil.”

Today she has two daughters, neither of whom are named Ruby Daffodil. The first was named Olive and the second Frankie.

From “The History Of How “Cow Poop” Became A Real-Life Japanese Family Name” by Mami of the blog Tofugu:

There are some Japanese family names that are so ridiculous that I’m forced to believe that someone was playing some kind of horrible family prank when they named themselves. Cow Poop (Ushikuso), Horse-Butt (Umajiri), and Boar-Crotch (Inomata/Imata) are actual people in Japan. If they wanted a memorable name, they’ve certainly achieved it, but I can’t imagine what it’s like to grow up with a name like that as a child.

From the “Name Wisely” section of “8 Tips for Creating Great Stories” by Hugh Hart of Fast Company:

Fantasy novelist Neil Gaiman stresses the importance of a good name in describing the genesis of his American Gods protagonist. “There’s a magic to names, after all,” he says. “I knew his name [needed to be] descriptive. I tried calling him Lazy, but he didn’t seem to like that, and I called him Jack, and he didn’t like that any better. I took to trying every name I ran into on him for size, and he looked back at me from somewhere in my head unimpressed every time. It was like trying to name Rumpelstiltskin.”

He finally discovered the name, Shadow, in an Elvis Costello song. (American Gods will be on TV soon…will we soon be seeing more babies named Shadow?)

Gaiety Girl Names – Ellaline, Florence, Moya

Gaiety Girl Camille Clifford
Camille Clifford
Before there were Follies girls, there were Gaiety Girls.

These were showgirls appearing in Edwardian musical comedies at London’s Gaiety Theatre during the 1890s.

There’s no definitive list of all the Gaiety Girls, but here are a few of them:

  • Alice Delysia
  • Billie Carleton – birth name Florence
  • Blanche Massey
  • Camille Clifford – birth name Camilla
  • Cicely Courtneidge – birth name Esmerelda
  • Connie Gilchrist – birth name Constance
  • Constance Collier – birth name Laura
  • Denise Orme – birth name Jessie
  • Dorothy Minto
  • Eleanor Souray
  • Ellaline Terriss – birth name Mary (Ellaline was her middle name)
  • Evelyn Laye – birth name Elsie
  • Florence Smithson
  • Gaby Deslys – birth name Marie-Elise-Gabrielle
  • Gabrielle Ray
  • Gertie Millar – birth name Gertrude
  • Gina Palerme
  • Gladys Cooper
  • Irene: Irene Desmond, Irene Richards
  • Jessie Matthews
  • Jose Collins – birth name Charlotte
  • Kitty Gordon – birth name Constance
  • Lily Elsie – birth name Elsie
  • Mabel: Mabel Love, Mabel Russell
  • Mamie Watson
  • Marie Studholme – birth name Caroline
  • May: May Etheridge, May Gates
  • Moya Nugent
  • Olive May
  • Phyllis Dare
  • Rosie Boote – birth name Rose
  • Sylvia: Sylvia Grey, Sylvia Lillian Storey
  • Zena Dare – birth name Florence

Which of the above names do you like best?

Sources: Gaiety Girls – Wikipedia, Gaiety Girls exhibition – National Portrait Gallery
Image: Camille Clifford – National Portrait Gallery

Letter by Letter: Popular Baby Girl Names, 2013

popular baby girl names, letter by letter, in 2013

Wondering what the most popular K-names for baby girls are? How about R-names?

Below are the 10 most popular girl names for each letter, A through Z. (The parenthetical notations show how the current rankings differ from the 2012 rankings.)

The four new #1 names that emerged in 2013 were Charlotte, which replaced Chloe, Delilah, which replaced Destiny, Harper, which replaced Hannah, and Lillian, which replaced Lily.

A-Names

1. Ava, 15129 baby girls
2. Abigail, 12313
3. Avery, 9121
4. Amelia, 7979 (was 6th)
5. Aubrey, 7927
6. Addison, 7677 (was 4th)
7. Audrey, 5567 (was 11th)
8. Allison, 5405 (was 9th)
9. Anna, 5315 (was 7th)
10. Aaliyah, 5195 (was 8th)

Out of the top 10: Alexis, now ranked 13th.

B-Names

1. Brooklyn, 6837 baby girls
2. Bella, 4135 (was 3rd)
3. Brianna, 3869 (was 2nd)
4. Bailey, 2993
5. Brooke, 2736
6. Brielle, 2674
7. Brooklynn, 2140
8. Brynn, 1478
9. Brynlee, 1175 (was 11th)
10. Bianca, 1048

Out of the top 10: Briana, now ranked 13th.

C-Names

1. Charlotte, 9232 baby girls (was 2nd)
2. Chloe, 8714 (was 1st)
3. Camila, 5127 (was 4th)
4. Claire, 4626 (was 3rd)
5. Caroline, 3955
6. Cora, 2569 (was 7th)
7. Clara, 2486 (was 6th)
8. Catherine, 1840
9. Cecilia, 1430
10. Callie, 1404

Charlotte became the new #1 C-name in 2013.

D-Names

1. Delilah, 2324 baby girls (was 2nd)
2. Destiny, 2277 (was 1st)
3. Daisy, 1620
4. Daniela, 1433
5. Delaney, 1265 (was 7th)
6. Danielle, 1220 (was 5th)
7. Diana, 1171 (was 6th)
8. Daniella, 1090 (was 9th)
9. Dakota, 1074 (was 8th)
10. Daphne, 770

Delilah became the new #1 D-name in 2013.

E-Names

1. Emma, 20788 baby girls
2. Emily, 13044
3. Elizabeth, 9345
4. Ella, 8370
5. Evelyn, 7616
6. Ellie, 3739
7. Eva, 3386
8. Eleanor, 2986
9. Eliana, 2584 (was 10th)
10. Elena, 2371 (was 9th)

F-Names

1. Faith, 3349 baby girls
2. Fiona, 1625
3. Finley, 1089 (was 3rd)
4. Fatima, 1036 (was 4th)
5. Francesca, 711 (was 6th)
6. Fernanda, 583 (was 5th)
7. Felicity, 493 (was 8th)
8. Farrah, 451 (was 7th)
9. Frances, 401
10. Freya, 279 (was 13th)

Out of the top 10: Faye, now ranked 11th.

G-Names

1. Grace, 7296 baby girls
2. Gabriella, 5173
3. Genesis, 4280
4. Gianna, 3416
5. Gabrielle, 2188
6. Gracie, 1924
7. Giselle, 1559
8. Genevieve, 1445 (was 9th)
9. Gabriela, 1438 (was 8th)
10. Georgia, 1250 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Giuliana, now ranked 11th.

H-Names

1. Harper, 8222 baby girls (was 2nd)
2. Hannah, 7222 (was 1st)
3. Hailey, 4994
4. Hadley, 2807
5. Hazel, 2039
6. Hayden, 1674 (was 7th)
7. Harmony, 1602 (was 8th)
8. Haley, 1396 (was 6th)
9. Hope, 1359
10. Heaven, 982 (was 11th)

Harper became the new #1 H-name in 2013.

Out of the top 10: Haylee, now ranked 11th.

I-Names

1. Isabella, 17490 baby girls
2. Isabelle, 2729
3. Isabel, 2317
4. Ivy, 2079 (was 5th)
5. Isla, 1900 (was 6th)
6. Izabella, 1769 (was 4th)
7. Iris, 1238
8. Itzel, 697 (was 9th)
9. Imani, 622 (was 8th)
10. Isis, 496

J-Names

1. Julia, 3715 baby girls
2. Jocelyn, 3133 (was 3rd)
3. Jasmine, 3024 (was 2nd)
4. Jade, 2570
5. Jordyn, 2371
6. Juliana, 2085 (was 7th)
7. Josephine, 1996 (was 8th)
8. Jessica, 1935 (was 6th)
9. Jayla, 1822 (was 10th)
10. Julianna, 1685 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Jennifer, now ranked 11th.

K-Names

1. Kaylee, 5079 baby girls
2. Kylie, 4003 (was 3rd)
3. Kennedy, 3932 (was 6th)
4. Katherine, 3693
5. Khloe, 3654 (was 2nd)
6. Kayla, 3236 (was 5th)
7. Kimberly, 3084
8. Kendall, 2504
9. Kaitlyn, 2361
10. Katelyn, 2126

L-Names

1. Lillian, 7017 baby girls (was 2nd)
2. Lily, 6935 (was 1st)
3. Layla, 6440
4. Leah, 5554
5. Lucy, 3914
6. London, 3430 (was 7th)
7. Lauren, 3330 (was 6th)
8. Lydia, 3220
9. Liliana, 2597 (was 10th)
10. Lilly, 2586 (was 9th)

Lillian became the new #1 L-name in 2013.

M-Names

1. Mia, 13066 baby girls
2. Madison, 10529
3. Mackenzie, 3990 (was 6th)
4. Madelyn, 3908 (was 4th)
5. Maya, 3783 (was 3rd)
6. Mila, 3661 (was 13th)
7. Melanie, 3455
8. Madeline, 3348 (was 10th)
9. Makayla, 3258 (was 5th)
10. Morgan, 3094 (was 8th)

Out of the top 10: Molly, now ranked 11th.

N-Names

1. Natalie, 7430 baby girls
2. Nevaeh, 4716
3. Nora, 3482 (was 4th)
4. Naomi, 3400 (was 3rd)
5. Nicole, 3325
6. Natalia, 2613
7. Norah, 1715
8. Nina, 1100
9. Noelle, 1066 (was 10th)
10. Nyla, 1025 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Nadia, now ranked 11th.

O-Names

1. Olivia, 18256 baby girls
2. Olive, 1086
3. Oakley, 272
4. Ophelia, 184
5. Opal, 123
6. Oaklee, 110 (was 9th)
7. Olyvia, 100 (was 6th)
8. Oriana, 75 (was 16th)
9. Octavia, 73 (was 8th)
10. Orianna, 68 (was 17th)

Out of the top 10: Olga, now ranked 13th, and October, now 20th.

(Oriana/Orianna probably got a boost from Ariana.)

P-Names

1. Peyton, 4539 baby girls
2. Penelope, 4258 (was 6th)
3. Paisley, 3584 (was 4th)
4. Piper, 3159 (was 2nd)
5. Payton, 2597 (was 3rd)
6. Paige, 2560 (was 5th)
7. Presley, 1619
8. Paris, 1229
9. Parker, 1195 (was 10th)
10. Phoebe, 1050 (was 9th)

Q-Names

1. Quinn, 2634 baby girls
2. Quincy, 128
3. Queen, 126
4. Queenie, 37 (was 5th)
5. Quetzalli, 36 (was 4th)
6. Quorra, 35
7. Quinley, 31 (was 9th)
8. Quinlan, 29 (was 7th)
9. Quincey, 28 (was 8th)
10. Quetzaly, 26 (was 14th)

Out of the top 10: Quinlyn, now ranked 12th.

R-Names

1. Riley, 4902 baby girls
2. Ruby, 3269 (was 3rd)
3. Reagan, 3020 (was 2nd)
4. Rylee, 2878
5. Rachel, 2271 (was 6th)
6. Reese, 2052 (was 5th)
7. Rebecca, 1773
8. Ryleigh, 1709
9. Rose, 1407
10. Raelynn, 1109 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Raegan, now ranked 11th.

S-Names

1. Sophia, 21075 baby girls
2. Sofia, 9108
3. Samantha, 6453
4. Savannah, 5192
5. Scarlett, 5031 (was 8th)
6. Sarah, 4635 (was 5th)
7. Sadie, 4614 (was 12th)
8. Serenity, 4412 (was 7th)
9. Stella, 3880
10. Skylar, 3764 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Sophie, now ranked 11th, and Sydney, now 12th.

T-Names

1. Taylor, 4108 baby girls
2. Trinity, 2895
3. Tessa, 1313
4. Teagan, 1211
5. Tatum, 970
6. Talia, 902 (was 7th)
7. Tiffany, 699 (was 6th)
8. Tatiana, 548 (was 9th)
9. Tiana, 540 (was 8th)
10. Tenley, 514

U-Names

1. Unique, 144 baby girls
2. Unknown, 57 (was 3rd) [not a name; used when a name is unknown]
3. Uma, 56 (was 2nd)
4. Una, 39
5. Uriah, 32 (was 6th)
6. Ursula, 29 (was 5th)
7. Unity, 20
8. Umaiza, 14
9. Urvi, 14 (was 12th)
10. Ulani, 12 (was 13th)

Out of the top 10: Urijah, now ranked 11th, and Uriyah, now 13th.

V-Names

1. Victoria, 7155 baby girls
2. Violet, 3895
3. Vivian, 2629 (was 4th)
4. Valentina, 2542 (was 6th)
5. Vanessa, 2085 (was 3rd)
6. Valerie, 1862 (was 7th)
7. Valeria, 1807 (was 5th)
8. Vivienne, 1124 (was 9th)
9. Veronica, 947 (was 8th)
10. Vera, 715 (was 11th)

Out of the top 10: Viviana, now ranked 11th.

W-Names

1. Willow, 2055 baby girls
2. Whitney, 477
3. Winter, 418 (was 5th)
4. Willa, 404 (was 3rd)
5. Wendy, 394 (was 4th)
6. Wren, 332
7. Wynter, 264
8. Whitley, 170
9. Waverly, 107 (was 10th)
10. Winnie, 105 (was 9th)

X-Names

1. Ximena, 1951 baby girls
2. Xiomara, 166
3. Xochitl, 115
4. Xitlali, 69
5. Xena, 67 (was 6th)
6. Xenia, 57 (was 7th)
7. Xitlaly, 47 (was 5th)
8. Xyla, 42
9. Xaria, 30 (was 10th)
10. Xoey, 26 (was 12th)

Out of the top 10: Xochilt, now ranked 11th.

Y-Names

1. Yaretzi, 1044 baby girls
2. Yareli, 430
3. Yamileth, 335 (was 5th)
4. Yasmin, 326 (was 3rd)
5. Yaritza, 301 (was 4th)
6. Yesenia, 237
7. Yaretzy, 228 (was 11th)
8. Yara, 207 (was 10th)
9. Yamilet, 200 (was 14th)
10. Yoselin, 196 (was 7th)

Out of the top 10: Yuliana, now ranked 11th, and Yazmin, now 13th.

Z-Names

1. Zoey, 7187 baby girls
2. Zoe, 5920
3. Zara, 625 (was 4th)
4. Zariah, 567 (was 3rd)
5. Zuri, 563 (was 6th)
6. Zoie, 427 (was 5th)
7. Zariyah, 347 (was 8th)
8. Zaniyah, 346 (was 9th)
9. Zaria, 328 (was 10th)
10. Zion, 324 (was 7th)

Here are the 2012 rankings, if you want to check them out.

U.S. Baby Names 2013: Most Popular Names, Top Girl Name Debuts, Top Boy Name Debuts, Biggest Girl Name Changes, Biggest Boy Name Changes, Top First Letters, Top Lengths, Top Girl Names by Letter, Top Boy Names by Letter, Top 1-Syllable Names