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

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 Oprah

Number of Babies Named Oprah

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Oprah

Pop Culture Baby Name Game, 2016

pop culture baby name game, 2016

It’s December 2 — the doubly momentous day on which Britney Spears celebrates her birthday and on which we start another round of the annual Pop Culture Baby Name Game.

Which baby names will see significant movement on the charts in 2016 thanks to popular culture (TV, movies, music, sports, politics, products, current events, video games, etc.)? Below are some possibilities. Leave a comment with the names you’d add — and don’t forget to mention the pop culture influence.

  • Addison – Chicago Cubs winning season
  • Adonis – movie Creed (suggested by Becca)
  • Ali – death of Muhammad Ali
  • Aroldis – Chicago Cubs winning season/World Series
  • Auli’i – movie Moana
  • Bernie – presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (suggested by elbowin)
  • Bison – new national mammal & Dakota Access pipeline protests
  • Boomer – son of Michael Phelps
  • Bowie – musician David Bowie
  • Canaan – son of Oprah Winfrey
  • Clark – Chicago Cubs winning season
  • Cohen – death of Leonard Cohen
  • Creed – movie Creed (suggested by Julie and Becca)
  • Cub – Chicago Cubs winning season
  • Cubby – Chicago Cubs winning season
  • Cyrus – TV miniseries Roots
  • Dexter – Chicago Cubs winning season/World Series
  • Doris – movie Hello, My Name Is Doris
  • Emayatzy – TV miniseries Roots
  • E’myri – TV miniseries Roots
  • Esperanto – number of speakers (suggested by elbowin)
  • Greyson – son of JWoww
  • Hamilton – musical Hamilton
  • Harriet – Harriet Tubman, chosen to appear on $20 bill
  • Hillary – presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
  • Ingwen – Tsai Ing-wen, president of Taiwan (suggested by elbowin)
  • Ivanka – daughter of president-elect Donald Trump (suggested by elbowin)
  • Jikan – death of Leonard Cohen (suggested by elbowin)
  • Jonbenet – anniversary of the death of JonBenet Ramsey
  • Juno – NASA space probe
  • Jupiter – NASA space probe
  • Lorca – death of Leonard Cohen (suggested by elbowin)
  • Luna – daughter of John Legend & Chrissy Teigen
  • Keanu – Key & Peele movie Keanu
  • Kizzy – TV miniseries Roots
  • Kunta – TV miniseries Roots
  • Lyanna – TV show Game of Thrones
  • Malachi – TV miniseries Roots
  • Melania – wife of president-elect Donald Trump (suggested by elbowin)
  • Maui – movie Moana
  • Moana – movie Moana
  • Monica – Puerto Rican Olympian Monica Puig (I’m curious about the rankings in Puerto Rico specifically; Monica fell out of the top 100 in PR after 2002.)
  • Mountain – daughter of actress Jena Malone
  • Mowgli – movie The Jungle Book
  • Muhammad – death of Muhammad Ali
  • Murray – Chicago Cubs winning season/World Series
  • Ode – daughter of actress Jena Malone
  • Omran – Syrian boy Omran Daqneesh
  • Onyx – daughter of Alanis Morissette
  • Phiona – movie Queen of Katwe
  • Paisley – death of Prince
  • Prince – death of Prince (suggested by elbowin)
  • Queen – TV show Queen Sugar & movie Queen of Katwe
  • Regé-Jean – TV miniseries Roots
  • Rio – location of the 2016 Summer Olympics
  • Rykiel – death of Sonia Rykiel (suggested by elbowin)
  • Sanders – presidential candidate Bernie Sanders
  • Simone – gymnast Simone Biles & daughter of John Legend & Chrissy Teigen
  • Solace – daughter of Alanis Morissette
  • Sully – movie Sully
  • Teresa – canonization of Mother Teresa
  • Tiffany – daughter of president-elect Donald Trump (suggested by elbowin)
  • Trump – president-elect Donald Trump
  • Tulip – movie Storks
  • Valor – son of JWoww
  • Wilder – death of Gene Wilder (suggested by m4yb3_daijirou)
  • Wrigley – Chicago Cubs winning season
  • Zephyr – U.S. House of Rep. (NY) candidate Zephyr Teachout, who was endorsed by Bernie Sanders. (She was born in Washington state, where Zephyr is particularly popular.)
  • Zobrist – Chicago Cubs winning season/World Series

I’ll post the results next May, when the SSA releases the 2016 baby name data. If you don’t want to miss the results post, please subscribe!

Previous rounds of the Pop Culture Baby Name Game: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011: #1 & #2, 2010.


The 9/11-Inspired Baby Name Giuliani

Giuliani, TIME magazineOn September 11, 2001, members of the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda carried out four coordinated terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. The attacks killed nearly 3,000 people, most of whom died with the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York City.

New York City mayor Rudolph “Rudy” Giuliani was lauded for his leadership in the aftermath of the attacks. He made a number of appearances on TV* and radio. Oprah Winfrey dubbed him “America’s Mayor.”

On the last day of 2001, Time magazine declared Giuliani “Person of the Year.” (That day was also Giuliani’s last day as mayor, incidentally). Time said:

With the President out of sight for most of that day, Giuliani became the voice of America. Every time he spoke, millions of people felt a little better. His words were full of grief and iron, inspiring New York to inspire the nation. “Tomorrow New York is going to be here,” he said. “And we’re going to rebuild, and we’re going to be stronger than we were before…I want the people of New York to be an example to the rest of the country, and the rest of the world, that terrorism can’t stop us.”

And in 2002, we see the baby name Giuliani appear for the very first time in the SSA’s baby name data:

  • 2003: unlisted
  • 2002: 6 baby boys named Giuliani [debut]
  • 2001: unlisted

Two other baby names that debuted around this time, Independence in 2001 and Patriot in 2002, were also likely given a boost by the events of 9/11.

*Later in September, Rudy Giuliani was featured in the Saturday Night Live9/11 Tribute” (video) that memorably ended with this short exchange between Lorne Michaels and Giuliani: “Can we be funny?” “Why start now?”

Source: Pooley, Eric. “Mayor of the World.” Time 31 Dec. 2001.

P.S. Fr. Mychal Judge, the first official casualty of 9/11, also had an impact on baby names in the early 2000s.

Babies Named after Oprah’s Boyfriend?

StedmanAccording to Wikipedia, Stedman Graham is an “educator, author, businessman and speaker.” But without Wikipedia’s help, how would you describe Stedman? That’s right: “Oprah’s boyfriend.”

Oprah began dating Stedman in mid-1986, a few months before The Oprah Winfrey Show premiered. We’ve already seen how the baby name Oprah debuted on the national list that year, but did you know that the talk show gave the baby name Stedman a boost as well?

  • 1991: 28 baby boys named Stedman
  • 1990: 38 baby boys named Stedman
  • 1989: 82 baby boys named Stedman
  • 1988: 29 baby boys named Stedman
  • 1987: 20 baby boys named Stedman
  • 1986: unlisted

Not only did Stedman reappear on the national baby name list in 1987 after a 48-year absence, but the variant names Steadman, Stedmen, Stedmon and Stedmond all followed suit in 1988.

Stedman on Oprah, 1989
Stedman on Oprah, 1989
And what accounts for the Stedman spike of 1989?

In February of that year, Stedman appeared as a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show for the first time. The episode was about “men who marry or date famous women, and how they cope with it.” The other guests were actress Susan Lucci and her husband Helmut, and singer Barbara Mandrell and her husband Ken. (Here’s the episode, if you want to watch.)

While usage of the name Stedman has tapered off since 1989, the relationship between Oprah and Stedman is still going strong nearly 3 decades later. They attended the Oscars together last month, in fact.

Stedman is one several “significant other” baby names I’ve spotted on the SSA’s baby name list so far. Others include Josanne, Movita and Tarita (all associated with Marlon Brando), Syreeta and Londie (both associated with Stevie Wonder), Loray and Altovise (both associated with Sammy Davis, Jr.), Kayatana (girlfriend of Flip Wilson), Marva (first wife of Joe Louis) and Sonji (first wife of Muhammad Ali). Stedman is unique, though, in that it’s a male name that was popularized by a famous female — not a common scenario, it seems.

Sources: Stedman Graham – Wikipedia, Oprah’s Beau Drops In Her Main Squeeze Meets Star’s Tv ‘Family’

Name Quotes for the Weekend #24

quote gayle king

From an Us Weekly interview with Oprah BFF Gayle King:

I changed my name from Gail to Gayle in seventh grade because I liked to make a loopy Y.

From a STFU Parents post about Increasingly Yoonique Names:

I’m anticipating future pushback from readers who, over time, have come to accept and welcome names like ‘Brayden’ and ‘Kaidence’ into their lives. But until that fateful day arrives, I’m sticking to my belief that yoonique names are usually more effective at confusing teachers and government workers than they are at ensuring greatness and instilling confidence in kids.

From the book “A Herman Melville Encyclopedia” by Robert L. Gale:

Melville in a letter to Evert Duyckinck says that he and his wife will probably name their new-born son Stanwix because “this lad’s great grandfather spent his summers [at Fort Stanwix] in the Revolutionary War before Saratoga came into being–I mean Saratoga Springs & Pavilions” (7 November 1851).

(Melville’s baby boy did indeed end up with the name Stanwix. Stanwix’s great-grandfather was Peter Gansevoort, and his siblings were Malcolm, Elizabeth and Frances.)

From Anna Powell-Smith’s post on Baby names in England and Wales:

Celebrity names may also give an insight into public opinion: I enjoyed comparing trends for Jude and Sienna, especially what happens when Jude is exposed as a a CHEATING LOVE RAT in 2005 – the popularity of his name dips sharply, but hers continues to rise.

From a Waltzing More Than Matilda post about our (newly named) galactic supercluster, Laniakea:

The name Laniakea was suggested by Nawa’a Napoleon, associate professor of Hawaiian Language at Kapiolani Community College. The Hawaiian name can be translated in a number of ways, including “open skies”, “wide sky”, or “wide horizons”, but in this case it is understood as “immeasurable heavens”. The name was chosen to honour Polynesian navigators who studied the heavens in order to navigate the Pacific Ocean.

From Paul Schmidtberger’s City Room Blog post about misspelled baby names:

I have a major gripe with the trend of misspelling baby names. On purpose. The parents’ logic runs something like this: “My child is special and unique. Thus, my child deserves a special, uniquely spelled name.”

[…]

All across America, parents are mangling names in a misguided mission to trumpet their kid’s individuality. Take the wildly popular name Chase, which is actually not a name at all, but something a dog does to its tail. It was annoying to begin with, but now it gets worse as it slowly mutates from Chase to Chace, and on to Chayce.

[…]

Misspelling a child’s name won’t make Junior special, creative or unique. Y’s and I’s are not interchangeable, and apostrophes are not some sort of newfangled confetti to be sprinkled liberally throughout groups of letters. Parents shouldn’t impose cryptic, incoherent or foolish spellings on their own children, nor on society as a whole. And they shouldn’t condemn their children to a lifetime of bleakly repeating that, no, the name in question is spelled “Shaiyahne,” not “Cheyenne.” (And while I’m at it, don’t name your child Cheyenne, either.)

Want to see more name quotes?

How Did Oprah Get Her Name?

We all know who Oprah Winfrey is. But do you know how she got her name?

Here’s the story, as told by Oprah herself:

I was born, as I said, in rural Mississippi in 1954. I was born at home. There were not a lot of educated people around and my name had been chosen from the Bible. My Aunt Ida had chosen the name, but nobody really knew how to spell it, so it went down as “Orpah” on my birth certificate, but people didn’t know how to pronounce it, so they put the “P” before the “R” in every place else other than the birth certificate. On the birth certificate it is Orpah, but then it got translated to Oprah, so here we are.

I’m not sure if she ever legally changed her named to Oprah.

The biblical character Orpah is mentioned in the Book of Ruth. Many sources agree that her name signifies the “nape” or the “back of the neck,” as Orpah turned her back on her mother-in-law, Naomi, when she decided to return to her family in Moab.*

OprahOprah’s very popular Oprah Winfrey Show debuted in 1986. As you’d expect, that’s the same year the baby name Oprah appeared on the SSA’s list for the very first time:

  • 1990: 8 baby girls named Oprah
  • 1989: 7 baby girls named Oprah
  • 1988: 17 baby girls named Oprah
  • 1987: 37 baby girls named Oprah
  • 1986: 12 baby girls named Oprah [debut]
  • 1985: unlisted

The name dropped off the list after 1990, but has managed to return twice–in 2006 and 2007.

*Some Rabbinic interpretations of the name Orpah are much less complimentary.

Source: Oprah Winfrey Interview (1991)

UPDATE, 3/18/15: Babies Named after Oprah’s Boyfriend?