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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Phil

Number of Babies Named Phil

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Phil

Name Quotes for the Weekend #38

Another quote post! This installment includes a record number of ellipses. Very exciting.

From The Clintons ruined the name ‘Hillary’ for new parents by Christopher Ingraham:

It…looks like the popularity of first ladies’ names falls more sharply than the popularity of presidents’ names during their time in office. But again, it’s not clear just from these charts if that’s a true presidential spouse effect, or just a reflection of the natural long-term trajectory of those names.

Here’s a blog post I wrote about The Demise of the Baby Name Hillary.

From Keith Ng’s My last name sounds Chinese, in response to the erroneous claim by New Zealand politician Phil Twyford that Chinese people are buying up property in Auckland:

The subtext of this story is that people with Chinese-sounding names are foreigners full of cash who are buying all our houses and chasing hardworking Kiwis out of their homes. This is straight-up scapegoating, placing the blame for a complex, emotive problem at the feet of an ethnic group.


Phil Twyford, Labour, and the Herald – you are fueling racial division in this country. You are encouraging people to question whether ethnically Chinese people ought to be able to buy houses. You are saying that people with “Chinese-sounding names” are dangerous foreigners who will destroy the Kiwi way of life with real estate purchases.

From Royal Caribbean’s press release asking James Hand to name the next Royal Caribbean ship:

“The people of the United Kingdom know the name of a great ship when they see it,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Like the rest of the world, we fell in love with the name Boaty McBoatface when we heard it, and we knew immediately that Royal Caribbean could use James Hand’s talent to name our next ship.”

The “name our next ship” part is an April Fools’ Day joke, but (as far as I can tell) the offer to send Hand on a free cruise is legit.

NERC’s Name Our Ship campaign ends tomorrow, btw.

From the Thomas Alva Edison, Jr. page of the Thomas Edison National Historical Park website:

Thomas Alva, Junior, was born on January 10, 1876. Since his sister Marion was nicknamed “Dot,” he was nicknamed “Dash.”


After selling the use of his name to advertise “quack” medicines and dubious inventions, his father asked Tom Junior to change his name. This he did, briefly going by the name of Thomas Willard.

The nicknames “Dot” and “Dash” are references to Morse Code.

From Why Do I Have to Call This App ‘Julie’? by Joanne McNeil (found via Nancy Friedman’s January Linkfest):

Imagine if the plug-in devices that made housework more efficient were, like Alexa, sold with women’s names and talked about with female pronouns. “Could you hand me the Amanda? She’s in the hall closet.”


I used Julie [a “virtual inbox assistant”] only once, sending an email to a friend, copying the app email, with a time and date to meet for coffee. Julie emailed back promptly confirming the appointment, and it added the meeting to my calendar. The product is an interesting idea and easy to use, but interacting with a fake woman assistant just feels too weird. So I shut “her” off. This Stepford app, designed to make my work more efficient, only reminds me of the gendered division of labor that I’m trying to escape.

From the abstract of the paper Unfortunate First Names: Effects of Name-Based Relational Devaluation and Interpersonal Neglect by Jochen E. Gebauer, Mark R. Leary and Wiebke Neberich:

Can negative first names cause interpersonal neglect? Study 1 (N = 968) compared extremely negatively named online-daters with extremely positively named online-daters. Study 2 (N = 4,070) compared less extreme groups—namely, online-daters with somewhat unattractive versus somewhat attractive first names. Study 3 (N = 6,775) compared online-daters with currently popular versus currently less popular first names, while controlling for name-popularity at birth. Across all studies, negatively named individuals were more neglected by other online-daters, as indicated by fewer first visits to their dating profiles. This form of neglect arguably mirrors a name-based life history of neglect, discrimination, prejudice, or even ostracism.

From What’s in a Necronym? by Jeannie Vanasco (found via Longreads):

I remember the day I first learned about her. I was eight. My father was in his chair, holding a small white box. As my mother explained that he had a dead daughter named Jeanne, pronounced the same as my name, “without an i,” he opened the box and looked away. Inside was a medal Jeanne had received from a church “for being a good person,” my mother said. My father said nothing. I said nothing. I stared at the medal.


Parsed from the Greek, necronym literally translates as “death name.” It usually means a name shared with a dead sibling. Until the late nineteenth century, necronyms were not uncommon among Americans and Europeans. If a child died in infancy, his or her name was often given to the next child, a natural consequence of high birth rates and high infant mortality rates.

The second Notwithstanding Griswold, born in 1764, was named for her deceased older sister.

A post about Union Banner Hunt by Andy Osterdahl of The Strangest Names In American Political History:

Union Banner Hunt was born in Randolph County on September 2, 1864, the son of Joshua Parker and Rachel Howell Hunt. His full birth name is listed as “Union Banner Basil Morton Hunt”, and the 1914 work Past and Present of Randolph County gives some interesting anecdotes as to how his unusual name came about: “At the time of his birth his brother was confined in the Confederate Prison in Andersonville, Ga., having been captured at the Battle of Chickamauga. Hence the name “Union Banner”. Basil (pronounced “Bazil”) is an old family name, and “Morton” is for the great war Governor of Indiana.” This same book mentions that Hunt was “not responsible” for his unusual name and “neither is he ashamed of it.”

That “great war Governor” was Oliver P. Morton.

From an interview with Winona Ryder by Celia Walden:

Ryder’s unconventional childhood has been exhaustively documented and occasionally used to explain the more disturbing events in her life, but the actress — christened Winona Laura Horowitz and named after the Minnesota city in which she was born — speaks fondly of the four years she spent in a commune in Elk, Northern California, from the age of seven.

Winona’s younger brother Uri, born in the 1970s, was named after cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

Have you come across any interesting name-related quotes lately? Let me know!

Name Quotes for the Weekend #10

From Baby Names Beyond Parody at The Awl:

We didn’t quite believe it when we saw this on Kate Day’s Twitter, but here it is, in the Independent. Biggles George Fittleworth Jackson-Kew. And his sister. Posie Betsy Winifred Jackson-Kew. Who have an older sister. Named Tuppence.

But of course, things are crazy in England. The paper also makes note of the marriage of Peter Wood and Kitty Fox, and please let them hyphenate their names. “Hello, Mrs. Kitty Wood-Fox!”

From a Telegraph article by a UK mom with kids named Croyde, Kiki and Trixie:

My middle child may not have got through that particular net. She’s called Kiki (that alliteration thing again). I was inspired by the linguistic fact that it’s impossible to say the ‘ee’ sound without the mouth turning up into a smile. Plus, I know a sassy, smart Kiki in her thirties so I asked for her advice. “I love it” she said, “Nobody ever forgets it. But in The Philippines it means vagina so my mum’s cleaner can’t look me in the eye.” That swung it for me. I like the idea of a stealthy vagina. And it will hopefully be a deterrent to island hopping in South East Asia when she should be going to university.

From a Globe and Mail article about the death of Rehtaeh Parsons:

Rehtaeh is “Heather” spelled backwards, a name her mother thought was pretty.

From Attempting to create original baby names has repercussions in The Australian:

McCrindle Research director Mark McCrindle said many parents were now “designing” rather than choosing names, often driven by phonetics.

But he warned it could lead to a lifetime of grief for children whose names are now attached to their digital profile.

“More than ever, people are saying, ‘it’s my child’s name, I am going to give it some difference’,” he said.

“But I think sometimes parents are being a bit short-sighted in the designing of their children’s names.”

From an article on names in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“The Name Game” was a hit for Shirley Ellis in 1965. You know the song: “Shirley-Shirley-bo-burly, banana-fana-fo-furly, fee-fie-foe-murly … Shirley!” She bragged that “there isn’t any name that you can’t rhyme.” While entertaining soldiers in Vietnam, however, she discovered she couldn’t rhyme “Rich” or “Chuck.”

From a 5 Ways to Sabotage Your Baby Name Search at Upswing Baby Names:

While I don’t condone picking a name that is blatantly humorous, I would never disqualify a name just because it has remote teasing potential. For example, some parents will eliminate a name for rhyming with a funny word. But if you think long enough, you can find a funny word to rhyme with many names. Instead of trying to find the safest (most boring) name possible for your child, work on building their social skills instead.

From Betting on Baby in The Daily Beast:

Despite being a modern couple, Will and Kate are almost guaranteed to pluck a traditional moniker — like Mary, Victoria, or Elizabeth (a favorite) — from the royal bloodline, says author Phil Dampier, who has spent 27 years covering the royal family.

In mid-April, bets for the name Alexandra (Queen Elizabeth’s middle name) surged unexpectedly, causing house odds at William Hill to jump from 33/1 to 2/1. Other major betting firms also slashed their previously high odds. The profiles betting on Alexandra (new accounts, higher bets) led bookies to suspect an inside tip had leaked.

From an episode of The Mindy Project:

Mindy: “I want kids, four kids. Madison, Jayden, Bree and the little one’s Piper.”

Danny: “Are you kidding me with those names? You want a bunch of girls who work at the mall?”

From Parents Name Their Child Bane, Secure His Future Grudge Against Batman, Mumbling at The Mary Sue:

A couple from England have named their newborn baby boy, Bane. Yes, after the Batman villain last seen in The Dark Knight Rises. Rugby player Jamie Jones-Buchanan and wife Emma told The Sun they always agreed to give their children unusual names.

Oh yes, there’s more.

The couple have three other children. Two are named after Star Trek characters – Lore and Dacx [sic] – while the other is named after Highlander’s Kurgan.

From ‘Twas Ever Thus at British Baby Names:

In the late 18th and 19th century talk about names often bandied the phrase “romantic names” around. From all I can glean, it was used generally as a euphemism for any name considered slightly fanciful or outlandish, in much the same way “creative names” or “unique names” are used today.


The idea was, of course, also then picked up in essays and newspapers. Strangely, although we now tend to associate fanciful names with the aristocracy, it is the working classes who get the brunt of criticism in much of the commentary.

From British grandmother claims she was raised by monkeys at

Marina Chapman’s book, “The Girl with No Name,” claims that she was raised by monkeys in the Colombian jungle for about five years of her childhood, adopting their behavior and eating the same food. Chapman claims that a group of capuchin monkeys became her surrogate family after she was kidnapped and abandoned in a Colombian jungle when she was 4 years old.

After living with the monkeys for several years, Chapman says she encountered hunters who tried to sell her into domestic slavery in the Colombian city of Cucuta. She then ran away and became a thieving street kid before being adopted by a loving family in Bogota as a teenager and giving herself the name Marina.

This reminds me of that isolated indigenous Brazilian man

And, finally, a bit about Quaker names from Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America by David Hackett Fischer:

Delaware Quakers also differed from other English-speaking people in the descent of names from one generation to the next. Unlike New England Puritans, Quakers named their first-born children after grandparents. Unlike Virginia Anglicans, they were careful to honor maternal and paternal lines in an even-handed way.


These naming choices were not invented in the New World. They were virtually identical among Quakers in England’s North Midlands and America’s Delaware Valley. Through the eighteenth century, males received the same combination of biblical and teutonic names — with John, Thomas, William, Joseph and George the leading favorites among Friends on both sides of the water. Quaker females were mostly named Mary and Sarah in English and America, with Hannah, Anne, Elizabeth, Hester, Esther and Deborah strong secondary favorites. Plain English names such as Jane, and traditional Christian favorites such as Catherine and Margaret preserved their popularity among Quakers, more so than among Puritans. Also exceptionally popular among Quakers in England and America was the name of Phebe, which rarely appeared in Puritan and Anglican families.

Baby Names Typed by the Right Hand – Better?

Years ago, I came up with a list of one-handed baby names — that is, names that are typed with either the left hand or the right hand on a QWERTY keyboard.

Turns out there may be a slight advantage to right-hand names.

According to a study published recently in Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, “the QWERTY keyboard may gradually attach more positive meanings to words with more letters located on the right side of the layout (everything to the right of T, G and B).”


It has to do with fluency.

We tend to like simplicity over complexity, and the harder-to-type letter pairs are on a QWERTY keyboard’s left side — these two facts together may lead people to prefer words (and names) that are typed on the right.

Which names are typed by the right hand only? My original list:

  • Holly
  • Io
  • Jill, Jim, Jimi, Jimmy, Jin, Jo, John, Johnny, Jon, Joni, Joy, Juho, Juli, Julio, Jun, Juno
  • Kiki, Kim, Kimi, Kimiko, Kimmy, Kimo, Kip, Kiyoko, Kojo, Kollin, Kumiko, Kyou
  • Lili, Lilly, Lilou, Lily, Lin, Lino, Loni, Lonny, Lou, Lulu, Lyn, Lynn
  • Miki, Mikki, Mikko, Milly, Milo, Mimi, Min, Minh, Miyu, Molly, Momoko
  • Nik, Nikhil, Niki, Nikki, Niko, Nikol, Nikon, Nuno
  • Olli, Olujimi, Om
  • Phil, Philip, Phillip, Pio, Polly, Poppy
  • Yoko, Yuko, Yumi, Yumiko

Can you think of any others?

Source: The QWERTY Effect: How Typing May Shape the Meaning of Words (h/t Anthony Mitchell, @aem76us)

One-Handed Baby Names – Jimmy, Carter, Tessa, Lynn

When you sign your first name, you use one hand. But when you type it, chances are you need to use both hands — even if your name is a short as Emma, Gus or Ty.

Have you ever wondered which names can be touch-typed on the standard QWERTY keyboard with one hand only? Me too, so I came up with some lists. Let’s check out the left-handed names first, since there are a lot more of them, then right-handed names.

left-handed baby names

Left-Handed Baby Names

  • Ace, Ada, Asa, Ava
  • Babette, Barbara, Barrett, Baxter, Bess, Bette, Brad, Brett
  • Cade, Caesar, Cara, Carter, Casara, Case, Cass, Cesar
  • Dara, Dave, Dax, Debra, Dee, Dessa, Dexter, Drew
  • Ed, Edgar, Edward, Egas, Esta, Etta, Eva, Eve, Everard, Everett, Evette, Ezra
  • Freeda, Fred, Fredda
  • Gage, Garret, Garrett, Gerard, Grace, Greg, Greta, Grete, Gretta
  • Rebeca, Rebecca, Reece, Reed, Reese, Retta, Reva, Rex
  • Sabra, Sage, Sara, Steve, Stewart, Svea
  • Tad, Ted, Tara, Tate, Tera, Teresa, Tess, Tessa, Tex, Trace, Tracee
  • Vera, Vesta, Vester
  • Wade, Wafa, Ward, Wes
  • Zada, Zara, Zed

How funny is it that Dexter, which comes directly from the Latin word for “right,” is typed with the left hand only?

right-handed baby names

Right-Handed Baby Names

  • Holly
  • Io
  • Jill, Jim, Jimi, Jimmy, Jin, Jo, John, Johnny, Jon, Joni, Joy, Juho, Juli, Julio, Jun, Juno
  • Kiki, Kim, Kimi, Kimiko, Kimmy, Kimo, Kip, Kiyoko, Kojo, Kollin, Kumiko, Kyou
  • Lili, Lilly, Lilou, Lily, Lin, Lino, Loni, Lonny, Lou, Lulu, Lyn, Lynn
  • Miki, Mikki, Mikko, Milly, Milo, Mimi, Min, Minh, Miyu, Molly, Momoko
  • Nik, Nikhil, Niki, Nikki, Niko, Nikol, Nikon, Nuno
  • Olli, Olujimi, Om
  • Phil, Philip, Phillip, Pio, Polly, Poppy
  • Yoko, Yuko, Yumi, Yumiko

I realize that QWERTY “handedness” is not a major baby-naming factor for most people, but I do think it would be cute to pair a one-handed name with another one-handed name — maybe a surname (Teresa Garza, Phillip Hill) or a twin name (Edward & John, Grace & Lily, Zara & Milo). What do you think?