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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Piper

Number of Babies Named Piper

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Piper

Five-Name Friday: Girl Name for Willa’s Sister

I am looking for a girl's name for our fourth child. Siblings are Piper, Miles, and Willa.

It’s Five-Name Friday! Ready for another baby name request?

I am looking for a girl’s name for our fourth child. Siblings are Piper, Miles, and Willa.

Can you come up with five great baby name suggestions for this person?

Here are the rules:

  • Be independent. Choose your five names before checking out anybody else’s five names.
  • Be sincere. These should be names you’d have no problem recommending to someone in real life.
  • Five names only. If your comment includes more than five names, I’ll have to do some deleting. (This includes nickname suggestions!)

Which five baby names are you going to suggest?

[You can also comment on previous Five-Name Friday posts, or send me your own 2-sentence baby name request using the contact form.]


The Coming of Kimetha

bad seed, book, rhoda, 1950sThe name Kimetha appeared for the first time in the U.S. baby name data in 1955:

  • 1960: 5 baby girls named Kimetha
  • 1959: 16 baby girls named Kimetha
  • 1958: 16 baby girls named Kimetha
  • 1957: 9 baby girls named Kimetha
  • 1956: 20 baby girls named Kimetha
  • 1955: 15 baby girls named Kimetha
  • 1954: unlisted
  • 1953: unlisted

The influence? Child actress Kimetha Laurie.

She had appeared on television and in theater productions throughout the 1950s, but her most high-profile role was as sociopathic Rhoda Penmark in the play The Bad Seed (based on the classic thriller of the same name written by William March and published in 1954).

But, wait a minute…how is that right? We’ve all seen images of the little girl from in The Bad Seed. She was played by actress Patty McCormack — wearing those long blonde braids — in both the successful Broadway play (Dec. 1954 to Sept. 1955) and the equally successful movie (released Sept. 1956).

Ah, but in between the play and the film a touring company took the show on the road for 31 weeks. The first performance was in Delaware on December 1, 1955. In this production, Rhoda the “murderous moppet” was played by Kimetha Laurie — wearing long brunette braids. She had won the part of Rhoda “over 90 other applicants.”

So how did Kimetha Laurie come to have that name? Kimetha was her birth name, coined by her mother, who took “Kim” from her husband’s name (Arthur Kimble Ouerbacker) and added a fanciful ending. She began acting as Kimetha Ouerbacker, but soon switched to the easier-to-pronounce stage name Kimetha Laurie. (Laurie was a family name; the influence wasn’t Piper Laurie.)

A handful of girls born in 1955 and over the next few years got her full stage name, “Kimetha Laurie,” as their first and middle name. One example is Kimetha Laurie Ramler (b. 1959).

Two other baby names that debuted in the data around this time, Kennetha and Kenetha, may have showed up thanks to the combined influences of Kimetha and then-trendy Kenneth.

Do you like the name Kimetha?

Sources:

  • Alonso, Harriet Hyman. Robert E. Sherwood: The Playwright in Peace and War. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2007.
  • “Did You Ever Dine With a Murderess?” Detroit Free Press 18 Jan. 1956: 22.
  • Kimetha Laurie – IBDb
  • Kimetha Laurie – IMDb
  • “Kimetha Laurie Won Out Over 90 Other Applicants for “The Bad Seed” Role.” Daily Boston Globe 11 Dec. 1955: A39A.
  • “Louisville Girl Has Starring Role With ‘Bad Seed’ Road Company.” Courier-Journal [Louisville, KY] 10 Nov. 1955: 10.
  • Monahan, Kaspar. “Chilling ‘Bad Seed’ Stars Nancy Kelly at Nixon Theater.” Pittsburgh Press 3 Jan. 1956: 12.
  • “Monster to Ingenue – Actress Gets Variety.” Cincinnati Enquirer 25 Nov. 1959: 11.

P.S. Like Tirrell, Kimetha also had a part on the soap opera Love of Life in the ’50s.

Most Popular First Letters for Baby Names, 2016

What were the most popular first letters for baby names in 2016?

Here’s a chart showing the first letter breakdown for girl names:

first letter, girl names, baby names, 2016, chart

For girls, the most-used first letter was A, followed by M and E. The least-used first letter was U.

The three most-used girl names per letter last year were…

A: Ava, Abigail, Amelia
B: Brooklyn, Bella, Brianna
C: Charlotte, Chloe, Camila
D: Delilah, Daisy, Daniela
E: Emma, Emily, Evelyn
F: Faith, Finley, Fiona
G: Grace, Genesis, Gabriella
H: Harper, Hannah, Hazel
I: Isabella, Isabelle, Ivy
J: Julia, Josephine, Jade
K: Kennedy, Kaylee, Kylie
L: Lily, Lillian, Layla
M: Mia, Madison, Mila
N: Natalie, Nora, Naomi
O: Olivia, Olive, Oakley
P: Penelope, Paisley, Piper
Q: Quinn, Queen, Quincy
R: Riley, Ruby, Reagan
S: Sophia, Sofia, Scarlett
T: Taylor, Trinity, Teagan
U: Unique, Uma, Una
V: Victoria, Violet, Vivian
W: Willow, Willa, Winter
X: Ximena, Xiomara, Xena
Y: Yaretzi, Yareli, Yamileth
Z: Zoey, Zoe, Zara

Here’s the breakdown for boy names:

first letter, boy names, baby names, 2016, chart

For boys, the most-used first letter was J, followed by A and C. The least-used letter was U.

The three most-used boy names per letter last year were…

A: Alexander, Aiden, Anthony
B: Benjamin, Brayden, Bryson
C: Carter, Christopher, Caleb
D: Daniel, David, Dylan
E: Elijah, Ethan, Eli
F: Finn, Felix, Francisco
G: Gabriel, Grayson, Gavin
H: Henry, Hunter, Hudson
I: Isaac, Isaiah, Ian
J: James, Jacob, Jackson
K: Kevin, Kayden, Kingston
L: Liam, Lucas, Logan
M: Mason, Michael, Matthew
N: Noah, Nathan, Nicholas
O: Oliver, Owen, Oscar
P: Parker, Patrick, Preston
Q: Quinn, Quentin, Quincy
R: Ryan, Robert, Roman
S: Samuel, Sebastian, Sawyer
T: Thomas, Theodore, Tyler
U: Uriel, Uriah, Ulises
V: Vincent, Victor, Valentino
W: William, Wyatt, Wesley
X: Xavier, Xander, Xzavier
Y: Yusuf, Yosef, Yahir
Z: Zachary, Zayden, Zane

Finally, here are both genders side-by-side:

first letter, baby names, 2016, chart

Overall, the top first letter was A, followed by J and M. And the least popular letter was, of course, U.

Here’s last year’s post on the most and least popular first letters of 2015.

Name Quotes #45 – Traxton, Sadi, Yeimary

Ready for more name quotes?

From an essay by Hans Fiene about BuzzFeed’s criticism of Chip And Joanna Gaines’ church:

“People who give their kids weird names are unsophisticated morons,” I thought to myself when I was 23 years old and busy substitute-teaching a class full of kids named Brysalynn and Traxton.

[…]

Then, a few years later, one of my closest friends had a kid and named him something dumb. At the moment of said dumb-named kid’s entrance into this world, two options stood before me. Option A: I was wrong about baby names, and it was, in fact, possible to be an interesting, intelligent person while also being sweet on absurd baby monikers. Option B: Despite having a mountain of evidence that my friend was interesting and intelligent, this was all a ruse and he had been a moron the entire time.

From The Toast, an in-depth look at “ship names” — short for relationship names, i.e., name blends that represent fan-created relationships between fictional characters:

Onset conservation is also why we get Drarry (Draco/Harry), Dramione (Draco/Hermione), Klaroline (Klause/Caroline), Sterek (Stiles/Derek), Stydia (Stiles/Lydia), Clex (Clark Kent/Lex Luthor), Chlex (Chloe/Lex), Phrack (Phryne/Jack), Cherik (Charles/Erik), CroWen (Cristina/Owen), Bedward (Bella/Edward), Brucas (Brooke/Lucas), Brangelina (Brad/Angelina), and so on.

(“Olicity Is Real” was trending on Twitter recently…I wonder how long it’ll be before we start seeing ship names on birth certificates.)

From the 2007 New York Times obituary of The Mod Squad actor Tige Andrews (whose name was one of the top debut names of 1969):

Tiger Andrews was born on March 19, 1920, in Brooklyn; he was named after a strong animal to ensure good health, following a Syrian custom.

From a footnote in a 1986 translation of the book Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire (1824) by French scientist Nicolas-Léonard “Sadi” Carnot:

Sadi was named after the thirteenth-century Persian poet and naturalist, Saadi Musharif ed Din, whose poems, most notably the Gulistan (or Rose Garden), were popular in Europe in the late eighteenth century. It seems likely that Lazare [Sadi’s father] chose the name to commemorate his association, in the 1780s, with the Société des Rosati, an informal literary society in Arras in which a recurring theme was the celebration of the beauty of roses in poetry.

From Ed Sikov’s 2007 book Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis (spotted while doing research for the Stanley Ann post):

Manly names for women were all the rage [in Hollywood movies] in 1941: Hedy Lamarr was a Johnny and a Marvin that year, and the eponymous heroines of Frank Borzage’s Seven Sweethearts were called Victor, Albert, Reggie, Peter, Billie, George, and most outrageous of all, Cornelius.

Speaking of Cornelius…some comedy from John Oliver‘s 2008 special Terrifying Times:

[A] friend of mine emailed me and he said that someone had created a Wikipedia entry about me. I didn’t realize this was true, so I looked it up. And like most Wikipedia entries, it came with some flamboyant surprises, not least amongst them my name. Because in it it said my name was John Cornelius Oliver. Now my middle name is not Cornelius because I did not die in 1752. But obviously, I want it to be. Cornelius is an incredible name. And that’s when it hit me — the way the world is now, fiction has become more attractive than fact. That is why Wikipedia is such a vital resource. It’s a way of us completely rewriting our history to give our children and our children’s children a much better history to grow up with.

From Piper Laurie‘s 2011 memoir Learning to Live Out Loud:

It never occurred to me that I didn’t have to change my name. For the last twenty or thirty years, I’ve admired and envied all the performers who have proudly used their real names. The longer and harder to pronounce, the better.

(Was Mädchen Amick one of the performers she had in mind? They worked together on Twin Peaks in the early 1990s…)

From a New York Times interview with Lisa Spira of Ethnic Technologies, a company that uses personal names to predict ethnicity:

Can you give an example of how your company’s software works?

Let’s hypothetically take the name of an American: Yeimary Moran. We see the common name Mary inside her first name, but unlike the name Rosemary, for example, we know that the letter string “eimary” is Hispanic. Her surname could be Irish or Hispanic. So then we look at where our Yeimary Moran lives, which is Miami. From our software, we discover that her neighborhood is more Hispanic than Irish. Customer testing and feedback show that our software is over 90 percent accurate in most ethnicities, so we can safely deduce that this Yeimary Moran is Hispanic.

From Duncan McLaren’s Evelyn Waugh website, an interesting fact about the English writer and his first wife, also named Evelyn:

Although I call the couple he- and she-Evelyn in my book, Alexander [Evelyn Waugh’s grandson] has mentioned that at the time [late 1920s] they were called Hevelyn and Shevelyn.

(Evelyn Waugh’s first name was pronounced EEV-lyn, so I imagine “Hevelyn” was HEEV-lyn and “Shevelyn” SHEEV-lyn.)

Want more name-related quotes? Here is the name quotes category.

The Premiere of Piper

piper laurieDid you know that tens of thousands of baby girls have been named Piper within the last few years?

These young Pipers have 84-year-old actress Piper Laurie to thank for putting their name on the map in the first place.

Piper Laurie’s breakout role was in the 1950 film Louisa (which also starred future president Ronald Reagan). One year later, the name Piper popped up for the very first time in the SSA data:

  • 1956: 38 baby girls named Piper
  • 1955: 31 baby girls named Piper
  • 1954: 36 baby girls named Piper
  • 1953: 40 baby girls named Piper
  • 1952: 35 baby girls named Piper
  • 1951: 11 baby girls named Piper [debut]
  • 1950: unlisted

Piper Laurie wasn’t born “Piper Laurie,” though. She was born Rosetta Jacobs. Here’s how she got her stage name:

Ted told me one evening that he had thought of a good professional name for me and handed me a scrap of yellow paper with “piper laurie” written on it. He’d not capitalized it, so it looked strange. I didn’t care for it because it didn’t seem to be a name. He couldn’t explain how he’d thought of it; he said it just came to him! I had used a variety of professional names by then. In those days it was understood that Rosetta Jacobs was not a name that could be used professionally. Everyone advised us so. Not because of its ethnicity, I never thought of it as such, but because it didn’t sound like Lana or Cary and was hard to remember.

(Ted Radin was Laurie’s first agent. “Lana” and “Cary” refer to Lana Turner and Cary Grant.)

The name “Piper” was given to several dozen babies per year from the ’50s through the ’80s. Usage started to increase in the mid-1990s, but the TV show Charmed (1998-2006) is what really gave it a boost. The name broke into the top 1000 in 1999, reached the top 500 two years later, and has been in the top 100 since 2012.

How high do you think Piper will climb?

Do you think the recent Pixar short Piper (starring an adorable baby sandpiper) will have a discernible influence on usage in 2016?

Source: Laurie, Piper. Learning to Live Out Loud: A Memoir. New York: Crown Archetype, 2011.