A couple of months ago, I noticed the name Cortana in a birth announcement round-up over at Waltzing More Than Matilda. After reading that post, I realized we hadn’t talked about the name Cortana over here yet. :)
The baby name Cortana first appeared on the U.S. baby name charts in 2008, thanks to the character Cortana from the video game Halo.
- 2013: 21 baby girls named Cortana
- 2012: 10 baby girls named Cortana
- 2011: 10 baby girls named Cortana
- 2010: 10 baby girls named Cortana
- 2009: 7 baby girls named Cortana
- 2008: 12 baby girls named Cortana [debut]
- 2007: unlisted
Wait a minute, you’re thinking. Didn’t the first Halo come out long before 2008?
Yes — the first installment came out in 2001, and Cortana has been a part of the series since the beginning.
But she began playing a larger role in the game starting with Halo 3, which came out in 2007. This is what accounts for the 2008 debut.
Cortana’s name is thought to refer to a type of short, blunt sword more commonly known as a ‘curtana’ (from the Latin word curtus, meaning “shortened”).
UPDATE: Professional namer Nancy Friedman happened to post about the name Cortana today as well: How Cortana Got Its Name (about Microsoft’s intelligent personal assistant for Windows Phone 8.1, Cortana).