How popular is the baby name Rocket in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Rocket and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Rocket.
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The baby boy born on January 1st to Jessica Killian and Randy “Earl” Sain of Gaston County, North Carolina, was unique in several ways:
He was the first baby born in the county in 2019,
He was born in the passenger seat of a Chevrolet Cruze (that was cruising toward the hospital at the time), and
His name is Atom Bomb Sain.
Why “Atom Bomb”? Because the baby’s nickname in utero was “A Bomb,” and the couple ended up “decid[ing] that if the child was a boy, he would be named Atom Bomb.” The mother later confirmed that the baby “really did come out like a bomb.”
That fact aside…Atom Bomb?
I can understand why a modern parent might prefer Atom to Adam. But the middle name “Bomb”? That takes the combo to a whole new level. (But the pairing is weirdly on-trend, given the rise of weaponry baby names like Cannon, Gunner, Pistol, Shooter, Trigger, Rocket, Arrow, etc.)
Asked about his children’s unusual names, Robert attributes them to side effects he sustained from his college years when he subjected himself to medical tests to make extra money.
“Rocket is the first one. And once you name your first kid Rocket, you can’t name your next kid Marty. Racer, Rebel, Rogue…I’m just gonna blame this on the medical experiments. But they do have regular middle names in case they don’t want to start their own wrestling team.”
(An Australian celebrity named Lara Bingle has two sons named Rocket and Racer…perhaps in homage to Robert Rodriguez?)
A generation ago — when more families had six or more children — babies without official first names were surprisingly common. Overwhelmed new parents would leave the hospital without completing birth certificate paperwork.
But what once seemed like a quaint oddity becomes a serious inconvenience in a world of identity theft and terrorism. Today, governments demand birth certificates.
As more Baby Boomers reach retirement age, vital statistics offices — including at Boston City Hall — continue to receive a trickle of people whose birth certificates carry no first name. Boston officials estimated that in the 1950s, roughly 1 of every 25 birth certificates lacked a first name.
Born in the little town of New Ulm, Minn., in 1892, the daughter of Franz Xavier Ulrich, an Army hospital steward, Miss Ulric (she dropped the H from her last name) used to say that she was predestined for the stage. Her father gave her the name of Lenore because of his fondness for Poe’s poem, “The Raven,” and her childhood was devoted to theatrical yearnings.
Name expert Kunio Makino, as quoted in What to call baby? by Tomoko Otake in The Japan Times:
“I think people who come up with bizarre names for their children tend to feel that they couldn’t live the life they wanted to, and they feel that they have been hindered by many rules and restrictions. The only freedom they have at their disposal, they think, is the right to name their child.”
I leaned toward names made of calm, feminine sounds that never sounded like someone was yelling at you. The harsh K in Kathy conjured up my mother’s words for me: kigibe, keoji, shikkeuro. Korean for girl, beggar, and shut up. But I still wasn’t ready. I switched from Kathy to “Kate,” which felt like a small step, but not one nearly big enough.
Once the universe gave me the OK, a little space seemed to open up for the name to find me. And so it was that Héloïse fluttered into my head one day, devastatingly perfect. I’m not sure exactly where it came from. Perhaps some derivation of Luisita (a friend) or Elio (a boy I used to babysit). I guess I have a thing for L names. I honed it, trying it with and without the H and with and without the diacritics. I didn’t want them to be an affectation. Is it gauche to use French spelling if you don’t even speak French? Eff it, I went with the French.
Some change their names by truncation, some by hyphenation, others by amalgamation, others by invention. Some changes are banal, done for everyday reasons – a divorce, a marriage, a mistransliteration (an imprecise conversion from one alphabet to another) – while others are poignant, playful, even poetic.
When I asked people about their choice while reporting this story, virtually no one was glib. Many would go on and on, grateful to talk about a decision that cuts to the marrow of who they are. Others became tearful and, in some cases, shuddered audibly at the sound of their birth names. Some even declined to discuss the subject.
Pharrell Williams — who has a dad named Pharaoh and a son named Rocket, incidentally — has been on the scene ever since, but 2013 and 2014 were particularly big years for him, with the success of the songs “Blurred Lines” and “Happy” and his new gig as a judge on The Voice.
Usage of the name cooled off after 2003, but there was a slight increase in 2013. Do you think Williams’ ongoing exposure will boost the name even higher in 2014?
The original American Gladiators TV show (1989-1996) featured 32 American Gladiators and 31 mostly-tough-sounding Gladiator names. (Why 31? Because “Lace” was used twice.) Here are the 31 names:
The short-lived American Gladiators remake (2008) featured 20 new gladiators and 18 new tough-sounding gladiator names. (Why 18? Because Siren and Titan were recycled from the original.) Here are the 18 new names:
So here’s the game: Try to guess what percentage of the 31 original Gladiator names and what percentage of the 18 new Gladiator names have appeared on at least one of the SSA’s annual baby name lists. (To appear on a list, a name has to be given to at least 5 U.S. babies in a single year.)