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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Roger


Posts that Mention the Name Roger

The Launch of Lara

Yesterday we looked at the baby name Laura, which saw a curious dip in usage from 1965 to 1967:

You know what was happening at the very same time? A drastic increase in the usage of the very similar name Lara, which suddenly jumped into the top 1,000 in 1966:

Here’s the data, side-by-side:

Laura usage (rank)Lara usage (rank)
196818,743 baby girls (11th)1,295 baby girls (227th)
196715,817 baby girls (15th)945 baby girls (277th)
196615,549 baby girls (19th)236 baby girls (618th)
196516,213 baby girls (18th)65 baby girls (1,376th)
196418,974 baby girls (14th)57 baby girls (1,512th)

So…what caused Lara to suddenly skyrocket (and thereby steal some of Laura’s thunder)?

Doctor Zhivago movie poster

The film Doctor Zhivago, which was released at the very end of 1965 and which, accounting for inflation, currently ranks as the eighth highest-grossing film of all time in the U.S.

Doctor Zhivago, based on the 1957 Boris Pasternak novel of the same name, was a drama set in Russia during the early 1900s — primarily around the time of WWI and the Russian Revolution. The main character was married physician/poet Yuri Zhivago (played by Omar Sharif), who was having an affair with Larisa “Lara” Antipova (played by Julie Christie), the wife of a political activist.

But it was more than just the character — we can’t ignore the influence of the film’s leitmotif “Lara’s Theme.” After Doctor Zhivago came out, it was turned into a Grammy-winning pop song, “Somewhere, My Love,” that name-checked the character in the lyrics:

Lara, my own, think of me now and then
Godspeed, my love, till you are mine again

Renditions of both versions of the song ended up peaking on Billboard‘s “Hot 100” list during the summer of 1966: Ray Conniff’s “Somewhere, My Love” at #9, and Roger Williams’ “Lara’s Theme” at #65.

Ironically, the names Lara and Laura are not related. Laura comes from the Latin name Laurus, meaning “laurel,” whereas the Russian name Lara is a short form of the Greek myth name Larisa, which may have been inspired by the ancient city of Larisa.

The movie also seems to have given a boost to the name Yuri (which had debuted a few years earlier thanks to cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin). And it must be connected somehow to the 1980 debut of the one-hit wonder name Zhivago. (Perhaps it was airing on TV around that time?) “Zhivago” isn’t a Russian surname, incidentally — it’s a Church Slavonic word meaning “the living.”

Getting back to Lara…the name’s popularity declined after the 1960’s, but, so far, it has never dropped out of the top 1,000. (The uptick in usage in 2001-2002 corresponds to the release of the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, which starred Angelina Jolie.)

Now let’s try a poll: Which name do you prefer, Lara or Laura? Give me your reasons in the comments!

Which name do you prefer, Lara or Laura?

View Results

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Sources: Doctor Zhivago (film) – Wikipedia, Doctor Zhivago – Orthodox England, Lara’s Theme – Wikipedia, Top 10 Highest-Grossing Films of All Time in the US, Ray Conniff – Billboard, Roger Williams – Billboard, Ray Conniff – Grammy.com, Laura – Behind the Name, Lara – Behind the Name

P.S. A woman named Lara after the Zhivago character was mentioned in Name Quotes 78.

The Revitalization of Laura

Laura movie poster, 1940s

In the early 1880s, Laura was a top-20 name in the United States. From the mid-1880s onward, though, the name slowly sank in popularity. It even slipped out of the top 100 for a decade. But then, in 1945, Laura suddenly changed directions and started rising:

  • 1947: 5,051 baby girls named Laura [rank: 74th]
  • 1946: 4,478 baby girls named Laura [rank: 75th]
  • 1945: 3,589 baby girls named Laura [rank: 77th]
  • 1944: 2,243 baby girls named Laura [rank: 119th]
  • 1943: 2,391 baby girls named Laura [rank: 117th]
  • 1942: 2,409 baby girls named Laura [rank: 115th]

What happened in the mid-1940s to change the fate of Laura?

The one-two punch of the 1944 film noir Laura and — probably more importantly — the 1945 hit song “Laura,” which was created from the film’s theme song.

The movie starred Gene Tierney as the title character, Laura Hunt, who was believed to have been murdered for most of the film. The police detective looking into the murder, Mark McPherson (played by Dana Andrews), slowly became obsessed with Laura over the course of the investigation.

The film’s theme song, composed by David Raksin, lent “a haunted, nostalgic, regretful cast to everything it play[ed] under,” according to Roger Ebert. Here’s what it sounds like:

After the film was released, lyricist Johnny Mercer was asked to add words to the tune. His lyrics described Laura “through a series of elusive attributes: a face in the misty light, footsteps down the hall, a floating laugh, and as a woman on a passing train.”

Once there were words, various singers began recording and releasing their own versions of “Laura.” Five of these renditions reached top-10 status on the pop charts during 1945; the one sung by Woodrow “Woody” Herman (below) ended up selling more than a million copies.

The song has since become a jazz standard.

Fifteen years later, in the summer of 1960, the teenage tragedy song “Tell Laura I Love Her” by Ray Peterson reached #7 on Billboard‘s Hot 100. This second Laura-song gave the name an extra boost from 1959 to 1960.

And did you notice that intriguing dip in usage from 1965 to 1967? There’s a reason for that, too, but I’ll save the explanation for tomorrow’s post

Sources: Laura (1944) – TCM.com, Laura (1945) – Jazz Standards, Laura (1945 song) – Wikipedia, Laura movie review – Roger Ebert, Tell Laura I Love Her – Songfacts.com

Name Story: Anna May Wong

Anna May Wong photo

Chinese-American movie star Anna May Wong was born “Wong Liu Tsong” in Los Angeles in 1905.

Here’s what she had to say about her birth name in 1926:

I was named Wong Lew Song, which means Frosted Yellow Willows. A rather unusual name, isn’t it. Most Chinese children have names, which, interpreted into English, sound rather attractive, though they wouldn’t do for everyday use. They are all right in poetry, but I wouldn’t want to be called Frosted Yellow Willows by my acquaintances. It sounds altogether too quaint for a modern Chinese girl.

Here’s what she had to say about her American name and her stage name in 1928:

I was educated in Los Angeles. […] Our family did not live in the Chinese quarter but on Figueroa Street, where our neighbors were Americans and we were called by our English names. The doctor who brought me into the world named me ‘Anna’; my Chinese name is Tsong. When I was old enough to begin to think about a career, I added ‘May’ to ‘Anna,’ partly because we [daughters] all had four-letter names and I wanted to be different, and partly because it made a prettier signature.

(Her siblings’ American names were Lulu, James, Mary, Frank, Roger, and Richard.)

And, finally, here’s something funny I spotted in a newspaper about the 1924 movie Thief of Bagdad, which featured Wong:

The Mongol slave, a part that required emotional subtlety and balance, was played by Anna May Wong, a Chinese girl, educated in America. Her Chinese name is Lew Wong Song [sic], and means two yellow willows. When the picture was being filmed Miss Wong almost walked out on her job because an enthusiastic press agent misunderstood the translation of her name and published it as “two yelling widows.”

I saw several versions of this “two yelling widows” story, but never managed to track down the press agent’s original mis-translation.

Sources:

Numerology & Baby Names: Number 9

baby names that add up to 9, numerologically

Here are hundreds of baby names that have a numerological value of “9.”

I’ve sub-categorized them by overall totals, because I think that some of the intermediate numbers could have special significance to people as well.

Within each group, I’ve listed up to ten of the most popular “9” names per gender (according to the current U.S. rankings).

Beneath all the names are some ways you could interpret the numerological value of “9,” including descriptions from two different numerological systems.

9

The following baby names add up to 9.

  • “9” boy names: Ace, Ed

9 via 18

The following baby names add up to 18, which reduces to nine (1+8=9).

  • “18” girl names: Lea, Ela, Gaia, Acacia, Addi, Naba, Bana, Anab, Dacia, Febe
  • “18” boy names: Can, Jag, Bao, Aban, Acie, Edi, Ale

9 via 27

The following baby names add up to 27, which reduces to nine (2+7=9).

  • “27” girl names: Leia, Aleah, Alma, Aya, Chana, Adele, Dalia, Elia, Amal, Emi
  • “27” boy names: Caden, Jake, Ahmad, Eddie, Koa, Cain, Cian, Jeff, Job, Angad

9 via 36

The following baby names add up to 36, which reduces to nine (3+6=9).

  • “36” girl names: Malia, Anika, Angie, Lina, Belle, Kiana, Erica, Halo, Maddie, Darla
  • “36” boy names: Chase, Reid, Caiden, Jay, Reece, Kase, Alden, Lian, Bilal, Kiaan

9 via 45

The following baby names add up to 45, which reduces to nine (4+5=9).

  • “45” girl names: Arya, Ariel, Remi, Fiona, Selah, Helena, Emelia, Kora, Briana, Emmie
  • “45” boy names: Elijah, Daniel, Cohen, Luka, Clark, Ty, Ariel, Enoch, Fox, Tadeo

9 via 54

The following baby names add up to 54, which reduces to nine (5+4=9).

  • “54” girl names: Bailey, Elliana, Alivia, Alayna, Regina, Carmen, Marlee, Zahra, Karina, Ariya
  • “54” boy names: Gabriel, Mateo, Gideon, Angelo, Devin, Gianni, Rocco, Kairo, Izaiah, Musa

9 via 63

The following baby names add up to 63, which reduces to nine (6+3=9).

  • “63” girl names: Brielle, Madeline, Noelle, Angelina, Olive, Miriam, Paris, Zariah, Fernanda, Hattie
  • “63” boy names: Matias, Emilio, Leonel, Nehemiah, Kylan, Roger, Jaziel, Otis, Caspian, Kaiser

9 via 72

The following baby names add up to 72, which reduces to nine (7+2=9).

  • “72” girl names: Aubrey, Sophie, Valerie, River, Magnolia, Mikayla, Jayleen, Holly, Everlee, Charley
  • “72” boy names: Cooper, River, Tanner, Darius, Mohammed, Jordy, Rocky, Dwayne, Kylian, Aubrey

9 via 81

The following baby names add up to 81, which reduces to nine (8+1=9).

  • “81” girl names: Brynlee, Vanessa, Jennifer, Malaysia, Tiffany, Xiomara, Sariyah, Tenley, Aubriella, Elisabeth
  • “81” boy names: Oliver, Hudson, Nicholas, Jamison, Lawrence, Samson, Nikolas, Rodney, Mustafa, Rogelio

9 via 90

The following baby names add up to 90, which reduces to nine (9+0=9).

  • “90” girl names: Autumn, Saylor, Skyler, Leighton, Evangelina, Bridgette, Paxton, Anderson, Kensleigh, Makinley
  • “90” boy names: Sebastian, Matthew, Theodore, Maxwell, Waylon, Paxton, Clayton, Anderson, Raymond, Skyler

9 via 99

The following baby names add up to 99, which reduces to nine (9+9=18; 1+8=9).

  • “99” girl names: Emersyn, Gracelynn, Priscilla, Grayson, Presleigh, Verity, Yoselin, Lillyann, Stormie, Jupiter
  • “99” boy names: Grayson, Cristobal, Rockwell, Kassius, Kingsten, Stuart, Jeronimo, Jupiter, Creighton, Coulson

9 via 108

The following baby names add up to 108, which reduces to nine (1+0+8=9).

  • “108” girl names: Journey, Roselyn, Violette, Rylynn, Emberlynn, Jacquelyn, Ellington, Stephany, Yatziri, Scotlyn
  • “108” boy names: Alessandro, Vincenzo, Cristiano, Journey, Fitzgerald, Truitt, Tyshaun, Courtland, Treshawn, Ellington

9 via 117

The following baby names add up to 117, which reduces to nine (1+1+7=9).

  • “117” girl names: Marguerite, Novalynn, Brookelyn, Zaylynn, Quinnley, Roslynn, Kynzleigh, Prestyn, Augustine, Krystina
  • “117” boy names: Augustine, Yitzchok, Maximillian, Trystan, Stockton, Treyton, Krystian, Prestyn, Shreyansh, Rustyn

9 via 126

The following baby names add up to 126, which reduces to nine (1+2+6=9).

  • “126” girl names: Brooklynn, Quinnlyn, Tennyson, Quinlynn, Stellarose, Marvelous, Veronique, Lillianrose
  • “126” boy names: Tennyson, Johnwilliam, Marvelous, Victoriano, Robertson, Royston, Artavious, Tavarious, Dionysus, Zygmunt

9 via 135

The following baby names add up to 135, which reduces to nine (1+3+5=9).

  • “135” girl names: Symphony, Kenzington, Syrenity, Sojourner
  • “135” boy names: Oluwadamilare, Thurston

9 via 144

The following baby names add up to 144, which reduces to nine (1+4+4=9).

  • “144” girl names: Yuritzy, Harleyquinn
  • “144” boy names: Constantino, Johnanthony, Oluwalonimi

9 via 153

The boy name Quintavius adds up to 153, which reduces to nine (1+5+3=9).

9 via 171

The following baby names add up to 171, which reduces to nine (1+7+1=9).

  • “171” girl names: Oluwatomisin
  • “171” boy names: Konstantinos, Oluwatimilehin

9 via 180

The unisex name Kamsiyochukwu adds up to 180, which reduces to nine (1+8+0=9).

What Does “9” Mean?

First, we’ll look at the significance assigned to “9” by two different numerological sources. Second, and more importantly, ask yourself if “9” or any of the intermediate numbers above have any special significance to you.

Numerological Attributes

“9” (the ennead) according to the Pythagoreans:

  • “It is by no means possible for there to subsist any number beyond the nine elementary numbers. Hence they called it ‘Oceanus’ and ‘horizon,’ because it encompasses both of these locations and has them within itself.”
  • “Because it does not allow the harmony of number to be dissipated beyond itself, but brings numbers together and makes them play in concert, it is called ‘concord’ and ‘limitation,’ and also ‘sun,’ in the sense that it gathers things together.”
  • “They also called it ‘Hyperion,’ because it has gone beyond all the other numbers as regards magnitude”
  • “The ennead is the first square based on an odd number. It too is called ‘that which brings completion,’ and it completes nine-month children, moreover, it is called ‘perfect,’ because it arises out of 3, which is a perfect number.”
  • “It was called ‘assimilation,’ perhaps because it is the first odd square”
  • “They used to call it […] ‘banisher’ because it prevents the voluntary progress of number; and ‘finishing-post’ because it has been organized as the goal and, as it were, turning-point of advancement.”

“9” according to Edgar Cayce:

  • “Nine – the change” (reading 261-14).
  • “Nine indicates strength and power, with a change” (reading 261-15).
  • “Nine making for the completeness in numbers; […] making for that termination in the forces in natural order of things that come as a change imminent in the life” (reading 5751-1).
  • “As to numbers, or numerology: We find that the number nine becomes as the entity’s force or influence, which may be seen in that whatever the entity begins it desires to finish. Everything must be in order. It is manifested in those tendencies for the expressions of orderliness, neatness. To be sure, nine – in its completeness, then – is a portion” (reading 1035-1).
Personal/Cultural Significance

Does “9” — or do any of the other numbers above (e.g., 18, 63, 99, 144) — have any special significance to you?

Think about your own preferences and personal experiences: lucky numbers, birth dates, music, sports, and so on. For example, maybe your favorite sport is golf, which has 18 holes per game.

Also think about associations you may have picked up from your culture, your religion, or society in general.

If you have any interesting insights about the number 9, or any of the other numbers above, please leave a comment!

Source: Theologumena Arithmeticae, attributed to Iamblichus (c.250-c.330).

Name Quotes #69: Larry, Darryl, Darryl

larry, darryl, darryl, newhart, names

From the ’80s TV show Newhart:

“I’m Larry, this is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl.”

From a 1936 newspaper article about movie actress Veda Ann Borg:

Miss Borg was given a new tag almost the minute she stepped into the studio. It was “Ann Noble.” […] Miss Borg contended that her own name is more descriptive of her personality than Ann Noble. The former model’s argument was convincing. She will be billed as Veda Ann Borg.

(Keavy, Hubbard. “Screen Life In Hollywood.” Wilkes-Barre Record 23 Apr. 1936: 19.)

From an Atlas Obscura article about Australian nicknaming conventions:

How in the world did we get from “Jeremy” to “Jezza”?

There is a rule for how this works. Names which have the letter R in them–Jeremy, Catherine, Sharon, Barry, Murray–are trouble for speakers of non-rhotic variations of English to abbreviate. Rhoticity is a linguistic term for describing when the letter is pronounced; in non-rhotic dialects of English, the sound will be discarded unless followed immediately by a vowel. The dialects of England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and, well, New England are all non-rhotic, which is why the word “car” sounds like “cah.”

This isn’t a problem in any of those names if they’re pronounced fully; there’s always a vowel after the R. But to truncate them would be difficult. Typically hypocoristic nicknames are formed by cutting everything but the first syllable and then either leaving that as-is or adding a vowel. That’s how “Daniel” becomes “Danno”: clip to the first syllable (“Dan”) and add a vowel. (The -o ending is most common for male names; -ie is more common for female names.)

From a press release about a newly discovered prehistoric shark:

The team, led by North Carolina State University’s Terry Gates, named the shark Galagadon nordquistae, a nod to its teeth, which have a stepped triangle shape like the spaceships in the 1980s video game Galaga, and to Karen Nordquist, the Field Museum volunteer who discovered the fossils.

From a 1976 article in People about pianist Lorin Hollander and his then-wife Cali:

Lorin now often finds himself babysitting while Cali campaigns against atomic power. Symbolically, not long ago she shed the name she’d “hated for 30 years” for one that sounded right. Margo became Cali. “I look at myself differently now,” she says firmly, “except people all across the country think Lorin has remarried.”

From a WPMU DEV blog post about the Wayback Machine digital archive:

The Wayback Machine was named to reference Mr. Peabody’s WABAC machine from the popular cartoon Rocky and Bullwinkle. In the show, the machine was pronounced as “way back,” which is where the index got its name.

From a BBC article about unpopular baby names in the UK:

The name Clive was 44th most popular choice for boys in 1954 but dropped to 58th place in 1964, and has not been in the top 100 since.

Clive Tricker, 70, from Kesgrave in Suffolk, said the cultural references associated with his name were no longer current.

[…]

“I don’t really mind too much if it dies out because the less of us there are the more unique we are.

(Tricker specified that he was named after Clive of India because his grandfather had been stationed in India while he was in the Army.)

From a Mental Floss article about Ron Howard:

However, Howard did go out of his way to confirm one long-held belief about Willow: that two of the villains were named after famous film critics. The evil General Kael was named after the notoriously ruthless Pauline Kael and the two-headed monster Eborsisk was named after the iconic At the Movies duo of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert.

And, finally, a pair of snippets from a Colorado Public Radio article about Denver street names. First:

William McGaa [one of Denver’s founding officials] had a debaucherous reputation of his own, drinking and adulterating his way out of favor with the city’s elite. McGaa even named Wazee and Wewatta streets after two of his many wives, both Native American woman from local tribes.

(The settlement of Denver was named in late 1858. McGaa’s son, William Denver McGaa, was born in the settlement in March of 1859 and named after it. His mother was neither Wazee nor Wewatta, but a half-Native American woman named Jennie.)

Second, regarding Denver’s “double alphabetical” streets, which were renamed in 1904:

The pattern is a proper noun name, ideally British, followed by the name of a tree or plant. Albion and Ash, Bellaire and Birch, Clermont and Cherry.

The switch wasn’t without resistance from those wealthy neighborhoods. When Eudora Avenue became Fir Street, residents decried the name as “too plebeian.”

Want to see more blog posts like this one? Check out the name quotes category.