How popular is the baby name Scarlet in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Scarlet and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Scarlet.
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Earlier this year, on January 12, the Ohio State Buckeyes beat the Oregon Ducks to win “the first national title in college football’s playoff era.”
Twenty days later, a baby girl born into the Victory family in Akron was named Scarlet Gray Victory.
Parents Andrew and Bianchi Victory say family and friends call the name “genius.”
Baby Scarlet is the third child in the Victory family, the older two being 20-month-old twins William and Georgia.
(A surprising number of Ohio State University fans have named their kids “Scarlet,” “Gray,” and “Scarlet Gray” after the school colors, but this is the first time I’ve seen “Scarlet Gray” paired with the surname “Victory,” so I figured this one deserved a post.)
The baby name Scarlett is within spitting distance of the top 100, thanks in large part to actress Scarlett Johansson.
What put it on the map originally, though, was Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone with the Wind (1936).
Did you know that Katie Scarlett O’Hara was nearly named Pansy? It’s true. Scarlett might never have become a baby name at all had Margaret Mitchell not decided, months after her book was accepted for publication, to change the character’s name from Pansy to Scarlett. She explained:
The name Scarlett was chosen six months after my book was sold….I submitted nearly a hundred names to my publishers and they chose Scarlett,–I may add it was my choice too.
Other names under consideration were Robin, Kells, Storm and Angel.
What made her settle on Scarlett?
As to why I chose the name of Scarlett — first, because I came across the name of Katie Scarlett so often in Irish literature and so I made it Gerald’s Mother’s maiden name. Second, while I of course knew of the Scarlett family on our Georgia Coast, I could find no record of any family named Scarlett in Clayton County between the years 1859 and 1873.
The surname originally denoted a maker or seller of a bright (often red-colored) woollen cloth called scarlet.
How many babies were named Scarlett following the book’s publication?
1937: 7 baby girls named Scarlett [debut]
1938: 6 baby girls named Scarlett
1939: 7 baby girls named Scarlett (6 Scarlet)
Of course, the film version of Gone with the Wind, released at the very end of 1939, is what really gave the name a boost:
1940: 59 named Scarlett (16 Scarlet, 8 Scarlette)
1941: 76 named Scarlett (21 Scarlet, 12 Scarlette)
1942: 76 named Scarlett (25 Scarlet, 12 Scarlette)
1943: 68 named Scarlett (29 Scarlet, 11 Scarlette)
1944: 45 named Scarlett (15 Scarlet, 5 Scarlette)
1945: 34 named Scarlett (16 Scarlet, 6 Scarlette)
The name slowly picked up steam over the following decades and, by the end of the century, several hundred baby girls were being named Scarlett every year.
When Scarlett Johansson came on the scene in the early 2000s, usage of the name and its variants (and the number of variants) increased at a much faster rate:
Do you think any of the other names Mitchell considered — Pansy, Robin, Kells, Storm, Angel — would have made a better character name? Do you think any of them could have caught on as a baby name the way Scarlett did?
One of my readers is looking for some name suggestions. She writes:
I’m in need of a girl name, a stronger name to go with a flowy last name. 3 older brothers are Charlie, Zack, and Andrew. Would like the name to have ‘a’ sound in the first syllable to follow brothers, also have a different initial. So far have thought of Paige, Megan, Sadie, Grace, but not sold on any of them.
The flowy surname has 4-syllables, starts with Van- and ends with -a.
Here are some names that I think could work: