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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Sputnik

Number of Babies Named Sputnik

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Sputnik

Soviet Leader Influenced U.S. Baby Names in 1959

Nikita Khrushchev, 1959Nikita Khrushchev was the leader of the Soviet Union for over a decade during the early Cold War (from 1953 to 1964).

Between the time the U.S.S.R. launched Sputnik in 1957 and sent Yuri Gagarin on the first manned space flight in 1961, Khrushchev became first Soviet head of state to visit the U.S.

Upon the invitation of president Dwight Eisenhower, Khrushchev and his family flew to Washington, D.C., on September 15, 1959. They visited New York, California, Iowa, and Pennsylvania before flying back to Moscow on the 27th.

Though Khrushchev famously never made it to Disneyland, he did manage to make an impression upon expectant parents:

Year U.S. girls named Nikita U.S. boys named Nikita
1961 39 21
1960 56 25
1959 44 19 [debut]
1958 16 unlisted
1957 13 unlisted

The baby name Nikita had appeared on the U.S. charts as a girl name before, but in 1959 it showed up for the very first time as a boy name.*

These days the usage of Nikita is about equal for males and females — 93 baby girls and 92 baby boys got the name in 2015. But there was a spike in female usage in 1985, thanks to the song “Nikita” by Elton John. (American radio listeners similarly interpreted Luka as a girl name a couple of years later.)

The name Nikita can be traced back to the Ancient Greek word for “victor,” niketes, which is based on the more familiar word nike, meaning “victory.”

And eight years after the name Nikita debuted, another Russian arrival, Svetlana Stalina, showed up and added yet another Soviet-inspired baby name to the mix…

Sources: Nikita Khrushchev – Wikipedia, Timeline: Nikita Khrushchev’s Trip Itinerary
Image: © TIME

*To debut on the SSA’s baby name list, a name has to be given to least 5 babies of one gender or the other within a single calendar year.


Space Age Siblings – Spaceship, Viking-II, Fusion…

Krosuri Veera Raghava Chary of Andhra Pradesh, India, was both a space-lover and a devoted communist highly opposed to India’s caste system.

So he gave all five of his children, born from the 1960s to the 1980s, space-themed names that were so unconventional that they made it impossible to determine the family’s caste.

Here they are, in order:

  1. Spaceship (boy), named after the USSR’s first Soyuz spacecraft, launched in 1966.
  2. Viking-II (girl), named after the NASA spacecraft Viking 2, launched in 1975.
  3. Fusion (boy), whose name may have been inspired by the fact that “stars are powered by nuclear fusion in their cores.”
  4. Space Shuttle (boy), named after NASA’s Space Shuttle system, which began with test flights in 1981.
    • Space Shuttle later named one of his children, a boy, Space Shuttle Bulldozer.
  5. Space Shuttle Challenger (boy), named after NASA’s ill-fated Space Shuttle Challenger, launched in 1986.

Chary also named two of his grandchildren, Quasar and Sagan.

The Chary family reminds me of the Subatomic Particle Siblings. Its also reminds me of the folks named Skylab, Sputnik and Antares.

Related question: What do you think the first space baby should be named?

Source: To beat caste system, Communist leader named his children after spaceships, celestial bodies (via American Name Society)

Were Babies Named After Sputnik?

SputnikA tweet from Mashable just reminded me that the Space Race began 55 years ago today with the launch of Earth’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik.

Did you know that, not long after the launch, Sputnik became a baby name here in the U.S.?

So far I’ve found four people named Sputnik (which means “fellow traveler” in Russian):

  • Sputnik Eisenhower Watkins, born on October 31, 1957, in Ramsey, Minnesota.
  • Gary Sputnik Clack, born on January 17, 1958, in Orange, Texas.
  • Polly Sputnik Johnson, born in 1959 in Wilson, North Carolina.
  • Isaac Sputnik Ornelas, born in 1991 in Riverside, California.

“Sputnik Eisenhower” is definitely the most memorable of the bunch. According to an article in Jet, Sputnik Eisenhower Watkins had three older siblings with the non-satellite names Pauline, Merium and Sam.

Sources:

43 Unique Noun-Names

I’m fascinated by personal names that, out of context, don’t appear to be names at all. Especially when said names are created from everyday nouns and proper nouns — places, foods, animals, objects, brands, ideas, events, institutions, organizations, qualities, phenomena, and so forth.

My fascination kicked into high gear after I wrote about noun-names earlier this year. Ever since, I’ve kept my eyes peeled for noun-names.

So far, I’ve collected hundreds. But it’s going to take me a while to blog about all of them. In the meanwhile, I thought I’d list some of the strangest ones I’ve already talked about:

  1. Bandit
  2. Cape Cod
  3. Captivity
  4. Celerie (celery)
  5. Danger
  6. Eclipse
  7. Emancipation Proclamation
  8. Emirates
  9. Eiffel Tower
  10. Facebook
  11. Fourth
  12. Freeway
  13. Funeral
  14. Golden Palace
  15. Halloween
  16. Helsinki
  17. Jeep
  18. Joker
  19. Key West
  20. Knuckles
  21. Legal Tender
  22. Metallica
  23. Oleomargarine
  24. Opera House
  25. Orbit
  26. Peaches
  27. Pebbles
  28. Peppermint
  29. Prohibition
  30. Rainbow
  31. Shotgun
  32. Skylab
  33. Soccer City
  34. Sou’Wester
  35. Strawberry
  36. Suffrage
  37. Tahiti
  38. Trooper
  39. Tsunami
  40. Union Jack
  41. Vick Vaporup (Vicks VapoRub)
  42. Wilmot Proviso
  43. Zeppelin

Did I skip any good ones? Let me know in the comments!

*

Later additions…

  1. Sputnik, 10/4
  2. Nintendo, 10/22
  3. Annexation, 10/25
  4. Windchime, 11/9
  5. Oregon Territory, 11/22
  6. Gold Dust, 11/29