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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Sybil

Number of Babies Named Sybil

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Sybil

List of Female Names from 1888

female names, 1888

A while ago I found a book called “A Collection of Original Acrostics on Ladies’ Christian Names” that was published in Toronto in 1888.

I won’t post any of the poems, which are all pretty cheesy, but author George J. Howson does include an intriguing selection of names. He notes that he wrote acrostics for “all the most popular feminine christian names of the day, and many more that, while not in common use, are known to exist in actual life.”

Here’s the list:

Abigail
Ada
Adelaide
Adelle
Adeline
Addie
Aggie
Agnes
Alberta
Alecia
Aletha
Alfretta
Alice
Allie
Alma
Almeda
Almira
Alta
Althea
Alvira
Alzina
Amanda
Amelia
Amy
Ann
Anna
Annabell
Annas
Annette
Angelia
Angeline
Annie
Athaliah
Athelia
Augusta
Aura
Avis
Barbara
Beatrice
Bell
Bella
Berdie
Bertha
Bertie
Bessie
Beulah
Blanche
Bridget
Calista
Carrie
Carlotta
Cassie
Catherine
Cecilia
Cela
Celia
Celicia
Celis
Charlotte
Chloe
Christie
Christine
Clara
Clarissa
Cleanthe
Clementina
Constance
Cora
Cordelia
Corinne
Cornelia
Cynthia
Cyrena
Debbie
Delia
Della
Diana
Diantha
Dinah
Dollie
Dora
Dorcas
Dorinda
Dorothy
Edith
Edna
Effie
Ella
Eleanor
Eleanora
Electa
Ellen
Elfie
Eliza
Elma
Elsie
Emma
Emmeline
Emily
Ena
Erma
Estelle
Esther
Ethel
Ethelind
Ettie
Eugenie
Eula
Eunice
Euphemia
Euretta
Eva
Evalina
Eveline
Evelyn
Fannie
Felicia
Flora
Florence
Floss
Frances
Frank
Gay
Georgie
Georgina
Geraldine
Gertie
Gracie
Hagar
Hannah
Harriet
Hattie
Helen
Helena
Henrietta
Hulda
Ida
Irene
Isabel
Isabella
Isadora
Jane
Janet
Janie
Jeannette
Jemima
Jennet
Jennie
Jessie
Jerusha
Joanna
Josephine
Josie
Julia
Kate
Kathleen
Katie
Keziah
Lany
Laura
Leah
Leila
Lena
Lera
Lettie
Levina
Levinia
Libbie
Lida
Lilian
Lillie
Lizzie
Lola
Lora
Lorretta
Lottie
Lou
Louisa
Louise
Lucinda
Lucretia
Lucy
Luella
Lula
Lulu
Lydia
Mabel
Madelaine
Maggie
Malvina
Mamie
Marcella
Margaret
Maria
Marilla
Marion
Mary
Marsena
Martha
Mattie
Maud
Maudie
May
Melinda
Mellissa
Mercy
Mertie
Mildred
Millie
Mina
Minerva
Minnie
Mintha
Miranda
Mollie
Muriel
Myra
Myrtle
Nancy
Naomi
Nellie
Nettie
Nina
Nora
Ollie
Olive
Olivia
Ormanda
Ophelia
Pauline
Pearl
Phoebe
Phyllis
Priscilla
Prudence
Rachel
Rebecca
Rhoda
Robena
Rosa
Rosabel
Rosalie
Rosalind
Rosamond
Rose
Ruby
Ruth
Sabina
Sadie
Sally
Samantha
Sarah
Selina
Sophia
Sophronia
Stella
Susanna
Susie
Sybil
Teresa
Theodocia
Theresa
Tillie
Una
Verna
Victoria
Vida
Viola
Violet
Wilhelmina
Winifred
Zuba

Have any favorites?

Hulda/Huldah is one I like. It’s one of those names that I always see on old New England gravestones but never come across in real life. Wonder when that one will become stylish again.

BTW, has anyone ever seen a good name acrostic? Like, one that’s actually well-written and/or thought-provoking? Because I don’t think I ever have.

Source: A Collection of Original Acrostics on Ladies’ Christian Names by George J. Howson


Nope, Zebulon Wasn’t a “Hot” Baby Name in 2012

Not long ago I stumbled upon a post about baby names at the blog North Carolina Miscellany. It ended with this funny little footnote:

After seeing a baby-names website tout North Carolina’s most historically distinctive names, Zebulon and Zeb, as among 2012’s “hottest,” I was expecting to see them rise in the national rankings. Alas, no. How hot can a name be and still not crack the top 1,000?

Excellent question. Because, not only did Zebulon not make the top 1,000 in 2012, it sank from 25 baby boys in 2011 to a mere 19 in 2012. So, not “hot” at all.

The footnote linked to an earlier post at the same blog called Zebulon on the Rise, which reads:

The News and Observer reported yesterday that the name Zebulon is increasingly popular among parents today, and was listed on a website as one of the “14 hottest” names of the year.

(The post went on to talk about the many North Carolina babies that have been named after Zebulon Vance. But I digress…)

The News and Observer article on Zebulon revealed that the “14 hottest” list had been put out by Nameberry.com.

What were their 13 other “hot” names? Arya, Blue, Caia, Calix, Decimus, Django, Gatsby, Halcyon, Niall, Nova, Senna, Sybil and Theon.

Three of these names — Arya, Calix and Nova — did see big jumps in usage in 2012. But the rest either stayed about the same or were used less often. So, only 3 clear winners out of 14 guesses. Just 21% correct.

How could a site that specializes in baby names get it so wrong?

It has to do with metrics. Nameberry came up with that list by looking at their own website traffic, not by looking at any sort of genuine usage data (e.g., public records, birth announcements). The problem with this, of course, is that the names people search for online often have nothing to do with the names they use in real life. (How many of us like to look up weird celebrity baby names, for instance? *raises hand*)

Not that it matters. Most of the big baby name websites are guilty of using iffy data to compile lists of “top” or “hot” baby names. These lists garner plenty of media attention, but are they ever accurate?

I wish the baby name sites that release these lists would revisit them once the official data for their region is available and publicly assess how well their predictions stand up to the real thing.

Y’know, just to prove that the “experts” aren’t simply churning out link bait…

Baby Name Needed – Name that Goes with Felicity?

A reader is having a baby girl and looking for “a pretty first name.” Bonus points if it starts with an S. She says:

Our last name is a hard German name that starts with a K and rhymes with Dicer. I was thinking of honoring my mother who is Phyllis by making a middle name of Felicity.

Here are a few ideas:

S-Names Other Names
Sarah
Serena
Selah
Simone
Sonia
Sophia
Sophronia
Stephanie
Susannah
Sybil
Sylvia
Amelia
Callista
Celeste
Elise
Gabrielle
Josephine
Laura
Leah
Lillian
Linnea
Madeleine

Which of the above do you like best? What other names would you suggest?

Baby Name Needed – Girl Name like Tatum

A reader named Kate writes:

I am currently pregnant with my first baby. We do not know whether a boy or girl yet, but we are brainstorming names. I love the girl’s name Tatum, but my best friend’s daughter has that name. Can you think of any similar girl’s names I might like?

I get this question every once in a while — probably because Tatum is such an idiosyncratic name.

Sloane has always been my default answer. But it only works for non-UK babies, thanks to the Sloane Rangers.

Other names that come to mind are:

Ainsley
Astrid
Beatrix
Blair
Blythe
Bryony
Cleo
Darcy
Deirdre
Hazel
Imogen
Kendall
Maeve
Meredith
Miriam
Morgan
Piper
Quinn
Reese
Rory
Rowena
Sybil
Tamar
Tanith

What other Tatum-like names can you come up with for Kate?

Baby Name Needed – Middle Name for Elle

Patience and her husband are expecting a baby girl in June. They plan to name her Elle, but they’re having a tough time choosing a middle name:

My maiden name is Lewis, and my husband’s middle name is Louis. […] I don’t like Louise…but it would be cool to play on the similarity of our names for her middle name. Then again I don’t know how I feel about: Elle L. Wagner.

(Their real surname isn’t Wagner, but it does start with a W and have two syllables.)

I’m not too sure about “Elle L.” either. Putting a name and a letter that sound exactly alike side-by-side will probably cause a lot of confusion. Also, Elle followed by any L-name is going to be tricky to say aloud.

Unfortunately, though, many Louis-derived female names start with L. Most of those that don’t (e.g. Clovia, Aloysia) are fairly exotic. The only two I’d consider are Gia and Gina, which are distant cousins of Louis via the Italian Luigia.

A compound name might work. Marylou, Marylouisa, Annalou, Annalouisa…any short-ish name could be the first element, and a Louis-based name could be the second. Length would be an issue, but Elle is quite short, so I think a longer middle wouldn’t be too much of a burden.

The only other idea I had was to look at names that have consonants in common with Lewis and Louis, such as:

Celeste
Gwendolyn
Melissa
Phyllis
Sybil
Sylvia
Selena
Salome
Wilhelmina

None of the above are in the Louis family, but they could be seen as “tribute” names in a sense.

What other ideas would guys offer to Patience?