Plenty of Disney Princesses (Ariel, Mulan, Tiana, Elsa, etc.) have had an impact on the U.S. baby name charts. But two of the earliest Disney characters to affect the charts weren’t princesses. In fact, they weren’t even human. They were white-tailed deer.
The classic animated film Bambi came out in August of 1942. The next year, the baby names Bambi and Faline both debuted as girl names on the SSA’s baby name list.
1946: 11 baby girls named Bambi
1945: 9 baby girls named Bambi
1944: 7 baby girls named Bambi
1943: 8 baby girls named Bambi [debut]
1943: 5 baby girls named Faline [debut]
The name Faline remains rare to this day, but the name Bambi went on to be given to hundreds of baby girls per year from the mid-’50s to the mid-’60s, then again from the mid-’70s to the mid-’80s.
The New York Times states that “Bambi reached peak popularity in 1979 after the release of the song “Who Killed Bambi?” in a movie about the Sex Pistols, an influential punk rock band.” It’s an interesting coincidence, but I doubt the song had any influence on usage.
The Disney movie was based on the 1923 novel Bambi, Eine Lebensgeschichte aus dem Walde (Bambi, a Life in the Woods) by Austrian author Felix Salten. In German, Faline’s name is pronounced fah-LEE-neh (as opposed to fah-LEEN in English).
I’m seeing a lot of discussion today about the fastest-rising baby names of 2010. There’s Maci and Bentley (thanks to a reality TV show about pregnant teens), Tiana (thanks to Disney), Kellan (thanks to Twilight), Knox (thanks to Brangelina), and more.
But let’s look at the flip side. Which names fell in 2010? Which were some of the biggest losers?
I’ll give you a hint: Many were once the fast-risers. They became trendy for a little while, thanks to pop culture (e.g. a singer, a band, a movie, a book). But when that influence began to fade, the names began to fall.
Ciara, down 79 spots (singer Ciara)
Jonas, down 80 spots (musicians Jonas Brothers)
Marley, down 85 spots (movie Marley & Me)
Kimora, down 90 spots (model Kimora Lee Simmons)
Rihanna, down 198 spots (singer Rihanna)
Analia, down 472 spots (telenovela El Rostro de Analía)
This group even includes the names of the president’s daughters, Sasha (down 84 spots) and Malia (down 111 spots), whose names have not been in the news as much since 2008 and 2009.
If you like the idea of anagrams but want to avoid sound-alike sets, I recommend anagrams with different numbers of syllables. Pairs like “Etta and Tate” and “Clay and Lacy” are a far more subtle than pairs like “Enzo and Zeno” and “Mary and Myra.”