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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Velvet

Number of Babies Named Velvet

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Velvet

The Baby Names Shevawn and Siobhan

siobhan mckenna, 1956, life, magazine
Siobhán McKenna on the cover of LIFE
Tara, Maeve, and many of the other
Irish names used in the U.S. today weren’t popularized by Irish immigrants. Instead, they gained traction after being introduced to the public via movies, television, and other types of pop culture.

Siobhan is no different. But it’s also a special case, because Americans heard about the name before they saw it written down. The result? The Irish spelling made a splash on the U.S. baby name charts…but only after a phonetic respelling made a similar splash. In fact, the misspelled version and the correctly spelled version were consecutive top girl name debuts in the mid-1950s.

So who’s the person behind the launch of Siobhan? Irish actress Siobhán McKenna (1923-1986).

In 1955, McKenna was nominated for a Tony for her role as Miss Madrigal in the play The Chalk Garden by Enid Bagnold (who had written National Velvet two decades earlier). The same year, the name Shevawn debuted in the U.S. data:

  • 1960: 5 baby girls named Shevawn
  • 1959: unlisted
  • 1958: 9 baby girls named Shevawn
  • 1957: 8 baby girls named Shevawn
  • 1956: 24 baby girls named Shevawn
  • 1955: 36 baby girls named Shevawn [debut]
  • 1954: unlisted

The spellings Shevon, Shevonne, Chavonne, and Chevonne also debuted in ’55.

The next year, Siobhán McKenna impressed audiences with her portrayal of Joan of Arc in the George Bernard Shaw play Saint Joan. Her popularity in this role earned her the cover of LIFE magazine in September. Next to her image was her name, Siobhan, spelled correctly (but missing the fada). Right on cue, the name Siobhan debuted in the data:

  • 1960: 90 baby girls named Siobhan
  • 1959: 85 baby girls named Siobhan
  • 1958: 54 baby girls named Siobhan
  • 1957: 67 baby girls named Siobhan
  • 1956: 58 baby girls named Siobhan [debut]
  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: unlisted

Once U.S. parents learned how to spell “Siobhan,” the alternative spellings became less common, though they remained in use.

Siobhan was boosted into the top 1,000 in 1979 and remained popular during the 1980s thanks to the soap opera Ryan’s Hope, which introduced a character named Siobhan in 1978.

It’s rather fitting that Siobhán McKenna was best known for playing Saint Joan, as both “Siobhán” and “Joan” were derived from the name Jeanne, which is French feminine form of John (meaning “Yahweh is gracious”).

How do you feel about the name Siobhan? If you were going to use it, how would you spell it?

Sources: Siobhán McKenna – Wikipedia, SSA

NOTY 2009 – Who’s in your Final Four?

I love NOTY. Every March, the guys over at the Name of the Year blog put together a ballot (à la March Madness brackets) featuring crazy-but-real names. After several rounds of voting, a Name of the Year is chosen.

Brilliant, really.

Past winners have included Nimrod Weiselfish, Princess Nocandy and Spaceman Africa.

Here’s a link to the official 2009 Name of the Year Ballot. I’ve picked out my final four, and I just got my husband to pick out his:

Region Her picks His picks
Crystal Metheny
Velvet Milkman
Nutritious Love
Telephone Mtoko
Chastity Clapp
Uranus Golden
Nutritious Love
Moonlit Wang

Ultimately, I think Nutritious Love will take the title. Husband seems to agree. (He’s too busy giggling at the names to give me a straight answer.)

What are your picks for the final four? Which name will win the entire competition?

The Baby Name Velvet


In the early 1900s, not many baby girls were named Velvet.

The 1935 publication of Enid Bagnold’s book National Velvet — which featured a 14-year-old main character named Velvet Brown — didn’t change the situation appreciably.

But when the 1944 movie adaptation starring Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney was released, the baby name Velvet became more popular.

  • 1948: 18 baby girls named Velvet
  • 1947: 16 baby girls named Velvet
  • 1946: 32 baby girls named Velvet
  • 1945: 37 baby girls named Velvet
  • 1944: unlisted

The thing that really gave the name Velvet a boost? The television adaptation, which aired on NBC from 1960 to 1962 and starred Lori Martin as Velvet Brown. (The name Lori saw peak usage in the early ’60s as well.)

  • 1965: 85 baby girls named Velvet
  • 1964: 117 baby girls named Velvet (ranked 988th)
  • 1963: 143 baby girls named Velvet (ranked 883rd)
  • 1962: 261 baby girls named Velvet (ranked 626th)
  • 1961: 331 baby girls named Velvet (ranked 542nd)
  • 1960: 74 baby girls named Velvet

Those four years (1961-1964) are the only years Velvet ranked among the 1,000 most popular baby girl names in the U.S.

Nowadays, the popularity of Velvet is close to what it was 100 years ago.

  • 2011: 9 baby girls named Velvet
  • 2010: 5 baby girls named Velvet
  • 2009: 9 baby girls named Velvet
  • 2008: 17 baby girls named Velvet

Do you like the name Velvet?

P.S. The word velvet can be traced back to the Latin word villus, meaning “shaggy hair” or “tuft of hair.”