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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Victor

Number of Babies Named Victor

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Victor

Popular Baby Names in Denmark, 2015

According to data from Statistics Denmark, the most popular baby names in the country in 2015 were Sofia and William.

Here are Denmark’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Sofia, 555 baby girls
2. Freja, 459
3. Ella, 449
4. Alma, 445
5. Anna, 419
6. Emma, 415
7. Laura, 412
8. Clara, 398
9. Ida, 390
10. Isabella, 388
1. William, 591 baby boys
2. Noah, 543
3. Lucas, 534
4. Emil, 489
5. Oliver, 489
6. Oscar, 480
7. Victor, 478
8. Malthe, 455
9. Alfred, 425
10. Carl, 418

Emma, the former #1 girl name, dropped to 6th place last year. Alma, on the other hand, jumped from 11th to 4th and replaced Karla in the top 10.

On the boys’ side, Alfred (jumping from 17th to 9th) and Carl replaced Frederik and Magnus.

In the top 50, the girl names Gry, Naya, and Silje replaced Alba, Naja, and Malou, and the boy names Jakob, Lauge, Milas, Silas, Theo, Thor, and Viggo replaced Andreas, Bertram, Daniel, Jacob, Jonas, Nikolaj, and Sander.

(Gry means “dawn” in Danish and Norwegian, Silje is a diminutive of Cecilia, and Lauge is based on the Old Norse byname Félagi, meaning “fellow, partner, mate.”)

Here are Denmark’s 2014 rankings.

Sources: Names of newborn children – Statistics Denmark, Top 20 Danish baby names for boys and girls, Lauge – Nordic Names Wiki

Cryptography Names – Alice, Bob, Eve

protocolSince the late 1970s, cryptographers have been using personal names (instead of labels like “person A” and “person B”) to describe various communications scenarios. Many of these scenarios involve two communicating parties named Alice and Bob and an eavesdropper named Eve.

Extra parties are assigned names alphabetically (e.g., Carol, Dave) unless they play a specific role within the scenario. For instance, a password cracker is named Craig, a malicious attacker is named Mallory, an intruder is named Trudy, and a whistle-blower is named Wendy.

In zero-knowledge protocols, the “prover” and “verifier” of a message are typically named Peggy and Victor…but Pat and Vanna (after Wheel of Fortune presenters Pat Sajak and Vanna White) are sometimes used instead.

Here’s more about Alice and Bob from American cryptographer Bruce Schneier:

And you’d see paper after paper, and [in] the opening few paragraphs, the authors would explain what they’re doing in terms of Alice and Bob. So Alice and Bob have a storied history. They send each other secrets, they get locked in jail, they get married, they get divorced, they’re trying to date each other. Anything two people might want to do securely, Alice and Bob have done it somewhere in the cryptographic literature.

Question of the day: If you were tasked with updating the names of “person A” (female) and “person B” (male), what new names would you choose?

Sources: Alice and Bob – Wikipedia, ‘Replace crypto-couple Alice and Bob with Sita and Rama’, Bruce Schneier – Who are Alice & Bob? [vid]
Image: Protocol by Randall Munroe under CC BY-NC 2.5.

Popular Baby Names in Paris, 2015

According to Open Data Paris, the most popular baby names in Paris, France, in 2015 were Louise and Adam/Gabriel (tie).

Here are the country’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Louise, 293 baby girls
2. Alice, 244
3. Chloé, 206
4. Emma, 178
5. Inès, 175
6. Sarah, 174
7. Jeanne, 173
8. Anna, 160
9. Adèle, 155
10. Juliette, 149
1. Adam, 355 baby boys (tie)
2. Gabriel, 355 (tie)
3. Raphaël, 320
4. Paul, 260
5. Louis, 256
6. Arthur, 245
7. Alexandre, 226
8. Victor, 208
9. Jules, 205
10. Mohamed, 185

In the girls’ top 10, Anna and Juliette replace Camille and Lina.

In the boys’ top 10, Jules replaces Maxime (now down in 15th).

The prénom mixte (unisex name) Charlie saw a dual-gender decline in 2015, “probably due to the association with the attacks in Charlie Hebdo in January.”

  • 2015: 29 girls and 6 boys named Charlie in Paris
  • 2014: 71 girls and 35 boys named Charlie in Paris
  • 2013: 75 girls and 37 boys named Charlie in Paris

Like the SSA data, the Paris data includes names used as seldom as 5 times per year. Here are some of the names from the bottom of the Paris rankings:

Uncommon Girl Names Uncommon Boy Names
Cléa, Clothilde, Dyna, Isée, Jane, Mélisande, Ornella, Romaïssa, Tasnime, Wendy Demba, Ezio, Foucauld, Harold, Idrissa, Massyl, Sixte, Tidiane, Vianney, Yaya

Slightly higher up on the girls’ side I spotted Armance, used 6 times. It’s both a river in France and a romance novel by French writer Stendhal (born Marie-Henri Beyle).

Sources: Open Data Paris – Liste des prénoms 2004 à 2015, Les prénoms les plus donnés à Paris en 2015

Good Advice for Choosing an English Name

Apple, Chlorophyll, Icarus, Kinky, Melon, Omicron, Smacker, Swallow, Winsome, Yoyo…the English names chosen by (or assigned to) native Chinese speakers are often not so great.

And, in many cases, they’re later regretted. Here’s what a Hong Kong business student Fragile Chan had to say about his English name:

“I started using ‘Fragile’ when I was 14,” he says. “I first encountered the word in my English class and I chose it as my name because I liked how it’s pronounced.”

Chan says his name makes it easy for others to remember him and it’s an easy conversation-starter when he meets new people. But in his experience, having an uncommon name isn’t always pleasant.

“I am tired of explaining my name to others when I need to introduce myself. Some people even mock me for having a ‘fragile heart’,” he says. Now Chan has decided to change his name to Nathan. “I would like to be less weird in formal situations,” he says.

One U.S. entrepreneur has created a site called Best English Name, which helps Chinese students choose more appropriate English names. Site-suggested names include “Davis, Max, Eli, and Riley” for males and “Elody, Ava, Jolie, and Ellie” for females. These are a lot better than Kinky and Melon, and style-wise they’re fairly appropriate for current teenagers.

But I think the best advice out there comes from Philip Guo’s blog post How to choose an English name, because it can be applied to any age group.

His main recommendation? Go to the SSA’s website, find the top 100 names for your birth year, and choose one from the list for your gender. He says:

You must choose your name from one of these 100 names. Even if you randomly choose a name (for your gender, of course), then congratulations, I guarantee that you have chosen a better name than most of your friends who tried to be creative!

So a 15-year-old student (b. 2001) can choose from names like:

  • Isabel, Katie, Mia, Sophia, Zoe
  • Aidan, Chase, Isaiah, Jack, Noah

But a 40-year-old business-person (b. 1976) can choose from names that might be a better fit for his/her generation, such as:

  • Amy, Dana, Monica, Tina, Wendy
  • Chad, Dennis, Peter, Shane, Tony

Best of all, every top 100 list includes names appropriate for people of various ages. For example, these names were on both the 1976 and the 2001 lists:

  • Anna, Elizabeth, Michelle, Natalie, Sarah
  • Adam, David, John, Nathan, Victor

Guo’s other recommendations include ignoring name definitions entirely and sticking to the exact version of the name found in the top 100. He also suggests choosing a name that sounds somewhat like one’s birth name, e.g., the English name Shawn would work well for a Chinese man named Sheng.

Do you have any other good advice for people (Chinese people in particular) seeking English names?

Sources: Students with unusual names: ‘at least no one forgets us’, Laowai Entrepreneur Wants to Rid China of English “Stripper Names”, Popular Baby Names – SSA

Should We Name Hurricanes to Maximize Donations?

hurricaneIn 2008, psychologists Jesse Chandler, Tiffany M. Griffin, and Nicholas Sorensen published a study showing that people who shared an initial with a hurricane name were over-represented among hurricane relief donors. So, for instance, people with R-names donated significantly more than other people to Hurricane Rita relief efforts. (This is an offshoot of the name-letter effect.)

A few years later, marketing professor Adam Alter came up with an interesting idea: Why not use this knowledge to try to maximize donations to hurricane relief efforts? He explained:

In the United States, for example, more than 10% of all males have names that begin with the letter J-names like James and John (the two most common male names), Joseph and Jose, Jason, and Jeffrey. Instead of beginning just one hurricane name with the letter J each year (in 2013, that name will be Jerry), the World Meteorological Organization could introduce several J names each year. Similarly, more American female names begin with M than any other letter–most of them Marys, Marias, Margarets, Michelles, and Melissas–so the Organization could introduce several more M names to each list.

I think his idea is a good one overall. It wouldn’t cost much to implement, but could potentially benefit many hurricane victims.

I would go about choosing the names differently, though.

Repeating initials multiple times within a single hurricane season would be unwise, for instance. It would cause confusion, which would undermine the reason we started naming hurricanes in the first place (“for people easily to understand and remember” them, according to the WMO).

But optimizing the name lists using data on real-life usage? That would be smart.

I might even try optimizing based on demographics. Baby boomers are particularly generous donors, so maybe we should choose letters (or even names) with that generation in mind?

The baby boomers were born from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s, so here are the top initials for babies born in 1956 (60 years ago):

Top first letters of baby names, 1956, U.S.

Here are two possible lists of hurricane names using the above letters. I stuck with the WMO’s conventions: 21 names total, alternating genders, and no retired names.

Mid-century style Modern style

And here’s another point: we wouldn’t want to assign these names in order. While the official hurricane season lasts a full six months — June to November — most hurricane activity happens in August, September and October:

Number of Tropical Cyclones per 100 Years (NOAA)

To really optimize, we’d want to reserve the top initials/names for the stronger mid-season hurricanes, which tend to do the most damage. So we could start the season using mid-list names, then jump to the top of the list when August comes around and go in order from that point forward (skipping over any mid-list names that had already been used).

What are your thoughts on assigning hurricane names with disaster relief in mind? Do you think it could work? What strategy/formula would you use to select relief-optimized hurricane names?

Sources: In the “I” of the storm: Shared initials increase disaster donations, Smart Hurricane Names: A Policy Intervention that Costs Almost Nothing but Should Attract Billions of Dollars in Aid, Tropical Cyclone Programme – WMO
Image: Tropical Cyclone Climatology – National Hurricane Center – NOAA

P.S. While J, D and R were the top initials 60 years ago, today’s top initials are A, J and M.

11 Impressive People Named Victor

The baby name Victor is based on the Latin word victor, meaning “conqueror” (in reference to a male; the female equivalent is victrix).

Here are close to a dozen impressive people named Victor:

  1. Victor Ambros (1953-), American developmental biologist. Discovered micro RNA in 1993.
  2. Victor Babeş (1854-1926), Romanian pathologist.
  3. Victor P. Chang (1936-1991), Chinese-born Australian cardiac surgeon.
  4. Victor M. Goldschmidt (1888-1947), Swiss-born Norwegian mineralogist. Pioneer of modern geochemistry.
  5. Victor Grignard (1871-1935), French chemist. Discovered the Grignard reaction in 1900.
  6. Victor Hayes (1941-), Indonesian-born Dutch electrical engineer. Helped create Wi-Fi standards.
  7. Victor F. Hess (1881-1964), Austrian-American physicist. Discovered cosmic rays (high-energy radiation originating in outer space) in 1912.
  8. Victor Hess in 1912. He used balloon flights to measure radiation at high altitudes.
    Victor Hess in 1912. He used balloon flights to measure radiation at high altitudes.
  9. Victor A. McKusick (1921-2008), American physician and genome researcher. Pioneer of medical genetics.
  10. Victor E. Shelford (1877-1968), American zoologist and animal ecologist.
  11. Victor Vacquier (1907-2009), Russian-born American geophysicist. Found evidence to support the theory of plate tectonics in the 1950s.
  12. Victor F. Weisskopf (1908-2002), Austrian-American theoretical physicist.

Do you know of any other equally cool people named Victor?

The Baby Name Marcheta

Marcheta, songThe baby name Marcheta wouldn’t have become trendy back in the 1920s if not for a newfangled invention: radio.

Marcheta debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1923:

  • 1927: 25 baby girls named Marcheta
  • 1926: 41 baby girls named Marcheta
  • 1925: 46 baby girls named Marcheta
  • 1924: 57 baby girls named Marcheta
  • 1923: 14 baby girls named Marcheta [debut]
  • 1922: unlisted

One year later, usage peaked.

The obvious explanation is the song “Marcheta: A Love Song of Old Mexico” (1913) written by Victor Schertzinger. Except the song was published ten years too early. Also, it was a flop.

A decade later, though, the radio had been invented and the song was revived.

By the end of 1922, “Marcheta” was a hit. Millions of copies were sold in the early-to-mid 1920s, and various artists recorded the song, including Elsie Baker and Olive Kline in 1922:

Victor Schertzinger went on to become a successful motion picture director, but he never used “Marcheta” in one of his movies. In fact, I don’t believe the song was ever used in a movie.

But it had an impact on the movies, because in 1924 the otherwise rare name Marcheta was used in not once but twice as the name of a lead character in a film:

  • Marcheta, character played by Estelle Taylor in the movie Tiger Love
  • Marcheta, character played by Derelys Perdue in the movie Untamed Youth

Because of this, there’s no telling how much of Marcheta’s usage in 1924 was due to radio and how much was due to cinema.

What do you think of the baby name Marcheta?


Image: Marcheta; Love song of old Mexico