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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Wendy

Number of Babies Named Wendy

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Wendy

Babies Named for the Wind…

the association, 1967, album

In January of 1940, The McMillan family of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, welcomed a baby girl “[a]t the height of a windstorm.”

Naming the child was easy. The McMillans called her Wendie Dae.

Had this scene occurred in the late ’60s instead of the early ’40s, I wonder if the McMillans would have gone for “Windy” instead of “Wendie.”

Why? Because in mid-1967, a song called “Windy” — about a woman named Windy — was the #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks straight.

Who’s tripping down the streets of the city
Smiling at everybody she sees?
Who’s reaching out to capture a moment?
Everyone knows it’s Windy

The usage of the baby name Windy doubled that year. Windy was boosted into the top 1,000 for the first time, and it saw peak popularity in 1975, ranking 553rd that year.

Wendy also got a boost from the song “Windy,” though it didn’t need any help: the name Wendy was in the top 100 from the ’50s to the ’80s, reaching as high as 28th in 1970.

Which name do you prefer, Windy or Wendy? (Or Wendie?)

Source: “Daughter Born in Windstorm Is Christened Wendie Dae.” Morning Avalanche [Lubbock, Texas] 18 Jan. 1940: 6.


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 city’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

Baseball Team to Name Coach’s Baby Boy

You're killing me, Smalls (Sandlot quote)

The varsity baseball team at Heritage High School in Palm Bay, Florida, had never had a winning season.

So this season, coach Rob Querry made his players a promise: Win 14 (out of 25) games, and you guys can name my baby.

Rob and his wife Julia are expecting their second son in September. Their first, Brady, is four years old.

On April 5, the team managed to win its 14th game.

The name they’ve chosen for baby Querry? Benjamin Smalls, inspired by Benny Rodriguez and Scotty Smalls, characters from the baseball comedy The Sandlot (1993).

I think it’s slightly daring to go with Smalls as a middle name because of the whole “You’re killing me, Smalls” thing. Still, Smalls is far better than Squints.

(Speaking of Squints…the actress who played his crush, Wendy Peffercorn, named her daughter West thanks to a dream.)

Source: Oh, Baby! Heritage High wins 14th, tot-naming rights

Update, 8/3: Benjamin Smalls Ellis Querry was born in July 27. (Source: Florida Today)