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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Wes


Posts that Mention the Name Wes

Popular and Unique Baby Names Scotland, 2020

According to National Records of Scotland (NRS), the most popular baby names in the country in 2020 were Isla and Jack.

Here are Scotland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2020:

Girl Names

  1. Isla, 347 baby girls
  2. Olivia, 334
  3. Emily, 300
  4. Freya, 284
  5. Ava, 276
  6. Sophie, 275
  7. Ella, 267
  8. Grace, 261
  9. Amelia, 254
  10. Lily, 208

Boy Names

  1. Jack, 354 baby boys
  2. Noah, 299
  3. James, 292
  4. Leo, 274 (2-way tie)
  5. Oliver, 274 (2-way tie)
  6. Harris, 268
  7. Rory, 258
  8. Alexander, 252
  9. Finlay, 247
  10. Archie, 244

In the girls’ top 10, Lily replaced Charlotte.

In the boys’ top 10, Alexander, Finlay and Archie replaced Charlie, Lewis and Alfie.

The fastest-rising names in the girls’ top 100 were Maeve and Ayda, and in the boys’ top 100 were Roman and Finley.

Here are some of the baby names that were bestowed just once in Scotland last year:

Unique Girl NamesUnique Boy Names
Antarleena, Bietelhiem, Caoife, Dianka, Evrydiki, Fayne, Geneza, Honor-Norah, Idelette, Jafleen, Kasatria, Lochie, Mehrunnisa, Nashmia, Orlia, Phildah, Rileytilly, Skaiste, Tuscany, Ummehanni, Valfreya, Weeam, Xiaotong, Yorkubel, ZanzibarAulliver, Burn, Coagh, Darko, Ertugrul, Fenwick, Guerau, Hanzal, Istari, Jelvin, Kifl, Lioz, Moncef, Nojus, Opei-Wes, Phalata, Riliklan, Sawney, Tselot, Uendjipa, Vakaris, Wilsheldro, Xataan, Yigit, Zactaj

Istari seems to be taken from Tolkien. The Elves referred to the wizards of Middle-earth (such as Gandalf) as istari, a plural noun meaning “wise ones” in Quenya.

(I posted even more of Scotland’s unique baby names over on Patreon.)

Finally, in 2019, the top names in Scotland were Olivia and Jack.

Sources: Isla topples Olivia as top girl’s name, Babies’ First Names

Where did the baby name Unseld come from?

sports, baby name, 1970s, kareem, unseld, basketball
Wes Unseld & Kareem

The unusual baby name Unseld was a one-hit wonder in 1971:

  • 1973: unlisted
  • 1972: unlisted
  • 1971: 5 baby boys named Unseld
  • 1970: unlisted
  • 1969: unlisted

Why?

If you remember the image above — which was in the post about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the other day — then you already know: professional basketball player Westley “Wes” Unseld.

Unseld played in the NBA from 1968 to 1981, always for the same team: the Baltimore Bullets, which in 1973 became the the Capital Bullets, which in 1974 became the Washington Bullets. (Today they’re the Washington Wizards.)

Though Wes Unseld was clearly the influence behind the name, it’s hard to connect the appearance of “Unseld” in the data with a specific moment in his career. Wes was an All-Star in 1971, but that wasn’t the first time he was an All-Star. Likewise, 1971 was a couple of years after he won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award.

The surname Unseld can be traced back to the Middle High German word unsælde, which meant “misfortune.” It was a nickname for a sad or unlucky person.

Sources:

  • Wes Unseld – Wikipedia
  • Hanks, Patrick. (Ed.) Dictionary of American Family Names. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

“Real World” Baby Names: Amaya, Baya, Brynn…

“This is the true story…of seven strangers…picked to live in a loft…and have their lives taped…”

Several months ago, the cast of the inaugural season of MTV’s The Real World held a 6-day reunion in the very same NYC loft they shared back in 1992. The reunion — which was filmed, of course — is now airing as a series on the Paramount+ platform. (Here’s the trailer.)

When I was a teenager, I loved watching The Real World. (And I appreciated that the names of the cast members were always prominently displayed in the opening credits!) So I think now would be a great time to go back and see if any Real World cast member names had an influence on U.S. baby names.

First, let’s start with a comprehensive list of all the cast member names from each of RW‘s 33 (!) seasons…

  1. The Real World: New York (1992): Andre, Becky, Eric, Heather, Julie, Kevin, Norman
  2. The Real World: California (1993): Aaron, Beth (x2), David, Dominic, Glen, Irene, Jon, Tami
  3. The Real World: San Francisco (1994): Cory, Jo, Judd, Mohammed, Pam, Pedro, Puck, Rachel
  4. The Real World: London (1995): Jacinda, Jay, Kat, Lars, Mike, Neil, Sharon
  5. The Real World: Miami (1996): Cynthia, Dan, Flora, Joe, Melissa, Mike, Sarah
  6. The Real World: Boston (1997): Elka, Genesis, Jason, Kameelah, Montana, Sean, Syrus
  7. The Real World: Seattle (1998): David, Irene, Janet, Lindsay, Nathan, Rebecca, Stephen
  8. The Real World: Hawaii (1999): Amaya, Colin, Justin, Kaia, Matt, Ruthie, Teck
  9. The Real World: New Orleans (2000): Danny, David, Jamie, Julie, Kelley, Matt, Melissa
  10. The Real World: Back to New York (2001): Coral, Kevin, Lori, Malik, Mike, Nicole, Rachel
  11. The Real World: Chicago (2002): Aneesa, Cara, Chris, Keri, Kyle, Theo, Tonya
  12. The Real World: Las Vegas (2002-2003): Alton, Arissa, Brynn, Frank, Irulan, Steven, Trishelle
  13. The Real World: Paris (2003): Ace, Adam, Chris, Christina, Leah, Mallory, Simon
  14. The Real World: San Diego (2004): Brad, Cameran, Charlie, Frankie, Jacquese, Jamie, Randy, Robin
  15. The Real World: Philadelphia (2004-2005): Karamo, Landon, Melanie, M.J., Sarah, Shavonda, Willie
  16. The Real World: Austin (2005): Danny, Johanna, Lacey, Melinda, Nehemiah, Rachel, Wes
  17. The Real World: Key West (2006): Janelle, John, Jose, Paula, Svetlana, Tyler, Zach
  18. The Real World: Denver (2006-2007): Alex, Brooke, Colie, Davis, Jenn, Stephen, Tyrie
  19. The Real World: Sydney (2007-2008): Ashli, Cohutta, Dunbar, Isaac, KellyAnne, Parisa, Shauvon, Trisha
  20. The Real World: Hollywood (2008): Brianna, Brittini, Dave, Greg, Joey, Kimberly, Nick, Sarah, Will
  21. The Real World: Brooklyn (2009): Baya, Chet, Devyn, J.D., Katelynn, Ryan, Sarah, Scott
  22. The Real World: Cancun (2009): Ayiiia, Bronne, CJ, Derek, Emilee, Jasmine, Joey, Jonna
  23. The Real World: D.C. (2009-2010): Andrew, Ashley, Callie, Emily, Erika, Josh, Mike, Ty
  24. The Real World: New Orleans (2010): Ashlee, Eric, Jemmye, McKenzie, Preston, Ryan (x2), Sahar
  25. The Real World: Las Vegas (2011): Adam, Dustin, Heather (x2), Leroy, Michael, Nany, Naomi
  26. The Real World: San Diego (2011): Alexandra, Ashley, Frank, Nate, Priscilla, Sam, Zach
  27. The Real World: St. Thomas (2012): Brandon (x2), LaToya, Laura, Marie, Robb, Trey
  28. The Real World: Portland (2013): Anastasia, Averey, Jessica, Johnny, Joi, Jordan, Marlon, Nia
  29. Real World: Ex-Plosion (2014): Arielle, Ashley (x2), Brian, Cory, Hailey, Jamie, Jay, Jenna, Jenny, Lauren, Thomas
  30. Real World: Skeletons (2014-2015): Bruno, Jason, Madison, Nicole, Sylvia, Tony, Violetta
  31. Real World: Go Big or Go Home (2016): CeeJai, Chris, Dean, Dione, Dylan, Jenna, Kailah, Sabrina
  32. Real World Seattle: Bad Blood (2016-2017): Anika, Anna, Jennifer, Jordan, Kassius, Katrina, Kimberly, Mike, Orlana, Peter, Robbie, Theo, Tyara, Will
  33. The Real World: Atlanta (2019): Arely, Clint, Dondre, Justin, Meagan, Tovah, Yasmin

The names in boldface line up with a discernible increase in baby name usage. (Other Real World names may have affected baby names as well, but it can be hard to tell when, say, a name is already common, or already on the rise.)

Here are details on all the boldfaced names, plus two more influential RW names (from seasons 6 and 18) that didn’t even belong to primary cast members.

  • The name Jacinda (from season 4; 1995) saw peak usage in 1996.
  • The name Flora (5; 1996) saw increased usage in 1997.
  • The name Kameelah (6; 1997) saw increased usage in 1998.
  • The name Syrus (6; 1997) saw increased usage in 1997.
  • The name Jason (6; 1997) was probably not affected, but the name of Jason’s girlfriend, Timber, saw increased usage in 1998.
  • The name Amaya (8; 1999) saw sharply increased usage in 1999 and 2000.
  • The name Kaia (8; 1999) saw increased usage in 1999.
  • The name Ruthie (8; 1999) saw increased usage in 1999.
  • The name Aneesa (11; 2002) saw peak usage in 2002.
  • The name Arissa (12; 2002-3) saw peak usage in 2003.
  • The name Brynn (12; 2002-3) saw sharply increased usage in 2003.
  • The name Irulan (12; 2002-3) debuted in the data in 2003.
    • It looks like she was named after the fictional character Princess Irulan from Frank Herbert’s Dune books…?
  • The name Trishelle (12; 2002-3) saw peak usage in 2004.
  • The name Mallory (13; 2003) saw increased usage in 2003 and 2004.
  • The name Cameran (14; 2004) saw peak usage in 2004.
  • The name Jacquese (14; 2004) both returned to the data and saw peak usage in 2004.
  • The name Johanna (16; 2005) saw increased usage in 2005.
  • The name Nehemiah (16; 2005) saw increased usage in 2005 and 2006.
  • The name Janelle (17; 2006) saw increased usage in 2006.
  • The name Svetlana (17; 2006) saw peak usage in 2007.
  • The name Colie (18; 2006-7) both returned to the data and saw peak usage in 2007.
  • The name Tyrie (18; 2006-7) saw peak usage in 2007.
  • The name of Tyrie’s girlfriend, Jazalle, debuted in 2007 and is a one-hit wonder so far.
  • The name Kellyanne (19; 2007-8) returned to the data in 2008.
  • The name Baya (21; 2009) saw sharply increased usage in 2009. In fact, Baya was one of the fastest-rising baby names of 2009.
  • The name Averey (28; 2013) saw peak usage in 2013.
  • The name Kassius (32; 2016-17) saw increased usage in 2017.

Of all the names above, which one(s) do you like most?

And, for all the Real World fans out there: which season(s) do you like most? :)

Source: The Real World (TV series) – Wikipedia

Name Quotes #28: Keira, Delta, Irmelin

Keira Knightley quote

From an interview with Keira Knightley in Elle (UK):

Keira also revealed that she was never intended to be called Keira.

‘I was meant to be named “Kiera”, after a Russian ice skater who was on the TV one day. My dad fancied her and nicked her name for me. But it was my mum who went to register my birth, and she accidentally spelled “ei” instead of “ie” because my mum’s crap at spelling.

‘Apparently, when she came back he said: “WHAT THE F*CK? You’ve spelt her name wrong!” What were they going to do, though? Once it’s on the piece of paper, it’s on the piece of paper. And that’s me. A spelling error.’

[The skater was likely Kira Ivanova, who won a bronze medal for the USSR at the 1984 Winter Olympics.]

From There’s Something About Nutella (about the French parents who tried to name their baby Nutella) by lawyer Wes Anderson:

If only the parents lived in the United States, then they may likely have realized their dream. While many European countries place various restrictions on baby names, American parents may generally use a trademark as a personal name, so long as it is a word mark and both parents consent to the name. Brand loyalty may have some limits abroad, but the courts on our shores would hardly object to baby Nutella.

From Parents seek unique names for their children in The Japan News:

Under the Family Registration Law, about 3,000 kanji can be used for a person’s name, including joyo kanji (kanji designated for common use) and kanji exclusively used for people’s names. Hiragana and katakana can be used as well. However, there are no rules regarding how a kanji character should be read in a name or how long the name can be.

In recent years, more and more variations are showing up in children’s names with nonstandard pronunciations apparently becoming prominent. For example, the kanji “kokoro” (heart) is often read “ko” these days, while “ai” (love) is read “a.”

[…]

At one kindergarten in Kanagawa Prefecture, teachers write down the phonetic readings of all the new pupils’ names on the roll before the entrance ceremony to check how they should be read.

“It’s a shock for parents to hear their children’s names read out incorrectly,” a staff member of the kindergarten said.

Tamago Club, a magazine for expecting mothers published by Benesse Corp., is calling on readers to avoid names whose kanji readings are too different from the norm.

From the book The Leonardo DiCaprio Album by Brian J. Robb:

Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio was born in Los Angeles on 11th November 1974 to burnt-out hippie parents who named him after the Renaissance artist Leonardo Da Vinci. His mother, German-born Irmelin Indenbirken, chose her son’s name after feeling him kicking in the womb as she stood in front of a Da Vinci painting in the Uffizi Gallery in Venice, Italy.

From Why We Like Boys Better Than Girls (Or At Least Their Names) by Laura Wattenberg:

Our modern naming age sees lots of names flowing around the gender divide. Some traditional male names, like Micah and Riley, are showing up more and more on the girls’ side. Other names with no traditional gender link, like word names, place names, and surnames, are flipping back and forth or remaining unisex. But even in this fluid, creative naming culture, I challenge you to find a traditionally female name that is given to boys. Much as a reference to running or fighting “like a girl” is taken as an insult, so do we shrink from any hint of girliness in our boys’ names. As a result, the move toward androgyny in baby names turns out to look an awful lot like masculinization.

[…]

Names have enormous symbolic power. They send messages. What message would it send to girls if the women of the U.S. Supreme Court were named Raymond, Simon and Elliot instead of Ruth, Sonia and Elena? Just as we may wish for a future where “running like a girl” means “running as fast and long as you can,” I’m rooting for a future where a little Leia is considered just as bold and confident as a girl dressed — or named — like Han.

From the Survivor Wiki page about Neleh Davis, the runner-up from Survivor: Marquesas (2002):

Neleh Dennis was born in Heber City, Utah, and is one of eight siblings (five brothers, Tom, John, Devin, Nathan, and Landon, and two sisters, McKenna and Robyn). She was named after her maternal grandmother, Helen. Same name, only spelled backwards.

From an interview with Dax Shepard [vid] on Ellen:

Ellen: Where does the name Delta come from, was that something you had thought of before?

Dax: So Delta actually–it was a joke, because our first daughter’s name is Lincoln, which is very masculine, so a friend of mine teasingly texted me, “Oh great, what’s this one gonna be, Navy Seal? Delta Force? Green Beret?” And I was reading this text out loud to Kristen, I’m like, “Oh listen to how funny this is, Steve said, what if we named her Delta Force” and I was like…Delta! Delta Bell Shepard, that’s it! And that’s it.

Have a nice weekend, all!

One-Handed Baby Names: Jimmy, Carter, Tessa, Lynn

When you sign your first name, you use one hand. But when you type it, chances are you need to use both hands — even if your name is a short as Emma, Gus or Ty.

Have you ever wondered which names can be touch-typed on the standard QWERTY keyboard with one hand only? Me too, so I came up with some lists….

Left-Handed Baby Names

left-handed baby names
  • Ace, Ada, Adeva, Asa, Ava
  • Babette, Barbara, Barrett, Baxter, Bess, Bette, Brad, Brett
  • Cade, Caesar, Cara, Carter, Casara, Case, Cass, Cesar, Cresta
  • Dara, Dave, Dawes, Dax, Debra, Dee, Dessa, Dexter, Drew
  • Ed, Edgar, Edward, Egas, Esta, Etta, Eva, Eve, Everard, Everett, Evette, Ezra
  • Freeda, Fred, Fredda
  • Gage, Garret, Garrett, Gerard, Grace, Greg, Greta, Grete, Gretta
  • Rebeca, Rebecca, Reece, Reed, Reese, Retta, Reva, Rewa, Rex
  • Sabra, Sage, Sara, Sardar, Steve, Stewart, Svea
  • Tad, Ted, Tara, Tate, Tera, Teresa, Tess, Tessa, Tex, Trace, Tracee
  • Vada, Varda, Varvara, Vera, Verree, Vesta, Vester
  • Wade, Wafa, Ward, Wes
  • Zada, Zara, Zed

How funny is it that Dexter, which comes directly from the Latin word for “right,” is typed with the left hand only?

Right-Handed Baby Names

right-handed baby names
  • Holly
  • Io
  • Jill, Jim, Jimi, Jimmy, Jin, Jo, John, Johnny, Jon, Joni, Joy, Juho, Juli, Julio, Jun, Juno
  • Kiki, Kim, Kimi, Kimiko, Kimmy, Kimo, Kip, Kiyoko, Kojo, Kollin, Kumiko, Kyou
  • Lili, Lilly, Lilou, Lilikoi, Lily, Lin, Lino, Loni, Lonny, Lou, Lulu, Lyn, Lynn
  • Miki, Mikki, Mikko, Milly, Milo, Mimi, Min, Minh, Miyu, Molly, Momoko
  • Nik, Nikhil, Niki, Nikki, Niko, Nikol, Nikon, Nuno
  • Olli, Olujimi, Om
  • Phil, Philip, Phillip, Pio, Polly, Poppy
  • Yoko, Yuko, Yumi, Yumiko

I realize that QWERTY “handedness” is not a major baby-naming factor for most people, but I do think it would be cute to pair a one-handed name with another one-handed name — maybe a surname (Teresa Garza, Phillip Hill) or a twin name (Edward & John, Grace & Lily, Zara & Milo). What do you think?