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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Will

Number of Babies Named Will

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Will

Name Quotes #61: Madeleine, Tim, Clara

It’s the first Monday of the month, so it’s time for some name quotes!

From a Vice interview with Jeff Goldblum:

Vice: Amazing. That’s Charlie Ocean right?

Jeff: Yeah that’s Charlie Ocean! And then our other son [with wife Emilie Livingston, a Canadian aerialist, actress, and former Olympian] who’s now 11 months old is River Joe.

Vice: Any musical streaks in either of them yet?

Jeff: I’ve always sat at the piano these last couple years with Charlie Ocean and he kinda bangs around. But I must say, River Joe, when I play or we put on music, boy he’s just standing up at this point, but he rocks to the music and bounces up and down. He seems to really like it so maybe he’s musical. I’d like to play with them.

(I am fascinated by the fact that the boys aren’t simply Charlie and Joe. Clearly the water aspect of each name requires emphasis every time.)

From the essay Forgetting the Madeleine, written by pastry chef Frances Leech:

In reality, I was named for two grandmothers: Jenny Frances and Lucy Madeleine. However, when I introduce myself at baking classes, I lie.

“My parents named me after the most famous pastry in French literature.”

It is a good name for a pâtissier, a pastry chef, and a good story to tell. The mnemonic sticks in my students’ minds, and after three hours and four cakes made together, they remember me as Madeleine and not Frances. Stories make for powerful anchors, even when the truth is twisted for dramatic effect.

From an article about chef Auguste Escoffier, who named his dishes after the rich and famous:

Escoffier came up with thousands of new recipes, many of which he served at London’s Savoy Hotel and the Paris Ritz. Some were genuine leaps of ingenuity, others a twist on a classic French dish. Many carry someone else’s name. In early dishes, these are often historical greats: Oeufs Rossini, for the composer; Consommé Zola, for the writer; Omelette Agnès Sorel, for the mistress of Charles VII. Later on, however, Escoffier made a habit of giving dishes the handles of people who, in their day, were virtual household names: An entire choir of opera singers’ names are to be found in Escoffier’s cookery books. The most famous examples are likely Melba toast and Peach Melba, for the Australian opera singer Nellie Melba, though there are hundreds of others.

An essay about the plight of people named Tim, by Tim Dowling:

A lot of baggage comes with the name Tim. I have not forgotten Martin Amis’s 20-year-old description of Tim Henman as “the first human being called Tim to achieve anything at all”. More recently Will Self wrote: “There’s little doubt that your life chances will be constrained should your otherwise risk-averse parents have had the temerity to Tim you.” This was in a review of the JD Wetherspoon pub chain, the many faults of which Self put down to founder Tim Martin never being able “to escape the fact of his Timness”.

[…]

Amis and Self believe the poor showing of Tims is the result of nominative determinism: the name Tim carries expectations of inconsequentiality that anyone so christened will eventually come to embody. Gallingly, research suggests they may be right.

From an article about Spanish babies being named after soccer players’ babies:

This was clearly shown when Barcelona star Lionel Messi’s first son Thiago was born to partner Antonella Roccuzzo in November 2012. That year the name Thiago did not appear in the Top 100 boys names given to babies in Spain, according to Spain’s National Statistics Agency [INE].

[…]

Something similar happened when Mateo Messi was born in Sep 2015. In just 12 months Mateo climbed from 14th to 9th most popular name among Spanish parents. Ciro Messi, born in March this year, will surely see the originally Persian name break into the top 100.

From an article about UC Berkeley student (and mom) Natalie Ruiz:

Doe Library’s North Reading Room became Ruiz’s haven. “It was one of the few quiet places where I felt I could focus,” she says. “That season of my life was extremely dark; I didn’t know if I’d make it to graduation, or how I could possibly raise a baby at this time.”

One day at the library, she noticed light shining down on her growing belly, right over the university seal on her T-shirt and the words “fiat lux.” She and Blanchard had considered Lillian or Clara as baby names, but now the choice was made.

“I felt my daughter kick, and it occurred to me that clara in Spanish means ‘bright,’ and I imagined the way that this baby could and would be the bright light at the end of this dark season,” says Ruiz, who gave birth to Clara on May 15, 2014.

From an interview with entrepreneur Eden Blackman:

For many entrepreneurs, starting a business often feels like bringing new life into the world. It’s not every day though, that your endeavours result in a baby named in your honour.

“That’s the pinnacle for me, it’s simply mind-blowing,” says Eden Blackman, founder of online dating business Would Like to Meet and namesake of young Eden, whose parents met on the site several years ago. “That is amazing and quite a lot to take on but it’s a beautiful thing.”

From the article Do You Like Your Name? by Arthur C. Brooks (found via Nameberry):

I cringe a little whenever I hear someone say my name, and have ever since I was a child. One of my earliest memories is of a lady in a department store asking me my name and bursting out laughing when I said, “Arthur.”

Before you judge that lady, let’s acknowledge that it is actually pretty amusing to meet a little kid with an old man’s name. According to the Social Security Administration, “Arthur” maxed out in popularity back in the ’90s. That is, the 1890s. It has fallen like a rock in popularity since then. I was named after my grandfather, and even he complained that his name made him sound old. Currently, “Arthur” doesn’t even crack the top 200 boys’ names. Since 2013, it has been beaten in popularity by “Maximus” (No. 200 last year) and “Maverick” (No. 85).

One thing I constantly hear from people I meet for the first time is, “I imagined you as being much older.” I don’t take this as flattery, because at 54, I’m really not that young. What they are saying is that they imagined someone about 100 years old.

To see more quotes about names, check out the name quotes category.

Do We Need to Talk About Kevin?

kevin, home aloneHave you heard of “Kevinism”? It’s Europe’s bias against people who have first names that are “culturally devalued” like Kevin, Chantal, Mandy and Justin — names that were popularized by American pop culture, typically.

In the case of Kevin, actors like Kevin Costner and Kevin Bacon — not to mention the very successful 1990 Christmas movie Home Alone, in which the lead character was a young Kevin — made the name very trendy overseas in the early 1990s. In fact, it hit #1 in several European countries, including France and Switzerland.

But after the trend cooled off, the backlash began. And it’s so bad now that, just a few years ago, a German schoolteacher told researchers that Kevin is “not a name, but a diagnosis.”

Which makes this recent observation by Andrew Gruttadaro of The Ringer all the more interesting: “Of the scripted shows on the four major [U.S.] networks that currently include a first name in the title–Kevin Can Wait, Young Sheldon, Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, Bob’s Burgers, Will & Grace, and Marlon–33 percent of them feature a Kevin.”

It’s a fascinating juxtaposition. Kevin has apparently hit some sort of nostalgic sweet-spot for American TV audiences, and, at the same time, it’s so disliked overseas that an entirely new word has been coined to describe the prejudice.

I wonder if those American shows are being seen in Europe and, if so, whether they’ll affect Kevinism. Will they exacerbate it? Eradicate it? Hm…

Where do you live, and how do you feel about the name Kevin?

Sources: Kevin, Chantal among worst names for online dating, We need to talk about Kévin: Why France fell in (and out of) love with a name, Why Are There So Many Kevins on TV?

Five-Name Friday: Girl Name for Will’s Sister

five name friday, girl name

It’s an unseasonably warm day, so you decide to take a walk around the neighborhood. At one point you encounter a nice lady with a little boy in a stroller. As the two of you chat, the lady mentions that she and her husband are now expecting a baby girl, but they aren’t sure what to name her. Here’s the gist of the situation:

We are naming baby number 2, our son’s name is William “Will” Michael. I like Annabel, Linley & Ava but he likes McKenna, Keira & Campbell.

“Do you have any suggestions?”

You’re a name-lover, and you could potentially give her dozens of suggestions on the spot. But her young son is starting to get cranky, so you decide to stick to five baby name suggestions so the lady can get on with her day.

But here’s the fun part: Instead of blurting out the first five names you come up with, you get to press a magical “pause” button, think for a bit, and then “unpause” the scenario to offer him the best five names you can think of.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you brainstorm:

  • Be independent. Decide on your five names before looking at anyone else’s five names.
  • Be sincere. Would you honestly suggest these particular baby names out loud to a stranger in public?
  • Five names only! All names beyond the first five in your comment will be either deleted or replaced with nonsense words.

Finally, here’s the request again:

We are naming baby number 2, our son’s name is William “Will” Michael. I like Annabel, Linley & Ava but he likes McKenna, Keira & Campbell.

Which five baby names are you going to suggest?

[To send in your own 2-sentence baby name request, here are the directions, and here’s the contact form.]

It’s Time for More Cowbell

will ferrell, SNL, more cowbell
Will Ferrell as cowbell player “Gene Frenkle” on SNL, 4/8/00

You probably already know this, but today marks the 16th anniversary of the cowbell-centric Saturday Night Live sketch “Behind the Music: Blue Öyster Cult.”

So if you’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell, I think I can help you out.

Because today I’ve got two people who were apparently named cowbell.

First up is CowBelle Debradt. In 1940 she was 39 years old and living in Ohio with her husband and four sons. She was originally from Pennsylvania.

Cow Belle Debradt, U.S. Census 1940

Second we have CowBelle M. Willis. In 1940 she was 12 years old and living in Montana with her parents and sister.

Cowbelle Willis, U.S. Census 1940

I’ve spotted other Cowbell(e)s as well, but don’t yet have screenshots of the source documents as proof, so I’ll leave them off the list for now.

What are your thoughts on Cowbelle as a modern female name? Is it ridiculous, or could it be some intentionally ironic hipster alternative to -belle names like Annabelle and Isabelle?

Source: 1940 U.S. Census

Jean-Luc: Another Star Trek-Inspired Baby Name

Jean-Luc Picard, Early Grey Tea
“Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.” -Capt. Jean-Luc Picard
© CBS Studios Inc.
The name Jean-Luc debuted on the SSA’s list in 1987, and peak usage was in 1992:

  • 1993: 63 baby boys named Jean-Luc
  • 1992: 65 baby boys named Jean-Luc
  • 1991: 46 baby boys named Jean-Luc
  • 1990: 26 baby boys named Jean-Luc
  • 1989: 21 baby boys named Jean-Luc
  • 1988: 14 baby boys named Jean-Luc
  • 1987: 8 baby boys named Jean-Luc [debut]
  • 1986: unlisted

The inspiration?

Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the starship Enterprise.

Picard, played by Patrick Stewart, was the central character in the TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation, which premiered in late 1987 and ran until mid-1994.

The character, though born and raised in 24th-century France, was a native English speaker. How? According to the show, French had become an obscure language by the 2300s. And yet, interestingly, the people of English-speaking future-France were still getting very traditional French names. Picard’s parents were named Maurice and Yvette, for instance. (Do you think this is a believable scenario?)

The names Geordi and Riker also debuted during the years TNG was on the air. They were likely inspired by the characters Will Riker (first officer) and Geordi La Forge (chief engineer, played by LeVar Burton).

The only other Star Trek name I’ve blogged about so far is Uhura, but there are more coming up…

In the meanwhile, what do you think of the name Jean-Luc?

Image: Star Trek Earl Grey Tea