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

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

Name Quotes for the Weekend #25

elton john quote about the name reginald

From an interview with Elton John on Larry King Live:

Well, I was making a record, and I had to choose a name, because they said, you know, you can’t make a record under the name of Reg Dwight, because it’s never going to — you know, it’s not attractive enough. And I agreed with that, and I couldn’t wait to change my name anyway, because I’m not too fond of the name of Reginald. It’s a very kind of ’50s English name.

So I picked Elton because there wasn’t — nobody seemed to have the name Elton. And I picked John to go with it. And it was — it was done on a bus going from London Heathrow back into the city. And it was done very quickly. So I said, oh, Elton John. That’s fine.

From The Life of William Shakespeare: A Critical Biography by Lois Potte:

Though contemporary sonneteers populated their world with lovers called Astrophil, Parthenophil, Stella, Delia, and Idea, the only names that appear in Shakespeare’s sonnets are Adonis, Helen, Mars, Saturn, Philomel, Eve, Cupid, Diana, and Time — and the one non-mythological figure, the author, “Will.”

From An Apology to Every (White) Girl Named Becky by Dara T. Mathis:

Black people commonly use the term “Becky” when referring to generic white women. It has a slight negative connotation (airheadedness), but white women don’t have to do anything to deserve the title.

Clearly, this is as problematic as sexual stereotypes against any demographic of people. Women fight on a daily basis not to be objectified, but this portrayal takes it further and assigns white women a role to which they may not ascribe.

Despite my dislike for using a proper name as a slur, it took an actual person to bring it home to me. After my tweet, a white colleague nicknamed Becky told me about how she’s been forced to use Rebecca instead. A group of black men were catcalling her down a sidewalk and she was doing her best to ignore them. One of them yelled out, “Hey Becky!” That’s her name: she automatically swung her head around. But this had the opposite effect of validating the men’s impression that she was a Becky, not a woman named Becky. They laughed. She laughed, too, because…it is kinda funny.

But I stopped laughing quickly. I had never thought about the implications of people using your name as a stereotype against you. Where can you run to escape that?

From a post about unusual personal names at Futility Closet:

A memo to every parent who’s ever lived: Giving your kid a special name does not make him special. It never has. It never will.

You know what I mean. It’s one thing to give yourself a screwy moniker. Body-modification enthusiasts have changed their names to Swirly Wanx Sinatra, Grenade Bee of Death, and RooRaaah Mew Crumbs, among other things, and there’s a U.S. Army Ohio National Guard firefighter who named himself Optimus Prime. That’s fine, you’re the one who has to live with it.

It’s worse when you inflict a harebrained epithet on a newborn, who will have to drag it through life like a neon hairshirt.

From a post about Ameribella cheese at Cheese Notes:

Originally named Arabella, this cheese underwent a slight name change recently; as Leslie told me, it’s always been named after Matthew’s great grandmother, whose name was America Arabella. To honor her, they combined her two names and came up with the Ameribella, which also has the unique quality of honoring this cheese’s American terroir and Italian origins.

(I discovered Ameribella via the Baby Name Pondering post Cheesy Baby Names.)

From an article by Kerry Parnell in The Daily Telegraph:

[W]hen I was born and my parents proudly announced my name to the family, my great-grandma was disgusted and informed them Kerry was a dog’s name.

She never wavered from this conviction until one day, when I was about five, we visited her to see her new poodle puppy.

“What’s his name?” I asked. “Kerry,” she replied, stony faced. There was a long, awkward silence and no one ever mentioned it again.

Ironically, great-grandma went by the name of “Pete”, which, unless I am very much mistaken, is a man’s name.

One day, I vow, I will get a dog just so I can call it Pete, for revenge.

Have you read anything interesting about names lately? Please send me the link so I can add it to a future quote post! Email me, Tweet me, or just leave a comment below.

Names Popular During the Victorian Era

Tuesday’s post about the Victorian-style Tylney Hall Hotel reminded me of a list of Victorian-era names that I’ve had bookmarked forever.

The list was created by amateur genealogist G. M. Atwater as a resource for writers. It contains names and name combinations that were commonly seen in the U.S. from the 1840s to the 1890s. Below is the full list (with a few minor changes).

Victorian Era Female Names Victorian Era Male Names
  • Abigale / Abby
  • Ada
  • Adella
  • Agnes
  • Allie
  • Almira / Almyra
  • Alva
  • America
  • Amelia
  • Ann / Annie
  • Arrah
  • Beatrice
  • Bernice
  • Charity
  • Charlotte
  • Chastity
  • Claire
  • Constance
  • Cynthia
  • Dorothy / Dot
  • Edith
  • Edna
  • Edwina
  • Ella
  • Eleanor
  • Ellie
  • Elizabeth / Eliza / Liza / Lizzy / Bess / Bessie / Beth / Betsy
  • Elvira
  • Emma
  • Esther
  • Ethel
  • Eudora
  • Eva
  • Fidelia
  • Frances / Fanny
  • Flora
  • Florence
  • Geneve
  • Genevieve
  • Georgia
  • Gertrude / Gertie
  • Gladys
  • Grace
  • Hannah
  • Hattie
  • Helen
  • Helene
  • Henrietta / Hettie / Ettie
  • Hester
  • Hope
  • Hortence
  • Isabell / Isabella
  • Jane
  • Jennie
  • Jessamine
  • Josephine
  • Judith
  • Julia
  • Juliet
  • Katherine / Kate
  • Laura
  • Leah
  • Lenora
  • Letitia
  • Lila
  • Lilly
  • Lorena
  • Lorraine
  • Lottie
  • Louise / Louisa
  • Lucy
  • Lulu
  • Lydia
  • Mahulda
  • Margaret / Peggie
  • Mary / Molly / Polly
  • Mary Elizabeth
  • Mary Frances
  • Martha
  • Matilda / Mattie
  • Maude
  • Maxine / Maxie
  • Mercy
  • Mildred
  • Minerva
  • Missouri
  • Myrtle
  • Nancy
  • Natalie
  • Nellie / Nelly
  • Nettie
  • Nora
  • Orpha
  • Patsy
  • Parthena
  • Permelia
  • Phoebe
  • Philomena
  • Preshea
  • Rachel
  • Rebecca / Becky
  • Rhoda / Rhody
  • Rowena
  • Rufina
  • Ruth
  • Samantha
  • Sally
  • Sarah
  • Sarah Ann
  • Sarah Elizabeth
  • Savannah
  • Selina
  • Sophronia
  • Stella
  • Theodosia / Theda
  • Vertiline / Verd
  • Victoria
  • Virginia / Ginny
  • Vivian
  • Winnifred / Winnie
  • Zona
  • Zylphia
  • Aaron
  • Abraham / Abe
  • Alan / Allen
  • Albert
  • Alexander
  • Alonzo
  • Ambrose
  • Amon
  • Amos
  • Andrew / Drew / Andy
  • Aquilla
  • Archibald / Archie
  • Arnold
  • Asa
  • August / Augustus / Gus
  • Barnabas / Barney
  • Bartholomew / Bart
  • Benjamin
  • Bennet
  • Benedict
  • Bernard
  • Bertram / Bert
  • Buford
  • Byron
  • Calvin
  • Cephas
  • Charles / Charley / Charlie
  • Christopher
  • Christopher Columbus
  • Clarence
  • Clement / Clem
  • Clinton / Clint
  • Cole
  • Columbus / Lom / Lum
  • Commodore Perry
  • Daniel / Dan
  • David
  • Edmund
  • Edward / Ned
  • Edwin
  • Eldon
  • Eli
  • Elijah
  • Elisha
  • Emmett
  • Enoch
  • Ezekiel / Zeke
  • Ezra
  • Francis / Frank
  • Franklin
  • Frederick / Fred
  • Gabriel / Gabe
  • Garrett
  • George
  • George Washington
  • Gideon
  • Gilbert / Gil
  • Granville
  • Harland
  • Harrison
  • Harold / Harry
  • Harvey
  • Henry / Hank
  • Hiram
  • Horace
  • Horatio
  • Hugh
  • Isaiah
  • Israel
  • Isaac / Ike
  • Isaac Newton
  • Jacob / Jake
  • James / Jim
  • Jasper
  • Jefferson / Jeff
  • Jedediah / Jed
  • Jeptha
  • Jesse
  • Joel
  • John / Jack
  • John Paul
  • John Wesley
  • Jonathan
  • Joseph / Josephus
  • Josiah
  • Joshua
  • Julian
  • Julius
  • Lafayette / Lafe
  • Lawrence / Larry
  • Leander
  • Les / Lester / Leslie
  • Lewis / Lew / Louis
  • Levi
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucius
  • Luke
  • Luther
  • Louis
  • Levi
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucius
  • Luke
  • Luther
  • Matthew
  • Marcellus
  • Mark
  • Martin
  • Martin Luther
  • Masheck
  • Maurice
  • Maxwell
  • Merrill
  • Meriwether
  • Meriwether Lewis
  • Michael / Mike
  • Micajah / Cage
  • Mordecai
  • Morgan
  • Morris
  • Nathaniel / Nathan / Nate / Nat
  • Newton / Newt
  • Nicholas / Nick
  • Nimrod
  • Ninian
  • Obediah
  • Octavius
  • Ora / Oral
  • Orville
  • Oscar
  • Owen
  • Paul
  • Patrick / Pat
  • Patrick Henry
  • Paul
  • Perry
  • Peter
  • Pleasant
  • Ralph
  • Raymond
  • Reuben
  • Robert / Bob
  • Robert Lee
  • Richard / Rich / Dick
  • Roderick
  • Rudolph
  • Rufus
  • Samuel
  • Sam Houston
  • Seth
  • Silas
  • Simon
  • Simeon
  • Stanley / Stan
  • Stephen
  • Thaddeus
  • Thomas / Tom
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Theodore / Ted
  • Timothy / Tim
  • Ulysses
  • Uriah
  • Victor
  • Walter
  • Warren
  • Washington
  • Wilfred
  • William / Will / Bill / Billy
  • Willie
  • Zachariah
  • Zebulon
  • Zedock

Which female name and male name do you like best?

Source: Victorian Era Names, A Writer’s Guide