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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Yuri

Number of Babies Named Yuri

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Yuri

Space Race Baby Names: Gemini & Agena

Agena as seen by Gemini VIII (3/16/1966)
Agena as seen by Gemini VIII (3/16/1966)

The name Yuri first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in the early ’60s, and the name Aldrin showed up in the late ’60s. But these aren’t the only two Space Race baby names that popped up on the charts during the ’60s.

In 1965 and 1966, the 10 manned missions of NASA’s Project Gemini were flown. The sixth mission, in March of 1966, included the first docking of two spacecraft in orbit — the Gemini VIII with the Agena Target Vehicle (an unmanned spacecraft built specifically for that purpose).

Right on cue, the baby name Gemini debuted in 1965, and Agena followed in 1966:

Year U.S. Babies Named Gemini U.S. Babies Named Agena
1967 x x
1966 x 15 baby girls [debut]
1965 13 baby girls [debut] x
1964 x x

Gemini reappeared in the data later on (e.g., 11 baby girls and 12 baby boys were named Gemini in 2015) but Agena, the top one-hit wonder of 1966, never did.

So how did Project Gemini and the Agena Target Vehicle get their names?

Gemini, which means “twins” in Latin, reflects not only the two-man crews of the Project Gemini missions, but also the fact that Gemini was the second human spaceflight program (after Mercury), and that one of the overall objectives of the project was to achieve a space rendezvous that involves two spacecraft.

Agena was named after the bright star Agena (a.k.a. Beta Centauri; Hadar) in the constellation Centaurus. The name “Agena” is thought to have been coined by Connecticut astronomer Elijah H. Burritt (1794-1838) from the Greek words alpha, “first,” and gena, “knee,” as the star marks the knee of one of the centaur’s front legs.

Which do you like better as a baby name, Gemini or Agena?

Which do you like better as a baby name?

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Sources:


Soviet Leader Influenced U.S. Baby Names in 1959

Nikita Khrushchev, 1959Nikita Khrushchev was the leader of the Soviet Union for over a decade during the early Cold War (from 1953 to 1964).

Between the time the U.S.S.R. launched Sputnik in 1957 and sent Yuri Gagarin on the first manned space flight in 1961, Khrushchev became first Soviet head of state to visit the U.S.

Upon the invitation of president Dwight Eisenhower, Khrushchev and his family flew to Washington, D.C., on September 15, 1959. They visited New York, California, Iowa, and Pennsylvania before flying back to Moscow on the 27th.

Though Khrushchev famously never made it to Disneyland, he did manage to make an impression upon expectant parents:

Year U.S. girls named Nikita U.S. boys named Nikita
1961 39 21
1960 56 25
1959 44 19 [debut]
1958 16 unlisted
1957 13 unlisted

The baby name Nikita had appeared on the U.S. charts as a girl name before, but in 1959 it showed up for the very first time as a boy name.*

These days the usage of Nikita is about equal for males and females — 93 baby girls and 92 baby boys got the name in 2015. But there was a spike in female usage in 1985, thanks to the song “Nikita” by Elton John. (American radio listeners similarly interpreted Luka as a girl name a couple of years later.)

The name Nikita can be traced back to the Ancient Greek word for “victor,” niketes, which is based on the more familiar word nike, meaning “victory.”

And eight years after the name Nikita debuted, another Russian arrival, Svetlana Stalina, showed up and added yet another Soviet-inspired baby name to the mix…

Sources: Nikita Khrushchev – Wikipedia, Timeline: Nikita Khrushchev’s Trip Itinerary
Image: © TIME

*To debut on the SSA’s baby name list, a name has to be given to least 5 babies of one gender or the other within a single calendar year.

Name Quotes for the Weekend #38

Another quote post! This installment includes a record number of ellipses. Very exciting.

From The Clintons ruined the name ‘Hillary’ for new parents by Christopher Ingraham:

It…looks like the popularity of first ladies’ names falls more sharply than the popularity of presidents’ names during their time in office. But again, it’s not clear just from these charts if that’s a true presidential spouse effect, or just a reflection of the natural long-term trajectory of those names.

Here’s a blog post I wrote about The Demise of the Baby Name Hillary.

From Keith Ng’s My last name sounds Chinese, in response to the erroneous claim by New Zealand politician Phil Twyford that Chinese people are buying up property in Auckland:

The subtext of this story is that people with Chinese-sounding names are foreigners full of cash who are buying all our houses and chasing hardworking Kiwis out of their homes. This is straight-up scapegoating, placing the blame for a complex, emotive problem at the feet of an ethnic group.

[…]

Phil Twyford, Labour, and the Herald – you are fueling racial division in this country. You are encouraging people to question whether ethnically Chinese people ought to be able to buy houses. You are saying that people with “Chinese-sounding names” are dangerous foreigners who will destroy the Kiwi way of life with real estate purchases.

From Royal Caribbean’s press release asking James Hand to name the next Royal Caribbean ship:

“The people of the United Kingdom know the name of a great ship when they see it,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Like the rest of the world, we fell in love with the name Boaty McBoatface when we heard it, and we knew immediately that Royal Caribbean could use James Hand’s talent to name our next ship.”

The “name our next ship” part is an April Fools’ Day joke, but (as far as I can tell) the offer to send Hand on a free cruise is legit.

NERC’s Name Our Ship campaign ends tomorrow, btw.

From the Thomas Alva Edison, Jr. page of the Thomas Edison National Historical Park website:

Thomas Alva, Junior, was born on January 10, 1876. Since his sister Marion was nicknamed “Dot,” he was nicknamed “Dash.”

[…]

After selling the use of his name to advertise “quack” medicines and dubious inventions, his father asked Tom Junior to change his name. This he did, briefly going by the name of Thomas Willard.

The nicknames “Dot” and “Dash” are references to Morse Code.

From Why Do I Have to Call This App ‘Julie’? by Joanne McNeil (found via Nancy Friedman’s January Linkfest):

Imagine if the plug-in devices that made housework more efficient were, like Alexa, sold with women’s names and talked about with female pronouns. “Could you hand me the Amanda? She’s in the hall closet.”

[…]

I used Julie [a “virtual inbox assistant”] only once, sending an email to a friend, copying the app email, with a time and date to meet for coffee. Julie emailed back promptly confirming the appointment, and it added the meeting to my calendar. The product is an interesting idea and easy to use, but interacting with a fake woman assistant just feels too weird. So I shut “her” off. This Stepford app, designed to make my work more efficient, only reminds me of the gendered division of labor that I’m trying to escape.

From the abstract of the paper Unfortunate First Names: Effects of Name-Based Relational Devaluation and Interpersonal Neglect by Jochen E. Gebauer, Mark R. Leary and Wiebke Neberich:

Can negative first names cause interpersonal neglect? Study 1 (N = 968) compared extremely negatively named online-daters with extremely positively named online-daters. Study 2 (N = 4,070) compared less extreme groups—namely, online-daters with somewhat unattractive versus somewhat attractive first names. Study 3 (N = 6,775) compared online-daters with currently popular versus currently less popular first names, while controlling for name-popularity at birth. Across all studies, negatively named individuals were more neglected by other online-daters, as indicated by fewer first visits to their dating profiles. This form of neglect arguably mirrors a name-based life history of neglect, discrimination, prejudice, or even ostracism.

From What’s in a Necronym? by Jeannie Vanasco (found via Longreads):

I remember the day I first learned about her. I was eight. My father was in his chair, holding a small white box. As my mother explained that he had a dead daughter named Jeanne, pronounced the same as my name, “without an i,” he opened the box and looked away. Inside was a medal Jeanne had received from a church “for being a good person,” my mother said. My father said nothing. I said nothing. I stared at the medal.

[…]

Parsed from the Greek, necronym literally translates as “death name.” It usually means a name shared with a dead sibling. Until the late nineteenth century, necronyms were not uncommon among Americans and Europeans. If a child died in infancy, his or her name was often given to the next child, a natural consequence of high birth rates and high infant mortality rates.

The second Notwithstanding Griswold, born in 1764, was named for her deceased older sister.

A post about Union Banner Hunt by Andy Osterdahl of The Strangest Names In American Political History:

Union Banner Hunt was born in Randolph County on September 2, 1864, the son of Joshua Parker and Rachel Howell Hunt. His full birth name is listed as “Union Banner Basil Morton Hunt”, and the 1914 work Past and Present of Randolph County gives some interesting anecdotes as to how his unusual name came about: “At the time of his birth his brother was confined in the Confederate Prison in Andersonville, Ga., having been captured at the Battle of Chickamauga. Hence the name “Union Banner”. Basil (pronounced “Bazil”) is an old family name, and “Morton” is for the great war Governor of Indiana.” This same book mentions that Hunt was “not responsible” for his unusual name and “neither is he ashamed of it.”

That “great war Governor” was Oliver P. Morton.

From an interview with Winona Ryder by Celia Walden:

Ryder’s unconventional childhood has been exhaustively documented and occasionally used to explain the more disturbing events in her life, but the actress — christened Winona Laura Horowitz and named after the Minnesota city in which she was born — speaks fondly of the four years she spent in a commune in Elk, Northern California, from the age of seven.

Winona’s younger brother Uri, born in the 1970s, was named after cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

Have you come across any interesting name-related quotes lately? Let me know!

Baby Names from Cockney Rhyming Slang?

Here’s something I’ve never seen before.

Last month, Canadian singer Bryan Adams and his girlfriend welcomed their second baby girl, Lula RosyLea. Lula’s middle name is a reference to her time of birth, as per this tweet by Adams:

Lula Rosylea arrived @ teatime this wk. a cup of ‘rosie lee’ = ‘cup of tea’ in cockney. Lula comes from Gene Vincent’s song Be-Bop-A-Lula

This is the first baby I know of to be named via Cockney rhyming slang.

What’s Cockney rhyming slang? It involves word substitution based on rhyme. Typically, a word in a sentence is replaced with a rhyming phrase, and then the rhyming part of the phrase is dropped. This makes the resulting sentence hard for those not in-the-know to understand.

Here’s an example: “Use your loaf.” It’s really “use your head,” but the phrase loaf of bread was used instead of head, and then loaf of bread was shortened to just loaf. Hence, “use your loaf.” Get it?

Speaking of bread, if you’ve ever heard people use the slang word bread to mean money, that’s CRS too. Money rhymes with the old expression bread and honey, which shortens to bread.

So that’s how Bryan Adams turned tea into Rosie Lee, which is a common CRS rhyme for tea. (And now, if you’re ever in London and someone asks you if you want a cup of Rosie, you’ll know what they’re talking about!) “Rosie Lee” refers to American burlesque performer Gypsy Rose Lee (1911-1970).

I thought this was a rather cool way to come up with a baby name, so I’ve collected a few dozen other well-known CRS rhymes that involve names. On the left you’ll find the original word, in the middle is the name/phrase substitution, and on the right is the shortened version.

  • back – rhymes with Cilla Black – shortens to Cilla
  • ball – rhymes with Albert Hall – shortens to Albert
  • belly – rhymes with Darby Kelly – shortens to Darby
  • brake – rhymes with Veronica Lake – shortens to Veronica
  • cake – rhymes with Sexton Blake – shortens to Sexton
  • coat – rhymes with Billy goat – shortens to Billy
  • curry – rhymes with Ruby Murray – shortens to Ruby (if these parents had had a girl instead of a boy, Ruby would have been a great option)
  • door – rhymes with Rory O’Moore – shortens to Rory
  • fairy – rhymes with Julian Clairy – shortens to Julian
  • fish – rhymes with Lillian Gish – shortens to Lillian
  • gin – rhymes with Anne Boleyn – shortens to Ann
  • gin – rhymes with Vera Lynn – shortens to Vera
  • ice – rhymes with Vincent Price – shortens to Vincent
  • kettle – rhymes with Hansel and Gretel – shortens to Hansel
  • lisp – rhymes with Quentin Crisp – shortens to Quentin
  • mess – rhymes with Elliot Ness – shortens to Elliot
  • neck – rhymes with Gregory Peck – shortens to Gregory
  • old man (father) – rhymes with Peter Pan – shortens to Peter
  • rail – rhymes with Toby Ale – shortens to Toby
  • Stella (brand of beer) – rhymes with Yuri Geller – shortens to Yuri
  • Stella – rhymes with Nelson Mandela – shortens to Nelson
  • table – rhymes with Betty Grable – shortens to Betty
  • tea – rhymes with Bruce Lee – shortens to Bruce
  • tea – rhymes with Kiki Dee – shortens to Kiki
  • tea – rhymes with Rosie Lee – shortens to Rosie
  • telly – rhymes with Liza Minnelli – shortens to Liza (e.g., “What’s on the Liza?”)
  • trouble – rhymes with Barney Rubble – shortens to Barney
  • 2:2 (lower second-class honors) – rhymes with Desmond Tutu – shortens to Desmond
  • undies – rhymes with Eddie Grundies – shortens to Eddie
  • wedding – rhymes with Otis Redding – shortens to Otis

I think Darby (for “belly”) might be an especially tempting one baby namers, no? :)

Bryan’s first baby girl, Mirabella Bunny, was born last Easter.

Sources: @bryanadams, February 14, 2013, Cockney Rhyming Slang

Invented Baby Names in Cuba

Some imaginative baby names that have been bestowed in Cuba in the last few decades:

  • Adianez – Zenaida backwards
  • Ailed – Delia backwards
  • Boris – from the foreign name trend
  • Aledmys
  • Danyer – from the English word “danger”
  • Dayesi
  • Disami
  • Geyne – combination of Geronimo and Nelly
  • Hanoi – geographical term
  • Katia – from the foreign name trend
  • Leydi – from the English word “lady”
  • Maivi – from the English word “maybe”
  • Mayren – combination of Mayra and Rene
  • Migdisray – combination of Migdalia and Raymundo
  • Odlanier – Reinaldo backwards
  • Olnavy – from “Old Navy”
  • Orazal – Lazaro backwards
  • Robelkis – combination of Roberto and Belkis
  • Tatiana – from the foreign name trend
  • Usnavi – from “U.S. Navy”
  • Widayesi
  • Yadel – from the y-name trend
  • Yakarta – geographical term (from Jakarta)
  • Yamisel – from the y-name trend
  • Yander – from the y-name trend
  • Yaneymi – combination of Yanet and Mijail
  • Yanisey – from the y-name trend
  • Yasnaya – geographical term (maybe from Yasnaya Polyana?)
  • Yirmara – from the y-name trend
  • Yoanni – from the y-name trend
  • Yoelkis – from the y-name trend
  • Yohendry – from the y-name trend
  • Yolaide – from the y-name trend
  • Yordanka – from the foreign name trend
  • Yosbel – from the y-name trend
  • Yotuel – from the Spanish words “yo, tu, el” (I, you, he)
  • Yovel – from the y-name trend
  • Yulieski – from the y-name trend
  • Yumara – from the y-name trend
  • Yumilsis – from the y-name trend
  • Yunier – from the y-name trend
  • Yuri – from the foreign name trend
  • Yuset – from the y-name trend

I harvested all of these from yesterday’s Julio or Juliabe? Inventing Baby Names Popular in Cuba — an article that shouldn’t surprise any of us, as we’ve been discussing imaginative Latin American names for a while now. Here are two posts about Cuba specifically: Y-name Generation, Hiroshima & Nagasaki.

What Should the First Space Baby Be Named?

What would you name the first baby born in space?

After all the UARS excitement last week, I thought this would be a fun topic.

Let’s say that a baby is about to be born aboard the International Space Station. People all over the globe are getting ready to celebrate the birth of mankind’s very first space-baby.

The baby’s astronaut-mom, who happens to be from an English-speaking nation, has generously agreed to let an Earthbound person do the naming. And that lucky Earthbound person is you.

What name do you select if the baby is a boy? How about a girl?

Do the names reflect the unique circumstances/significance of the birth? Why or why not?

Some inspiration:

Related: What would you name an 11-11-11 baby?

Babies Named for Mercury Astronauts

I’ve got a few more astronaut names for today. Yesterday’s astronauts were from the Apollo program, but today’s are from the earlier Mercury program (1959-1963), which was the nation’s first human spaceflight program.

Alan Shepard
The first American (and second human) in space was Alan Shepard. He piloted a sub-16-minute suborbital flight on May 5, 1961. (Yuri Gagarin’s flight on April 12 had been an orbital flight lasting 108 minutes.)

At 11:42 am, “an hour and eight minutes after Shephard’s [sic] rocket took off,” a baby boy was born to Mr. and Mrs. William J. Mann of Middletown, New York. The boy was named Alan Shepard Mann.

“I had thought of the name myself,” said Mr. Mann. “Then so many friends called and suggested it that we decided to name the baby Alan Shepard. My wife had already picked out a name, Ralph Luppon, but she agreed too that under the circumstances it was the only thing to do.”

John Glenn
The first American to orbit the Earth and the third American (and fifth human) in space was John Glenn. He traveled around the Earth three times during a nearly 5-hour flight on February 20, 1962.

Here are just a few of the babies born on Feb. 20 and named in honor of John Glenn:

  • John Glenn Donato, baby boy, born to Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Donato of Burbank, California.
  • John Glenn Guntle, baby boy, born at 2:42 p.m., “just one minute before astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. landed Tuesday in the Atlantic Ocean after his third orbit of the earth,” to Mr. and Mrs. Larry Guntle of Dowagiac, Michigan.
  • John Glenn Fortner, baby boy, born to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Fortner of Spartanburg, South Carolina.
  • Glenn John Ashley Mertz, baby boy, born “as astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. re-entered the atmosphere” to Mr. and Mrs. Louis Ashley Mertz of Freeport, New York.
  • Jonna Glyn Morse, baby girl, born at 10:50 a.m., “while Col. Glenn was still in orbit,” to Mr. and Mrs. Sidney L. Morse of Los Angeles, California.
  • Late addition: Glenn Orbit Reeves.

John Glenn didn’t move the needle on the baby name John, but baby name Glenn spiked in usage in 1962.

Sources:

  • “Astronaut’s Name Given New Babies.” Los Angeles Times 25 Feb. 1962: GB2.
  • “It Took Week for Famous Name to Stick.” Spartanburg Herald 28 Feb. 1962: 1.
  • “Middletown Infant May Be First Namesake of Spaceman.” Evening News [Newburgh, NY] 6 May 1961: 1.
  • “Name Fame.” Spokane Daily Chronicle 23 Feb. 1962: 1.
  • “Tots Named for Glenn.” Meriden Record 21 Feb. 1962: 8.