The Introduction of Indira

indira gandhi, politics, 1960s
Indira Gandhi in 1966

The baby name Indira not only first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1966, but it was the top debut name of of the year.

  • 1970: 20 baby girls named Indira
  • 1969: 14 baby girls named Indira
  • 1968: 16 baby girls named Indira
  • 1967: 17 baby girls named Indira
  • 1966: 43 baby girls named Indira [debut]
  • 1965: unlisted

Why? Because in January of 1966, Indira Gandhi — no relation to Mahatma Gandhi — became the third Prime Minister of India.

She succeeded the former Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, who had died suddenly on January 11 while overseas in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. She was elected on January 19th and assumed office on January 24th.

Indira was the only child of India’s very first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. She was named after her great-grandmother Indrani (a.k.a. Jeorani) and was called “Indu” by family members. The name Indira means “beauty” in Sanskrit.

So far, Indira Gandhi has been the only female Prime Minister of India. She served from 1966 to 1977, then again from 1980 until 1984, when she was assassinated.

Source: Two Alone, Two Together: Between Indira Gandhi & Jawaharlal Nehru, 1922-1964. Ed. Sonia Gandhi. New Delhi: Penguin Books, 2004.

Mystery Monday – Chevette

So here’s an interesting case. The baby name Chevette debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1965:

  • 1969: 5 baby girls named Chevette
  • 1967: 8 baby girls named Chevette
  • 1966: 6 baby girls named Chevette
  • 1965: 6 baby girls named Chevette [debut]
  • 1964: unlisted
  • 1963: unlisted

You’d think it’d be the car, right? The Chevrolet Chevette? Except, the car didn’t arrive until 1975. You can see the corresponding spike in usage in 1976:

  • 1977: 7 baby girls named Chevette
  • 1976: 17 baby girls named Chevette [peak]
  • 1975: 6 baby girls named Chevette

The only pop culture reference I can find for the mid-1960s is, weirdly, another car: a custom-build race car. Created by engineer Bob McKee, it was called the “Chevette” because it was made out of parts from the Chevelle and the Corvette. It was driven in various American road races in 1964 and 1965, but I can’t find any press coverage.

Another (more likely) possibility is that the name emerged naturally, given the stylishness of -vette names during the ’60s. The name Yvette saw peak usage (125th) in 1967, for instance, and the Chevette-like names Charvette and Jevette popped up in the data just before Chevette did.

What are your thoughts on this one?

Source: Pace, Harold and Mark Brinker. Vintage American Road Racing Cars 1950-1969. St. Paul, MN: Motorbooks International, 2004.

The Coming of Quindon

quindon tarver, romeo + juliet, baby name, 1996, movie
Quindon Tarver

The baby name Quindon was one of the top debut names of 1996:

  • 1999: unlisted
  • 1998: 11 baby boys named Quindon
  • 1997: 23 baby boys named Quindon
  • 1996: 67 baby boys named Quindon [debut]
  • 1995: unlisted

(The variant form Quinden popped up the same year.)

If you remember the 1996 movie William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, then you’ll remember who kicked off the name: young singer Quindon Tarver (b. 1982), who covered two songs for the film: Prince’s “When Doves Cry” and Rozalla’s “Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good).” In fact, he can be seen singing the latter song in the film’s wedding scene.

What are your thoughts on the name Quindon? Would you use it?

Sources: Quindon Tarver – Wikipedia

It’s Time for Zsa Zsa, Dahling

zsa zsa gabor, milton berle, tv, 1950
Zsa Zsa Gabor getting a kiss from Milton Berle, 1956

This one is easy. Zsazsa debuted in the U.S. data in 1957:

  • 1961: unlisted
  • 1960: 8 baby girls named Zsazsa
  • 1959: 12 baby girls named Zsazsa
  • 1958: 5 baby girls named Zsazsa
  • 1957: 6 baby girls named Zsazsa [debut]
  • 1956: unlisted

The source, of course, is glamorous Hungarian-born Zsa Zsa [zhah zhah] Gábor.

It’s hard to know what caused the debut specifically, but it probably wasn’t the movies. More likely it was Zsa Zsa’s many TV appearances in 1956 and 1957. She was on The Milton Berle Show, The Herb Shriner Show, The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show, The Rosemary Clooney Show, and other shows.

Her birth name was Sári [SHAH-ree] Gábor. She was named after Hungarian stage actress Sári “Zsazsa” Fedak, whose nickname came from her young daughter’s mispronunciation of her first name.

What do you think of the name Zsa Zsa?

Source: Gábor, Zsa Zsa and Gerold Frank. Zsa Zsa Gábor: My Story. NY: World Publishing Company, 1960.
Image: Screenshot from The Milton Berle Show, 3/13/1956 episode

Will “In My Feelings” Kick Off the Name Kiki?

Shiggy dancing to Drake's In My Feelings,
“Kiki, do you love me?”

The trendiest song of the summer? Definitely Drake’s “In My Feelngs” — thanks to the viral dance challenge created by comedian Shiggy (pictured above).

And that’s not just my opinion: Billboard has officially ranked “In My Feelings” #1 on the 2018 “Songs of the Summer” chart.

The dance begins on the lines: “Kiki, do you love me? Are you riding? / Say you’ll never ever leave from beside me.”

(The video should start at “Kiki,” but if you want to watch Phylicia Rashad‘s hilarious cameo, rewind to the very beginning.)

So now here’s my question: Will this Kiki-centric song-and-dance craze increase the usage of the baby name Kiki this year? How about the name Keke? (I’m seeing it spelled both ways on social media.)

In 2017, “Kiki” was given to a dozen baby girls and “Keke” to fewer than five. What will the numbers be in 2018?

Source: Drake’s ‘In My Feelings’ Finishes at No. 1 on Billboard’s 2018 Songs of the Summer Chart
Image: Screenshot from “#Mood : KEKE Do You Love Me ?” © 2018 theshiggyshow