The baby name Trinere has appeared a single time in the SSA’s baby name data so far:
1990: 5 baby girls named Trinere
Where did it come from?
Miami-based freestyle vocalist Trinere, who saw the most success from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s. Although the name was a one-hit wonder, Trinere herself was not — a number of her songs ended up on Billboard’s Hip Hop and Dance Singles charts.
Trinere’s full name at birth was Trinere Veronica Farrington.
Once the SSA releases the 2019 baby name data, we’ll know just how high the name Eilish — an anglicized form of Eilís, the Irish Gaelic form of Elizabeth or Alice — climbed during Billie Eilish’s breakout year.
While we wait, though, we can go back in time to learn why the Irish name Eilish saw its strongest usage in the U.S. in the mid-1990s.
The year Eilish debuted in the data, 1977, it was given to a mere five babies. The year it reappeared, 1993, it was given to nearly two dozen babies. (The same year, we see the reappearance of Ailish and the debut of one-hit wonderIlish.) And when Eilish peaked in usage three years later, the number had climbed to nearly three dozen.
1997: 27 baby girls named Eilish
1996: 35 baby girls named Eilish [peak]
1995: 17 baby girls named Eilish
1994: 14 baby girls named Eilish
1993: 23 baby girls named Eilish
So what brought Eilish back?
Eilish Holton, a conjoined twin (along with her sister Katie) who was born in County Kildare, Ireland, in August of 1988. The pair were “joined from shoulder to hip, with four arms and two shared legs. Each had her own heart and spinal column but shared one pelvis, one large bowel, one bladder and one kidney.” Eilish was on the right-hand side, Katie on the left-hand side.
The girls came to the attention of Americans thanks to the British TV documentary Katie and Eilish (1992), which aired in the U.S. in May of 1993.
The Peabody Award-winning documentary followed the 3-year-old twins over the twelve months leading up to their 15-hour separation surgery, which took place in London in April of 1992. The film concluded after the operation had taken place and Katie had passed away (due to heart failure, just days after the separation) leaving Eilish as the sole surviving twin.
The documentary’s follow-up, Eilish: Life Without Katie (1995), which aired in the U.S. in July of 1996, is what pushed the name to peak usage three years later.
The second film followed 6-year-old Eilish, who was now getting around with the help of a prosthetic leg (dubbed “Katie,” poignantly). Unlike the first film, though, this one wasn’t well-received by reviewers; one described it as “maddeningly unchallenging, uninformative and undemanding.”
What are your thoughts on the baby name Eilish? Would you use it?
The name Raven has been given to babies of both genders for decades, but I find its female usage particularly interesting because girl-name Raven has gotten three distinct boosts from popular culture so far.
The first boost happened in 1941, when Raven debuted as a girl name in the data. (It had already popped up a few times as a boy name.)
6 babies [debut]
In October of that year, in the comic strip Terry and the Pirates by Milton Caniff, a female character named Raven Sherman died in a dramatic and memorable sequence.
Raven, “a WASP clearly modeled on Katharine Hepburn” according to one source, was an American heiress who was working at a camp for war refugees in China. She was pushed off a moving truck, died of her injuries, and was buried on an isolated Chinese hillside. “Caniff was flooded with flower deliveries, mock memorial services, petitions of condolence signed by disparate groups as factory workers and entire colleges, as well as a lot of irate letters.”
The second pop culture boost happened in the 1970s:
In 1976, the soap opera The Edge of Night introduced a female character named Raven Swift (first played by Juanin Clay, then played by Sharon Gabet). She was described as “the show’s delightful young vixen-heroine” in The Soap Opera Encyclopedia. The character remained on the show until it was canceled in 1984.
And the most recent (and biggest) pop culture boost happened in the early 1990s:
It went on to peak at 139th in 1993.
The reason? Actress Raven-Symoné, who first found fame as a four year old when she started playing Olivia (Denise’s step-daughter) on the The Cosby Show in 1989. The compound name Ravensymone debuted in the data in 1990, and the spelling variant Ravensimone followed in 1991. (Her Disney Channel show That’s So Raven didn’t come along until much later.)
What are your thoughts on the name Raven? Would you use it?
Hamill, Pete. “Milton Caniff.” Masters of American Comics, edited by John Carlin, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005, pp. 229-237.
Elder Scrolls video games have been coming out since the mid-1990s — initially on MS-DOS, then on Windows and Xbox/Playstation, and now online as an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game). The games are set in open worlds and involve free-form gameplay.
The complete Elder Scrolls series is made up of more than two dozen games, but so far there have been only five primary releases:
The Elder Scrolls: Arena (1994)
The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall (1996)
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (2002)
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (2006)
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) – featuring Dovahkiin
These elaborate games involve a multitude of characters. I’ve done my best to figure out which ones were the most memorable/important, and then to cross-check their names with baby names in the SSA data. Here’s what I’ve come across so far. I’ll start with the debuts…
The name Jagar debuted in the data in 1994. The game Arena featured the character Jagar Tharn (pictured above), who was the main antagonist.
The name Kanen also debuted in 1994. The game Arena featured the character Kanen the Wise.
The name Karliah debuted in 2012. The game Skyrim featured the character Karliah.
The name Serana debuted in 2014. The Skyrim add-on Dawnguard (2012) featured the character Serana (pictured at right), who was a vampire.
The name Tamriel debuted in 2015. (And it’s a one-hit wonder so far.) Though it sounds Biblical with that -iel ending, Tamriel is actually the continent upon which all Elder Scroll games are set.
The name Alduin debuted in 2016. (It’s also a one-hit wonder so far.) The game Skyrim featured the dragon character Alduin, who was the main antagonist.
The name Lynly also debuted in 2016. The game Skyrim featured the character Lynly Star-Sung, who was a barmaid.
The name Alisanne debuted in 2017. The character Alisanne Dupre (a “Listener”) was mentioned in Skyrim, but was featured in the online game The Elder Scrolls: Legends (2017).
And now a couple of rises…
The name Aela saw increased usage after the release of Skyrim, which featured the character Aela the Huntress, who was a werewolf.
The name Jordis saw increased usage after Skyrim came out, and this could have been inspired by the character Jordis the Sword-Maiden…or, perhaps more likely, by the appearance of singer Jordis Unga on the second season of The Voice.
For all the Elder Scrolls players out there: What other characters might have had an influence on names? Which character names should I check?
The curious name Aeris first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1998:
2001: 26 baby girls named Aeris
2000: 26 baby girls named Aeris
1999: 22 baby girls named Aeris
1998: 23 baby girls named Aeris [debut]
Where did it come from?
The role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII, which was released in early 1997 for PlayStation and later for other platforms.
The game was set on a nameless planet whose future was up for grabs. The antagonist, Sephiroth, was out to destroy the planet, whereas the protagonist, Cloud Strife, sought to save the planet from destruction.
Aeris was one of Cloud’s friends. (In fact, he had a bit of a crush on her.) She was the last surviving member of one of the planet’s oldest races, the Cetra, and thereby had access to planet-protecting magical powers.
In a now-infamous plot twist, Aeris was unexpectedly killed by Sephiroth. (Aeris was kneeling and praying, eyes closed, when Sephiroth descended from the sky and ran her through from behind with a sword — all right in front of Cloud.)
And here’s another twist: the character’s English name was never supposed to be “Aeris” — even if it does sound like the word “heiress,” which is fitting, given her racial status.
FFVII was created in Japan, and the character’s Japanese name is Earisu. The official English transliteration of her name is Aerith, based on the English words “air” and “earth.” But, somehow, Aeris is what ended up in the game.
The transliteration was corrected in later Final Fantasy games and in the Kingdom Hearts series (which combined FF characters with Disney characters). In fact, the first Kingdom Hearts game was released in 2002, and official spelling Aerith debuted in the U.S. baby name data the very next year:
2007: 11 baby girls named Aerith
2006: 10 baby girls named Aerith
2003: 5 baby girls named Aerith [debut]
What are your thoughts on the baby names Aeris and Aerith? I’d especially love to hear the opinions of any gamers out there!