The Beginning of Bode

bode miller, baby name, 1990s, sports
Bode Miller in 2008
A few weeks ago we looked at names that start with Snow-, so today let’s check out another name that many of us associate with snow: Bode.

Bode Miller is one of the greatest Alpine skiers in American history. He’s won six Olympic medals and competed in five Winter Olympics: 1998 (Nagano), 2002 (Salt Lake City), 2006 (Turin), 2010 (Vancouver), and 2014 (Sochi).

Notice how the baby name Bode debuted in the SSA data in 1998 and spiked in usage every four years thereafter:

  • 2017: 170 baby boys named Bode
  • 2016: 203 baby boys named Bode
  • 2015: 264 baby boys named Bode
  • 2014: 294 baby boys named Bode
  • 2013: 115 baby boys named Bode
  • 2012: 166 baby boys named Bode
  • 2011: 190 baby boys named Bode
  • 2010: 287 baby boys named Bode
  • 2009: 94 baby boys named Bode
  • 2008: 105 baby boys named Bode
  • 2007: 143 baby boys named Bode
  • 2006: 235 baby boys named Bode
  • 2005: 82 baby boys named Bode
  • 2004: 55 baby boys named Bode
  • 2003: 60 baby boys named Bode
  • 2002: 131 baby boys named Bode
  • 2001: unlisted
  • 2000: 8 baby boys named Bode
  • 1999: 7 baby boys named Bode
  • 1998: 8 baby boys named Bode [debut]
  • 1997: unlisted

So how did Samuel Bode Miller — who was born and raised in rural Easton, New Hampshire — get that interesting middle name?

According to his 2005 autobiography, Bode’s name simply came from the English word bode. It “means to indicate by signs, but it was the sound of it that my mother liked.” He pronounces it BOH-dee instead of BOHD because, as he says, the “diminutive form stuck.”

And he’s not the only person in his family with an interesting name. His older sister is Kyla (no middle name, notably), his younger sister is Gennie Wren (in full: Genesis Wren Bungo Windrushing Turtleheart Miller), and his late younger brother was Chelone, nicknamed “Chilly” (in full: Nathaniel Kinsman Ever Chelone Skan).

Wren’s naming “was a family effort” said Bode:

Jo gave her the “Genesis Wren”; I called her “Bungo” after the Bungay Jar, the local wind, because it was so breezy the day she was born. Kyla gave her Windrushing for the same reason, and “Turtleheart” was the ever-present and recurring Woody-inspired turtle meme in our lives up on Turtle Ridge. The turtle may be Woody’s totem. It wouldn’t surprise me.”

(The kids called their parents, Jo and Woody, by their first names.)

And here’s how they chose a name for Chelone (chel-OWN):

My folks hiked Mount Moosilauke when my mother was good and pregnant with him and found a flower on top they liked so much that they brought it home. When they looked it up and found that it was an herbaceous perennial called chelone, also known as turtlehead, they considered it a nice omen and planted it outside the door.

Three days after he was born, my mother was headed into town with the new baby, named Thane at the time. She was going to the laundromat when she came across a turtle in the road. It was big and blocked their way, so she had to stop. As she watched the shell waddle across Easton Road, it occurred to Jo how little she like the name Thane, and how much she liked the name Chelone.

If you’re wondering about the name Skan, it’s “a Lakota term for the great spirit of the universe.” Kinsman is no doubt a reference to location: their childhood home was on the side of Kinsman Mountain. In fact, the mountain was named for early settler Nathaniel Kinsman — Chelone’s first two names.

But getting back to Bode…he has welcomed five children so far: Neesyn Dacey (daughter), Samuel Bode (son), Nash Skan (son, named in honor of Chelone), Emeline Grier (daughter, passed away in mid-2018) and Easton Vaughn Rek (son, named for Easton, NH).

So what are your thoughts on the baby name Bode? If you were going to use it, how would you pronounce it?

Sources:

Image: Adapted from Miller Bode 2008 by Hans Bezard under CC BY-SA 4.0.

The Rise of Vada

vada, my girl, 1990s, movie, baby nameIn last week’s Macaulay Culkin post, we talked about Culkin’s breakout role as Kevin in Home Alone, but not about his second-biggest role: as bespectacled Tommy in My Girl (1991).

His My Girl co-star, Anna Chlumsky, played main character Vada Sultenfuss.

The movie didn’t do anything for the baby name Tommy, but it did give Vada a boost in the early ’90s:

  • 1994: 31 baby girls named Vada
  • 1993: 29 baby girls named Vada
  • 1992: 14 baby girls named Vada
  • 1991: 7 baby girls named Vada
  • 1990: unlisted
  • 1989: 7 baby girls named Vada

This put Vada (a left-handed name) on an upward trajectory that, over time, has accelerated. In fact, the name reached the top 1,000 a couple of years ago:

  • 2017: 265 baby girls named Vada [rank: 978th]
  • 2016: 307 baby girls named Vada [rank: 904th]
  • 2015: 242 baby girls named Vada
  • 2014: 201 baby girls named Vada

The last time it was among the top 1,000 girl names in the U.S. was in the 1940s.

Do you like the name Vada? Would you use it?

Source: My Girl (1991) – IMDb

The Emergence of Macaulay

The baby name Macaulay debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1990.

The wildly successful Christmas comedy Home Alone, released at the end of 1990, starred child actor Macaulay Culkin as a little boy (Kevin McCallister) mistakenly left at home by himself for the holidays while his family went on vacation.

Thanks to the movie, Macaulay Culkin became a household name virtually overnight. In fact, he was soon being called “the biggest child star since Shirley Temple.”

Unsurprisingly, the year the movie came out, the unique name Macaulay began appearing in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1995: 12 baby boys named Macaulay
  • 1994: 5 baby girls + 25 baby boys named Macaulay
  • 1993: 23 baby boys named Macaulay
  • 1992: 36 baby boys named Macaulay [peak]
  • 1991: 10 baby girls + 16 baby boys named Macaulay
  • 1990: 5 baby boys named Macaulay [debut]
  • 1989: unlisted

Soon after, the variants Macauley, Mccauley, and Macauly (a one-hit wonder) popped up in the data as well.

Macaulay Culkin was born in 1980 and named for 19th-century English* historian Thomas Babington Macaulay. He was the third of seven children; his siblings are named Shane (m), Dakota (f), Kieran (m), Quinn (f), Christian (m), and Rory (m).

What are your thoughts on the baby name Macaulay? Do you like it better for boys or for girls?

Sources:

*Speaking of England…usage of Macaulay spiked in Britain in 1995, which was weirdly late. Anyone know why?

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

Dasani: Baby Name from Bottled Water

dasani, water, baby name, 1990sBottled water became increasingly trendy in the U.S. during the final decades of the 20th century. It wasn’t until the mid-to-late ’90s, though, that major players in the beverage industry finally hopped on the bandwagon: Pepsi launched Aquafina in 1994, and Coca-Cola followed with Dasani in 1999.

While I’ve never* seen “Aquafina” used as a human name, Dasani popped up in the U.S. baby name data right on cue in 1999. In fact, in was a rare dual-gender** debut that year:

  • 2004: 63 baby girls + 19 baby boys named Dasani
  • 2003: 67 baby girls + 18 baby boys named Dasani
  • 2002: 105 baby girls + 28 baby boys named Dasani
  • 2001: 94 baby girls + 60 baby boys named Dasani
  • 2000: 58 baby girls + 37 baby boys named Dasani
  • 1999: 9 baby girls + 9 baby boys named Dasani
  • 1998: unlisted
  • 1997: unlisted

The name, which saw peak usage in the early 2000s, also gave rise to a bunch of variants (Dasany, Dasanii, Desani) and soundalikes (Asani, Masani, Jasani, Tasani, Kasani, Sani).

What does the word Dasani mean? Here’s the official answer, straight from the 1999 version of the Dasani website (archived via the Wayback Machine):

People are having a lot of fun guessing the origin of the name DASANI. One Coca-Cola executive jokingly said it sounded like a “Roman god of water.” Actually, the name DASANI is an original creation. Consumer testing showed that the name is relaxing and suggests pureness and replenishment.

Similarly, an article from early 1999 explained that “the name Dasani isn’t derived from any existing word, English or foreign, but is meant to evoke the idea of freshness and purity.”

What are your thoughts on the baby name Dasani?

*I’ve seen Aquafina used as a stage name, though: Awkwafina (born Nora Lum).

**Other dual-gender debuts include Chaffee, Dondi, Rikishi, Shelva, and Sundown.

Sources: