The Peak of Ena

The baby name Ena saw its highest-ever usage in the U.S. in 1906. It was the fastest-rising baby name of the year that year, in fact.

  • 1908: 27 baby girls named Ena
  • 1907: 52 baby girls named Ena
  • 1906: 89 baby girls named Ena
  • 1905: 16 baby girls named Ena
  • 1904: 8 baby girls named Ena

What drew so much attention to the name Ena in 1906?

Princess Ena of England, who married King Alfonso of Spain on the last day of May, 1906.

The wedding got a lot more media attention than it otherwise would have because, after the wedding ceremony, a Spanish anarchist tried to assassinate the couple. (He threw a bomb concealed in a bouquet of flowers at the royal procession.) Ena and Alfonso were uninjured, but over a dozen were killed and many more were wounded.

Though she was called “Princess Ena” in the newspapers and simply “Ena” by family members, her name at birth was actually Victoria Eugenie Julia Ena. Not only that, but the name “Ena” itself may have been unintentional:

[T]here are differing accounts of that name’s origin, with some stating that it was chosen by her grandmother as ‘a Gaelic Highland name’ to mark the first royal birth in Scotland since the seventeenth century, and other accounts putting the name down to a misreading of her mother’s writing of the name ‘Eva’. Queen Victoria’s journal entry for the occasion of her christening lists the names as ‘Victora, EugĂ©nie, Julia, Eva’.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Ena? Would you choose it over Eva?

Sources: Victoria Eugenie – Wikipedia, Christening of Princess Victoria Eugenie – Royal Collection Trust

The Arrival of Aeris (and Aerith)

The baby name Aeris debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1998.

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]
  • 1997: unlisted

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.

final fantasy, aeris death scene
Cloud holding Aeris’s body (Sephiroth in background)

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
  • 2005: unlisted
  • 2004: unlisted
  • 2003: 5 baby girls named Aerith [debut]
  • 2002: unlisted

What are your thoughts on the baby names Aeris and Aerith? I’d especially love to hear the opinions of any gamers out there!

Sources: Final Fantasy VII – Wikipedia, The Real Reason Aeris’s Death Made You Cry

The Coming of Kaoir

Keyshia Ka'oir, 2017

Video vixen Keyshia Ka’oir [pronounced kee-sha kay-or] founded her companies Ka’oir Cosmetics and Ka’oir Fitness in 2010 and 2011, respectively. She also started dating rapper Gucci Mane (born Radric Delantic Davis) around that time. So it’s not surprising that, within a few years, the name Kaoir started popping up in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 2018: 34 baby girls named Kaoir
  • 2017: 15 baby girls named Kaoir
  • 2016: 9 baby girls named Kaoir
  • 2015: 5 baby girls named Kaoir
  • 2014: 9 baby girls named Kaoir [debut]
  • 2013: unlisted

Usage picked up with the airing of the 10-episode TV show “The Mane Event” (Oct. to Dec., 2017), which kicked off with a livestreamed broadcast of Keyshia and Gucci’s wedding. (The other nine episodes consisted of wedding planning.) With the show also came the debuts of the variant names Kior, Kaior, Keior, and Kayoir.

Notably, Kior was a top debut name of 2017 — I think because various media outlets (including VH1 and Bossip) were misspelling her name “Kior” around that time.

kior typo
VH1 misspells Ka’oir as “Kior” in 2017

She began her modelling career as Keyshia Dior in 2009, but changed her name to Keyshia Ka’oir a few years later. She put out a press release about the switch in early 2012:

I have officially changed my name from Keyshia Dior to Keyshia Ka’oir. […] I decided to put “Keyshia Dior” the urban video model successfully to rest and launch “Keyshia Ka’oir” to continue the expansion of my imprint. 

Sources: 5 Things to Know About Gucci Mane’s New Wife Keyshia Ka’oir, Gucci Mane’s Livestreamed Wedding Made the All-White Party a Thing Again, Introducing…KEYSHIA KA’OIR

Would You Name Your Baby “Weena”?

weena, 1960, movie, time machine,
Weena from The Time Machine (1960)

The peculiar name Weena popped up in the data a few times in the 1960s and 1970s, starting in ’62:

  • 1966: unlisted
  • 1965: 5 baby girls named Weena
  • 1964: unlisted
  • 1963: unlisted
  • 1962: 6 baby girls named Weena [debut]
  • 1961: unlisted

Why?

My best guess is the movie The Time Machine, an adaptation of H. G. Wells’ classic sci-fi story The Time Machine (1895). The movie was released mid-1960, so this is a slightly late debut, but the baby name matches up perfectly with the name of the primary female character, Weena (played by Yvette Mimieux).

The protagonist is an English time traveler who jumps hundreds of thousands of years into the future and discovers that humans have split into two species: the childlike Eloi, who live above ground, and the barbaric Morlocks, who live below ground.

name weena, time machine

He befriends a female Eloi, and eventually learns that her name is “Weena.”

Here’s the quote from the book:

Then I tried talk, and found that her name was Weena, which, though I don’t know what it meant, somehow seemed appropriate enough.

And here’s the scene from the film:

TT: “Well, what’s your name?”
W: “Wee-nah.”
TT: “Weena?”
W: (nods)
TT: “How do you spell it?”
W: “…Spell?”
TT: “Spell. Write. Can’t you write?”
W: (blank stare)
TT: (writes WEENA in the dirt)

I don’t think Wells left a record of how he came up with the name Weena for his Eloi character, but he may have been inspired by the name Edwina, which was more common in Victorian England than it is in modern America. (It’s the feminine form of the Old English name Edwin, meaning “wealth” + “friend.”)

Speaking of Edwina…the baby name Edwina happened to see a usage spike in in 1962, and the short form Wina appeared in the data in 1961 and 1962 (only). But I don’t think Weena from Time Machine had much to do with it — I think these spellings point to the character Edwina Brown from the TV show National Velvet (1960-1962), which also boosted the name Velvet to peak usage in 1961.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Weena? How about Edwina?

Sources: The Time Machine – Wikipedia, The Time Machine (1960) – TCM.com

Toma & Baretta: Crime Drama Baby Names

toma, television, baby name, 1970s

The gritty TV police drama Toma, which starred actor Tony Musante as New Jersey police detective David Toma, started airing in 1973.

The year the show premiered, the baby name Toma, which had only ever appeared in the data as a girl name, started seeing usage as a boy name. It even cracked the boys’ top 1,000 briefly.

  • 1975: 6 baby girls / 26 baby boys named Toma
  • 1974: 21 baby girls / 84 baby boys [rank: 884th] named Toma
  • 1973: 21 baby girls / 43 baby boys [debut] named Toma
  • 1972: 9 baby girls / x baby boys named Toma
  • 1971: 5 baby girls / x baby boys named Toma

But usage petered out after Toma was canceled in 1974.

baretta, television, baby name, 1970s

In 1975, a retooled version of Toma called Baretta came out. The new show, which starred Robert Blake as New York City police detective Tony Baretta, was less violent and included more comic relief than the original. (Baretta had a pet cockatoo named Fred, and one of his informants was a man called Rooster.)

In response, the name Baretta debuted in the baby name data, and it remained there for the same number of years the Emmy-winning series was on the air (1975-1978).

  • 1979: unlisted
  • 1978: 8 baby boys named Baretta
  • 1977: 13 baby boys named Baretta
  • 1976: 6 baby girls / 13 baby boys named Baretta
  • 1975: 14 baby girls [debut] / 18 baby boys [debut] named Baretta
  • 1974: unlisted

Notice how the name debuted on both sides of the list. Other dual-debut names from the 1970s include Chaffee, Chudney, Khaalis, Shilo, Sundown, and Tavares.

Which name do you like more, Toma or Baretta?

Which of the two do you prefer?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...