Top girl-name debuts of all time in the U.S. baby name data (41-50)

lotus bud

For years now I’ve been talking about baby name debuts. But one thing I keep forgetting to blog about is the biggest baby name debuts of all time.

So this week I’m going to fix that oversight.

Well, half of it.

I’ll be counting down the 50 most popular girl name debuts in five posts, from today until Friday. (The boys’ list I’ll do another week.)

You’d think this would be 50 names, right? But I decided not to break ties, so the list actually contains 67 names.

I came up with explanations for as many names as I could, though a number of them are still mysteries to me. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these.

So here’s 50 to 41:

Yatzari, #50

  • Yatzari debuted with 65 baby girls in 2000.
    I’m not sure what inspired it.

Brieanna, Fanta & Kherington, 3-way tie for #49

  • Brieanna debuted with 66 baby girls in 1979.
    I’m not sure what inspired it.
  • Fanta debuted with 66 baby girls in 1977.
    I’m not sure what inspired it. Inspired by Fanta, a character on the TV miniseries Roots.
  • Kherington debuted with 66 baby girls in 2008.
    Inspired by Kherington Payne, a contestant on the TV show So You Think You Can Dance.

Chantay, Charde & Laryssa, 3-way tie for #48

  • Chantay debuted with 67 baby girls in 1960.
    Inspired by Chantay, a character on the TV western Lawman.
  • Charde debuted with 67 baby girls in 1985.
    Inspired by singer Sade [shah-DAY].
  • Laryssa debuted with 67 baby girls in 1968.
    Inspired by Laryssa Lauret, an actress on the soap opera The Doctors.

Jennavecia & Laquita, 2-way tie for #47

  • Jennavecia debuted with 68 baby girls in 2008.
    Inspired by Jennavecia Russo, a cast member on the reality TV show The Bad Girls Club.
  • Laquita debuted with 68 baby girls in 1930.
    Inspired by…I’m not sure what.

Zhane, #46

  • Zhane debuted with 69 baby girls in 1993.
    Inspired by the R&B duo Zhané.

Kaydence, Phaedra & Shalawn, 3-way tie for #45

  • Kaydence debuted with 70 baby girls in 2002.
    I’m not sure what inspired it. Inspired by Cadence, a character from the movie Shallow Hal. (Thank you Angela!)
  • Phaedra debuted with 70 baby girls in 1963.
    Inspired by Phaedra, a character in the movie Phaedra.
  • Shalawn debuted with 70 baby girls in 1974.
    Inspired by Shalawn (b. 1974), baby of O’Jays singer Walter Williams.

Tyechia, #44

  • Tyechia debuted with 71 baby girls in 1982.
    Inspired by orphaned toddler named Tyechia who had been in the news.

Adilene, #43

  • Adilene debuted with 72 baby girls in 1987.
    Inspired by the song “Adilene” by Los Yonics.

Leshia & Riann, 2-way tie for #42

  • Leshia debuted with 76 baby girls in 1960.
    I’m not sure what inspired it. Inspired by Lisha Steele, a character on the soap opera Young Doctor Malone. (Thank you m4yb3_daijirou!)
  • Riann debuted with 76 baby girls in 1977.
    Inspired by the song “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac.

Jalesa, #41

  • Jalesa debuted with 77 baby girls in 1988.
    Inspired by Jaleesa Vinson, a character on the TV sitcom A Different World.

Do you have any ideas about where Kaydence, Fanta, Brieanna, or Yatzari might have come from?

More of the top 50 baby name debuts for girls: 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1

Image: Adapted from LotusBud0048a (public domain) by Frank “Fg2” Gualtieri

[Latest update: 7/2021]

11 thoughts on “Top girl-name debuts of all time in the U.S. baby name data (41-50)

  1. Thanks Angela!

    I believe Fanta has been in the U.S. since the 1960s, and couldn’t find any evidence of a big advertising push circa 1977. So…not sure.

    I found Cadence on the Wikipedia page for Shallow Hal. The character is listed pretty far down on the cast list, though, so I wonder if she had a big enough role to really make an impact. But I’ve never seen the movie, so who knows. I’ll look into this one a bit more.

  2. A couple of possibilities:

    There was a perfume called Natori released by Avon in 1995

    In 1977 there was a character on TV show “Roots” named Fanta, played by Renn Woods

  3. If there wasn’t a celebrity or character named Briana (of some spelling), I can’t help but wonder if Brieanna is some mash up of the popularity of Brian + Rhiannon.

  4. I did some googling and I think the Shallow Hal guess for Kaydence is probably right. The scene she was in seems to have been memorable:

    Yatzari seems to be a traditional Mexican (Purépecha) name. If it wasn’t used on a telenovela, could the name’s 2000 bump be a result of more parents coming into the U.S. from that area, rather than a pop culture thing?

  5. @C in DC – I think I may have figured out Brieanna. At least partially.

    Briana, 378 baby girls
    Brianna, 297 baby girls
    Brianne, 202 baby girls
    Briann, 6 baby girls

    Brianne, 1662 baby girls
    Brianna, 714 baby girls
    Briana, 500 baby girls
    Briann, 29 baby girls
    Briane, 16 baby girls

    I must have been restricting my original searches to names that end in A, because I never noticed that Brianne was actually the big winner in this group in 1979.

    The most visible Brianne during these years was actress Brianne Leary, who was on TV (“CHiPs,” etc.) and in the newspapers a lot during the late 1970s. So I think the Brianne spike can be attributed to her.

    But when you change “Bri” to “Brie,” the pattern changes:

    Brieanne, 7 baby girls

    Brieanna, 66 baby girls
    Brieanne, 45 baby girls
    Brieann, 14 baby girls
    Brieana, 5 baby girls

    The A-ending beats the E-ending. So I must still be missing something.

  6. Aniela, thanks for the extra info on Kaydence. Yes, I see what you guys are talking about now. I bet that’s the answer.

    I guess Yatzari could be immigration-related, but typically debuts this high are triggered by pop culture, so something tells me that’s probably not it.

  7. I’m not sure if you figured these out by now but, regarding Brieanna, I may have found a clue to its SSA debut, that being Brieanna Bujold who appeared in the May 1979 issue of Penthouse magazine (there are a couple of other names that rose/jumped from before or after that time that I’m certain is attributed to a model appearing on a Penthouse issue like Brande (1974), Shonna (1977) and Jaycee (1979)).

    Now, regarding Leshia, I feel as if the soap opera Young Dr. Malone (1958-1963) may have played more of a role in its debut (and rise of other, some more popular, variants, e.g. L(e)isha) than Licia Albanese as C in DC suggested, the soap opera containing a character called Lisha Steele. As to why I don’t think Licia Albanese is the right suggestions, she seemed to be already well-known by 1959/60 and the all-Puccini concert that featured Albanese back in July of 1959 was broadcast on WNYC (mentioned on Wikipedia with link to a WQXR page about it) yet the numbers of babies named Lisha and its variants increased throughout the country.

  8. @m4yb3_daijirou – Very interesting! If Brieanna Bujold is the influence here, this’ll be the first “men’s magazine” model I know of (so far) to cause a debut.

    I bet you’re right regarding Leshia! My theory up until now had been Leisha Gullison, one of a pair of twins that had been in the news around that time. And she may have had some influence…but I think a soap opera character would have had a lot more influence. Thanks!

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