Mystery baby name: Lavoris

Graph of the usage of the baby name Lavoris in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Lavoris

The curious name Lavoris first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in the early 1960s:

  • 1963: 28 baby girls named Lavoris
  • 1962: 40 baby girls and 7 baby boys named Lavoris
  • 1961: 36 baby girls and 6 baby boys named Lavoris [debut]
  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: unlisted

Was the name inspired by Lavoris mouthwash?

That’s my only theory so far, but it’s not a great one.

Lavoris mouthwash
Lavoris mouthwash

Lavoris mouthwash — with a name coined from the Latin words lava (“a washing”) and oris (“of the mouth”) — has been around since the early 1900s, and was popular in the middle of the 20th century. But this doesn’t explain why dozens of babies suddenly got the name Lavoris in 1961. I haven’t found any evidence of a conspicuous Lavoris advertising campaign in 1960-1961, for instance. Ads seem to run consistently throughout the ’50s and ’60s.

The higher usage for baby girls suggests to me that Lavoris could have been the name of a female character on TV or in the movies around that time.

Like Toshiba, another baby name that also happens to be a well-known brand name, the brand could either be the answer, or be masking the answer…

Any ideas on this one?


Image: Screenshot of a Lavoris TV commercial from the 1970s

4 thoughts on “Mystery baby name: Lavoris

  1. People on the internet seem unanimously convinced that Lavorises were named after the mouthwash. I have absolutely no evidence for this theory, but perhaps in the early 1960s hospitals went through a phase of including mouthwash in the hygiene supplies provided to new mothers in the delivery room. If the bottle was one of the first things parents saw after their babies were born, it might have inspired some of them to use Lavoris as a baby name.

  2. My great grandma was named LaVoris and was born before the mouthwash company ? but we joke about this all the time because most people associate the name with the mouthwash.

  3. Thank you for the comment, EvaLee!

    Yes, this name definitely exists independently. (We just have to figure out what was drawing attention to it in the early 1960s!)

    I hope your great-grandma wasn’t too upset about the association…

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