What gave the baby name Dak a boost in 2017?

The curiously short name Dak saw a spike in usage in 2017, and over a third of that usage occurred in the states of Texas and Oklahoma specifically:

  • 2020: 7 baby boys named Dak
  • 2019: 28 baby boys named Dak
  • 2018: 14 baby boys named Dak
  • 2017: 44 baby boys named Dak [peak]
    • 12 born in Texas, 5 born in Oklahoma
  • 2016: 9 baby boys named Dak
  • 2015: unlisted
  • 2014: unlisted


Football player Dak Prescott, who has been a quarterback with the Dallas Cowboys since his professional career began in 2016. His initial season was a particularly good one, and he was named the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year for 2016.

He had a similar effect upon the usage of Prescott:

  • 2020: 31 baby boys named Prescott
  • 2019: 47 baby boys named Prescott
    • 13 born in Texas
  • 2018: 34 baby boys named Prescott
    • 7 born in Texas
  • 2017: 51 baby boys named Prescott [peak]
    • 16 born in Texas
  • 2016: 34 baby boys named Prescott
  • 2015: 18 baby boys named Prescott

Getting back to “Dak,” though…did you know that “Dak” isn’t Dak’s real first name? It isn’t even his middle name, in full. He was born Rayne Dakota Prescott.

Here’s what he told the hosts of a Dallas sports radio show about why he doesn’t go by his first name, Rayne:

Just from the get-go. Immediate rejection. When I started off school, they would always call me Rayne [RAINY] or Rayne [RYE-KNEE] or something — they’d (be) like, ‘This is a girl’s name,’ so I just always went by Dakota, but I was given Dak by birth, so my family’s always called me Dak. … Nah, I’m good with Rayne. I love Rayne now. I’ve grown into it. I’ve grown to like it. I might go just by Rayne Dakota one day, skip the last name.

What are your thoughts on Dak as a standalone name?

Sources: Dak Prescott – Wikipedia, Cowboys rookie Dak Prescott explains why he doesn’t go by his real first name, a strange observation about his feet

2 thoughts on “What gave the baby name Dak a boost in 2017?

  1. In the 80s there was an actor named Dack Rambo who was on Dallas. Since Dallas was regularly among the top ranked shows and there were far fewer channels, was there a similar spike then?

  2. Yes! Though the spike was relatively small. And, ironically, only the “Dak” spelling was affected.

    Dack Rambo started appearing on Dallas in 1985. The name Dak returned to the data in ’86 with nine baby boys. But the name Dack — which had appeared in the data in the ’60s and ’70s thanks to the actor — didn’t surface at all in the ’80s.

    Great question! Thanks, Ellyn. :)

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