Where did the baby name Salimah come from in 1969?

Salimah Aga Khan and Karim Aga Khan (in 1969)
Salimah Aga Khan & Karim Aga Khan

The names Salima and Salimah popped up for the first time in the U.S. baby name data in 1969:

Girls named SalimaGirls named Salimah

The masculine form of the name, Salim (also spelled Saleem), had emerged in the data earlier in the ’60s. But this doesn’t account for the sudden appearance of both Salima and Salimah.

What does?

A royal wedding!

In October of 1969, Prince Karim Aga Khan IV — the Imam of the Nizari branch of Ismaili Muslims — married British divorcée and former fashion model Lady Sarah Crichton-Stuart. (She’d been born in British India in 1940 as Sarah “Sally” Croker Poole.)

With her second marriage — and conversion to Islam — came another name change: Salimah Aga Khan. (She continued to go by the nickname Sally, though.)

Some news outlets misspelled the new name “Salima,” which is likely why this version also debuted in 1969.

The Muslim names Salim and Salimah derive from the Arabic root s-l-m, meaning “to be safe, secure.”

Do you like the name Salimah?


P.S. Several decades earlier, the Aga Khan’s younger half-sister, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, also had a slight influence on U.S. baby names…

One thought on “Where did the baby name Salimah come from in 1969?

  1. I like the name Salimah a lot. A friend from college is named Salimah. She was born in 1972 in the U.S. She’s Black Muslim, and her sisters also have Arabic names: Yara, Maryam, and Nadira.

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