What gave the baby name Delilah a boost in 2007?

The Plain White T's song "Hey There Delilah" (2005)
“Hey There Delilah” single

According to the U.S. baby name data, Delilah began rising in popularity around the turn of the century. The name finally broke into the girls’ top 100 in 2018.

Along the way, though, there was a conspicuous jump in usage from 2006 to 2008:

  • 2009: 1,704 baby girls named Delilah [rank: 191st]
  • 2008: 1,739 baby girls named Delilah [rank: 193rd]
  • 2007: 1,136 baby girls named Delilah [rank: 297th]
  • 2006: 539 baby girls named Delilah [rank: 547th]
  • 2005: 487 baby girls named Delilah [rank: 585th]
  • 2004: 473 baby girls named Delilah [rank: 595th]

Here’s a visual:

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

Several variant forms (including Delila, Dalilah, and Delyla) saw peak usage in 2008 specifically.

What was drawing extra attention to the name around that time?

The catchy love song “Hey There Delilah” by the band Plain White T’s.

The version of the song that became popular was released as a single in May of 2006. It didn’t appear on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart, however, until nearly a year later — April of 2007. The sleeper hit finally climbed to the #1 spot during the summer of 2007.

Here’s what it sounds like:

The band’s vocalist, Tom Higgenson, had written the song back in 2003 after meeting a woman named Delilah DiCrescenzo.

“I thought she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen,” he says. “I told her, ‘I have a song about you already.’ Obviously, there was no song. But I thought it was smooth.”

DiCrescenzo was in a relationship at the time, so she and Tom never dated. But they did attend the Grammy Awards together (as friends) in early 2008 when “Hey There Delilah” was nominated for both Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

The specific variant Dlila, which debuted in 2007, may also have a secondary influence: a celebrity baby. Rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs and his longtime girlfriend, Kimberly Porter, welcomed twin girls in December of 2006. The babies were named D’Lila Star and Jessie James after their great-grandmothers Lila Mae Star (Porter’s grandmother) and Jessie Smalls (Combs’ grandmother).

What are your thoughts on the name Delilah?

P.S. The name’s slightly higher usage in 1969 and 1970 could be due to another name-song performed by another Tom: “Delilah” by Tom Jones. The murder ballad was released at the end of 1967 and peaked at #15 on the Hot 100 in June of 1968.


One thought on “What gave the baby name Delilah a boost in 2007?

  1. I love the song and actually do like the name… really, I do.

    However, I can’t get past the line from ‘Friends’ when Ross & Rachel are choosing the name for their baby that they can’t use it because Rachel decides it “sounds like a biblical whore”. That line pops into my head when I hear the name (except in the song). Sorry to all you Delilahs out there!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.