How popular is the baby name Abdul in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Abdul.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Abdul


Posts that Mention the Name Abdul

How did the Hanafi Siege influence baby names in 1977?

Newspaper clipping about the Hanafi Siege (NY Daily News, Mar. 10, 1977)
News of the Hanafi Siege

On March 9, 1977, a dozen Hanafi Muslim gunmen led by Hamaas Abdul Khaalis invaded the B’nai B’rith building in Washington, D.C., and took hostages.

They ended up storming three buildings in the city that day, taking 149 hostages in total.

About 40 hours later, negotiators (with the help of Muslim ambassadors from Iran, Egypt and Pakistan) were able to convince the gunmen to surrender. Just one person was killed during the siege.

News of the Hanafi Siege gripped the nation for several days, and we can see the effect of this in the U.S. baby name data. In 1977, both Khaalis and Bnai appeared in the data for the first time:

Boys named KhaalisGirls named KhaalisGirls named Bnai
19795.
1978..
197725*5*6*
1976..
1975..
*Debut

Khaalis was a rare dual-gender debut, while Bnai ended up being a one-hit wonder that never returned to the charts.

Hamaas Abdul Khaalis was the founder of the Hanafi Movement, a breakaway group of the Nation of Islam. His birth name was Ernest Timothy McGee.

The Jewish organization B’nai B’rith, meaning “sons of the covenant,” was founded by German-Jewish immigrants in New York City in the 1840s. The word B’nai is based on the Hebrew word b’né, the plural form of ben, meaning “son.” (The element ben can be seen in Biblical names like Benjamin and Reuben.)

Sources: 40 Years Later: Remembering the Hanafi Siege That Paralyzed DC, The day terrorists took D.C. hostage, About Us – B’nai B’rith International, Hanafi Siege: Gunmen raid D.C. buildings in 1977, killing one and wounding at least 12
Image: © 1977 New York Daily News

Popular baby names in Prince Edward Island (Canada), 2021

prince edward island

According to Prince Edward Island’s Vital Statistics Office, the most popular baby names on the island in 2021 were Alice and Oliver.

Here are PEI’s top girl names and top boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Alice, 9 baby girls
  2. Scarlett, 8
  3. Grace, Isla & Ivy, 6 each (3-way tie)
  4. Amelia, Anna, Annie, Ava, Charlotte, Ella, Ellie, Everly, Isabella, Lexi, Lucy, Maeve, Olivia, Sophia, Sophie & Willow, 5 each (16-way tie)
  5. Adeline, Eliza, Eloise, Evelyn, Georgia, Katherine, Kinsley, Nova* & Sadie, 4 each (9-way tie)
  6. Abigail, Adalyn, Addison, Brynlee, Claire, Clara, Emery, Iris, Lydia, Lyla, Nina, Sarah & Skylar, 3 each (13-way tie)

Boy Names

  1. Oliver, 13 baby boys
  2. Jack & Theo, 11 each (tie)
  3. Liam, 9
  4. Austin, Ezra, Jackson, Leo & Noah, 8 each (5-way tie)
  5. Benjamin, Emmett, Ethan, Lucas* & Theodore, 7 each (5-way tie)
  6. Charlie, Henry, Luca & William, 6 each (4-way tie)
  7. Gavin, Hudson, James, Owen & Rowan, 5 each (5-way tie)
  8. Arlo, Beau, Bennett, Elijah, Elliot, Everett, Finn, Levi, Lincoln, Max, Remy, Ryker, Sawyer, Simon, Walter & Weston, 4 each (16-way tie)

These rankings are based on data covering the year up to December 13th. By that date, 619 baby girls and 704 baby boys had been born on the island.

Unexpectedly, PEI released a complete — albeit provisional — list of baby names this time around. So this year we get to check out some of the rare names bestowed just once on the island last year:

Unique Girl NamesUnique Boy Names
Anamika, Athaliah, Brayleigh, Cloud Jrai, Drienne, Élodie, Fearyn, Gray, Haddow, Ishani, Jorie, Kasia, Lorriel, Meekhal, Morayo, Neeltje, Olive-Belle, Paloma, Rilla, Ruthy, Seren, Sudisha, Tomi, Valeah, ZeraAbdul-Rahman, Bane, Berrick, Chivir, Draven, Elon, Felix, Grayden, Hanzebriel, Ibaad, Jordy, Kelton, Leonidas, Maniriho, Marchbank, Najid, Oaks, Porter, Ranaridh, Revel, Sulla, Tully, Wyndham, Yanick, Zeyang

The boy name Bane may have been inspired by the DC Comics supervillain Bane, and the boy name Ranaridh is similar to the name of former Cambodian prime minister Norodom Ranariddh, who died in late 2021.

Finally, in 2020, the top baby names on the island were Nora/Charlotte (tie) and Hudson.

*Nova and Lucas might actually be 4th-place names. My source included conflicting information.

Source: Alice, Oliver most popular P.E.I. baby names in 2021 (12/29)

How did Kareem Abdul-Jabbar influence baby names?

sports, baby name, 1970s, kareem, unseld, basketball
Kareem & Wes Unseld

Basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played with the Milwaukee Bucks from 1969 to 1974 and with the Los Angeles Lakers from 1975 to 1989. And, like player Hakeem Olajuwon, he underwent a name change during his career.

Abdul-Jabbar was born Ferdinand Lewis “Lew” Alcindor, Jr., in New York City in 1947. Twenty years later he was a standout player on the UCLA varsity basketball team (1967-1969). During this time period, the name Alcindor started appearing in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1970: 9 baby boys named Alcindor
  • 1969: 7 baby boys named Alcindor
  • 1968: 7 baby boys named Alcindor [debut]
  • 1967: unlisted
  • 1966: unlisted

It stuck around for four consecutive years, and might have stuck around even longer had Lew not changed his name upon converting to Islam in 1971.

In an essay about his conversion, he mentioned that “Alcindor was a French planter in the West Indies who owned my ancestors. […] Keeping the name of my family’s slave master seemed somehow to dishonor them.” So he “became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (meaning “the noble one, servant of the Almighty”).”

His name change had an immediate effect upon U.S. boy names:

KareemAbdulJabbarKareen
1974324812748
1973243852930
19723789877*36**
19714449..
19701243..
*Debut (overall), **Gender-specific debut

In 1972, the usage of all three names — Kareem, Abdul, and Jabbar — increased. In fact, Jabbar was the top debut name of the year in 1972. The name Jabarr also popped up that year. Jabar, the best-guess phonetic version, arrived a year early.

Kareen, which had been charting a girl name, debuted impressively as boy name in ’72. And, in a nice show of symmetry, boy name Kareem debuted as a girl name the same year.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played in the NBA for twenty years, but it wasn’t until decades later, in the 2010s, that the tribute name Abduljabbar finally emerged in the data.

Source: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Wikipedia

P.S. Ahmad Rashad, father of Condola, is another public figure who adopted an Muslim name in the early ’70s.

Tropical cyclone names: Abdul, Fletcher, Timba, Vongfong

Hurricane Bill didn’t make landfall last weekend, and Tropical Storm Danny probably won’t have much impact this weekend. It’s been a rather uneventful storm season for New England thus far.

So let’s spice things up with a selection of tropical cyclone names from areas other than the humdrum Atlantic Ocean:

  • Australian Region: Bruce, Fletcher, Gillian, Hamish, Jasmine, Kirrily, Lam, Narelle, Olwyn, Tiffany
  • Central North Pacific: Akoni, Ele, Halola, Iolana, Keoni, Maka, Niala, Oliwa, Ulana, Walaka
  • Eastern North Pacific: Aletta, Blas, Fausto, Isis, Jova, Kiko, Orlene, Paine, Sergio, Wiley
  • Fiji Region: Atu, Beni, Cilla, Funa, Lusi, Nute, Tui, Vaianu, Zita, Zuman
  • Northern Indian Ocean: Baazu, Fanoos, Hudhud, Khai Muk, Mukda, Nargis, Ockhi, Pyarr, Titli, Vaali
  • Papua New Guinea Region: Abdul, Epi, Guba, Gule, Igo, Kamit, Matere, Rowe, Taka, Upia
  • Philippine Region: Basyang, Butchoy, Dencio, Igme, Ineng, Lawin, Ompong, Quiel, Siony, Yoyoy
  • Southwest Indian Ocean: Boloetse, Fame, Humba, Jaya, Olipa, Pindile, Timba, Wilby, Xylo, Zoelle
  • Western North Pacific: Ewiniar, Hagibis, Krovanh, Mindulle, Nock-ten, Phanfone, Songda, Vongfong, Wutip, Yutu

Did you catch Kirrily up there in the Australian group? I’m really curious about that one. It’s a female name, but not listed in any of the name references I own. The Maori langauge doesn’t include an L-sound, so that’s not it. Perhaps it’s just Kira/Kiri + Lee. If you know anything about the name Kirrily, please comment!

Source: Tropical Cyclone Names – National Hurricane Center

UPDATE, 11/2013: The name of the typhoon that just hit the Philippines, Haiyan, means “petrel” in Chinese. A petrel is a seabird. (People in the Philippines are calling the storm “Yolanda,” though.)

Baby name needed: Name for biracial baby boy

light bulbs

A reader named Laurie is trying to find a name for her baby boy:

I am white, my boyfriend is black. […] The problem is he does not want a “ghetto” baby name, but I don’t want a plain old “Matt or Jeff” name. He seems to be stuck on the name Martell but it reminds me of the name Martin…I hate it. He has now said he wants the name to end in -tell, as in “Dontell” (his brother). I am not creative enough to think of any names that end in -tell, please help me.

I couldn’t come up with many -tell names, either. But there are plenty of names that end with an L-sound, such as:

Abdul
Ansel
Axel
Cordell
Cornell
Darnell
Darrell
Denzel
Derrell
Donell
Durrell
Emmanuel
Ezekiel
Farrell
Ferrell
Gabriel
Harrell
Howell
Ishmael
Jamal
Jarrell
Jemuel
Jerrell
Joel
Khalil
Kordell
Latrell
Lemuel
Lindell
Lionel
Lowell
Lydell
Markell
Maxwell
Mitchell
Montel
Nathaniel
Nemuel
Newell
Nigel
Parnell
Phanuel
Randal
Roswell
Russell
Shamal
Shemuel
Terrell
Tyrel
Vernell
Wendell
Zuriel

Do any of you have other name suggestions or advice for Laurie?