How popular is the baby name Billie 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 Billie.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Billie


Posts that Mention the Name Billie

Where did the baby name Bocephus come from in 1986?

Hank Williams, Jr., presenting "Bocephus" on a chalkboard in the "My Name is Bocephus" music video (1987).
From the “My Name is Bocephus” music video

The unusual name Bocephus first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1986:

  • 1988: unlisted
  • 1987: unlisted
  • 1986: 7 baby boys named Bocephus [debut]
  • 1985: unlisted
  • 1984: unlisted

Where did it come from?

The 1986 song “My Name Is Bocephus” (pronounced boh-SEE-fuss) by Hank Williams, Jr.

Billboard described the song as “Muddy Waters-style blues” in its review of Hank’s album Montana Cafe, which reached #1 on the Top Country Albums chart in September. The song was also released as the B-side to the single “Mind Your Own Business,” which hit #1 on the Hot Country Songs chart later the same year.

“My Name Is Bocephus” apparently became popular enough on its own, though, to warrant the making of a music video. That video, which came out in early 1987, ended up winning the CMA’s Music Video of the Year award.

So…why would a guy named Hank write a song declaring that his name is “Bocephus”?

Because Bocephus was his childhood nickname. And a rather public one at that.

Hank, Jr., was born Randall Hank Williams in 1949 to country music legend Hiram “Hank” Williams and his first wife Audrey. Hank, Sr., nicknamed his son Bocephus after Grand Ole Opry comedian Rod Brasfield’s ventriloquist dummy.

Hank, Sr., died on the first day of 1953, when his son was three-and-a-half. During the short time they had together, though, he would end his radio performances with a message to his son — something like “Don’t worry, Bocephus, I’m coming home.” In this Feb. 1951 “Mother’s Best” radio show, for instance, you can hear Hank say “Bocephus, see you directly son” at 27:09.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Bocephus?

Sources:

P.S. Hank, Sr.’s second wife was Billie Jean Horton.

Name Quotes #107: India, Arvid, Sahar

bobcat
NPS bobcat

From a recent National Park Service Instagram post:

Fun fact: The actual number of bobcats named Bob is fairly small.

Many actually prefer Robert.

From a 2020 Facebook post by The Pioneer Woman, Anne Marie “Ree” Drummond (found via Mashed):

Happy Father’s Day to my father-in-law, whom I love, my own dad, whom I adore, and my husband Ladd, pictured here with our first child (who was conceived on our honeymoon, btw…sorry if that’s TMI, we almost named her Sydney but changed our mind because we didn’t want her to have to explain it her whole life).

(They ended up naming her Alex.)

A 2017 tweet by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to the daughter of South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes, India Rhodes (b. 2015), who was named in honor of the country:

Happy birthday to India, from India. :)

From the 2008 essay “What’s in a name?” by Arvid Huisman in the Daily Freeman-Journal:

As a first grader I wanted to be named Johnnie or Bobbie or Billie or Tommie — just about anything except Arvid.

By the time I was a young adult I realized that a unique name can be an asset and I continue to believe that. Once people commit an uncommon name to memory they don’t soon forget and that’s a good thing in business.

From a 1935 article about baby names in a newspaper from Perth, Australia:

After Amy Johnson (Mrs. J. A. Mollison) made her wonderful flight to Australia it seemed that every baby girl was being named “Amy.” They were comparatively lucky. “Amy” is rather a nice name, but what about the unfortunate boys who were called “Lindbergh” or “Lindy” in 1927 to commemorate the young American’s lone Atlantic flight?

Amy Johnson newspaper article 1935

(I don’t have any Australian baby name data that goes back to the late 1920s — Amy Johnson‘s solo flight from England to Australia was in 1930 — but, anecdotally, most of the Australian Amys I’m seeing in the records were born decades before the flight.)

From the 2012 op-ed “Weird names leave teachers scratching their heads” at China Daily:

In the past, rural children were named after animals because poor farmers hoped they would bring up their children as cheaply as raising pigs and puppies.

From the obituary of singer (and early ’60s teen idol) Bobby Rydell at New York Daily News:

He was so popular and tied to teen culture that Rydell High School in the stage and screen musical “Grease” was named for him.

“It was so nice to know that the high school was named after me,” he told the Allentown Morning Call in 2014. “And I said, ‘Why me?’ It could have been Anka High, Presley High, Everly High, Fabian High, Avalon High. And they came up with Rydell High, and, once again, total honor.”

(Dozens of baby boys were named after Rydell as well.)

From the BBC article “Afghan women campaign for the right to reveal their names” by Mahjooba Nowrouzi (found via Clare’s Name News):

Using a woman’s name in public is frowned upon and can be considered an insult. Many Afghan men are reluctant to say the names of their sisters, wives or mothers in public. Women are generally only referred to as the mother, daughter or sister of the eldest male in their family, and Afghan law dictates that only the father’s name should be recorded on a birth certificate.

The problem starts early, when a girl is born. It takes a long time for her to be given a name. Then when a woman is married her name does not appear on her wedding invitations. When she is ill her name does not appear on her prescription, and when she dies her name does not appear on her death certificate or even her headstone.

I also liked the last two paragraphs:

Sahar, an Afghan refugee in Sweden who used to be a freelance journalist but now works in a nursing home, told the BBC she had been a distant but staunch supporter of the campaign since it began. When Sahar first heard about the idea, she decided to post a message on social media.

“I am proud to write that my name is Sahar,” she wrote. “My mother’s name is Nasimeh, my maternal grandmother’s name is Shahzadu, and my paternal grandmother’s name is Fukhraj.”

Popular baby names in Queensland, 2020

According to Queensland Government, the most popular baby names in the Australian state in 2020 were Charlotte and Oliver.

Here are Queensland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2020:

Girl Names

  1. Charlotte, 359 baby girls
  2. Olivia, 320
  3. Isla, 319
  4. Amelia, 295
  5. Mia, 256
  6. Ava, 247
  7. Harper, 227
  8. Willow, 226
  9. Grace, 222
  10. Sophie, 206

Boy Names

  1. Oliver, 525 baby boys
  2. Noah, 383
  3. Jack, 324
  4. William, 322
  5. Henry, 307
  6. Theodore, 283
  7. Elijah, 273
  8. Leo, 267
  9. Thomas, 266
  10. Hudson, 263

In the girls’ top 10, Sophie replaced Matilda.

In the boys’ top 10, Theodore replaced Harrison.

Notably, the name Maverick entered the top 100 for the first time last year, jumping from 169th in 2019 to 84th in 2020.

The other big movers among boys’ names were Luka (154th most popular to 95th most popular) and Gabriel (No.139 to No.96).

And there were three girls’ names that made similar leaps – Holly (No.139 to No.79), Billie (No.109 to No.52) and Hallie (No.137 to No.88).

In 2019, the top two baby names in Queensland were Olivia and Oliver.

Sources: Top 100 Baby Names – Queensland Government, Charlotte and Oliver are the new David and Michelle

Where did the baby name Billie Jean come from?

Advertisement for the Billie Jean Horton song "Ocean of Tears" from Billboard Magazine (July3, 1961).
Ad for Billie Jean Horton song, 1961

When I think of the name Billie Jean, I think of the Michael Jackson song. Next, I think of the tennis player.

But the name Billiejean first appeared in the U.S. baby name data way back in 1962, decades before the song, and years before the tennis player was at the height of her fame.

  • 1964: unlisted
  • 1963: unlisted
  • 1962: 5 baby girls named Billie Jean
  • 1961: unlisted
  • 1960: unlisted

My guess on this one? Country singer Billie Jean Horton.

Today she’s best remembered for her relationships with various country singers: Faron Young, Hank Williams (married 1952-1953), Johnny Horton (married 1953-1960), and Johnny Cash.

But she was a recording artist in her own right, and her most successful single, “Ocean Of Tears,” peaked at #29 on the country chart in August of 1961. The next year, for one year only, Billiejean popped up in the data.

The name didn’t return until 1973, when tennis player Billie Jean King defeated male player Bobby Riggs in tennis’s most famous “Battle of the Sexes” match. This time it stuck around until the late ’70s.

billie jean, michael jackson, song, 1980s, baby name,

It emerged a third time with the help of Michael Jackson, whose song “Billie Jean” was the #1 song in the nation for seven weeks straight in March and April of 1983.

What are your thoughts on the name Billie Jean? What’s your strongest association with the name?

Source: Billie Jean Horton – Wikipedia

Pop culture baby name game results, 2019

Which of the names in the 2019 pop culture baby name game saw increases in usage last year? And which did not? All the results are below!

Here are the names that increased in usage from 2018 to 2019:

  • Alita (f) increased by 554%.
  • Banks (f) increased by 267%, and increased as a boy name as well. Suggested by alex.
  • Posie (f) increased by 143%. Suggested by alex.
  • Psalm (m) increased by 129%, but decreased as a girl name.
  • Maelyn (f) increased by 91%. Suggested by Elisabeth.
  • Navy (f) increased by 85%, and increased as a boy name as well. Suggested by Elisabeth.
  • Archie (m) increased by 82%, and re-emerged as a girl name in the data as well.
  • Asante (m) increased by 80%, and increased as a girl name as well. Suggested by Elisabeth.
  • Hart (m) increased by 73%, but decreased as a girl name. Suggested by alex.
  • Ciro (m) increased by 70%. Suggested by alex.
  • Alaiya (f) increased by 66%. Suggested by alex.
  • Myracle (f) increased by 51%. Suggested by Elisabeth.
  • Boomer (m) increased by 45%. Suggested by Aya.
  • Billie (f) increased by 42%, and increased as a boy name as well.
  • Valentine (m) increased by 38%, and increased as a girl name as well. Suggested by alex.
  • Kamala (f) increased by 30%.
  • Birdie (f) increased by 29%. Suggested by Elisabeth.
  • Rosalia (f) increased by 28%. Suggested by alex.
  • Myles (m) increased by 26%, and increased as a girl name as well. Suggested by alex.
  • Rue (f) increased by 24%. Suggested by Elisabeth.
  • Rami (m) increased by 24%, and increased as a girl name as well. Suggested by Elisabeth.
    • Incidentally, the usage of Malek also increased. :)
  • Jed (m) increased by 23%. Suggested by Elisabeth.
  • Hayes (m) increased by 19%, but decreased as a girl name. Suggested by alex.
  • Ace (m) increased by 16%, and increased as a girl name as well. Suggested by alex.
  • Elsa (f) increased by 16%. Suggested by elbowin.
  • Maverick (m) increased by 14%, and increased as a girl name as well. Suggested by Elisabeth.
  • Brixton (m) increased by 14%, but decreased as a girl name.
  • Lucca (m) increased by 13%, but decreased as a girl name. Suggested by alex.
  • Phoebe (f) increased by 11%. Suggested by Elisabeth.
  • Valentino (m) increased by 8%. Suggested by alex.
  • Dorian (m) increased by 3%, but decreased as a girl name.
  • Gloria (f) increased by 3%.
  • Roux (f) increased by 3%, but decreased as a boy name. Suggested by alex.
  • Adeya debuted with 22 baby girls.
  • Marsai was a double-debut: 10 baby girls, 5 baby boys.
  • Kaavia debuted with 15 baby girls. Suggested by alex.
  • Eryss re-emerged in the data with 5 baby girls. Suggested by alex.
  • Embrii debuted with 5 baby girls. Suggested by alex.

Here are the names that did not increase in usage from 2018 to 2019:

Abril, Aeko, Arendelle, Asahd, Avani, Catori, Charli, Deckard, Donna, Eilish, Garima, Gil, Gilmher, Gima, Greedy, Greta, Huckleberry, Idina, Iduna, Kelleth, Lia, Lisann, Lizzo, Luce, Maleficent, Malone, Marli, Megan, Miren, Nadia, Nipsey, Post, Riyaz, Sameeksha, Sanni, Sansa, Saybie, Shaed, Shahadi, Sulwe, Taeyang, Wick

(These names saw equal usage, less usage, or weren’t in the data at all.)

Here are the late bloomers (i.e., names that were part of the 2018 game, but didn’t rise/debut until 2019):

  • Kulture double-debuted with 17 baby girls and 5 baby boys.
  • Chevel debuted with 17 baby girls.
  • Zaxai debuted with 14 baby boys.
  • Qira debuted with 13 baby girls.
  • Story increased by 40 baby girls (but fell for boys).
  • Dash increased by 25 baby boys (but fell for girls).
  • Akash increased by 14 baby boys.
  • Storm increased by 10 baby girls (but fell for boys).
  • Kiki increased by 4 baby girls.

Finally, two more things…

  • While the name Nipsey didn’t debut in 2019, Nipsey Hussle’s legal first name, Ermias, was the fastest-rising boy name of 2019 (in terms of relative increase).
  • Dua, one of the rising names in last year’s game, stayed perfectly level this time around — exactly 72 baby girls in both ’18 and ’19. (In the UK, on the other hand, Dua’s usage increased quite a bit.)

What are your thoughts on the results this year? Did anything surprise you?

[The usual disclaimer: Some of the names above were already moving in the direction indicated. Others were influenced by more than a single pop culture person/event. In each case, I leave it up to you to judge the degree/nature of pop culture influence.]