How popular is the baby name Blaze 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 Blaze.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Blaze


Posts that Mention the Name Blaze

Name Quotes #97: Netley, Cordelia, O’Shea

Anne Shirley quote

From the book Anne of Green Gables (1908) by Lucy Maud Montgomery, a conversation about names between characters Anne Shirley and Marilla Cuthbert:

“Well, don’t cry any more. We’re not going to turn you out-of-doors to-night. You’ll have to stay here until we investigate this affair. What’s your name?”

The child hesitated for a moment.

“Will you please call me Cordelia?” she said eagerly.

“Call you Cordelia? Is that your name?”

“No-o-o, it’s not exactly my name, but I would love to be called Cordelia. It’s such a perfectly elegant name.”

“I don’t know what on earth you mean. If Cordelia isn’t your name, what is?”

“Anne Shirley,” reluctantly faltered forth the owner of that name, “but, oh, please do call me Cordelia. It can’t matter much to you what you call me if I’m only going to be here a little while, can it? And Anne is such an unromantic name.”

“Unromantic fiddlesticks!” said the unsympathetic Marilla. “Anne is a real good plain sensible name. You’ve no need to be ashamed of it.”

“Oh, I’m not ashamed of it,” explained Anne, “only I like Cordelia better. I’ve always imagined that my name was Cordelia–at least, I always have of late years. When I was young I used to imagine it was Geraldine, but I like Cordelia better now. But if you call me Anne please call me Anne spelled with an E.”

“What difference does it make how it’s spelled?” asked Marilla with another rusty smile as she picked up the teapot.

“Oh, it makes such a difference. It looks so much nicer. When you hear a name pronounced can’t you always see it in your mind, just as if it was printed out? I can; and A-n-n looks dreadful, but A-n-n-e looks so much more distinguished. If you’ll only call me Anne spelled with an E I shall try to reconcile myself to not being called Cordelia.”

From a Graham Norton Show episode [vid] that aired in January, 2016, in which comedian Kevin Hart talks about baby names following a discussion between Graham and Ice Cube about Cube’s birth name (O’Shea Jackson):

Lemme educate you on something. Black people are notorious for picking things that they saw one day and saying, “That’s my baby name.” That’s all that was. That’s all that was, Graham. It was nothing — there was no amazing story behind it. We’d love to tell you, yes, it actually came from a Irish forefather that did this…that’s not the case. His mother was reading the paper, and she was eating some cereal, and somebody in back said, “O’Shea!” She said, “That’d be a good name for the baby.” That’s it. That’s how it happened.

From a New York Times interview with Kate Winslet:

[Ms. Winslet] has a son, Bear, 7, with her current husband, who has gone back to his original name, Edward Abel Smith, from his playful pseudonym, Ned Rocknroll.

“He added ‘Winslet’ as one of his middle names, just simply because the children have Winslet,” the actress said. “When we’re all traveling together, to all have that name on the passports makes life easier.” (Bear’s middle name is Blaze, after the fire that Kate and Ned escaped that burned down the British Virgin Islands home of Richard Branson, her husband’s uncle.)

(The article also mentioned that a Delco sandwich shop now sells a hoagie called “The Mare” in honor of Kate’s Mare of Easttown character, Mare Sheehan.)

From a Vogue UK interview with Thandiwe Newton (whose first name means “beloved” in Zulu):

Meanwhile Thandiwe and her younger brother attended a Catholic primary school run by joyless nuns […] where the W of her name drifted inward, out of sight and earshot, in a futile hope to make her feel less different.

[…]

No longer is Newton afraid of the red carpet because of how much it reminded her of her invisibility, and she looks forward to a future where the illusion of race will no longer narrow who we are. […] All her future films will be credited with Thandiwe Newton, after the W was carelessly missed out from her first credit. Now she’s in control. Many lives lived and she’s come out triumphant, preserved in the magic of the mist and sun that made her, and wanted her to shine. “That’s my name. It’s always been my name. I’m taking back what’s mine.”

Speaking of reclaiming names…from an article about immigrants reclaiming anglicized names on PEI (the speaker is a man named Chijioke Amadi, originally from Nigeria):

“What I didn’t really know then was I was trying to fit in, because that’s what society made me think, that my name was so hard to pronounce.”

Ironically, he found that going by CJ made it harder to fit in with his own community.

“The fact that I never used my real name made my community start veering away from me, rather than coming towards me,” he said.

“It makes you second guess who you are, what you are.”

From a review of a book about famous English con man/writer Netley Lucas (born circa 1903, died 1940):

Anyone keen to make sense of the chaotic career of Netley Lucas could usefully begin by compiling a list of his aliases. I managed a dozen; there are doubtless more. They include the debt-bilking naval officer Gerald Chilfont; the travel agency-swindling Viscount Knebworth; that fabled Asian potentate the Emir of Kurdistan, in whose name Lucas reserved accommodation at the Savoy; the hotel-haunting Honourable Basil Vaughan; the celebrity biographer Evelyn Graham; and a certain Lady Angela Stanley who, proposing to write a life of Queen Alexandra based on her years as a lady-in-waiting, was discovered to be quite unknown to the royal household that had supposedly employed her.

(He also claimed that he was born aboard a yacht anchored near the village of Netley in Southhampton, and that this was the source of his first name.)

From an article about Mormon baby names by USU professor Jennifer Mansfield:

It seems as though members [of the LDS Church] in Utah feel so similar to everyone else that (consciously or unconsciously) they try to find other ways to express their individuality in ways that do not carry negative consequences. Names carry an especially heavy weight in the LDS Church (perhaps inspired to some extent by Helaman 5:6-7), so naming feels like a meaningful place to invest creativity without suffering the repercussions that come from being different in other ways.

That all being said, my strong impression is that very few Mormons deliberately use baby naming practices to rebel against the pressures of social conformity that come along with being part of a tight-knit religious subculture. No one I’ve spoken with seems to realize that their “unique” names are not unique at all, but instead are yet another characteristic they share with many of their Mormon neighbors.

Rawr! Here Come the Bears…

bear, baby name, boy name

The name Bear was just barely being used before adventurer Bear Grylls (birth name: Edward Grylls) came to our attention via the TV series Man vs. Wild (2006-2011).

Since then, usage has increased steadily — both among regular folks and among celebrities:

  • 2017: English musician Liam Payne had son Bear Grey
  • 2017: English musician Howard Donald had son Dougie Bear
  • 2013: English actress Kate Winslet had son Bear Blaze
  • 2011: American actress Alicia Silverstone had son Bear Blu
  • 2010: English chef Jamie Oliver had son Buddy Bear Maurice

In the U.S., the baby name Bear is currently sitting just outside the top 1,000:

  • 2016: 186 baby boys named Bear [rank: 1,055th]
  • 2015: 134 baby boys named Bear [rank: 1,311th]
  • 2014: 131 baby boys named Bear [rank: 1,327th]
  • 2013: 84 baby boys named Bear [rank: 1,730th]
  • 2012: 79 baby boys named Bear [rank: 1,845th]
  • 2011: 85 baby boys named Bear [rank: 1,728th]

The England and Wales data for 2016 isn’t out yet, but Bear entered the top 1,000* there in 2015:

  • 2015: 36 baby boys named Bear in E/W [rank: 859th]
  • 2014: 19 baby boys named Bear in E/W [rank: 1,330th]
  • 2013: 15 baby boys named Bear in E/W [rank 1,546th]
  • 2012: 19 baby boys named Bear in E/W [rank 1,319th]
  • 2011: 7 baby boys named Bear in E/W [rank 2,650th]

But this data only accounts for first names. The principal usage for Bear could be happening under the radar, with middles. Two of the celebs above used Bear as a middle, and so did this Canadian couple who hit on a bear on the way to the delivery room. And don’t forget American actress Zooey Deschanel, who didn’t opt for Bear, but did give her kids the animal-middles Otter and Wolf.

Do you like Bear as a baby name? How high do you think it will climb on the U.S. charts?

P.S. Other Bear- names in the data lately include Bearett, Bearon, and Bearick.

*I assigned rankings to the E/W names the same way the SSA assigns rankings — breaking ties by assigning rank in alphabetical order.

How did “Jeopardy!” influence baby names?

jeopardy, game show

Last week, Becca commented with some interesting Jeopardy! contestant names (e.g., Hobie, Dorcas) and mentioned J! Archive, which lists tens of thousands of Jeopardy! contestants going back to 1984, when the show premiered.

I skimmed through all the contestants from 1984 to 2015 (as we don’t have baby name data for 2016 yet) and spotted hundreds of unusual names. And it looks like at least two of them got a boost thanks to the show:

Alancia

The name Alancia was a one-hit wonder that popped up in the U.S. baby name data in 2000:

  • 2002: unlisted
  • 2001: unlisted
  • 2000: 9 baby girls named Alancia [debut]
  • 1999: unlisted
  • 1998: unlisted

One-time player Alancia Wynn, a family practice physician from Virginia, was on Jeopardy! in October of 1999.

Brannon

The name Brannon saw an increase in usage in 1998:

  • 2000: 116 baby boys named Brannon
  • 1999: 118 baby boys named Brannon
  • 1998: 158 baby boys named Brannon [peak]
  • 1997: 113 baby boys named Brannon
  • 1996: 114 baby boys named Brannon

One-time player Brannon Denning, a graduate student from Connecticut, was on Jeopardy! in September of 1998. (Looks like Brannon Denning is now a law professor at Samford University.)

Alaric & Ezgi …?

These two names may have gotten a slight boost as well, though it’s hard to tell.

  • Alaric, in 2005. One-time player Alaric Smith was on the show in October of 2005.
  • Ezgi, in 2015. One-time player Ezgi Ustundag was on the show in October of 2015.

Ezgi is a female name that means “melody” in Turkish.

Anjali (false positive)

“Kids Week” contestant Anjali Tripathi was on the show in September of 1999. The same year, the baby name Anjali more than doubled in usage:

  • 2001: 222 baby girls named Anjali
  • 2000: 230 baby girls named Anjali
  • 1999: 202 baby girls named Anjali
  • 1998: 93 baby girls named Anjali
  • 1997: 80 baby girls named Anjali

But this was a suspiciously steep rise. And it was accompanied by the debut of an alternate spelling (Anjalie). And usage didn’t drop back to normal levels the next year, as one would expect. These facts pointed me to something more high-profile than a Jeopardy! contestant.

Turns out the very successful Hindi coming-of-age romantic comedy Kuch Kuch Hota Hai had been released in 1998. The movie featured not one but two main characters named Anjali.

More names!

Here are the rest of the names that caught my eye, sorted by year:

  • 2015: Chandreyi, Dava-Leigh, Desta, Ezgi, Kynan, Mags, Praggya, Rook, Tiombi
  • 2014: Ben-Hur, Dinu, FeiFei, Gudrun, Ilissa, Kenesha, LaWanda, Leszek, Mariusz, Myfanwy, Osei, Shloka, Sirena
  • 2013: Arne, Berek, Diva, Kelton, Kinu, Nilai, Nishanth, Ramsin, Rhea, Salvo, Shuli, Sonrisa, Tahne, Twyla, Waymond, Xan, Yellowlees
  • 2012: Anshika, Benton, Bing, Deniz, Injee, Jessamine, Jia-Rui, Mithun, Pian, Shaanti,
    Vamsi, Vinayak
  • 2011: Bhibha, Boomie, Cosi, Gabor, Gitta, Idrees, Karawan, LuEllen, Milind, Raphie
  • 2010: Huat, Kemi, Marianthe, Raghuveer, Shaama, Surabhi
  • 2009: Ariella, Claxton, Cyn, Daphna, Drusha, Hayes, Henok, Jove, Lysette, Nirav, Ranjan, Seyi, Shyra, Tui (TOO-ee), Wright
  • 2008: Anurag, Babatope, Delano, Elza, Gilah, Kew, Murtaza, Naren, Srinivas, Vibin, Zia
  • 2007: Arlynda, Bethlehem, Clé, Haritha, Khoa, Kai-Ning, Kizzle, Lateefah, Lenzy, Marvene, Mehrun, Ssezi, Tigger, Toho, Tope
  • 2006: Dianisbeth, Iddoshe, Karmie, Lizard, Nemanja, Nissan, Oz, Ozgun, Papa, Pinki, Raena, Reda, Sioux, Tawney
  • 2005: Alaric, Corinth, Jayanth, Kem, Kingslea, LeeAundra, Ruchi, Ruvani, Vanamali
  • 2004: Denele, Kermin, M’Liss, Nithya
  • 2003: Alicen, Amasa, Eok, Freya, Nulty, Snowden, Vane
  • 2002: Anagha, Dileep, Gadi, Hikma, Jara, Kirik, Kunle, Manoj, Muzy (MYOO-zee), Omid, Quyen, Rafi, Seveen, Shasa, Tana, Umiko
  • 2001: Aki, Babu, Gosia, Marek, Mittie, Neha, Ulhas, Vinita
  • 2000: Akshai, Arrington, Celiane, Cinnamon, Iyesatu, Jeeks, Manx, Meri-Jane, Mitali, Sabin, Tarun
  • 1999: Ajuan, Alancia, Anjali, Chacko, Davine, Happy, Mihee, Seale, Wellington, Yancy, Yoni
  • 1998: Ardys, Brannon, Creswell, Kemp, Melizza, Sinan
  • 1998: Boze, Jolyn, Rokshana
  • 1997: Akiva, Atish, Breck, Brick, Davia, Girish, Mita, Murat, Pooja, Sahir, Tanis, Vartan, Zinie
  • 1996: Myretta, Rima, Ulf, Vandana
  • 1995: Albina
  • 1994: Graydon
  • 1993: Bronwyn, Ferris, Leif
  • 1991: India, Kareem
  • 1990: Ardwight, Avrom, Murdock, Peji
  • 1989: Darbi, Ouida
  • 1988: Blaze, Cigus, Doak, Scooter
  • 1987: JoFrannye
  • 1986: Chub, Zanete

Which of the above names do you like best?

P.S. Thanks again, Becca!

Where did the baby name Alaetra come from?

american-gladiators-2

Last year we saw that nearly 75% of the original American Gladiator names (e.g. Blaze, Laze, Siren) had appeared on the SSA’s baby name list. None of them appeared due to the influence of the show exclusively, though.

Not so with Alaetra! In 1991, contestant Alaetra Dorsa appeared on American Gladiators three times before being eliminated. Her name debuted in the U.S. baby name data the same year:

  • 1993: 6 baby girls named Alaetra
  • 1992: 5 baby girls named Alaetra
  • 1991: 17 baby girls named Alaetra [debut]
  • 1990: unlisted
  • 1989: unlisted

This is the only American Gladiators contestant-inspired baby name debut I know of, but I’ll be on the lookout for others. (I thought Tareva was the only Star Search debut when I found it, but I’ve since found others…)

P.S. What’s the best American Gladiators contestant name of all time? Purple Roundy, who competed during season three (same as Alaetra Dorsa). Check out the Purple Roundy fan site. There’s even a Purple Roundy definition at Urban Dictionary.

Name Quotes #22: Jasper, Tyrone, Blaze

Madonna quote

From a 1991 Vanity Fair interview with Madonna Ciccone:

I sometimes think I was born to live up to my name. How could I be anything else but what I am having been named Madonna? I would either have ended up a nun or this.

[Madonna, who was named after her mother, went by the nickname Nonni as a child.]

From “Quick Tip: Naming Your Children” by Sharon Beesley:

So, here’s my advice I tell everyone: One of the best ways to avoid having your kid share a name with a classmate is to browse through these personalized towels/bedsheets/backpacks in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog. Despite how much you might love the name, if you see it in the catalog, your kid will have a higher risk of name repeat. Sadly, if I could go back to the PBKids catalogs in 2005, I would see Ella monogramed on every pillow. Same with my boys in 2007. Look! There’s some left over Owen baskets they are still using. Do you see your kids name in some of the items in the current catalog? Prepare yourselves.

From “Why I Gave My Daughter a Black Name – Despite the Perceived Consequences” by Dara Tafakari Mathis:

Racism doesn’t play by the rules. Black parents cannot win the respectable name game in America.

Black people are discriminated against primarily because we are Black; our names are just a scapegoat. For example, “Tyrone” has come to stand for a “stereotypical” Black man. But did you know that the name Tyrone is Irish in origin? A name doesn’t have to be “creative” or “ghetto” to be Black; it just has to be Black long enough. And as soon as we make something “Black,” the cycle of discrimination begins afresh.

From “An Open Letter to the Hipster Babies of Hipster Parents” by Nicole Leigh Shaw:

You’ll look cool sporting a binkie with a handlebar mustache though, because you’ll have a name to match your level of sardonic suckling. Yes, hipster babies, your names will be either gender neutral or plucked from an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. Nothing goes better with your ‘stachifier than an alpaca-hair blankie and the name Myrtle or Gatsby. Have fun at the independent coffee house where you’ll meet up with Zelda and Jasper in your vintage pram that makes even Mary Poppins say, “Practically perfect in every way.”

If your folks take the gender-neutral name route, then on paper some of your names will prompt people to wonder, “Is that a boy or a girl?” It’s all fine and good to choose Jane or Bob, but today’s babies are sporting the sweetest little genderless names, like Harper and Riley. If you’re lucky, you’ll be born to real envelope pushers. Maybe you’ll be named Person or Human!

From “11 Colors You’ve Probably Never Heard Of” at Mental Floss:

2. COQUELICOT

Originally another word for poppy, coquelicot is the flower’s orange-tinted red color. (It also sounds like a celebrity baby name.)

[Here’s what coquelicot looks like!]

From an article about the nuns of St. John the Divine, the inspiration behind the BBC show Call the Midwife:

Between 80 and 100 babies were born each month in the eight-mile square district of Poplar. “If there’s one thing I’ll say about East End mums, it’s that they love their kids,” adds [Sister] Christine. “In the 100 years we were there, just one baby was abandoned on our doorstep. We cared for him before the police came. They named him John Divine.”

[Speaking of Call the Midwife…the convent in the show, Nonnatus House, is named for St. Raymond Nonnatus. His nickname Nonnatus, Latin for “not born,” refers to the fact that he was born by Caesarean section because his mother died while giving birth to him.]

From “Week 35: Never share your baby names” by Nicole Dubé of CTV News Winnipeg:

My husband and I have kept our boy and girl name choices on the DL because we want the special privilege of introducing our first joint venture (a.k.a. child) to the world with as much pomp and circumstance as we can muster. Plus, we love surprises.

Well the other day while chatting with friends about what people are calling their kids these days, our boy name came up and got slammed!

I couldn’t hide my horrified reaction, thinking “Great, back to the drawing board!”

But my husband surprised me by saying he liked hearing the negative reaction because it didn’t change his emotional connection to our choice.

Name crisis averted, but lesson learned: Keep mum on baby name talk!

From an article about the best names from the 2014 MLB Draft by Dakota Gardner of MLB.com’s Cut4:

If you name your child “Blaze,” he’s destined for one of only two career paths: baseball pitcher or American Gladiator.

[In case you’re wondering, Blaze is indeed an American Gladiator name.]