How popular is the baby name Brian 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 Brian.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Brian


Posts that Mention the Name Brian

Twins born to University of Iowa alums, named Kinnick & Carver

Kinnick Stadium, University of Iowa
Kinnick Stadium

In September of 2004, identical twin boys were born to Iowa City couple Brian and Amy Boelk, who met while attending the University of Iowa.

The boys’ names?

Kinnick and Carver — after the school’s Kinnick Stadium and Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Kinnick Stadium was named after Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick, while Carver-Hawkeye Arena was named (in part) after Iowa philanthropist Roy J. Carver.

The name Kinnick first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 2004 — the year the twins were born, curiously. (Did news of their names have an influence on other expectant parents…?)

Unsurprisingly, most of the usage so far has been in the state of Iowa:

Boys named Kinnick, U.S.Boys named Kinnick, Iowa
20211611 (69%)
20202314 (61%)
20192214 (64%)
20181810 (56%)
20172919 (66%)
20163725 (68%)
20153428 (82%)
20143625 (69%)
20132316 (70%)
20123528 (80%)
20114939 (80%)
20104036 (90%)
20092924 (83%)
20082217 (77%)
20072725 (93%)
20062116 (76%)
2005107 (70%)
20048*7* (88%)
*Debut

Which of the two names, Kinnick or Carver, do you like more?

Source: “Twins Named after Hawkeye Buildings.” Telegraph-Herald 17 Sep. 2004: 2A.
Image by Leonardo Marchini from Pixabay

How did “The Real World” influence baby names?

“This is the true story…of seven strangers…picked to live in a loft…and have their lives taped…”

Several months ago, the cast of the inaugural season of MTV’s The Real World held a 6-day reunion in the very same NYC loft they shared back in 1992. The reunion — which was filmed, of course — is now airing as a series on the Paramount+ platform. (Here’s the trailer.)

When I was a teenager, I loved watching The Real World. (And I appreciated that the names of the cast members were always prominently displayed in the opening credits!) So I think now would be a great time to go back and see if any Real World cast member names had an influence on U.S. baby names.

First, let’s start with a comprehensive list of all the cast member names from each of RW‘s 33 (!) seasons…

  1. The Real World: New York (1992): Andre, Becky, Eric, Heather, Julie, Kevin, Norman
  2. The Real World: California (1993): Aaron, Beth (x2), David, Dominic, Glen, Irene, Jon, Tami
  3. The Real World: San Francisco (1994): Cory, Jo, Judd, Mohammed, Pam, Pedro, Puck, Rachel
  4. The Real World: London (1995): Jacinda, Jay, Kat, Lars, Mike, Neil, Sharon
  5. The Real World: Miami (1996): Cynthia, Dan, Flora, Joe, Melissa, Mike, Sarah
  6. The Real World: Boston (1997): Elka, Genesis, Jason, Kameelah, Montana, Sean, Syrus
  7. The Real World: Seattle (1998): David, Irene, Janet, Lindsay, Nathan, Rebecca, Stephen
  8. The Real World: Hawaii (1999): Amaya, Colin, Justin, Kaia, Matt, Ruthie, Teck
  9. The Real World: New Orleans (2000): Danny, David, Jamie, Julie, Kelley, Matt, Melissa
  10. The Real World: Back to New York (2001): Coral, Kevin, Lori, Malik, Mike, Nicole, Rachel
  11. The Real World: Chicago (2002): Aneesa, Cara, Chris, Keri, Kyle, Theo, Tonya
  12. The Real World: Las Vegas (2002-2003): Alton, Arissa, Brynn, Frank, Irulan, Steven, Trishelle
  13. The Real World: Paris (2003): Ace, Adam, Chris, Christina, Leah, Mallory, Simon
  14. The Real World: San Diego (2004): Brad, Cameran, Charlie, Frankie, Jacquese, Jamie, Randy, Robin
  15. The Real World: Philadelphia (2004-2005): Karamo, Landon, Melanie, M.J., Sarah, Shavonda, Willie
  16. The Real World: Austin (2005): Danny, Johanna, Lacey, Melinda, Nehemiah, Rachel, Wes
  17. The Real World: Key West (2006): Janelle, John, Jose, Paula, Svetlana, Tyler, Zach
  18. The Real World: Denver (2006-2007): Alex, Brooke, Colie, Davis, Jenn, Stephen, Tyrie
  19. The Real World: Sydney (2007-2008): Ashli, Cohutta, Dunbar, Isaac, KellyAnne, Parisa, Shauvon, Trisha
  20. The Real World: Hollywood (2008): Brianna, Brittini, Dave, Greg, Joey, Kimberly, Nick, Sarah, Will
  21. The Real World: Brooklyn (2009): Baya, Chet, Devyn, J.D., Katelynn, Ryan, Sarah, Scott
  22. The Real World: Cancun (2009): Ayiiia, Bronne, CJ, Derek, Emilee, Jasmine, Joey, Jonna
  23. The Real World: D.C. (2009-2010): Andrew, Ashley, Callie, Emily, Erika, Josh, Mike, Ty
  24. The Real World: New Orleans (2010): Ashlee, Eric, Jemmye, McKenzie, Preston, Ryan (x2), Sahar
  25. The Real World: Las Vegas (2011): Adam, Dustin, Heather (x2), Leroy, Michael, Nany, Naomi
  26. The Real World: San Diego (2011): Alexandra, Ashley, Frank, Nate, Priscilla, Sam, Zach
  27. The Real World: St. Thomas (2012): Brandon (x2), LaToya, Laura, Marie, Robb, Trey
  28. The Real World: Portland (2013): Anastasia, Averey, Jessica, Johnny, Joi, Jordan, Marlon, Nia
  29. Real World: Ex-Plosion (2014): Arielle, Ashley (x2), Brian, Cory, Hailey, Jamie, Jay, Jenna, Jenny, Lauren, Thomas
  30. Real World: Skeletons (2014-2015): Bruno, Jason, Madison, Nicole, Sylvia, Tony, Violetta
  31. Real World: Go Big or Go Home (2016): CeeJai, Chris, Dean, Dione, Dylan, Jenna, Kailah, Sabrina
  32. Real World Seattle: Bad Blood (2016-2017): Anika, Anna, Jennifer, Jordan, Kassius, Katrina, Kimberly, Mike, Orlana, Peter, Robbie, Theo, Tyara, Will
  33. The Real World: Atlanta (2019): Arely, Clint, Dondre, Justin, Meagan, Tovah, Yasmin

The names in boldface line up with a discernible increase in baby name usage. (Other Real World names may have affected baby names as well, but it can be hard to tell when, say, a name is already common, or already on the rise.)

Here are details on all the boldfaced names, plus two more influential RW names (from seasons 6 and 18) that didn’t even belong to primary cast members.

  • The name Jacinda (from season 4; 1995) saw peak usage in 1996.
  • The name Flora (5; 1996) saw increased usage in 1997.
  • The name Kameelah (6; 1997) saw increased usage in 1998.
  • The name Syrus (6; 1997) saw increased usage in 1997.
  • The name Jason (6; 1997) was probably not affected, but the name of Jason’s girlfriend, Timber, saw increased usage in 1998.
  • The name Amaya (8; 1999) saw sharply increased usage in 1999 and 2000.
  • The name Kaia (8; 1999) saw increased usage in 1999.
  • The name Ruthie (8; 1999) saw increased usage in 1999.
  • The name Aneesa (11; 2002) saw peak usage in 2002.
  • The name Arissa (12; 2002-3) saw peak usage in 2003.
  • The name Brynn (12; 2002-3) saw sharply increased usage in 2003.
  • The name Irulan (12; 2002-3) debuted in the data in 2003.
    • It looks like she was named after the fictional character Princess Irulan from Frank Herbert’s Dune books…?
  • The name Trishelle (12; 2002-3) saw peak usage in 2004.
  • The name Mallory (13; 2003) saw increased usage in 2003 and 2004.
  • The name Cameran (14; 2004) saw peak usage in 2004.
  • The name Jacquese (14; 2004) both returned to the data and saw peak usage in 2004.
  • The name Johanna (16; 2005) saw increased usage in 2005.
  • The name Nehemiah (16; 2005) saw increased usage in 2005 and 2006.
  • The name Janelle (17; 2006) saw increased usage in 2006.
  • The name Svetlana (17; 2006) saw peak usage in 2007.
  • The name Colie (18; 2006-7) both returned to the data and saw peak usage in 2007.
  • The name Tyrie (18; 2006-7) saw peak usage in 2007.
  • The name of Tyrie’s girlfriend, Jazalle, debuted in 2007 and is a one-hit wonder so far.
  • The name Kellyanne (19; 2007-8) returned to the data in 2008.
  • The name Baya (21; 2009) saw sharply increased usage in 2009. In fact, Baya was one of the fastest-rising baby names of 2009.
  • The name Averey (28; 2013) saw peak usage in 2013.
  • The name Kassius (32; 2016-17) saw increased usage in 2017.

Of all the names above, which one(s) do you like most?

And, for all the Real World fans out there: which season(s) do you like most? :)

Source: The Real World (TV series) – Wikipedia

Popular baby names in Casper (Wyoming), 2020

In 2020, the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper welcomed 892 babies. The names of about 620 of these babies were shared online via the hospital’s website. A few days ago, the hospital “mined those announcements for our most popular names list for 2020,” finding that the most frequently occurring names for girls was Paisley and for boys was Jackson.

I don’t usually post rankings from non-governmental sources, but, in this case, there were just so many names in comparison to the size of the city (about 58,000 residents) that I decided to go ahead and publish the full list…

10 babies named:

  • Jackson (Jaxen, Jaxon, Jaxson, Jaxxon)

7 babies named:

  • Logan
  • Oliver
  • Paisley (Paizlee, Paizleigh)

6 babies named:

  • Adaline (Adeline, Adalyn, Adalynn, Addilynn)
  • Amelia (Emelia, Emilia)
  • Emma
  • Grayson
  • Reilly (Rieleigh, Riely, Riley, Ryleigh)
  • Sawyer

5 babies named:

  • Cooper
  • Everlee (Everleigh, Everly)
  • Oakleigh (Oakley)
  • Theodore

4 babies named:

  • Addison (Addyson)
  • Asher
  • Ava
  • Benjamin
  • Caysen (Kasen, Kason)
  • Charlie (Charlee, Charles)
  • Everette
  • Isabella (Izabella, Izzabella)
  • Kinsleigh (Kinsley)
  • Nathan
  • Wyatt

3 babies named:

Adrian, Alexander, Ashton (Ashtyn), Aspen, Aurora, Bennett, Blake (Blayke), Bristol, Brixley (Brixleigh, Brixli), Brooklyn, Carter, Christian, David, Declan (Deklynn), Elijah, Elizabeth, Ella, Ellie, Ethan, Ezra, Grace, Hunter, Holden, Jack, Layla, Leo, Liam, Lyla (Lilah), Lincoln, Lorenzo, Lydia, Lyra, Mason, Noah, Olivia, Owen, Richard, Rilynn (Ryelin, Ryelynn), Rowan (Rowen), Ryker, Skyla, Sophia (Sofia)

2 babies named:

Aiden/Aidyn, Allison/Alyson, Amara, Annabelle, Arya, Aubriella, Averie/Avery, Barrett, Bentley, Bodhi/Bodie, Braxton, Bryar/Bryor, Brynlee, Caroline, Carson/Karson, Catherine/Katherine, Colt, Colten/Colton, Damian, Daniel, Daxton, Dayton, Dylan, Eli, Eliana, Elliot, Emerson/Emersyn, Emery/Emory, Evelyn, Finley, Gabriella, Gentry, Harmony, Harper, Harrison, Haven/Hayven, Hayden, Hazel, Hazely/Hazleigh, Henry, Hudson, Ian, Isaac, Isaiah, Islah/Islla, Jasper, Jaxtyn, Jayden, Joel, Julian, Julius, Justin, Kaiser/Kaizer, Kamara, Kaysen/Kayson, Kellen, Kennedi/Kenydee, Kenzlee/Kenzleigh, Kinley/Kynleigh, Kyran/Kyren, Leighton/Leyten, Lenix/Lennox, Levi, Lorelai/Lorelei, Madeline/Madelyn, Malachi, Malaya/Maleah, Maria/Meriah, Maverick, Maya, Mila, Miles, Millie, Naomi, Natalia, Nevaeh, Parker, Paul, Penelope, Rachael/Rachel, Rae/Rey, Raylan, Ronan, Ryder, Samantha, Samuel, Sara/Sarah, Savanna/Savannah, Scarlett, Sebastian, Silas/Sylias, Skylar/Skyler, Spencer, Sydney/Sidney, Tenslee/Tensley, Theo, Weston/Westin, Violet, Zachary, Zoey

1 baby named:

  • Abel, Abraham, Ace, Adam, Adonis, Aeris, Adrian, Aiden, Aksel, Aleassia, Alexandria, Alianna, Allen, Ambrose, Amias, Amiya, Anderson, Angel, Anika, Annalynn, Annie, Anson, Antonina, Archer, Ariella, Ariya, Armando, Arrow, Ashlyn, Athena, Aubree, August, Augustus, Avaianna, Aynslee, Azariah, Azayla
  • Bailey, Baylor, Beau, Becklynn, Bella, Berklie, Bethany, Bonnie, Bradley, Braitton, Branson, Brantley, Braxley, Brayden, Braylee, Brennan, Brexton, Brian, Briggson, Brittany, Brixon, Brock, Broden, Bronx, Brooks, Brylee, Burke
  • Caelan, Cain, Callie, Callum, Calvin, Cameron, Cannon, Carilina, Case, Cash, Charisma, Chasyn, Chloe, Christopher, Ciella, Claire, Cody, Colby, Collyn, Colter, Cree, Crew, Cullen, Cuyler
  • Dailyn, Dakota, Dani, Dean, Delilah, Destin, Diesel, Divine, Douglas, Draco, Draeden
  • Ebony, Eccho, Edison, Eleanor, Elias, Elivia, Ellen, Ellis, Ember, Emily, Emmanuel, Emmie, Emmitt, England, Etta, Evan, Evander, Ezmae
  • Felix, Francis, Fredrick, Freya
  • Genevieve, George, Gideon, Graham, Grey, Griffin
  • Hodassah, Haddie, Hadley, Hailey, Harlan, Harley, Harlow, Harris, Harvey, Hayes, Hendrix, Henleigh
  • Icelynn, Ily, Isabelle, Isaias, Ivan, Ivy, Iylah
  • Jaden, Jaime, Jalin, James, Jameson, Jase, Javier, Jayce, Jaycee, Jayson, Jeremiah, Jessica, Jessie, Jett, JJ, Joanna, John, Jojo, Jolie, Jonah, Jonathan, Josephine, Josie, Joyce, Jude, Julie, June
  • Kade, Kaelyn, Kaiden, Kaii, Kaleah, Kamari, Kambry, Kambryn, Kamdyn, Kane, Karalynn, Kaspian, Kaylee, Kaylynn, Keaton, Keenston, Keira, Kenai, Kendrey, Kevin, Keylin, Khaos, Kieran, Killian, Kimber, Kimora, Kit, Klarke, Kodah, Koen, Kolby, Kole, Korah, Korbyn, Koy, Kyara, Kyden, Kylie, Kyson
  • Lainey, Lakelyn, Lance, Laramie, Laura, Layne, Legend, Lennon, Leopold, Lillian, Lilliean, Lillyanna, Lily, Lola, Londyn, Lorraine, Luca, Lucius, Luke, Lynlee, Lyvie
  • Macie, Macklin, Maddison, Maddox, Mae, Maevelyn, Maggie, Maisey, Mandy, Marceline, Margaret, Mario, Marisa, Marisol, Marleigh, Mary, Mateo, Matthias, Mavis, Maxwell, Mazikeen, Mckenzie, Meadow, Melia, Melody, Merrik, Merritt, Meyer, Mia, Michael, Michelle, Miklo, Milo, Mira, Montana, Myra
  • Nancy, Nash, Natalie, Nathaneil, Naylin, Nehemiah, Nicholas, Nolen, Nora, Nova, Nylin
  • Oaks, Onyx, Oraya, Orian, Orin, Ostara
  • Paxton, Persephone, Presley, Pyper
  • Quincy
  • Rableen, Raeleah, Raven, Reed, Relik, Remi, Remington, Renato, Revi, Rhett, Riatta, Riggs, Rodolfo, Rogan, Roman, Rosalee, Rosemarie, Rowdy, Roxas, Roy, Ruby, Ryann, Ryatt, Ryott
  • Sadie, Sage, Sandra, Saphira, Seraphina, Serenah, Serenity, Shadow, Shelby, Sheridan, Shyanne, Simon, Skadi, Skylynn, Solveig, Sophie, Sorin, Stella, Sterling, Stetley, Storey, Sturgis, Sutton, Sylar, Sylvia
  • Tala, Talia, Tareyn, Tate, Tavin, Taylee, Teagan, Tennyson, Tess, Tessin, Theotis, Thomas, Tillie, Tinlee, Titan, Tobin, Travis, Trenton, Trexton, Tripp, Turner
  • Vada, Vanessa, Vera, Vincent
  • Walker, Watson, Waylon, Westley, Wilder, Wiley, William
  • Xavier, Xia, Xililah, Ximena
  • Yianeli
  • Zachariah, Zaydin, Zayne, Zeppelin, Zinnia, Zoe

Source: Casper’s most popular baby names, 2020 – Wyoming Medical Center (via archive.org)

Popular male names in England, 1560-1621

A while back, I stumbled upon a register of people associated with Oxford University in the late 1500s and early 1600s. The most interesting part? The author of the register included a chapter dedicated to first names and surnames, and that chapter featured a table of male forenames ranked by frequency of occurrence from 1560 to 1621.

The author claimed that, for several reasons, these rankings were “probably…more representative of English names than any list yet published” for that span of time. One reason was that the names represented men from “different grades of English society” — including peers, scholars, tradesmen, and servants.

Ready for the list?

  1. John, 3,826 individuals
  2. Thomas, 2,777
  3. William, 2,546
  4. Richard, 1,691
  5. Robert, 1,222
  6. Edward, 957
  7. Henry, 908
  8. George, 647
  9. Francis, 447
  10. James, 424
  11. Nicholas, 326
  12. Edmund, 298
  13. Anthony, 262
  14. Hugh, 257
  15. Christopher, 243
  16. Samuel, 227
  17. Walter, 207
  18. Roger, 195
  19. Ralph, 182
  20. Peter, 175
  21. Humphrey, 168
  22. Charles, 139
  23. Philip, 137
  24. David, 129
  25. Matthew, 116
  26. Nathaniel, 112
  27. Michael, 103
  28. Alexander, 98 (tie)
  29. Arthur, 98 (tie)
  30. Laurence, 90
  31. Giles, 88
  32. Stephen, 86
  33. Simon, 83
  34. Daniel, 79
  35. Joseph, 78 (tie)
  36. Lewis, 78 (tie)
  37. Andrew, 69
  38. Roland, 65
  39. Griffith (and Griffin), 60
  40. Evan, 55
  41. Abraham, 54 (tie)
  42. Leonard, 54 (tie)
  43. Owen, 53
  44. Gilbert, 52
  45. Morris (and Maurice), 51
  46. Bartholomew, 46 (3-way tie)
  47. Oliver, 46 (3-way tie)
  48. Timothy, 46 (3-way tie)
  49. Morgan, 45
  50. Martin, 44 (tie)
  51. Rice, 44 (tie)
  52. Gabriel, 41
  53. Benjamin, 40
  54. Jeffrey/Geoffrey, 38
  55. Ambrose, 36
  56. Adam, 35
  57. Toby (and Tobias), 34
  58. Jerome, 33
  59. Ellis, 30
  60. Paul, 29
  61. Bernard, 28 (3-way tie)
  62. Gregory, 28 (3-way tie)
  63. Isaac, 28 (3-way tie)
  64. Jasper (and Gaspar), 26 (3-way tie)
  65. Josiah (and Josias), 26 (3-way tie)
  66. Randall (and Randolph), 26 (3-way tie)
  67. Miles, 24
  68. Lancelot, 23
  69. Austin (and Augustine), 22 (tie)
  70. Jarvis (and Gervase), 22 (tie)
  71. Brian, 21
  72. Matthias, 20 (tie)
  73. Reginald (and Reynold), 20 (tie)
  74. Jeremy, 19
  75. Theophilus, 19
  76. Joshua 18 (3-way tie)
  77. Marmaduke, 18 (3-way tie)
  78. Valentine, 18 (3-way tie)
  79. Fulke, 17 (tie)
  80. Sampson (and Samson), 17 (tie)
  81. Clement, 16 (4-way tie)
  82. Ferdinando, 16 (4-way tie)
  83. Herbert, 16 (4-way tie)
  84. Zachary, 16 (4-way tie)
  85. Cuthbert, 15 (3-way tie)
  86. Emanuel, 15 (3-way tie)
  87. Vincent, 15 (3-way tie)
  88. Adrian, 14 (3-way tie)
  89. Elias, 14 (3-way tie)
  90. Jonah (and Jonas), 14 (3-way tie)
  91. Tristram, 13
  92. Allan, 12 (6-way tie)
  93. Ames, 12 (6-way tie)
  94. Barnaby (and Barnabas), 12 (6-way tie)
  95. Gerard (and Garret), 12 (6-way tie)
  96. Lionel, 12 (6-way tie)
  97. Mark, 12 (6-way tie)
  98. Abel, 11 (3-way tie)
  99. Erasmus, 11 (3-way tie)
  100. Roderic, 11 (3-way tie)
  101. Cadwalader, 10 (3-way tie)
  102. Israel, 10 (3-way tie)
  103. Luke, 10 (3-way tie)
  104. Jenkin, 9 (tie)
  105. Percival, 9 (tie)
  106. Bennet (and Benedict), 8 (6-way tie)
  107. Godfrey, 8 (6-way tie)
  108. Howell, 8 (6-way tie)
  109. Jonathan, 8 (6-way tie)
  110. Raphael, 8 (6-way tie)
  111. Theodore, 8 (6-way tie)
  112. Baldwin, 7 (9-way tie)
  113. Gawen (and Gavin), 7 (9-way tie)
  114. Hercules, 7 (9-way tie)
  115. Job, 7 (9-way tie)
  116. Kenelm, 7 (9-way tie)
  117. Meredith, 7 (9-way tie)
  118. Silvester, 7 (9-way tie)
  119. Solomon, 7 (9-way tie)
  120. Watkin, 7 (9-way tie)
  121. Alban, 6 (8-way tie)
  122. Basil, 6 (8-way tie)
  123. Caleb, 6 (8-way tie)
  124. Cornelius, 6 (8-way tie)
  125. Dennis, 6 (8-way tie)
  126. Guy, 6 (8-way tie)
  127. Jacob, 6 (8-way tie)
  128. Patrick, 6 (8-way tie)
  129. Dudley, 5 (12-way tie)
  130. Edwin, 5 (12-way tie)
  131. Eustace, 5 (12-way tie)
  132. Ezechias (and Hezekiah), 5 (12-way tie)
  133. Ezekiel, 5 (12-way tie)
  134. Hannibal, 5 (12-way tie)
  135. Joel, 5 (12-way tie)
  136. Moses, 5 (12-way tie)
  137. Peregrine, 5 (12-way tie)
  138. Simeon, 5 (12-way tie)
  139. Thurstan, 5 (12-way tie)
  140. Zacchaeus, 5 (12-way tie)

Did the relative popularity of any of these names surprise you?

The author also included every other Oxford-associated name from that general time period, so here’s a sampling of the rare names that popped up in the register just once:

  • Aegeon, Arundel, Aunstey, Aymondesham
  • Bamfield, Beauforus, Bezaliel, Bulstrod
  • Cadoc, Cannanuel, Chiddiock, Cosowarth
  • Dabridgcourt, Delvus, Deodatus, Donwald
  • Erisy, Esdras
  • Fettiplace, Florice, Fogge
  • Glidd, Gourneus, Granado
  • Hattil, Hercius
  • Jarniot, Jerameel, Jeremoth, Jolliffe
  • Kelamus, Killingworth, Kingsmell
  • Leoline, Levinus, Livewell
  • Maior, Maniewe, Marchadine, Moyle
  • Nargia, Nizael, Noye
  • Ogier, Olliph
  • Peleger, Periam, Pexall, Phatnell
  • Rimprum, Rollesley, Rotheram, Rumbold
  • Scipio, Snappe
  • Thekeston, Thrasibulus, Timoleon, Tournie
  • Ulpian, Umpton, Utred
  • Wallop, Walsingham, Warian, Willgent
  • Yeldard
  • Zorobabel

Source: Register of the University of Oxford, vol. 2, part 4, edited by Andrew Clark, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889.

Name quotes #85: Karen, Blane, Friedemann

From the 1986 movie Pretty in Pink, Duckie’s reaction to learning that Andie is dating a guy named Blane:

Blane? His name is Blane? That’s a major appliance, that’s not a name!

From sociolinguist Robin Queen, an explanation of how ‘Karen’ went from a popular baby name to a stand-in for white entitlement:

By tracing the origins of Karen up until the Central Park incident, you can see how two separate threads of meaning converged to make Karen the label for an officious, entitled, white woman.

The first comes from African American communities, where certain generic first names have long been a shorthand for “a white woman to be wary of because she won’t hesitate to wield privilege at the expense of others.” Around 2018, people started posting pictures of white women calling the police on the mundane activities of black people. These individuals got labeled with hashtags like #bbqbecky, #permitpatti, #golfcartgail and #cornerstonecaroline.

[…]

The second thread emerges from stand-up comedy and Reddit. In 2005, Dane Cook performed a sketch comedy piece in which Karen is “that friend nobody likes.” In the sketch, she’s described as “always a douche.” This portrayal of a “Karen” is less about her racism and contains more gender-based critiques, which might be why some continue to call the Karen meme sexist.

New Jersey police officer Brian Porter — who delivered two babies during the first half of 2002 — regarding his success so far in having a baby named after him:

0-2.

(In the case of the second baby, the baby’s father and brother were both already named Bryan.)

From the “pejorative names” section of a 2019 academic article called From Enslavement to Emancipation: Naming Practices in the Danish West Indies:

“[I]njurious” names [were] intended to mark slaves out by drawing upon naming forms not used by the dominant class. For instance, some are not personal names, but refer instead to places (London, Madrid, Dublin), animals (Zebra, Fox), or qualities (Amor). Another popular category includes names of classical figures (Cicero, Ancilla, Cupido). Such names functioned as cruel jokes: for instance, Scipio, a common male slave name, referred to the Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, whose agnomen, Africanus, meant “the African,” in praise of his triumphs in battle in North Africa. Names of Greek and Roman heroes, philosophers, and orators were popular choices for male slaves, underlining their degradation and emasculation via their juxtaposition with these great men. Meanwhile, as Saidiya Hartman has noted, names like “Venus” for female slaves reflected and licensed the lasciviousness of European slave-owners toward African women, making such behaviors “sound agreeable.”

From the funny April Fools’ Day video Pronouncing Friedemann Findeisen like a Bad-Ass German by songwriter Friedemann Findeisen [FREE-day-mahn FIND-ei-zen]:

Welcome to this German tutorial on how to pronounce my name, Friedemann Findeisen. In the past, many of you have wondered why I have such an unusual name, and why it sounds so German. Well, I am German. You just can’t tell because my lederhosen aren’t in the shot.

From the National Geographic article “Who’s the First Person in history whose name we know?“:

[T]o my great surprise—the first name in recorded history isn’t a king. Nor a warrior. Or a poet. He was, it turns out…an accountant. In his new book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari goes back 33 centuries before Christ to a 5,000-year-old clay tablet found in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq).

[…]

It’s a receipt for multiple shipments of barley. The tablet says, very simply:

29,086 measures barley 37 months Kushim

(But we don’t know for sure that Kushim was a human name; it may have been a job title.)

A second theory, from the same article:

Dated to around 3100 B.C.—about a generation or two after Kushim—the tablet’s heading is, “Two slaves held by Gal-Sal.” Gal-Sal is the owner. Next come the slaves, “En-pap X and Sukkalgir.” So now we’ve got four names: an accountant, a slave owner, and two slaves.

(Some scholars are Team Kushim, other scholars are Team Gal-Sal.)