How popular is the baby name Cheryl in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Use the popularity graph and data table below to find out! Plus, see all the blog posts that mention the name Cheryl.
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The baby name Harolyn saw peak usage in the U.S. in 1945:
1947: 28 baby girls named Harolyn
1946: 19 baby girls named Harolyn
1945: 45 baby girls named Harolyn
13 born in New York
6 born in Pennsylvania
1944: 12 baby girls named Harolyn
1943: 13 baby girls named Harolyn
Because of a pint-sized beauty queen from New Jersey named Harolyn Cheryl Meyer.
It all started the year before, in May of 1944, when the men aboard the USS New Jersey (at that time involved in WWII and stationed near the Philippines) decided to hold a beauty contest. The crew “wrote to the New Jersey state Chamber of Commerce proposing a pinup contest among girls from the state whose pictures would be posted on the battleship’s bulletin boards.”
On May 17th, the request was published in the Newark Evening News. The crew soon ended up with about 75 entrants. All of them were young women…except for one. The odd one out was a smiling 5-month-old baby in her birthday suit.
That was baby Harolyn Meyer, born in December of 1943. The photo had been taken for her father, Army Air Forces pilot Lieutenant Harold Meyer, who hadn’t yet seen her. Harold’s Flying Fortress had recently been shot down over Europe, and he was being held as a prisoner of war in Germany.
The photo was submitted by Harolyn’s mother’s mother, who thought entering the baby’s picture in a pin-up contest as a joke would lift her daughter’s spirits.
The crew of the USS New Jersey took a vote in November, and, surprisingly, Harolyn won the contest with 555 out of 1,376 votes. One crewmember later suggested that “his fellow seamen may have been captivated by the photograph of the infant because she reminded them of home and family.”
In December, Mrs. Meyer was notified by letter that Harolyn had become the ship’s official pin-up girl. The win was also announced in the papers.
More importantly, though, an updated photo of Harolyn — now 15 months old — ran on the front pages of various newspapers starting in March of 1945. (The photo appeared as late as July in some papers.) It showed Harolyn and her mother meeting with New Jersey governor Walter E. Edge, who was presenting Harolyn with $3,200 in War Bonds “through donations by the crew of the USS New Jersey for use in obtaining her future education.”
From a 2015 Today show interview during which actress Zooey Deschanel explains why she named her daughter Elsie Otter:
Well, we just really liked the name Elsie, and then we both love otters — they’re very sweet, and they’re also smart. They use tools, they keep their favorite tools, they hold hands while they sleep. There are so many amazing things about otters. They’re wonderful animals.
From a 2019 Us Weekly article about the weirdly common celebrity baby name combo “Charlie Wolf“:
Celebrity moms and dads are going wild for the animal-inspired baby name Charlie Wolf.
Zooey Deschanel and her estranged husband, Jacob Pechenik, kicked off the trendy moniker when they welcomed their baby boy in 2017.
Lauren Conrad and William Tell welcomed their second little one in October 2019 — and named him Charlie Wolf as well.
The following month, another Charlie Wolf arrived — or rather, Charles Wolfe.
(The third one was born to former Bachelor in Paradise contestants Evan Bass and Carly Waddell.)
From a 2017 Rap Radar interview during which rapper Jay-Z spoke about the names of his twins, Rumi and Sir:
Rumi is our favorite poet, so it was for our daughter. And then Sir was just like, man, like, come out the gate. […] He carries himself like that. He just came out, like, Sir.
My daughter Dani with the guy she was named after, Dan Marino.
From a 2013 People interview with singer Dido, whose son Stanley was born in 2011:
Dido’s duet with Eminem […] “Stan,” [was] a collaboration which she never imagined fans would connect to her son’s moniker.
“Stanley was actually our favorite name, coincidentally both of our favorite names. He could never have been called anything else to be honest,” Dido shares. “I’m so stupid, I didn’t think anyone would make the connection.”
From the 2006 article about actress Sandra Bernhard in the weekly NYC newspaper The Villager:
Bernhard […] appropriate[d] from Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” the name Cicely that graces Bernhard’s daughter born July 4, 1998, nine or so months after the flamethrowing actress/singer/faghag/friend of the famous said to herself one fine day: “Enough! Get real.”
Asked why she and her husband Will Kopelman chose Olive, the actress says it came from a book — though not one of baby-names.
“I was reading a book with my husband. I was three months pregnant, and they said, ‘Your baby is the size of an olive.’ And that was it. We never looked back,” Barrymore, 37, says in an interview airing Thursday on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Jeff: Yeah that’s Charlie Ocean! And then our other son [with wife Emilie Livingston, a Canadian aerialist, actress, and former Olympian] who’s now 11 months old is River Joe.
Vice: Any musical streaks in either of them yet?
Jeff: I’ve always sat at the piano these last couple years with Charlie Ocean and he kinda bangs around. But I must say, River Joe, when I play or we put on music, boy he’s just standing up at this point, but he rocks to the music and bounces up and down. He seems to really like it so maybe he’s musical. I’d like to play with them.
From a 2021 New York Times interview with actress 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 2015 Yahoo Parenting interview during which TV personality Holly Madison defends her decision to name her daughter Rainbow:
People love to say, “That’s a stripper name.” But I’ve spent a lot of time in Vegas and strippers aren’t named Rainbow. They’re named Amber, Crystal and Jessica.
From a 2007 People interview with film director Robert Rodriguez (whose kids are named Rocket, Racer, Rebel, Rogue, and Rhiannon):
Asked about his children’s unusual names, Robert attributes them to side effects he sustained from his college years when he subjected himself to medical tests to make extra money.
“Rocket is the first one. And once you name your first kid Rocket, you can’t name your next kid Marty. Racer, Rebel, Rogue…I’m just gonna blame this on the medical experiments. But they do have regular middle names in case they don’t want to start their own wrestling team.”
From a 2013 Maxim interview with film director Ron Howard:
Q: Is it true that your kids’ middle names come from the locations where they were conceived?
A: David Letterman got that out of me, and my kids will never let me forget it. My daughter, Bryce [Dallas Howard], was conceived in Dallas, and our twins [Jocelyn Carlyle Howard and Paige Carlyle Howard] were conceived while we were doing a publicity tour at the Carlyle Hotel in New York City. For the last one [Reed Cross Howard], we were on Lower Cross Road, so we decided to go with Cross. “Volvo” wouldn’t be such a good middle name.
Timberlake’s interview comes weeks before the release of his new album Man of the Woods, which is set to hit stores on February 2. He said his son inspired the name of the record and its title track.
“I literally just went on Google like, ‘meaning of the name Silas,’ and it sent me to this to this site and it said, ‘of Latin origin, meaning ‘Man of the woods,'” he said. “I was like, ‘How serendipitous that my last is Timberlake, like what does that mean?'”
On the origin of the name of George Harrison’s son, Dhani, from The Beatles Encyclopedia (2014) by Kenneth Womack:
Born on August 1, 1978, in Windsor, England, Dhani Harrison is the only son of Harrison and his second wife Olivia Trinidad Arias. His unusual name is a composite of the sixth and seventh notes of the Indian music scale — “dha” and “ni.”
From actress Cloris Leachman‘s autobiography Cloris (2009), a scene set in early 1966, soon after the birth of her daughter Dinah:
Sometime the following week — I think it was five days later — we gave a dinner party, and Dinah Shore was among the guests. She wanted to see the new baby, so we brought her to the crib, and she oohed and aahed about how beautiful she was.
“What’s her name?” she asked as she leaned over the baby.
“Dinah,” I said. Then I thought, Oh, oh.
Dinah Shore turned to us, emotion visible on her face. “You named her after me?” There was a tremble in her voice.
The truth was, we hadn’t thought of Dinah Shore or anybody else while we cruised around for a name. Some very fast footwork was called for.
“Yes,” I said, my eyes mirroring the emotion in hers. “George and I thought you were the perfect role model for our baby.”
I mean, what could I do? She was having something close to a religious experience. I couldn’t slap my forehead and say, “Can you believe it? We never once thought of you when we picked the name.”
From an Instagram post by actor Josh Brolin, whose daughter Chapel Grace was born in 2020:
Everywhere we have traveled the one place Kathryn and I always found a great solace in were chapels. Not being particularly religious, but a God feeling heavily inundating our lives, chapels have always been the sanctuaries where we felt most connectedly free to give thanks. Chapel Grace is, to us, a manifestation of that celestial feeling that was always felt as we meandered and knelt.
From a 2020 People interview with actress Mindy Kaling, whose two children are named Katherine Swati and Spencer Avu:
“I don’t trust my own judgment with those kinds of names,” she admits. “If I name my son River, that connotes a certain kind of person who is very go with the flow, artsy. But what if he’s not like that at all? Will he be furious with me?”
“I just tried to pick classic names that felt like they would have to work really hard to get mad at me about later,” Kaling says, with a laugh.
From a 2016 Tampa Bay Times interview with musician Robin Zander (of Cheap Trick):
In the early ’90s, he and wife, Pam, who grew up in Pinellas County, settled down in the Sunshine State, drawn by family ties and the promise of a nice, safe community in which to raise their son, Robin Taylor, now 23, and daughter, Robin-Sailor, 15. (Zander’s go-to line about his kids’ quirky names: “My wife just calls us Robin, and we all come running.”)
From a 1998 BBC article about English singer Melanie Blatt (of All Saints):
Melanie and her boyfriend, musician Stuart Zender [of Jamiroquai], revealed in a magazine interview that they intend to name their daughter Lily Ella: Lily after the first flowers he bought her during their courtship and Ella after the music legend Ella Fitzgerald.
(Their daughter Lilyella was born in November.)
From a 2020 Entertainment Weekly article about comedian Amy Schumer, who legally changed her son’s name:
The I Feel Pretty star revealed her decision to change her 11-month-old son’s name on the newest episode of her podcast 3 Girls, 1 Keith on Tuesday. Schumer and her husband Chris Fischer named their first child Gene Attell Fischer, born May 5, with his middle name serving as a tribute to their good friend comic Dave Attell.
“Do you guys know that Gene, our baby’s name, is officially changed? It’s now Gene David Fischer. It was Gene Attell Fischer, but we realized that we, by accident, named our son ‘genital.'”
A: Mari, inspired by my hero Marie Kondo, who wrote The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
…And, as confirmation, from Ali‘s New York Times interview one month later:
Q: Is it true that you named your daughter after the home-organizing expert Marie Kondo?
A: I don’t expect her to be the magical tidying baby, but yeah.
From a 2022 article in People, talk show host Kelly Ripa tells the story behind the name of her daughter Lola (b. 2001):
“Lola was supposed to be Sophia, but on the way to the hospital in the taxi cab, the driver was listening to the radio — the 70s station — and ‘Copacabana’ by Barry Manilow was playing,” the mom of three recalled.
“I heard that [lyric], when he said, ‘Her name was Lola,’ and I said to Mark, ‘Lola Consuelos would be a really cool name.’ And he said, ‘If she’s a girl, let’s name her Lola.’ And that was it,” she shared.
From the book Indiana’s 200: The People Who Shaped the Hoosier State (2016) by James E. St. Clair:
Amid much publicity in the early 1950s, [Herb Shriner and his wife] had given their children names that reflected his Hoosier heritage: They had a daughter named Indiana (known as “Indy”) and a son, Kin, named in honor of Abe Martin creator Frank McKinney “Kin” Hubbard. Kin Shriner became a soap opera actor; his twin brother, Wil (named for Will Rogers, but with one l), became a comedian, television, director, and talk show host with a laid-back style reminiscent of his father.
From a 2008 interview with singer Erykah Badu, whose daughter Puma was born in 2004:
The puma is one of the biggest and strongest cats in the feline family, but it has no roar. I thought that was very unique.
(Thanks to Badu, the name Erykah was the highest-debuting girl name of 1997.)
From a 2012 People interview during which singer Nick Lachey (of 98 Degrees) spoke about the name of his son Camden John:
“It’s kind of a funny story. I’ve always liked the name Colin. We thought that Colin would be the name. And John is my dad’s name. […] But as we got further into it, I learned that Vanessa wasn’t a big fan of the name Colin, so we started looking for another ‘C’ name.”
Nick, who frequented Vanessa’s obstetrician’s office with her on Camden Drive [in Beverly Hills], one day suggested, “Hey, what about Camden?”
At this point, he says, “We didn’t really know anyone else named Camden. It was such a neat name. We fell in love with it and decided on it five or six months ago.”
From a 2017 E! Online article about singer Liam Payne:
The One Direction singer-turned-solo artist explained the origin of son Bear Payne’s name during a Total Access radio interview, which he said was decided upon by mom Cheryl Cole.
“It was an internal battle,” Liam reflected. “I wanted a more traditional name and she wanted a name that was more unusual. “The reason she chose Bear was because Bear is a name that when you leave a room, you won’t forget.”
“And I like that,” the U.K. native decided eventually.
From a 2015 interview with actor Dax Shepard [vid] on The Ellen DeGeneres Show:
Ellen: Where does the name Delta come from, was that something you had thought of before?
Dax: So Delta actually — it was a joke, because our first daughter’s name is Lincoln, which is very masculine, so a friend of mine teasingly texted me, “Oh great, what’s this one gonna be, Navy Seal? Delta Force? Green Beret?” And I was reading this text out loud to Kristen, I’m like, “Oh listen to how funny this is, Steve said, what if we named her Delta Force” and I was like…Delta! Delta Bell Shepard, that’s it! And that’s it.
From a 2019 Instagram post by English singer Stacey Solomon, who explained why she named her son Rex Toby Francis:
Rex because our boys think he sounds like a T-Rex. Francis is Joe’s Nanna’s name and Toby is my Nanna’s name.
For more quotes about names, check out the name quotes category.
A couple of months ago, we looked at a long, year-by-year list of the top baby name rises. A month after that, we saw the corresponding list of top drops.
On that second post, Frank B. left a comment in which he asked about absolute rises and drops — because the lists only covered relative movement within the data. So I thought two more posts were in order: top raw-number rises, and top raw-number drops.
We’ll start with the rises again. Just keep in mind that the SSA numbers don’t become very accurate until the mid-to-late 20th century, so many of the numbers below don’t quite reflect reality.
Here’s the format: Girl names are on the left, boy names are on the right, and the numbers represent single-year rises in usage. From 1880 to 1881, for instance, the usage of the girl name Ethel increased by 155 babies and the usage of the boy name Chester increased by 106 babies.
“Everly” is hot…”Beverly” is not. It’s a one-letter difference between fashionable and fusty.
If you’re sensitive to style, you’ll prefer Everly. It fits with today’s trends far better than Beverly does.
But if you’re someone who isn’t concerned about style, or prefers to go against style, then you may not automatically go for Everly. In fact, you may be more attracted to Beverly because it’s the choice that most modern parents would avoid.
If you’ve ever thought about intentionally giving your baby a dated name (like Debbie, Grover, Marcia, or Vernon) for the sake of uniqueness within his/her peer group — if you have no problem sacrificing style for distinctiveness — then this list is for you.
Years ago, the concept of “contrarian” baby names came up in the comments of a post about Lois. Ever since then, creating a collection of uncool/contrarian baby names has been on my to-do list.
Finally, last month, I experimented with various formulas for pulling unstylish baby names out of the SSA dataset. Keeping the great-grandparent rule in mind, I aimed for names that would have been fashionable among the grandparents of today’s babies. The names below are the best results I got.