How popular is the baby name Cybill 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 Cybill.

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Popularity of the baby name Cybill

Posts that mention the name Cybill

Where did the baby name Quisto come from in 1984?

The character Quisto Champion from the TV western/soap opera "The Yellow Rose" (1983-1984).
Quisto from “The Yellow Rose

The curious name Quisto debuted in the U.S. baby name data in the middle of the 1980s:

  • 1986: unlisted
  • 1985: unlisted
  • 1984: 9 baby boys named Quisto [debut]
  • 1983: unlisted
  • 1982: unlisted

While Quisto was only in the data once, it debuted impressively enough to tie for top one-hit wonder boy name of 1984.

Where did it come from?

The short-lived nighttime soap opera/western The Yellow Rose (1983-1984), which was set in West Texas on the sprawling “Yellow Rose” ranch. The ranch had been built by the late Wade Champion, but was now being run by Wade’s young widow Colleen (played by Cybill Shepherd) and his sons Roy and “Quisto” (real name Ramon).

I don’t know how the character acquired his nickname (if anyone out there watched the show and remembers, please leave a comment!), but I can tell you about the cowboy slang term quisto. It refers to a quirt — a woven-leather whip with a short handle and “a lash of three or four heavy, loose thongs.” The word quirt is derived from the Mexican Spanish word cuarta, “whip,” which comes from the Spanish word cuerda, “cord.”

And Quisto wasn’t the only Yellow Rose character to have an impact on baby names. Chance McKenzie — a “lanky, taciturn” ex-convict and ranch-hand played by Sam Elliott — gave the baby name Chance a boost in 1984:

  • 1986: 508 baby boys named Chance [rank: 368th]
  • 1985: 650 baby boys named Chance [rank: 313th]
  • 1984: 880 baby boys named Chance [rank: 249th]
  • 1983: 230 baby boys named Chance [rank: 555th]
  • 1982: 186 baby boys named Chance [rank: 636th]

What are your thoughts on the names Chance and Quisto? Which one would you be more likely to use?


Baby name story: Norvell Shapleigh

Illustration of the Norvell-Shapleigh Hardware Co. building in St. Louis, Missouri
Norvell-Shapleigh Hardware Co.

Cybill Shepherd‘s maternal grandfather, Norvell Shapleigh “Cy” Shobe, was born in Missouri in 1906. His father was a poultry farmer.

Where did he get those unusual first and middle names? Here’s how Cybill explained it:

My grandfather was named for the hardware store where his father earned the money for the chicken farm.

Indeed, the Norvell-Shapleigh Hardware Company operated out of St. Louis from 1901 to 1918. (The company actually existed from the 1840s to the 1960s, but it underwent a number of name-changes over the years.) “Shapleigh” referred to Augustus F. Shapleigh, founder of the company, and “Norvell” to Saunders Norvell, who served as president in the early 1900s.

(In case you’re wondering, Norvell inherited the nickname “Cy” from his father, Cyrus.)


Why didn’t Cloris Leachman change her name?

Actress Cloris Leachman (1926-2021)
Cloris Leachman

While other mid-20th-century actors and actresses were swapping out their birth names for catchy stage names (like Rory Calhoun, Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Piper Laurie, Tab Hunter, and Rock Hudson), Cloris Leachman decided to go against the grain and stick with her legal name (which she’d inherited from her mother).

But she did consider changing her name for a time…thanks largely to Tallulah Bankhead.

In 1949, Cloris was in her early 20s and appearing on stage in Come Back, Little Sheba. Bankhead came to see the production, and, afterwards, when the two women met for the first time, Tallulah implored Cloris to change her name.

On a different occasion, Bankhead brought the topic up again:

“Cloris Leachman,” she crowed, “too long. Too many syllables. Too unknown. Clorox Bleachman would be better. You can’t even fit it on the marquee in front of a theater.”

During that second interaction, Cloris came up with the potential stage name “April Claiborne” by combining her birth month with her youngest sister’s first name. (“Claiborne” was their paternal grandmother’s maiden name.)

She still wasn’t sure about making the change, though.

When I went to the Actors Studio the next day, I talked about Madame Bankhead’s rant. They all agreed with her. “You have to change your name! You have to!,” they cried. It was a unanimous opinion. So right there we got out the New York phone book. It opened it up to the Ls, closed my eyes, and the name under my finger was Leavitt. It was miraculous. That translated to “Leave it!” This is no accident, I thought. The god of monikers is talking, and he says leave it. Okay, I’ll leave it.

When I got to Hollywood, the subject came up again. People said I should not only change my name, I should have my nose shortened. I emphatically didn’t want to do either, and that’s why I’m still Cloris Leachman with a big nose.

Cloris Leachman’s name may not have been as trendy-sounding as “Lana Turner” or “Piper Laurie,” but it certainly wasn’t an impediment to her career, which lasted more than seven decades. She appeared in nearly 100 films (like The Last Picture Show), dozens of TV movies (such as A Girl Named Sooner), and well over 100 TV shows (including Johnny Staccato, Rawhide, Outlaws, Shirley Temple’s Storybook, The Loretta Young Show, Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone, Route 66, Wagon Train, Stoney Burke, 77 Sunset Strip, A Man Called Shenandoah, The Big Valley, Mannix, The Virginian, and Lancer).

Her first name, a variant spelling of the ancient Greek name Chloris (meaning “greenish-yellow, pale green”), is closely related to the name Chloe (meaning “green shoot”).

What are your thoughts on the name Cloris?


Where did the baby name Cybill come from in 1972?

Actress Cybill Shepherd in the movie "The Last Picture Show" (1971).
Cybill Shepherd in “The Last Picture Show

The name Cybill first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1972, and it saw peak usage the very next year:

  • 1974: 10 baby girls named Cybill
  • 1973: 31 baby girls named Cybill [peak]
  • 1972: 8 baby girls named Cybill [debut]
  • 1971: unlisted
  • 1970: unlisted

Where did it come from?

Actress Cybill Shepherd, whose first two movies — The Last Picture Show (1971) and The Heartbreak Kid (1972) — were box-office successes.

The name has disappeared from the data — that is, fallen below five instances of usage per year — several time since then. But it has also returned twice, and those returns can be attributed to other notable moments in Cybill Shepherd’s career.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Cybill in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Cybill

The name first returned in 1985 thanks to the successful comedy-drama TV series Moonlighting (1985-1989), which co-starred Shepherd and Bruce Willis as private detectives.

It returned a second time in 1995 with the sitcom Cybill (1995-1998), which starred Shepherd as a struggling actress in her 40s. (She said in her autobiography, “I’d given my name and much of my identity to the series, blurring the line between real life and fiction.”)

The name Cybill is pronounced like the name Sibyl — the word used in ancient Greece to refer to a female prophet — but the unique spelling has personal significance: “Cybill” was coined (several days after Shepherd was born) by combining the names of her grandfather, Cy, and her father, Bill.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Cybill?