How popular is the baby name Denise 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 Denise.

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Popularity of the baby name Denise

Posts that mention the name Denise

Tom Morello named his baby after Randy Rhoads

Guitarist Randy Rhoads (1956-1982)
Randy Rhoads

Classically-trained heavy metal guitarist Randall “Randy” Rhoads is best remembered for his work with Ozzy Osbourne in the early 1980s. (You can hear him playing on “Crazy Train.”) Though he didn’t live long — he died in 1982, while on tour — his small but impressive body of work influenced a number of future rock guitarists.

One of those guitarists was Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine. Here’s what Morello told Rolling Stone a few years ago:

Randy Rhoads is my favorite guitar player of all time. It was his poster on my wall when I was practicing eight hours a day, and I named my firstborn son, Rhoads, after him.

Baby Rhoads was born in 2007.

Morello and his wife Denise welcomed their second son in 2011. This time they went for a sports name, choosing Roman in honor of 1960’s Los Angeles Rams quarterback Roman Gabriel. Again, Morello explained the decision in terms of posters:

That was the poster on my wall. Before I had rock and roll posters on my wall I had Roman Gabriel on my wall.

Which name do you like more, Rhoads or Roman?


Image: Screenshot of a performance with Ozzy Osbourne [vid]

What popularized the baby name Kiana in the 1990s?

Fitness instructor Kiana Tom
Kiana Tom on “Kiana’s Flex Appeal

The baby name Kiana started picking up steam in the late 1980s. The name’s rise accelerated through the first half of the 1990s, and it reached peak popularity in 1996:

Girls named Kiana (U.S.)Girls named Kiana (HI)
19981,371 [rank: 226th]49 [rank: 9th]
19971,507 [rank: 198th]47 [rank: 11th]
19961,585† [rank: 190th]56 [rank: 8th]
19951,535 [rank: 192nd]41 [rank: 17th]
19941,117 [rank: 249th]39 [rank: 23rd]
1993712 [rank: 358th]36 [rank: 31st]
1992633 [rank: 402nd]38 [rank: 25th]
1991333 [rank: 658th]20 [rank: 65th]
†Peak usage

The name was particularly trendy in the state of Hawaii.

Here’s a visual of the national usage:

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

What was drawing attention to the name Kiana during those years?

Fitness personality Kiana Tom.

It all started in the mid-1980s, when ESPN began broadcasting fitness shows. Their first, Bodies in Motion hosted by Gilad Janklowicz, premiered in 1985. Their second, Getting Fit with Denise Austin, followed two years later.

Their third, BodyShaping, started airing in 1988 and was originally hosted by 6-time Ms. Olympia Corinna “Cory” Everson. As the series evolved, though, hosting duties were transferred to Kiana Tom (who’d been one of Cory’s assistants) and bodybuilder Rick Valente.

Kiana Tom — who is of Chinese, Hawaiian, and Irish descent, and who typically did her beach workouts in a bikini — proved so popular with viewers that, in 1995, she was given her own fitness show: Kiana’s Flex Appeal on ESPN2.

She also hosted several other programs (such as ESPN Summer Sizzle) and gave acting a try (appearing in the fourth Universal Soldier film with Jean-Claude Van Damme, for instance) during the 1990s.

In a 2001 interview, she mentioned that she knew about dozens of her namesakes:

[A]t least 83 children have been named Kiana now — that’s the ultimate compliment!

She was born Joanne Kiana Tom in Hawaii in 1965. Her middle name is the Hawaiian form of the name Diana.

What are your thoughts on the name Kiana? (Do you like it more or less than the homophone Qiana?)

P.S. DePrise Brescia was another BodyShaping regular.


Image: Screenshot of Kiana’s Flex Appeal

What popularized the baby name Celine in the 1990s?

Céline Dion's first English-language album, "Unison" (1990)
Céline Dion album

According to the U.S. baby name data, the name Celine saw a steep rise in the usage during the 1990s:

  • 1999: 394 baby girls named Celine [rank: 617th]
  • 1998: 565 baby girls named Celine [rank: 456th]
  • 1997: 443 baby girls named Celine [rank: 537th]
  • 1996: 271 baby girls named Celine [rank: 774th]
  • 1995: 231 baby girls named Celine [rank: 846th]
  • 1994: 247 baby girls named Celine [rank: 815th]
  • 1993: 157 baby girls named Celine
  • 1992: 121 baby girls named Celine
  • 1991: 77 baby girls named Celine
  • 1990: 52 baby girls named Celine
  • 1989: 43 baby girls named Celine

The name entered the top 1,000 in 1994, and even reached the top 500 (briefly) in 1998. That 1998 spike remained the name’s highest overall usage until the late 2010s.

Here’s a visual:

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

What was behind the rise?

Quebec-born singer Céline Dion, who became one of the dominant pop divas of the mid-to-late 1990s (along with Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey).

She’d been putting out French-language music in Canada for a decade before finally releasing her first English-language album, Unison, in 1990. The album featured the song “Where Does My Heart Beat Now,” which reached #4 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart in March of 1991.

This first English-language hit was followed by many more, including…

  • “Beauty and the Beast” (1991), a duet with Peabo Bryson
    • theme song from the 1991 Disney movie Beauty and the Beast
  • “If You Asked Me To” (1992)
  • “The Power of Love” (1993)
  • “Because You Loved Me” (1996)
    • theme song from the 1996 movie Up Close & Personal
  • “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” (1996)
  • “All by Myself” (1996)
  • “My Heart Will Go On” (1997)
    • theme song from the 1997 movie Titanic

“My Heart Will Go On” was Céline Dion’s biggest hit, and today it’s considered her signature song. Here’s a live performance:

The 5-time Grammy winner was born in March of 1968 in the town of Charlemagne, a suburb of Montreal. Her parents, Adhémar and Thérèse Dion, had a total of fourteen children:

  1. Denise
  2. Clément
  3. Claudette
  4. Liette
  5. Michel
  6. Louise
  7. Jacques
  8. Daniel
  9. Ghislaine
  10. Linda
  11. Manon
  12. Paul (twin)
  13. Pauline (twin)
  14. Céline

Céline, the baby of the family, was more than two decades younger than her oldest sibling, Denise.

How did she come to be named Céline?

Her mother had chosen the name after hearing the song “Céline,” written by the French writer and singer-songwriter Hugues Aufray, who had had great success in Quebec and France during the time Céline’s mother was pregnant with her. “Céline” told the story of a good-hearted, well-behaved girl, the oldest of a large family, whose mother died giving birth to the youngest. The Céline of the song sacrificed her youth to care for her brothers and sisters, and the years had passed without her ever knowing the joys of love.

Hugues Aufray’s song “Céline” [vid] was released in 1966.

Quebec’s baby name data, which only goes back to 1980, doesn’t reveal whether or not the song made the name Céline trendy in Quebec in the late 1960s. But it does show the name declining in usage during the 1980s — despite the fact that a teenage Céline Dion was racking up French-language hits in Quebec throughout the decade.

The French name Céline can be traced back (via the Roman family names Caelinus and Caelius) to the Latin word caelum, which means “heaven.”

What are your thoughts on the name Céline?


What gave the baby name Christiaan a boost in 1968?

South African cardiac surgeon Christiaan Barnard (1922-2001)
Dr. Christiaan Barnard

The baby name Christiaan (pronounced KRIS-tee-ahn) — the Dutch and Afrikaans form of Christian — saw peak usage in the U.S. in two different years: 1968 and 1970.

  • 1972: 22 baby boys named Christiaan
  • 1971: 30 baby boys named Christiaan
  • 1970: 43 baby boys named Christiaan
  • 1969: 24 baby boys named Christiaan
  • 1968: 43 baby boys named Christiaan
  • 1967: 8 baby boys named Christiaan
  • 1966: unlisted

The name’s 1968 upswing represents the second-steepest rise among baby boy names that year (after Dustin).

Here’s the graph:

Graph of the usage of the first name Christiaan in the U.S. since 1880.
Usage of the first name Christiaan

What was calling attention to the name Christiaan in the late ’60s and early ’70s?

South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard, who made headlines worldwide after performing the first human heart transplant on December 3, 1967, at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town.

Dr. Barnard led a team of 20 surgeons as they transplanted a heart from the body of donor Denise Darvall (a 25-year-old woman who’d been fatally injured in a car accident) into the body of recipient Louis Washkansky (a 55-year-old man terminally ill with heart disease).

The operation was considered a success, even though Washkansky died of pneumonia 18 days later.

The transplant attracted unprecedented media coverage, turning Dr. Barnard into an overnight celebrity:

Charismatic and photogenic, he appeared on magazine covers, met dignitaries and film stars, drawing crowds and photographers wherever he went.

Dr. Barnard performed a second human heart transplant on January 2, 1968 — just one month after the first. The second recipient, 59-year-old Philip Blaiberg, not only survived the operation, but lived for another 19 months and 15 days before dying of organ rejection in August of 1969.

The success of this second operation “secured the future of heart transplants.” It also likely caused the usage of Christiaan to peak again in 1970.

(That said, news about Dr. Barnard’s personal life may have also been a factor. He divorced his wife of twenty years, Aletta, in mid-1969 and married a 19-year-old Johannesburg socialite named Barbara Zoellner in early 1970.)

I’m not sure how many of the baby boys named Christiaan during the late ’60s and early ’70s were taught to pronounce their names KRIS-tee-ahn, as I couldn’t find any clips of U.S. newscasters using the Afrikaans pronunciation. Even talk show host Dick Cavett defaulted to the American pronunciation, KRIS-chen, when Dr. Christiaan Barnard appeared on The Dick Cavett Show [vid] in May of 1970.

What are your thoughts on the name Christiaan?


Image: Adapted from Professor Barnard photo by Jac. de Nijs via Nationaal Archief under CC0.