How popular is the baby name Dexter 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 Dexter.
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Baby names that start with Xav– may be trendy right now, but they weren’t trendy back in the mid-1980s, when the name Xavion suddenly popped up in the U.S. baby name data:
1985: 13 baby boys named Xavion [debut]
What put it there?
A Memphis-based rock/funk band called Xavion, which was apparently the first African-American rock group to be featured on MTV.
(An article about MTV programming in a late 1984 issue of Billboard magazine mentioned Xavion in a paragraph about “breakout” acts along with Bad Manners, Dokken, Grim Reaper, Iron Maiden, Whitesnake, and Zebra.)
The band is best remembered for two singles: “Eat Your Heart Out” (which almost reached the Hot 100 chart in September of 1984) and “Get Me Hot” (which reached #72 on the Hot Black Singles chart in January of 1985).
What are your thoughts on the name Xavion?
P.S. Xavion’s lead singer, Dexter Haygood, was a contestant on the first season of (the American version of) The X Factor in 2011.
The name also saw it’s highest-ever usage that year, as did the variant spelling Corretta. And another spelling, Koretta, appeared for the very first time in the data in 1968.
What was bringing all this attention to the baby name Coretta in 1968?
Coretta Scott King. She was the wife of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., until his assassination on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. This event put Coretta and her children (Yolanda, Martin III, Dexter, and Bernice*) in the national spotlight.
Not long after the death of her husband, Coretta took Martin’s place as a leader of the Civil Rights Movement. She was instrumental in establishing the national holiday Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — which happens to be today.
Coretta Scott King was named in honor of her paternal grandmother, Cora. The name Cora is a Latinized form of the ancient Greek name Kore (“maiden”), one of the epithets of the goddess Persephone.
*Usage of the names Yolanda and Dexter also increased markedly in 1968. The usage of Martin, which had been declining, saw an uptick that year. (Peak usage was in 1963, the year of MLK’s legendary “I have a dream” speech.) The usage of Bernice was seemingly unaffected by the assassination.
I chose the name Yolanda Denise, but my husband had reservations about it. He questioned whether people would call her Yolanda or would mispronounce the name. He was right. Her name is so frequently mispronounced that it bothered her when she was growing up.
There is a tendency among middle-class African Americans to give their children unusual names. Perhaps they are seeking elegance or some special identification. I fell victim to this custom, rather than following the sensible practice of naming the baby after a member of the family. Later Martin said, “If we ever have another baby girl, I’m going to give her a simple name like Mary Jane.”
When we did have another daughter, we called her Bernice Albertine, after her two grandmothers. Her name was not quite Mary Jane, but at least she was named for members of the family.