How popular is the baby name Djuna 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 Djuna.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Djuna


Posts that Mention the Name Djuna

Where did the baby name Keir come from in 1963?

Actor Keir Dullea in the movie "David and Lisa" (1962).
Keir Dullea in “David and Lisa

The compact name Keir first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in the early 1960s:

  • 1965: 6 baby boys named Keir
  • 1964: 21 baby boys named Keir
  • 1963: 13 baby boys named Keir [debut]
  • 1962: unlisted
  • 1961: unlisted

The spelling Kier debuted as well.

What was the influence?

Actor Keir Dullea, whose first big movie role was the a lead part in the offbeat romance David and Lisa (1962). He ended up winning a Golden Globe for “Most Promising Newcomer – Male” in early 1963.

He went on to appear in other movies, none more successful than Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), in which he played another David: astronaut David Bowman, who spoke the classic line, “Open the pod bay doors please, HAL.”

His full name is pronounced KEER duh-LAY, which is easy to remember if you think of the Noel Coward witticism, “Keir Dullea, gone tomorrow.” I’m not sure how his parents came up with the name Keir, but it could be an Anglicized form of the Irish name Ciar, which means “black.”

(Keir was also on TV a lot, and once appeared in an episode of the short-lived show Channing — just like Joan Hackett, whose character Djuna Phrayne had a big impact on the baby name Djuna.)

Do you like the name Keir?

Source: Keir Dullea – Wikipedia

Mystery baby name: Deneen (Solved!)

Deneen is the million-dollar baby name mystery. It saw a massive spike in usage in 1964, and I had no idea why for years. Only recently have I stumbled upon a plausible explanation.

But first let’s check out the numbers. Here’s how many U.S. baby girls were named Deneen (or a variant) from 1963 to 1966, sorted by 1964 levels of usage:

1963196419651966
Deneen221,604421223
Denine1713310171
Daneen291328570
Dineen10684335
Denene7663831
Denean7586140
Danine7292331
Danene12241811
Deneane24*119
Deneene24*1314
Danean14*146
Deeneen12*
Doneen7119
Dennine10*77
Deneena7*
Deniene7*
Dennen7*
Donene7
Deaneen5*
Deneem5*
Dinene 7†
TOTALS1182,247842557
*Debut

(Deeneen, Deneena, Dennen, Deaneen, and Deneem were one-hit wonders.)

According to the state-by-state data, Deneen usage tended to be highest in the most populous states. This isn’t much of a clue, but it does tell us that the influence was national (e.g., movie, music) and not regional (e.g., college sports, local politician).

For a long time my only guess on Deneen was the same guess Hilary Parker made in her poisoned baby names post: musical duo August & Deneen. But their hit single “We Go Together” came out in 1968 — long after the 1964 baby name spike. So August & Deneen clearly isn’t the answer.

About a month ago I tried another Deneen search. This time around I found a recent thread on Deneen at the Baby Name Wizard forum. According to intel gathered by forum members, Deneen could have been popularized by a ’60s commercial for Ivory dishwashing liquid.

At first I wasn’t so sure. The only vintage Ivory commercials I could find online were for Ivory Snow laundry detergent and, while many of these did feature names (e.g., Allison, Betsy, Bonnie, Debbie, Esther, Joy, Kerry, Kimberly, Michelle, Terry) the names were never on-screen. You don’t get a spelling-specific name spike if the influence is audio-only.

Then I noticed, lower down in the thread, that someone included a link to a single Ivory dishwashing liquid commercial from 1962. The spot featured a mother-daughter pair, “Mrs. Bernard Pugar and Dana,” and their names were indeed shown on-screen for several seconds. Now this looked promising.

I’ve since tracked down a similar Ivory commercial featuring “Mrs. Blake Clark” and her daughter Nicky, though Nicky’s name was never shown on-screen. No luck finding a Deneen version yet.

So I’ll just sit tight and hope that, one day, someone uploads the commercial in question and puts this whole Deneen baby name mystery to rest. :)

In the meanwhile, some questions:

  • If you were watching TV in the ’60s, do you happen recall an Ivory dishwashing liquid commercial featuring the name Deneen? (Long shot, I know.)
  • What do you think of the name Deneen? Which spelling do you like best?

P.S. Djuna popped up on the baby name charts in 1964 as well. I’m declaring 1964 the year of the mysteriously trendy D-names.

Mystery baby names: Open cases

I’m a baby name blogger, but sometimes I feel more like a baby name detective. Because so much of my blogging time is spent doing detective work: trying to figure out where a particular baby name comes from, or why a name saw a sudden jump (or drop) in usage during a particular year.

If a name itself doesn’t make the answer obvious (e.g., Lindbergh) and a simple Google search hasn’t helped, my first bit of detective work involves scanning the baby name charts. I’ve learned that many search-resistant baby names (like Deatra) are merely alternative spellings of more common names (Deirdre).

If that doesn’t do it, I go back to Google for some advanced-level ninja searching, to help me zero in on specific types of historical or pop culture events. This is how I traced Irmalee back to a character in a short story in a very old issue of the once-popular McCall’s Magazine.

But if I haven’t gotten anywhere after a few rounds of ninja searching, I officially give up and turn the mystery baby name over to you guys. Together we’ve cracked a couple of cases (yay!) but, unfortunately, most of the mystery baby names I’ve blogged about are still big fat mysteries.

Here’s the current list of open cases:

  • Wanza, girl name, debuted in 1915.
  • Nerine, girl name, debuted in 1917.
  • Laquita, girl name, debuted in 1930.
  • Norita, girl name, spiked (for the 2nd time) in 1937.
  • Delphine, girl name, spiked in 1958.
  • Leshia, girl name, debuted in 1960.
  • Lavoris, girl name, debuted in 1961.
  • Djuna, girl name, debuted in 1964.
  • Latrenda, girl name, debuted in 1965.
  • Ondina, girl name, debuted in 1968.
  • Khari, boy name, debuted in 1971.
  • Jelani, boy name, debuted in 1973.
  • Toshiba, girl name, debuted in 1974.
  • Brieanna, girl name, debuted in 1979.
  • Sumiko, girl name, spiked in 1980.
  • Tou, boy name, debuted in 1980.
  • Marquita, girl name, spiked in 1983.
  • Caelan, boy name, debuted in 1992.
  • Deyonta, boy name, debuted in 1993.
  • Trayvond, boy name, debuted in 1994.
  • Zeandre, boy name, debuted in 1997.
  • Yatzari, girl name, debuted in 2000.
  • Itzae, boy name, debuted in 2011.

If you enjoy sleuthing, please give some of the above a shot! I’d love to knock one or two off the list before I start adding more mystery names in the coming weeks…

Update, 7/13/16: More still-open cases from the Mystery Monday series last summer: Theta, Memory, Treasure, Clione, Trenace, Bisceglia, Genghis and Temujin.

Top girl-name debuts of all time in the U.S. baby name data (1-10)

pink bow

The final installment of the top baby name debuts for girls!

From 10 to 1:

Djuna, #10

  • Djuna debuted with 198 baby girls in 1964.
    Inspired by…I’m not sure what. Likely inspired by Djuna Phrayne, a character on the show Channing.

Dalary, #9

  • Dalary debuted with 215 baby girls in 2014.
    Inspired by a baby from the reality TV show Larrymania.

Fallon, #8

  • Fallon debuted with 232 baby girls in 1981.
    Inspired by Fallon Carrington, a character on the soap opera Dynasty.

Erykah, #7

  • Erykah debuted with 279 baby girls in 1997.
    Inspired by singer Erykah Badu.

Alexandr, #6

Zhavia, #5

  • Zhavia debuted with 306 baby girls in 2018.
    Inspired by The Four contestant Zhavia.

Sade, #4

  • Sade debuted with 393 baby girls in 1985.
    Inspired by singer Sade [shah-DAY].

Moesha, #3

  • Moesha debuted with 426 baby girls in 1996.
    Inspired by Moesha Mitchell, a character on the TV sitcom Moesha.

Isamar, #2

  • Isamar debuted with 446 baby girls in 1990.
    Inspired by Isamar Medina, a character on the telenovela La Revancha.

Kizzy, #1

  • Kizzy debuted with 1,116 baby girls in 1977.
    Inspired by Kizzy Reynolds, a character on the TV miniseries Roots.

And there you have it! The top girl name debuts ever, so far. Did any of the names this week surprise you?

Stay tuned for the boys’ list in a couple of weeks.

More of the top 50 baby name debuts for girls: 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1

[Latest update: 7/2021]

Mystery baby name: Adilene (Solved!)

In 1987, the most impressive debut name for girls was Jaleesa.

The next-most impressive debut? The name Adilene:

  • 1990: 166 baby girls named Adilene
  • 1989: 158 baby girls named Adilene
  • 1988: 133 baby girls named Adilene
  • 1987: 72 baby girls named Adilene [debut]
  • 1986: not listed

The name Adilene has managed to stay within the 100-to-200 babies-per-year range all the way to 2010, in fact.

Where did it come from?

…I don’t know. (Argh.)

The other mystery names I’ve written about so far — Wanza (1915), Nerine (1917), Laquita (1930), Djuna (1964) — have been older. I didn’t feel too bad asking for help on these.

But Adilene is relatively recent. I’m frustrated that I can’t come up with an explanation for this one.

What I do know is this: most of the 1987 Adilenes have Spanish surnames. So the inspiration could have been something Spanish-language. Perhaps an obscure 1986/1987 telenovela…?

Do you know the answer?

UPDATE: I think the mystery is solved! Looks like Adilene was inspired by “Adilene,” a song by Los Yonics. Big thank you to Laura and Adi for helping me out!