How popular is the baby name Gail 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 Gail.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Gail


Posts that Mention the Name Gail

Contrarian baby names: Cliff, Janet, Steve, Wanda…

corn

“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.

Contrarian Baby Names: Girls

Alberta
Anita
Ann
Annetta
Annette
Bambi
Becky
Benita
Bertha
Bessie
Beth
Betty
Beverley
Beverly
Blanche
Bobbie
Bobby
Bonita
Candy
Caren
Carlene
Carol
Carole
Cary
Caryn
Cathleen
Cathy
Charla
Charlene
Charmaine
Cheri
Cherie
Cheryl
Chris
Christi
Cindy
Claudette
Coleen
Colleen
Connie
Dale
Danette
Danita
Darlene
Dawn
Dawna
Deanne
Debbie
Debora
Debra
Deirdre
Delores
Denice
Denise
Diane
Dianna
Dianne
Dollie
Dolores
Dona
Donna
Doreen
Dori
Doris
Dorthy
Eddie
Edwina
Ernestine
Ethel
Gail
Gayle
Gena
Geralyn
Germaine
Gilda
Glenda
Glenna
Harriett
Jackie
Janet
Janice
Janis
Jayne
Jean
Jeanette
Jeanie
Jeanine
Jeanne
Jeannette
Jeannie
Jeannine
Jeri
Jerri
Jerry
Jill
Jimmie
Jo
Joan
Joann
Joanne
Jodi
Jody
Joellen
Joni
Juanita
Judi
Judy
Juli
Kandi
Karin
Kathie
Kathy
Kay
Kaye
Kerrie
Kerry
Kim
Kimberley
Kitty
Kris
Kristi
Ladonna
Laureen
Lauretta
Laurie
Lavonne
Lee
Leesa
Lois
Lorene
Lori
Lorie
Lorinda
Lorna
Lorraine
Lorrie
Lou
Louann
Lu
Luann
Luanne
Lucretia
Lupe
Lyn
Lynda
Lynn
Lynne
Madonna
Marcia
Marcy
Margie
Mariann
Marianne
Marla
Marsha
Maryjo
Maureen
Meg
Melba
Melinda
Melva
Michele
Migdalia
Mitzi
Myrna
Nanette
Nelda
Nicki
Nita
Norma
Pamela
Patrice
Patsy
Patti
Patty
Pauline
Peggy
Pennie
Phyllis
Randy
Reba
Rene
Rhonda
Rita
Robbie
Robbin
Roberta
Robin
Rochelle
Ronda
Rosanne
Roseann
Roxane
Roxann
Sandy
Saundra
Sharon
Sheila
Shelia
Shelley
Shelly
Sheri
Sherri
Sherry
Sheryl
Shirley
Sondra
Sue
Susanne
Suzan
Suzanne
Tammie
Tammy
Tena
Teri
Terri
Terry
Thelma
Theresa
Therese
Tina
Tonia
Tonya
Tracey
Traci
Tracie
Tracy
Treva
Trina
Trudy
Velma
Verna
Vicki
Vickie
Vicky
Wanda
Wendy
Willie
Wilma
Yolanda
Yvonne

Contrarian Baby Names: Boys

Adolph
Al
Alford
Alphonso
Arne
Arnie
Arnold
Artie
Barry
Barton
Bennie
Bernard
Bernie
Bert
Bill
Billie
Bob
Bobbie
Brad
Bradford
Brent
Bret
Britt
Bud
Buddy
Burl
Burt
Butch
Carey
Carleton
Carlton
Carmen
Carroll
Cary
Cecil
Chester
Chuck
Clarence
Claude
Cletus
Cleveland
Cliff
Clifford
Clifton
Columbus
Curt
Curtiss
Dale
Dan
Dana
Dannie
Darrel
Darryl
Daryl
Dave
Davie
Del
Delbert
Dell
Delmer
Denny
Derwin
Dewey
Dirk
Don
Donnie
Donny
Doug
Douglass
Doyle
Duane
Dudley
Duwayne
Dwain
Dwaine
Dwane
Dwight
Earl
Earnest
Ed
Edsel
Elbert
Ernie
Farrell
Floyd
Fred
Freddie
Fredric
Gale
Garland
Garry
Garth
Gene
Geoffrey
Gerard
Gerry
Gilbert
Glen
Glenn
Greg
Gregg
Greggory
Grover
Guy
Hal
Haywood
Herbert
Herman
Homer
Horace
Howell
Hubert
Irwin
Jackie
Jame
Jeff
Jefferey
Jeffry
Jerald
Jerold
Jess
Jim
Jimmie
Jodie
Jody
Johnie
Johnnie
Karl
Kelly
Ken
Kenney
Kennith
Kent
Kermit
Kerry
Kim
Kirk
Kraig
Kurt
Laurence
Lawrance
Len
Lenard
Lennie
Les
Leslie
Lester
Lindell
Lindsay
Lindsey
Linwood
Lloyd
Lonnie
Lonny
Loren
Lorin
Lowell
Loyd
Lynn
Marion
Marty
Matt
Maxie
Mel
Merle
Merrill
Mickel
Mickey
Millard
Milton
Mitch
Mitchel
Monty
Neal
Ned
Nicky
Norbert
Norman
Norris
Orville
Perry
Pete
Phil
Ralph
Randal
Randel
Randell
Randolph
Rayford
Rick
Rickey
Rickie
Rob
Robby
Robin
Rock
Rodger
Rogers
Rojelio
Rolf
Ron
Roosevelt
Rudolfo
Rudolph
Rufus
Russ
Rusty
Sal
Sammie
Sandy
Sanford
Scot
Sherman
Sherwood
Skip
Stan
Stanford
Steve
Stevie
Stewart
Stuart
Sylvester
Tad
Ted
Terence
Thurman
Tim
Timmothy
Timmy
Tod
Todd
Tom
Tommie
Toney
Tracey
Tracy
Val
Vernell
Vernon
Waymon
Wendell
Wilbert
Wilbur
Wilford
Wilfred
Willard
Willis
Winfred
Woody

Interestingly, thirteen of the names above — Bobbie, Cary, Dale, Jackie, Jimmie, Jody, Kerry, Kim, Lynn, Robin, Sandy, Tracey, Tracy — managed to make both lists.

Now some questions for you…

Do you like any of these names? Would you be willing to use any of them on a modern-day baby? Why or why not?

Which baby names can be split in two?

baby names split in two

In 1916, the London Globe mentioned twins named Jere and Miah:

There lived for many years in the village of Twerton, Bath, one named Miah. He was born a twin, and his parents thriftily divided the predestined name of Jeremiah between them, the other babe being christened Jere.

What other names could we divide into two usable mini-names like this?

Here are a few ideas to kick things off…

Abigail, Abi + Gail
Anastasia, Ana + Stasia
Calista, Cal + Ista
Drusilla, Dru + Silla
Elizabeth, Eliza + Beth
Mozelle, Mo + Zelle
Valentina, Valen + Tina
Alexander, Alex + Ander
Christopher, Chris + Topher
Denzel, Den + Zel
Donovan, Dono + Van
Joseph, Jo + Seph
Rexford, Rex + Ford
William, Wil + Liam

…what others can you think of?

Source: “Some Odd Christian Names.” Bee [Earlington, KY] 8 Dec. 1916: 8.

Name quotes #24: Gayle, Jude, Stanwix

Gayle King quote

From an Us Weekly interview with Oprah BFF Gayle King:

I changed my name from Gail to Gayle in seventh grade because I liked to make a loopy Y.

From a STFU Parents post about Increasingly Yoonique Names:

I’m anticipating future pushback from readers who, over time, have come to accept and welcome names like ‘Brayden’ and ‘Kaidence’ into their lives. But until that fateful day arrives, I’m sticking to my belief that yoonique names are usually more effective at confusing teachers and government workers than they are at ensuring greatness and instilling confidence in kids.

From the book “A Herman Melville Encyclopedia” by Robert L. Gale:

Melville in a letter to Evert Duyckinck says that he and his wife will probably name their new-born son Stanwix because “this lad’s great grandfather spent his summers [at Fort Stanwix] in the Revolutionary War before Saratoga came into being–I mean Saratoga Springs & Pavilions” (7 November 1851).

(Melville’s baby boy did indeed end up with the name Stanwix. Stanwix’s great-grandfather was Peter Gansevoort, and his siblings were Malcolm, Elizabeth and Frances.)

From Anna Powell-Smith’s post on Baby names in England and Wales:

Celebrity names may also give an insight into public opinion: I enjoyed comparing trends for Jude and Sienna, especially what happens when Jude is exposed as a CHEATING LOVE RAT in 2005 — the popularity of his name dips sharply, but hers continues to rise.

From a Waltzing More Than Matilda post about our (newly named) galactic supercluster, Laniakea:

The name Laniakea was suggested by Nawa’a Napoleon, associate professor of Hawaiian Language at Kapiolani Community College. The Hawaiian name can be translated in a number of ways, including “open skies”, “wide sky”, or “wide horizons”, but in this case it is understood as “immeasurable heavens”. The name was chosen to honour Polynesian navigators who studied the heavens in order to navigate the Pacific Ocean.

From Paul Schmidtberger’s City Room Blog post about misspelled baby names:

I have a major gripe with the trend of misspelling baby names. On purpose. The parents’ logic runs something like this: “My child is special and unique. Thus, my child deserves a special, uniquely spelled name.”

[…]

All across America, parents are mangling names in a misguided mission to trumpet their kid’s individuality. Take the wildly popular name Chase, which is actually not a name at all, but something a dog does to its tail. It was annoying to begin with, but now it gets worse as it slowly mutates from Chase to Chace, and on to Chayce.

[…]

Misspelling a child’s name won’t make Junior special, creative or unique. Y’s and I’s are not interchangeable, and apostrophes are not some sort of newfangled confetti to be sprinkled liberally throughout groups of letters. Parents shouldn’t impose cryptic, incoherent or foolish spellings on their own children, nor on society as a whole. And they shouldn’t condemn their children to a lifetime of bleakly repeating that, no, the name in question is spelled “Shaiyahne,” not “Cheyenne.” (And while I’m at it, don’t name your child Cheyenne, either.)

Mystery baby name: Marquita (Solved!)

The characters Marquita and Chris from a TV commercial for Close-Up toothpaste (1983).
Marquita and Chris from Close-Up TV commercial

Adilene isn’t the only ’80s baby name I can’t figure out. I’m stumped on Marquita as well.

In 1983, thousands of baby girls were suddenly given the name Marquita:

  • 1985: 535 baby girls named Marquita [rank: 417th]
  • 1984: 1,374 baby girls named Marquita [rank: 195th]
  • 1983: 2,543 baby girls named Marquita [rank: 112th]
  • 1982: 128 baby girls named Marquita
  • 1981: 135 baby girls named Marquita

Hundreds more were given a variant spelling of the name:

1982198319841985
Marquita (f)1282,5431,374535
Marquita (m).20**..
Marquitta2713812875
Marquetta62809172
Marqueta7282612
Markeeta11282918
Markeita.201810
Marqutia.12*..
Markeda10101614
Marquieta.9*7.
Markitta.8116
Marquida8*86
Markida6*.6
Markeyta597
*Debut (overall), **Gender-specific debut

Marquita was out of the top 1,000 again by the mid-1990s.

The spike seems to have been centered in the South. The states with the most babies named Marquita in 1983 were…

  1. Georgia – 218 babies named Marquita
  2. Texas – 195 babies named Marquita
  3. North Carolina – 176 babies named Marquita
  4. Mississippi – 170 babies named Marquita
  5. Louisiana – 168 babies named Marquita
  6. Florida – 162 babies named Marquita
  7. Illinois – 161 babies named Marquita
  8. Alabama – 145 babies named Marquita
  9. California – 123 babies named Marquita
  10. Virginia – 112 babies named Marquita

The spike wasn’t caused by Marquita Rivera. And I don’t think either Marquita Pool-Eckert (at that time Marquita Pool) or Marquita Lister were popular enough to have caused it.

Any ideas?

Screenshot of a TV commercial for Close-Up toothpaste (1983).
Close-Up TV commercial

Update, 7/25/2021: Commenter Marquitta I. has solved the mystery! (Thank you so much!)

The sudden interest in the baby name Marquita was sparked by a TV commercial for Close-Up toothpaste. The commercial features (actors playing) a young African-American couple named Marquita (pronounced mahr-KEE-tah) and Chris.

They spend the 30 seconds talking about one another (and the toothpaste, of course) so viewers hear Chris say Marquita’s name several times: “When I hold Marquita, it really warms me up.” “Marquita’s teeth are white, straight, and make her smile beautiful.” “When I kiss Marquita, it tastes fresh.”

Here’s the commercial:

P.S. I’ve since found similar Close-Up commercials featuring couples with the names Gail & Grant, Cliff & Tina, and Desiree & Rob.

California family with 20 children

children

In late 1966, Jim and Eldora Parnell of Bakersfield, California, welcomed their 20th child.

Here are the names of all twenty kids, plus their 1966-ages:

  • Robert, 26
  • James, 24
  • Edwina, 21
  • Marie (nn Baby Doll, “because we were sure she’d be our last one”), 19
  • Eddie, 18
  • Bill, 17
  • Charlotte, 16
  • Chris (female), 15
  • Elledie, 13
  • Patrick, 12
  • Wanetta, 11
  • Peggy, 9
  • Gail, 8
  • Donna, 7
  • Steve, 5
  • Logan, 4
  • Gil, 3
  • Daryl (twin), 18 months
  • Gerald (twin), 18 months
  • Teri Kay, newborn

Which girl name is your favorite? How about boy name?

Bonus: The article included name stories for Charlotte and Logan. Charlotte “was born in the family car during a visit to Los Angeles. The police officer delivering the baby was named Charley–so, Charlotte.” Logan “was named after Dr. Lloyd Q. Logan, who delivered eight of his older brothers and sisters. But when Logan was born, Dr. Logan was out of town and another doctor delivered him.”

Source: Hillinger, Charles. “Managing a Family of 20 Poses Big, Happy Problem.” Spokesman-Review 11 Dec. 1966: 7.