How popular is the baby name Gandalf 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 Gandalf.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Gandalf

Posts that Mention the Name Gandalf

Interesting one-hit wonder names in the U.S. baby name data


They came, they went, and they never came back!

These baby names are one-hit wonders in the U.S. baby name data. That is, they’ve only popped up once, ever, in the entire dataset of U.S. baby names (which accounts for all names given to at least 5 U.S. babies per year since 1880).

There are thousands of one-hit wonders in the dataset, but the names below have interesting stories behind their single appearance, so these are the one-hits I’m writing specific posts about. Just click on a name to read more.


  • (none yet)













  • (none yet)


As I discover (and write about) more one-hit wonders in the data, I’ll add the names/links to this page. In the meanwhile, do you have any favorite one-hit wonder baby names?

P.S. You might also be interested in this list of the top one-hit wonder baby names since 1880

[Latest update: 9/2022]

Popular and unique baby names in Scotland (UK), 2020

According to National Records of Scotland (NRS), the most popular baby names in the country in 2020 were Isla and Jack.

Here are Scotland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2020:

Girl Names

  1. Isla, 347 baby girls
  2. Olivia, 334
  3. Emily, 300
  4. Freya, 284
  5. Ava, 276
  6. Sophie, 275
  7. Ella, 267
  8. Grace, 261
  9. Amelia, 254
  10. Lily, 208

Boy Names

  1. Jack, 354 baby boys
  2. Noah, 299
  3. James, 292
  4. Leo, 274 (2-way tie)
  5. Oliver, 274 (2-way tie)
  6. Harris, 268
  7. Rory, 258
  8. Alexander, 252
  9. Finlay, 247
  10. Archie, 244

In the girls’ top 10, Lily replaced Charlotte.

In the boys’ top 10, Alexander, Finlay and Archie replaced Charlie, Lewis and Alfie.

The fastest-rising names in the girls’ top 100 were Maeve and Ayda, and in the boys’ top 100 were Roman and Finley.

Here are some of the baby names that were bestowed just once in Scotland last year:

Unique Girl NamesUnique Boy Names
Antarleena, Binatari, Caoife, Dianka, Elswyth, Evrydiki, Fara, Fayne, Geneza, Honor-Norah, Icasia, Idelette, Jafleen, Kasatria, Lochie, Malmuira, Nashmia, Orlia, Phildah, Rileytilly, Rinrada, Skaiste, Tuscany, Uvika, Valfreya, Weeam, Xiaotong, Yorkubel, ZanzibarAulliver, Burn, Caedmon, Coagh, Dhruvanandan, Ertugrul, Fenwick, Guerau, Hanzal, Istari, Jelvin, Jettison, Kifl, Lhanium, Moncef, Nojus, Opei-Wes, Phalata, Riliklan, Rukudzo, Sawney, Torquhil, Tselot, Uendjipa, Vakaris, Wilsheldro, Xataan, Yigit, Zhaocheng

Istari seems to be taken from Tolkien. The Elves referred to the wizards of Middle-earth (such as Gandalf) as istari, a plural noun meaning “wise ones” in Quenya.

Finally, in 2019, the top names in Scotland were Olivia and Jack.

Sources: Isla topples Olivia as top girl’s name, Babies’ First Names

Middle-Earth baby names: Arwen to Thorin

lord of the rings poster

J. R. R. Tolkien’s 3-part The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) was first published in the mid-1950s.

The trilogy started becoming popular in the U.S. in the 1960s, and this is when we first see LOTR character names (like Galadriel and Gandalf) popping up on the SSA’s baby name list.

It became very popular when director Peter Jackson turned it into three successful movies (released in 2001, 2002 and 2003).

So how did the books and the movies influence U.S. baby names? Let’s check it out…


Arwen debuted on the SSA’s list in 1968. Since then, over 2,080 baby girls have been named Arwen. Peak usage was in 2004.

The name Arwen means “noble maiden” in the fictional language Quenya (which Tolkien based largely on Finnish and Latin).


Aragorn debuted on the SSA’s list in 1970. Since then, over 50 baby boys have been named Aragorn. Peak usage was in 2004.

The name Aragorn means “revered king” in the fictional language Sindarin (based largely on Welsh).


Eowyn debuted on the SSA’s list in 1973. Since then, over 1,050 baby girls have been named Eowyn.

The name Eowyn means “horse joy” in the fictional language Rohirric (based on Old English).


It’s never been on the SSA’s list, but I know of one in England.

The name Frodo is an English translation of Frodo’s real name, Maura, which means “wise” or “experienced” in the fictional language Westron.


Galadriel debuted on the SSA’s list in 1969. Since then, over 170 baby girls have been named Galadriel. Peak usage was in 2003.

The name Galadriel means “maiden crowned with a radiant garland” in Sindarin.


Gandalf was on the SSA’s list in 1970 only (5 babies named Gandalf that year).

The name Gandalf means “wand-elf” in Westron and other Mannish languages.


Legolas debuted on the SSA’s list (and saw peak usage) in 2003. Since then, over 10 baby boys have been named Legolas.

The name Legolas is based on the name Laegolas, which means “greenleaf” in Sindarin.


Peregrin debuted on the SSA’s list in 2011. Since then, over 20 baby boys have been named Peregrin.

The name Peregrin is based on Peregrinus, which means “traveler” or “pilgrim” in Latin. (Peregrin is an English translation of Pippin’s Westron name, Razanur.)


Pippin debuted on the SSA’s list (as a girl name) in 2009. Since then, over 30 baby girls and 5 baby boys have been named Pippin.

“Pippin” was Peregrin’s nickname.


Samwise debuted on the SSA’s list in 2002. Since then, over 60 baby boys have been named Samwise.

The name Samwise is an English translation of Sam’s real name, Banazîr, which means “halfwise” or “simple” in Westron.


Strider debuted on the SSA’s list in 1973. Since then, over 240 baby boys have been named Strider.

“Strider” was Aragorn’s nickname.


Theoden debuted on the SSA’s list in 2004. Since then, 180 baby boys have been named Theoden.

The name Theoden is based on the name Tûrac, which means “king” in Rohirric.


Thorin debuted on the SSA’s list in 1968. Since then, over 1,170 baby boys have been named Thorin. (Commenter elbowin mentions that Thorin is now on the rise thanks to the character being featured in the more recent Hobbit movie trilogy, 2012-2014.)

The name Thorin is based on the Old Norse Þorinn, which means “bold one.”

P.S. Tori Amos’s daughter’s also has a Tolkien-inspired name.

Update, May 2015: The name Tauriel, though technically not a Tolkien name (it was created for the movies), debuted in the data in 2014.

Update: The name Beorn, from a character in the second two movies of the Hobbit trilogy, debuted in the data in 2015. (The Vikings name Bjorn may have been an influence as well.)

Update, April 2019: The name Tolkien itself debuted in the data in 2017. (The second syllable rhymes with the word keen.)