How popular is the baby name Greer 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 Greer.

The graph will take a few seconds to load, thanks for your patience. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take nine months.) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.


Popularity of the Baby Name Greer


Posts that Mention the Name Greer

What turned Greer into a girl name in the early 1940s?

Actress Greer Garson (1904-1996)
Greer Garson

From the 1910s to the 1930s, the rare name Greer occasionally popped in the in the U.S. baby name data as a boy name. In the early 1940s, though, it suddenly started being given to baby girls:

  • 1943: 37 baby girls and 10 baby boys named Greer
  • 1942: 15 baby girls and 6 baby boys named Greer
  • 1941: 5 baby girls named Greer
  • 1940: unlisted
  • 1939: unlisted

In fact, from 1941 onward, the name Greer has been given more often to baby girls than to baby boys:

Graph of the usage of the baby name Greer
Graph of the usage of the name Greer

What caused the switch?

Red-haired British actress Greer Garson, who was most popular in America during the early-to-mid 1940s. She was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actress seven times, though she won only once (for her role in the 1942 movie Mrs. Miniver).

Her birth name was Eileen Evelyn Greer Garson; Greer was her mother’s maiden name. She began going by “Greer Garson” in the early 1930s, while she was still a stage actress in England.

Louis B. Mayer, head of MGM studios, discovered Garson in 1937 while he was abroad hunting for talent. After that particular trip, he sailed back to the U.S. with Garson and several other finds:

Also on board were two Austrian actresses named Hedy Kiesler and Rose Stradner, screenwriter Walter Reisch, and two singers, Hungarian Ilona Hajmassy, and Polish Miliza Korjus. While Mayer renamed Hedy Kiesler “Hedy Lamarr” and changed Ilona Hajmassy to “Ilona Massey,” he was stumped when it came to Greer and Miliza Korjus. Ultimately, he settled with Howard Strickling [head of MGM’s publicity department] to start a publicity campaign for Korjus (“her name rhymes with gorgeous!”), and left Greer’s name alone. But for years he would continue to complain that her name was not feminine enough.

The surname Greer is related to the personal name Gregory, which means “watchful, alert.”

What are your thoughts on the name Greer? Do you like it better as a girl name or as a boy name?

Sources:

P.S. The top image of (a very bejeweled) Greer Garson comes from her appearance on the TV game show “What’s My Line?” in April of 1958.

P.P.S. At the height of her fame, Greer Garson owned two standard poodles with the rhyming names Gogo and Clicquot (pronounced klee-koh).

Name Quotes #30: Jaime, Kirra, Aoife

From a letter written by Mr. Rogers to a fan named Jason in 1987:

You asked me what my middle name is. When you care about people, you want to know more about them. My middle name is McFeely. I was named after my Grandfather McFeely. That’s the name we decided to use for the man who does the deliveries on our television visits.

From “What’s In A Child’s Name” by Rich Cromwell:

Before Aoife, we were never big on meaningful names, on names that represented something. With Greer and Scout, we just went with ones that were right for the moment, oblivious to what serendipity had in store. With Aoife, there was a purpose, a reason. And if when she curses us for it, we have a story to tell her. A story she can tell. She may not immediately appreciate it, but in time she will.

From the about page of blogger ShezCrafti (a.k.a. Jaime):

I was named after Jaime Sommers, The Bionic Woman. True story. My mom was a huge fan and evidently watched a lot of it while pregnant with me. But these days it’s cooler to tell people I spell it like Jaime Lannister.

(The “ShezCrafti” handle comes from the Beastie Boys song “She’s Crafty.”)

From an essay called “Your Kid is a Little Asshole” by Nils Parker:

Most of the little girls were what you’d expect from the affluent suburbs of a major American city. They were cute, thin, predominantly blond, with WASPy names that were so white they were practically invisible.

From an article about Christmas Day babies (same place I found EFC):

Weighing in at 6lb 14oz Kirra Smith was born at 5.09am to the delight of Ella and her mum Claire, 42, and dad Richard, 46, from Neston.

Gazing at her new-born, Claire, a speech and language therapist, said: “Yes. Ella wished for a sister and now she has got one. It was a shock as she was not due until January 6 but this is very special and I will never forget this Christmas.”

Kirra’s unusual name was inspired by Kirra Beach on Australia’s Gold Coast where Richard likes to surf when visiting Claire’s ex-pat mum Triana, 65, who flew over to be at the birth.

From an article called “The newest species of catfish is named after Greedo from Star Wars” by Elahe Izadi:

“We were trying to figure out what the characteristics on it were,” he said. “We share a lab with some arachnologists, and one of them looked at it and said, ‘You know, that looks like that guy from Star Wars.'”

[Jonathan] Armbruster and his colleagues figured out the arachnologist had been referring to Greedo. “As soon as we heard that, we knew what the species would be,” Armbruster said.

From an article called “I’m a Princess and don’t you dare forget it!” by Charlotte Oliver (thank you to Clare of Name News for this one!):

At university, I accrued the ear-splitting nickname Choliver, until I simply refused to respond. And while my favourite, Carlotta, worked when I lived in Mexico — mostly with Mojito in hand and salsa on the stereo — I soon realised it caused something of a stink when I returned to the UK. Like a very English John, who replies: “Ay, no papi, call me Juan.”

From an Amy Schumer stand-up act from 2011 (3:18-3:48):

I have this one friend Sabina, though, we’ve been friends forever. She’s gorgeous. She’s a Ford model, she’s dating a professional athlete. And that name Sabina, that’s one of those annoying names you have to be really hot to pull off, right? … You can’t have a bum knee and a lazy eye and be like, “I’m Sabina!”

[….]

If you’re really hot you can be like, I’m Gorgonzola, whut.”

(For the record, I have yet to find a person legally named Gorgonzola.)

Baby name needed: Girl name for Saylor’s sister

light bulbs

A reader named Michelle has a son named Saylor Dorian. She’s expecting a baby girl in May and would like some name suggestions. She says:

We originally picked shiloh for a girl but we aren’t liking how popular it’s getting [due to a celebrity finding it first..grrr] we want a unique name that’s still ‘easy on the ears’ as in easy to get used to. I try to stay away from the too feminine popular vowel names like ava, bella, etc… though we like them we don’t want a trendy name like piper, stella, etc…

We are currently tossing around names like vega, remy…. though what i loved about shiloh was that O ending.. but we are open to whatever.

First let’s try to come up some more o-endings. How about:

Callisto
Calypso
Clio
Flo (Flora/Florence)
Jo (Josie/Josephine)
Juno
Leo (Leona)
Margot
Marlow
Meadow
Mo (Maureen)
Willow

And here are some other names that came to mind:

Audra
Briar
Darcy
Dylan
Emery
Fiona
Gillian
Greer
Heidi
Ione
Jaya
Lotus
Lyra
Mina
Morgan
Nadia
Naomi
Nova
Phoebe
Rory
Tess
Violet
Vita
Zillah

Which of the above do you like best for Saylor’s sister? What other girl names would you suggest to Michelle?

One-syllable girl names: Kate, Sage, Wren, Maeve

Looking for a girl name that’s short and to-the-point? Something that might work particularly well as a middle name?

Check out this list of several hundred one-syllable girl names. (And click on any name to see its popularity graph!)

Please note that I did include names in the gray area between one syllable and two syllables. The deciding factor on these particular names will be your own interpretation/accent, so be sure to test the names out loud before making any final decisions. (“Hayle,” for instance — would you say it like Hale, or like Hailey? Or “Rise” — is it rize, or ree-sah?)

Many of these names also happen to be unisex, so they appear on the One-Syllable Boy Names list as well.

What’s your favorite one-syllable girl name?

[Latest Update: June 2021]