While researching -ity names (like Felicity and Serenity) at one point, I happened upon the odd name Sossity, which was in the U.S. baby name data a total of twice, both times in the 1970s:
1976: 7 baby girls named Sossity
1972: 5 baby girls named Sossity [debut]
Where did it come from?
The Jethro Tull song “Sossity: You’re a Woman,” which was the last track on their third album, Benefit (1970).
As made clear by the lyrics, the fictitious female Sossity is meant to be symbolic of society at large:
Sossity: You’re a woman. Society: You’re a woman.
According to Jethro Tull singer Ian Anderson, the song “obviously [was] written as a double-meaning where I’m notionally talking about an imaginary girl in frankly a rather thin and embarrassing pun.” He also said the song was “kind of okay musically…but lyrically I was never really comfortable with it. And it’s mainly that one word, Sossity, an invented word that seemed like a rather prissy girl’s name.”
So how did the British band come to be named after a 18th-century British agriculturist/inventor?
In the late ’60s, when the group was playing small clubs, they changed their name frequently. “Jethro Tull” was a name they tried in February of 1968 at the suggestion of a booking agent, and that’s the one that stuck.
Ian has said that he since regrets choosing that name, specifically disliking the fact that it came from a real historical person: “I can’t help but feel more and more as I get older that I’m guilty of identity theft and I ought to go to prison for it, really.”
(Jethro Tull’s next and more successful album, Aqualung, featured a song about a character named Aqualung. I’m happy to report that “Aqualung” has never popped up in the SSA data.)
Which single-syllable names were the most popular in 2021?
I scanned the 2021 rankings for one-syllable names and found these:
Grace (ranked 34th overall)
(A little lower down were Sage, Ruth, and Blake.)
James (ranked 5th overall)
(A little lower down were George, Rhett, and Jude.)
These lists include the same names that appeared on the 2020 lists, but in both cases the names are in a slightly different order.
And, of course, here’s the usual disclaimer: I left out the borderline boy names (Owen, Wyatt, Charles, Miles/Myles, Ryan, Ian, Rowan, Gael) that can be pronounced with either one or two syllables, depending upon the accent of the speaker. Notably, all nine of these names ranked higher than both Chase and Cole.