How popular is the baby name Leonardo 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 Leonardo.
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According to the government of Zurich, the most popular baby names last year in the German-speaking Swiss city were Olivia and Noah.
Here are Zurich’s top girl names and top boy names of 2021:
Olivia, 28 baby girls
Anna, 24 (tie)
Ella, 24 (tie)
Mia, 22 (3-way tie)
Sofia, 22 (3-way tie)
Sophia, 22 (3-way tie)
Clara, 14 (3-way tie)
Lea, 14 (3-way tie)
Zoe, 14 (3-way tie)
Noah, 27 baby boys
Levi, 18 (3-way tie)
Luca, 18 (3-way tie)
Mateo, 18 (3-way tie)
Luis, 17 (tie)
Maximilian, 17 (tie)
Felix, 16 (4-way tie)
Finn, 16 (4-way tie)
Leonardo, 16 (4-way tie)
Liam, 16 (4-way tie)
Daniel, 15 (4-way tie)
Elias, 15 (4-way tie)
Jan, 15 (4-way tie)
Vincent, 15 (4-way tie)
Though I’ve posted rankings for Switzerland before, I’ve never looked at the rankings for Zurich specifically, so I don’t have any past sets of rankings to compare this set to.
But — because Zurich’s rankings included everything from the top names down to the single-use names — I can give you a sampling of the baby names that were bestowed just once last year in Switzerland’s largest city:
According to Italy’s ISTAT (Istituto Nazionale di Statistica), the most popular baby names in the country in 2020 were Sofia and Leonardo.
Here are Italy’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2020:
Sofia, 5,604 baby girls (2.87%)
Leonardo, 8,604 baby boys (4.15%)
In the girls’ top 10, Matilde replaced Greta (now in 16th place).
The boys’ top 10 includes the same names, but in a slightly different order.
Notably, Leonardo held an even more commanding lead in 2020 (4.15%) than in 2019 (3.64%). More than 1 in 25 baby boys were named Leonardo last year.
Also notable is the rise of Azzurra during the early 21st century. I didn’t realize until writing about a Scots-Italian baby named Azzurra last year that this name could be a reference to Italy’s national soccer team, known as gli Azzurri (“the Blues”) because the players wear Savoy azure. The baby name Azzurra entered Italy’s top 50 in 2017 and was ranked 27th for girls last year.
2020: 1,334 Italian baby girls named Azzurra (ranked 27th)
2019: 1,059 Italian baby girls named Azzurra (ranked 38th)
2018: 1,041 Italian baby girls named Azzurra (ranked 40th)
2017: 926 Italian baby girls named Azzurra (ranked 47th)
2016: 788 Italian baby girls named Azzurra
2015: 848 Italian baby girls named Azzurra
2014: 628 Italian baby girls named Azzurra
2013: 652 Italian baby girls named Azzurra
2012: 540 Italian baby girls named Azzurra
2011: 459 Italian baby girls named Azzurra
How high do you think it could climb?
In 2019, the top two names in Italy were also Sofia and Leonardo.
The name Ellesse started popping up in the U.S. baby name data in the mid-1980s:
1988: 12 baby girls named Ellesse
6 born in California
1987: 12 baby girls named Ellesse
8 born in California
1986: 10 baby girls named Ellesse [debut]
Where did it come from?
The Italian sportswear brand Ellesse (pronounced el-ES), the name of which was derived from the initials of the founder, Leonardo Servadio (“L. S.”).
The brand grew popular during the 1970s and 1980s thanks to close associations with the sports of skiing and tennis. Tennis stars Guillermo Vilas, Chris Evert, and Boris Becker were all sponsored by Ellesse. In fact, Becker was wearing Ellesse outfits when he won Wimbledon in both 1985 and 1986.
Advertisements and tennis sponsorships may have been enough to boost “Ellesse” into the baby name data in 1986, but two more things that might have helped as well include:
Ellesse’s sponsorship of the New York City Marathon from 1984 to 1986, and/or
Ellesse’s partnership with Philadelphia 76ers player Maurice “Mo” Cheeks — at that time, a recent NBA champion and recent All-Star — to create Maurice Cheeks basketball shoes in 1985.
All that said…I can’t account for the particularly high usage of Ellesse in California. Any ideas? (Is there a telenovela I’m missing here?)