How popular is the baby name Linda 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 Linda.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Linda


Posts that Mention the Name Linda

How did “I Love Lucy” influence baby names?

Arnaz family on the cover of LIFE magazine (Apr. 6, 1953)
Arnaz family on the cover of LIFE, 1953

The sitcom I Love Lucy (1951-1957) was TV’s first mega-hit. It won five Emmys and was ranked the #1 TV show in America four out of its six seasons.

The central characters were Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, played by real-life couple Lucille Ball (b. 1911 in New York) and Desiderio “Desi” Arnaz (b. 1917 in Cuba).

Ricky worked as a singer and bandleader at the Tropicana nightclub, while Lucy was a housewife on a quest for show business fame who “concocted hilarious (and ultimately doomed) schemes to finagle her way out of the kitchen and into the limelight.”

Though the show ended in 1957, and a modified version called The Ford Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show kept the characters on the air for several more years.

So did I Love Lucy affect U.S. baby names? Yes, though not as much as one might expect, given its popularity.

Lucy & Lucille
Old-fashioned Lucy and Lucille spent most of the 20th century declining in usage. But Lucy saw an increase in 1952, and both names saw increases in 1953. (The most fashionable L-name at that time was #1 Linda.)

Ricky & Ricardo
Ricky and Ricardo had been on the rise since the ’40s, but those rises accelerated during the ’50s. One event that certainly helped Ricky was the birth of Little Ricky on a particularly popular episode that aired in January of 1953.

Little Ricky’s birth coincided with the birth of Lucy and Desi’s second child, Desi Arnaz, Jr. In fact, the cover of the very first issue of TV Guide (April, 1953) featured a photo of baby Desi:

Baby Desi Arnaz, Jr., on the cover of the very first issue of "TV Guide" (April, 1953).
First issue of “TV Guide

(Another Ricky who was on TV in the ’50s was Ricky Nelson, son of Ozzie and Harriet.)

Desi & Arnaz
The ’50s is the first decade we see the regular appearance of Desi (pronounced DEH-zee) in the data. Similarly, we first see the surname Arnaz (pronounced ahr-NEZ) in 1958 specifically. Variant spelling Arnez showed up in 1960.

Now it’s your turn: Do you love the name Lucy? Or do you prefer Lucille?

Source: I Love Lucy – Britannica.com
Top image: © 1953 LIFE

Popular Baby Names in NYC, 1990-2019

Did you know that New York City’s website hosts vital statistics reports (PDFs) going all the way back to the 1960s? And that, from 1991 onward, these annual reports include baby name rankings for NYC?

I don’t want you to have to comb through a whole bunch of PDFs to find the city’s historical top-ten lists, though, so I gathered all the lists into a single blog post.

The name tables in the reports also incorporate several older sets rankings (from 1990, 1985, 1980, 1948, 1928, and 1898 specifically) for comparison, and those are here well — just scroll to the bottom.


2019

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2019. (Here’s my post about the 2019 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2019)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2019)
1. Emma
2. Olivia
3. Sophia
4. Mia
5. Isabella
6. Leah
7. Ava
8. Chloe
9. Amelia
10. Charlotte
1. Liam
2. Noah
3. Ethan
4. Jacob
5. Lucas
6. Aiden
7. Daniel
8. Michael
9. David
10. Matthew

2018

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2018. (Here’s my post about the 2018 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2018)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2018)
1. Emma
2. Isabella
3. Sophia
4. Mia
5. Olivia
6. Ava
7. Leah
8. Sarah
9. Amelia
10. Chloe
1. Liam
2. Noah
3. Ethan
4. Jacob
5. Aiden
6. David
7. Lucas
8. Matthew
9. Daniel
10. Alexander

2017

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2017. (Here’s my post about the 2017 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2017)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2017)
1. Emma
2. Olivia
3. Mia
4. Sophia
5. Isabella
6. Ava
7. Leah
8. Emily
9. Sarah
10. Abigail
1. Liam
2. Noah
3. Jacob
4. Ethan
5. David
6. Lucas
7. Matthew
8. Jayden
9. Aiden
10. Daniel

2016

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2016. (Here’s my post about the 2016 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2016)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2016)
1. Olivia
2. Sophia
3. Emma
4. Isabella
5. Mia
6. Ava
7. Emily
8. Leah
9. Sarah
10. Madison
1. Liam
2. Jacob
3. Ethan
4. Noah
5. Aiden
6. Matthew
7. Daniel
8. Lucas
9. Michael
10. Dylan

2015

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2015. (Here’s my post about the 2015 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2015)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2015)
1. Olivia
2. Sophia
3. Emma (tie)
4. Mia (tie)
5. Isabella
6. Leah
7. Emily
8. Ava
9. Chloe
10. Madison
1. Ethan
2. Liam
3. Noah
4. Jacob
5. Jayden
6. Matthew
7. David
8. Daniel (tie)
9. Dylan (tie)
10. Aiden

2014

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2014. (Here’s my post about the 2014 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2014)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2014)
1. Sophia
2. Isabella
3. Olivia
4. Mia
5. Emma
6. Emily
7. Leah
8. Ava
9. Sofia
10. Chloe
1. Ethan
2. Jacob
3. Liam
4. Jayden
5. Noah
6. Daniel
7. Michael
8. Alexander
9. David
10. Matthew

2013

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2013.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2013)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2013)
1. Sophia
2. Isabella
3. Emma
4. Olivia
5. Mia
6. Emily
7. Leah
8. Sofia
9. Madison
10. Chloe
1. Jayden
2. Ethan
3. Jacob
4. Daniel
5. David
6. Noah
7. Michael
8. Matthew
9. Alexander
10. Liam

2012

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2012.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2012)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2012)
1. Sophia
2. Isabella
3. Emma
4. Olivia
5. Emily
6. Mia
7. Chloe
8. Madison
9. Leah
10. Ava
1. Jayden
2. Ethan
3. Jacob
4. Daniel
5. Matthew
6. Michael
7. Aiden
8. David
9. Ryan
10. Alexander

2011

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2011. (Here’s my post about the 2011 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2011)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2011)
1. Isabella
2. Sophia
3. Olivia
4. Emma
5. Mia
6. Emily
7. Madison
8. Leah
9. Chloe
10. Sofia
1. Jayden
2. Jacob
3. Ethan
4. Daniel
5. Michael
6. Matthew
7. Justin
8. David
9. Aiden
10. Alexander

2010

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2010.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2010)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2010)
1. Isabella
2. Sophia
3. Olivia
4. Emily
5. Madison
6. Mia
7. Emma
8. Leah
9. Sarah
10. Chloe
1. Jayden
2. Ethan
3. Daniel
4. Jacob
5. David
6. Justin
7. Michael
8. Matthew
9. Joseph
10. Joshua

2009

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2009.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2009)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2009)
1. Isabella
2. Sophia
3. Mia
4. Emily
5. Olivia
6. Madison
7. Sarah
8. Ashley
9. Leah
10. Emma
1. Jayden
2. Daniel
3. Ethan
4. Michael
5. David
6. Justin
7. Matthew
8. Joshua
9. Alexander
10. Christopher

2008

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2008.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2008)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2008)
1. Sophia
2. Isabella
3. Emily
4. Olivia
5. Sarah
6. Madison
7. Ashley
8. Mia
9. Samantha
10. Emma
1. Jayden
2. Daniel
3. Michael
4. Matthew
5. David
6. Joshua
7. Justin
8. Anthony
9. Christopher
10. Ethan/Ryan (tied for 10th)

2007

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2007. (Here’s my post about the 2007 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2007)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2007)
1. Isabella (tie)
2. Sophia (tie)
3. Emily
4. Ashley
5. Sarah
6. Kayla
7. Mia
8. Olivia
9. Samantha
10. Rachel
1. Daniel
2. Jayden
3. Michael
4. Matthew
5. Justin
6. Joshua
7. David
8. Anthony
9. Christopher
10. Joseph

2006

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2006. (Here’s my post about the 2006 NYC rankings.)

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2006)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2006)
1. Ashley
2. Emily
3. Isabella
4. Sarah
5. Kayla
6. Sophia
7. Mia
8. Madison
9. Brianna (tie)
10. Samantha (tie)
1. Michael
2. Daniel
3. Matthew
4. Joshua
5. Justin
6. David
7. Christopher
8. Joseph
9. Anthony
10. Jayden

2005

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2005.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2005)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2005)
1. Emily
2. Ashley
3. Kayla
4. Sarah
5. Isabella
6. Samantha
7. Sophia
8. Nicole
9. Olivia
10. Rachel
1. Michael
2. Daniel
3. Joshua
4. David
5. Justin
6. Matthew
7. Anthony
8. Christopher
9. Joseph
10. Nicholas

2004

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2004.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2004)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2004)
1. Emily
2. Ashley
3. Kayla
4. Sarah
5. Samantha
6. Isabella
7. Brianna
8. Sophia
9. Nicole
10. Olivia
1. Michael
2. Daniel
3. Matthew
4. Justin
5. Joshua
6. David
7. Anthony
8. Christopher (tie)
9. Joseph (tie)
10. Ryan

2003

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2003.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2003)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2003)
1. Emily
2. Ashley
3. Kayla
4. Sarah
5. Samantha
6. Brianna
7. Isabella
8. Nicole
9. Rachel
10. Jessica
1. Michael
2. Justin
3. Daniel
4. Matthew
5. Christopher
6. Anthony
7. David
8. Joshua
9. Joseph
10. Kevin

2002

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2002.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2002)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2002)
1. Ashley
2. Emily
3. Kayla
4. Brianna
5. Samantha
6. Sarah
7. Nicole
8. Jessica
9. Michelle
10. Isabella
1. Michael
2. Justin
3. Daniel
4. Matthew
5. Christopher
6. Joseph
7. Anthony
8. Joshua
9. Nicholas
10. David

2001

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2001.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2001)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2001)
1. Ashley
2. Kayla
3. Samantha
4. Emily
5. Jessica
6. Brianna
7. Nicole
8. Sarah
9. Destiny
10. Michelle
1. Michael
2. Justin
3. Christopher
4. Daniel
5. Matthew
6. Joseph
7. Anthony
8. David
9. Joshua
10. Kevin

2000

The most popular baby names in New York City in 2000.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 2000)Top Boy Names (NYC, 2000)
1. Ashley
2. Samantha
3. Kayla
4. Emily
5. Brianna
6. Sarah
7. Jessica
8. Nicole
9. Michelle
10. Amanda
1. Michael
2. Justin
3. Christopher
4. Matthew
5. Daniel
6. Anthony
7. Joshua
8. David
9. Joseph
10. Kevin

1999

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1999.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1999)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1999)
1. Ashley
2. Samantha
3. Emily
4. Sarah
5. Nicole
6. Kayla
7. Jessica
8. Brianna
9. Amanda
10. Jennifer
1. Michael
2. Justin
3. Matthew
4. Christopher
5. Joseph
6. Daniel
7. Anthony
8. David
9. Kevin
10. Joshua

1998

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1998.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1998)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1998)
1. Ashley
2. Samantha
3. Jessica
4. Amanda
5. Nicole
6. Emily
7. Jennifer
8. Sarah
9. Brianna
10. Stephanie
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Justin
4. Joseph
5. Matthew
6. Anthony
7. Daniel
8. Brandon
9. Nicholas
10. David

1997

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1997.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1997)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1997)
1. Ashley
2. Samantha
3. Jessica
4. Nicole
5. Amanda
6. Sarah
7. Stephanie
8. Jennifer
9. Emily
10. Brianna
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Joseph
4. Matthew
5. Justin
6. Daniel
7. Anthony (tie)
8. Brandon (tie)
9. David
10. Jonathan

1996

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1996.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1996)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1996)
1. Ashley
2. Jessica
3. Samantha
4. Stephanie
5. Nicole
6. Amanda
7. Jennifer
8. Sarah
9. Michelle
10. Emily
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Anthony
4. Kevin
5. Daniel
6. Joseph
7. Matthew
8. Justin
9. Jonathan
10. David

1995

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1995.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1995)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1995)
1. Ashley
2. Jessica
3. Amanda
4. Samantha
5. Stephanie
6. Jennifer
7. Nicole
8. Sarah*
9. Michelle
10. Emily
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Kevin
4. Daniel
5. Jonathan
6. Joseph
7. Anthony
8. Matthew
9. David
10. Justin

*The name was spelled “Sara” (without the h) in the 1995 annual report, but “Sarah” (with the h) on all the other reports. So, assuming that “Sara” was a typo, I’ve spelled it with the h here.

1994

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1994.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1994)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1994)
1. Ashley
2. Jessica
3. Stephanie
4. Samantha
5. Amanda
6. Nicole
7. Jennifer
8. Michelle
9. Tiffany
10. Danielle
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Kevin
4. Anthony
5. Jonathan
6. Daniel
7. Joseph
8. Matthew
9. David
10. Brandon

1993

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1993.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1993)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1993)
1. Ashley
2. Stephanie
3. Jessica
4. Amanda
5. Samantha
6. Nicole
7. Jennifer
8. Michelle
9. Melissa
10. Christina
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Kevin
4. Jonathan
5. Anthony
6. Daniel
7. Joseph
8. David
9. Matthew
10. John

1992

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1992.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1992)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1992)
1. Ashley
2. Stephanie
3. Jessica
4. Amanda
5. Samantha
6. Jennifer
7. Nicole
8. Michelle
9. Melissa
10. Christina
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Jonathan
4. Anthony
5. Joseph
6. Daniel
7. David
8. Kevin
9. Matthew
10. John

1991

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1991.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1991)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1991)
1. Stephanie
2. Ashley
3. Jessica
4. Amanda
5. Samantha
6. Jennifer
7. Nicole
8. Michelle
9. Melissa
10. Christina
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Jonathan
4. Anthony
5. Joseph
6. Daniel
7. David
8. Matthew
9. Kevin
10. John

1990

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1990.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1990)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1990)
1. Stephanie
2. Jessica
3. Ashley
4. Jennifer
5. Amanda
6. Samantha
7. Nicole
8. Christina
9. Melissa
10. Michelle
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Jonathan
4. Anthony
5. David
6. Daniel
7. Joseph
8. Matthew
9. John
10. Andrew

1985

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1985.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1985)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1985)
1. Jennifer
2. Jessica
3. Christina
4. Stephanie
5. Melissa
6. Nicole
7. Elizabeth
8. Amanda
9. Danielle
10. Lauren
1. Michael
2. Christopher
3. Daniel
4. David
5. Anthony
6. Joseph
7. Jonathan
8. Jason
9. John
10. Robert

1980

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1980.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1980)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1980)
1. Jennifer
2. Jessica
3. Melissa
4. Nicole
5. Michelle
6. Elizabeth
7. Lisa
8. Christina
9. Tiffany
10. Maria
1. Michael
2. David
3. Jason
4. Joseph
5. Christopher
6. Anthony
7. John
8. Daniel
9. Robert
10. James

1948

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1948.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1948)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1948)
1. Linda
2. Mary
3. Barbara
4. Patricia
5. Susan
6. Kathleen
7. Carol
8. Nancy
9. Margaret
10. Diane
1. Robert
2. John
3. James
4. Michael
5. William
6. Richard
7. Joseph
8. Thomas
9. Stephen
10. David

1928

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1928.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1928)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1928)
1. Mary
2. Marie
3. Annie
4. Margaret
5. Catherine
6. Gloria
7. Helen
8. Teresa
9. Joan
10. Barbara
1. John
2. William
3. Joseph
4. James
5. Richard
6. Edward
7. Robert
8. Thomas
9. George
10. Louis

1898

The most popular baby names in New York City in 1898.

Top Girl Names (NYC, 1898)Top Boy Names (NYC, 1898)
1. Mary
2. Catherine
3. Margaret
4. Annie
5. Rose
6. Marie
7. Esther
8. Sarah
9. Frances
10. Ida
1. John
2. William
3. Charles
4. George
5. Joseph
6. Edward
7. James
8. Louis
9. Francis
10. Samuel

NYC typically waits until the following December to release their baby name rankings, so I don’t expect the 2020 rankings to be available until the end of this year.

Sources: New York City‘s Summary of Vital Statistics for 2018 (pdf), 2017 (pdf), 2016 (pdf), 2015 (pdf), 2014 (pdf), 2013 (pdf), 2012 (pdf), 2011 (pdf), 2010 (pdf), 2009 (pdf), 2008 (pdf), 2007 (pdf), 2006 (pdf), 2005 (pdf), 2004 (pdf), 2003 (pdf), 2002 (pdf), 2001 (pdf), 2000 (pdf), 1999 (pdf), 1998 (pdf), 1997 (pdf), 1996 (pdf), 1995 (pdf), 1994 (pdf), 1993 (pdf), 1992 (pdf), 1991 (pdf)

Name Quotes #94: Guy, Penn, Lynn

Happy Monday, everyone! Here’s the latest batch of name quotes…

From a 2016 article recounting the time the BBC mistook one guy named Guy for another guy named Guy:

It’s now more than a decade since Congolese job hopeful Guy Goma found himself offering his not-so-expert analysis of a legal dispute between Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) and Apple Corp, The Beatles’ record label, over trademark rights.

Goma, after arriving at the BBC’s West London headquarters for an interview for a job in the IT department on May 8, 2006, was mistaken for a studio guest, British technology journalist Guy Kewney, and ushered all the way into a live BBC News 24 studio.

This was Guy Goma’s unplanned TV appearance:

[The mix-up happened just a couple of months after I started this name blog, incidentally.]

From a 1979 People article about the “eerie similarities” between two Ohio men who discovered, at age 39, that they were twins separated at birth:

Curiously, both had been christened James by their adoptive parents [who lived 40 miles apart]. As schoolboys, both enjoyed math and carpentry — but hated spelling. Both pursued similar adult occupations: Lewis is a security guard at a steel mill, and Springer was a deputy sheriff (though he is now a clerk for a power company). Both married women named Linda, only to divorce and remarry — each a woman named Betty. Both have sons: James Alan Lewis and James Allan Springer.

Penn Jillette, speaking to contestant Paul Gertner during a mid-2020 episode of Penn & Teller: Fool Us:

You gave me this pen. And you gave me the pen with a joke — a joke about my name. You said, “Here’s a pen, Penn.”

When I was in grade school, it would be, “Hey Penn, got a pencil?” “Hey Penn, how’s pencil?” I should have an index of all those pen jokes that were told to me. I’d have over fifty, maybe more than that. It was amazing.

On the name of activist/environmentalist MaVynee Betsch (1935-2005):

Even her name, pronounced “Ma-veen,” requires a politically charged translation. Christened Marvyne, Betsch added an extra e for the environment, and dropped the r in the 1980s to protest the environmental policies of the Reagan administration.

From the New York Times Magazine essay “Celebrate Your Name Day” by Linda Kinstler:

My family had chosen “Linda” in part because it sounded incontrovertibly American to their Soviet ears, practically an idiom of assimilation unto itself. According to a 2018 study, it is the “trendiest” name in U.S. history, having experienced a sharp rise and precipitous fall in popularity amid the postwar baby boom. By naming me Linda, my parents hoped they were conferring an easy American life upon me, a life free of mispronunciations and mistakes. For them, such a life would be forever out of reach.

[…]

Most of the Lindas I have encountered in my age group are also millennial daughters of immigrants; our name is a reminder of our parents’ aspirations and of the immense promise with which our name is laden.

On the experience of being a male Lynn, from a BBC piece about people with unfashionable names:

As a 61-year-old man, I have suffered all my life with the name Lynn. My mother simply named me after a little-known celebrity of the early 50s because she wanted a name that was not capable of being shortened. For a while I had people such as Welsh long jumper Lynn Davies to allay the perpetual claims that “it was a girl’s name”. But this led others to believe that it had to be of Welsh derivation. But there are no new male “Lynns” to correct either opinion. All this despite the fact that in the 1930s and 1940s, I believe that Lynn was more popular as a man’s name – especially in America. ~Lynn Jonathan Prescott, Birmingham

From the 2009 book Johnny Cash and the Paradox of American Identity by Leigh H. Edwards:

In [the autobiography] Cash, he explicitly addresses how he represents his identity differently in different contexts, noting how he uses different names for the different “Cashes” he played in different social settings, stating that he “operate[s] at various levels.” He stages a struggle between “Johnny Cash” the hell-rais[ing], hotel-trashing, pill-popping worldwide star and “John R. Cash,” a more subdued, adult persona.

Where did the baby name Tiki come from?

In the 1950s and ’60s, Tiki culture — including Tiki bars — were all the rage in the United States. Even Disneyland got in on the action, introducing the Enchanted Tiki Room in 1963.

So it’s not terribly surprising the that the baby name Tiki emerged in the SSA data in the early 1960s:

  • 1964: 12 baby girls named Tiki
  • 1963: 9 baby girls named Tiki
  • 1962: 5 baby girls named Tiki
  • 1961: unlisted
  • 1960: 15 baby girls named Tiki [debut]
  • 1959: unlisted

But that rather impressive 1960 debut — and subsequent drop-off a year later– suggests that a specific event kicked off the initial usage of Tiki.

I’ve got two theories on this one.

First is the Hawaiian Eye episode “Fatal Cruise,” which aired in February of 1960 and featured actress Linda Lawson as a character named Tiki.

tiki, 1960s, baby name, television
The schooner Tiki

Second is the show Adventures in Paradise, in which the main character, Capt. Adam Troy, travels around the South Pacific on a schooner called the Tiki.

(Adventures in Paradise, which kicked off the names Sondi and Tiare, was created by writer James Michener, who was behind the debuts of Sayonara and Kerith.)

The first theory makes the most sense, because Hawaiian Eye associated the name with a (very pretty) human. But I don’t think we can discount the second theory, because Adventures in Paradise consistently presented “Tiki” as a name…even if it was just the name of a boat.

So where does the word tiki come from? It was used in the Marquesas and in New Zealand to refer to any carving with human features. (The equivalent word in Hawaiian is ki’i and in Tahitian is ti’i.) Originally, though, Tiki was a specific mythological figure: “the Polynesian Adam, the creator of man…sort of half-man and half-god.”

What are your thoughts on Tiki as a baby name?

Sources: Fatal Cruise, Hawaiian Eye – IMDb, Adventures in Paradise – Fifties Web, Tiki Hangover: Unearthing the False Idols of America’s South Seas Fantasy

What turned Sugar into a baby name?

The character Sugar Kane from the movie "Beach Blanket Bingo" (1965).
Sugar Kane from “Beach Blanket Bingo

The rare baby name Sugar has an interesting pattern of usage in the U.S. data. It appeared as a boy name during the ’50s, then switched to a girl name in the ’60s—except for an interesting one-year return to the boys’ list in the ’80s.

Usage of the baby name Sugar
Usage of Sugar

The initial appearance in 1951 was no doubt influenced by boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, who fought professionally from the ’40s to the ’60s. A number of the 1950s Sugars had “Ray” and “R.” in the middle spot, according to records.

  • 1955: 5 baby boys named Sugar
  • 1954: unlisted
  • 1953: 6 baby boys named Sugar
  • 1952: 7 baby boys named Sugar
  • 1951: 5 baby boys named Sugar [debut]
  • 1950: unlisted
  • 1949: unlisted

Interestingly, he was retired throughout 1953 and most of 1954. (He tried to launch a career as a tap-dancing entertainer during that time.)

The switcheroo in the ’60s was influenced by something a little more obscure: a character in the 1965 movie Beach Blanket Bingo. The film starred Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, but also featured a singing character named Sugar Kane (played by Linda Evans).

  • 1967: unlisted
  • 1966: unlisted
  • 1965: 6 baby girls named Sugar
  • 1964: unlisted
  • 1963: unlisted

That was the only ’60s appearance, but the name came back for all of the ’70s. Two pop culture influences that probably helped usage roll along during that decade were the 1971 song “Brown Sugar” by the Rolling Stones and the 1974 movie Sugar Hill, starring Marki Bey (who had put the name Marki on the map several years earlier) as the title character.

Finally, there’s that anomalous, single-year return to the boys’ side of the list:

  • 1982: 5 baby girls named Sugar
  • 1981: 11 baby boys named Sugar
  • 1980: 5 baby girls named Sugar

My best guess here is boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, who fought from the ’70s to the ’90s. The specific reason might have been “The Showdown” — his highly publicized fight against Thomas Hearns in September of 1981.

What are your thoughts on “Sugar” as a name? Do you think of it more as a girl name or as a boy name?

P.S. Sugar Ray Robinson was born Walker Smith. Sugar Ray Leonard was born Ray Charles Leonard — named after the singer, then nicknamed after the original Sugar Ray.

Some thought he was arrogant when [Sugar Ray Leonard] usurped the nickname Sugar Ray, after the man many consider boxing’s best fighter, pound-for-pound. But not the one person who counted.

“I’m gratified he’s using my name,” Sugar Ray Robinson said. “It’s great when kids think enough of you to use your name.”

Sources: Sugar Ray Robinson, 67, Dies – LA Times, Sugar Ray Leonard – Wikipedia, Leonard as sweet as original Sugar Ray