How popular is the baby name Mae in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Use the popularity graph and data table below to find out! Plus, see all the blog posts that mention the name Mae.

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Popularity of the baby name Mae


Posts that mention the name Mae

What gave the baby name Delilah a boost in 2007?

The Plain White T's song "Hey There Delilah" (2005)
“Hey There Delilah” single

According to the U.S. baby name data, Delilah began rising in popularity around the turn of the century. The name finally broke into the girls’ top 100 in 2018.

Along the way, though, there was a conspicuous jump in usage from 2006 to 2008:

  • 2009: 1,704 baby girls named Delilah [rank: 191st]
  • 2008: 1,739 baby girls named Delilah [rank: 193rd]
  • 2007: 1,136 baby girls named Delilah [rank: 297th]
  • 2006: 539 baby girls named Delilah [rank: 547th]
  • 2005: 487 baby girls named Delilah [rank: 585th]
  • 2004: 473 baby girls named Delilah [rank: 595th]

Here’s a visual:

Graph of the usage of the baby name Delilah in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Delilah

Several variant forms (including Delila, Dalilah, and Delyla) saw peak usage in 2008 specifically.

What was drawing extra attention to the name around that time?

The catchy love song “Hey There Delilah” by the band Plain White T’s.

The version of the song that became popular was released as a single in May of 2006. It didn’t appear on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart, however, until nearly a year later — April of 2007. The sleeper hit finally climbed to the #1 spot during the summer of 2007.

Here’s what it sounds like:

The band’s vocalist, Tom Higgenson, had written the song back in 2003 after meeting a woman named Delilah DiCrescenzo.

“I thought she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen,” he says. “I told her, ‘I have a song about you already.’ Obviously, there was no song. But I thought it was smooth.”

DiCrescenzo was in a relationship at the time, so she and Tom never dated. But they did attend the Grammy Awards together (as friends) in early 2008 when “Hey There Delilah” was nominated for both Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

The specific variant Dlila, which debuted in 2007, may also have a secondary influence: a celebrity baby. Rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs and his longtime girlfriend, Kimberly Porter, welcomed twin girls in December of 2006. The babies were named D’Lila Star and Jessie James after their great-grandmothers Lila Mae Star (Porter’s grandmother) and Jessie Smalls (Combs’ grandmother).

What are your thoughts on the name Delilah?

P.S. The name’s slightly higher usage in 1969 and 1970 could be due to another name-song performed by another Tom: “Delilah” by Tom Jones. The murder ballad was released at the end of 1967 and peaked at #15 on the Hot 100 in June of 1968.

Sources:

What gave the baby name Winnie a boost (three times) in the 1930s?

Aviator Wiley Post standing in front of the airplane Winnie Mae (July, 1933)
Wiley Post in front of the Winnie Mae

Usage of the baby name Winnie was generally on the decline in the U.S. from the 1920s to the 1980s. But there were several upticks here and there, including a series of three in the early 1930s:

  • 1937: 254 baby girls named Winnie [rank: 406th]
  • 1936: 263 baby girls named Winnie [rank: 393rd]
  • 1935: 346 baby girls named Winnie [rank: 344th]
  • 1934: 306 baby girls named Winnie [rank: 362nd]
  • 1933: 354 baby girls named Winnie [rank: 333rd]
  • 1932: 328 baby girls named Winnie [rank: 350th]
  • 1931: 348 baby girls named Winnie [rank: 341st]
  • 1930: 297 baby girls named Winnie [rank: 393rd]
  • 1929: 320 baby girls named Winnie [rank: 376th]

You can see the three upticks — almost like three points of a little crown — on the popularity graph:

Graph of the usage of the baby name Winnie in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Winnie

What caused them?

I think the answer has to do with aviation. Specifically, with a record-breaking airplane called the Winnie Mae that became famous at the height of the Great Depression.

The Winnie Mae — in full, the Winnie Mae of Oklahoma — was a single-winged, seven-passenger Lockheed Vega. It was purchased in June of 1930 by Oklahoma oilman Florence Charles “F. C.” Hall, who named the plane after his adult daughter Winnie Mae.

Hall’s personal pilot was a one-eyed man named Wiley Post. (He’d lost his left eye in an oil-rig accident in the mid-1920s, but the injury payout allowed him to purchase an aircraft and learn how to fly.)

1931

In 1931, Wiley Post attempted an around-the-world flight in the Winnie Mae. The trip was sponsored by Hall.

Accompanied by navigator Harold Gatty, Post set off from New York on June 23. The duo landed back in New York on July 1. They’d flown the Winnie Mae around the world in record time: eight days, fifteen hours, and fifty-one minutes. (The previous record of over twenty-one days had been set by a Graf Zeppelin in 1929.)

The two men were honored with a ticker-tape parade in New York City the following day.

Winnie Mae Fain (née Hall), Wiley Post, Harold Gatty, and F. C. Hall (July, 1931)
Winnie Mae christening the Winnie Mae

1933

In 1933, after having purchased the Winnie Mae from Hall, Wiley Post decided to fly around the world again. This time, though, he would do it alone. In place of a human navigator, he installed an autopilot device (which he dubbed “Mechanical Mike“) and a radio compass.

Post set off from New York on July 15. He landed back in New York on July 22. Amazingly, he’d set another record: seven days, eighteen hours, and 49 minutes.

This flight made Post the first aviator to fly solo around the world, and also the first aviator to fly around the world twice.

Post was honored with a second ticker-tape parade in New York City several days later.

1935

The Winnie Mae was in the news for various reasons during 1935.

From February to June, Wiley Post attempted to make a transcontinental flight through the lower stratosphere. (The plane’s cabin wasn’t pressurized, so Post developed the world’s first pressurized flight suit in order to fly at high altitude.) Unfortunately, all four of his attempts were cut short due to mechanical issues. He subsequently retired the Winnie Mae.

Then, on August 15, tragedy struck: Wiley Post and Will Rogers perished in a plane crash while traveling through Alaska together. The very next day, the federal government purchased the Winnie Mae from Post’s widow (whose first name happened to be Mae). In November, the Winnie Mae was dismantled and transported, via railway boxcar, from Oklahoma to Washington, D.C.


The compound name “Winnie Mae” has never appeared in the U.S. baby name data before, but records reveal that a sizeable number of the baby girls named Winnie during the 1930s also got the middle name Mae. Many of those Winnie Maes were likely named with the airplane in mind.

Winnie Mae Kuempel, for instance, was born in Austin, Texas, on August 5, 1931. Here’s how she told the story of her name (at the age of 84):

I was named after a famous plane, the Winnie Mae. The day before I was born Wiley Post had just flown it around the world. The next day headlines told about Wiley Post’s adventure, and my dad said, “Let’s name her Winnie Mae.”

What are your thoughts on the baby name Winnie? How about the combo Winnie Mae?

Sources:

Images:

Where did the baby name Alprentice come from in 1970?

American activists John Huggins (1945-1969) and Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter (1942-1969).
John Huggins and Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter

On January 17, 1969, on the campus of UCLA, a dispute broke out during a meeting of the African Student Union. The dispute turned violent and, ultimately, two members of the Black Panther Party — Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter, 26, and John Huggins, 23 — were shot and killed by a member of a rival group, the black nationalist US Organization.

The next year, the rare name Alprentice appeared for the first time in the U.S. baby name data. It stayed there for a total of three years:

  • 1973: unlisted
  • 1972: 5 baby boys named Alprentice
  • 1971: 5 baby boys named Alprentice
  • 1970: 7 baby boys named Alprentice [debut]
  • 1969: unlisted

Both Carter and Huggins “had been accepted for UCLA’s “high potential” program for minority students who do not otherwise qualify academically for admission.”

In 2010, a plaque in memory of the men (“slain in the ongoing struggle for student empowerment and social justice”) was hung outside the classroom in which they were killed.

I’m not sure where Alprentice’s first name came from, but his nickname, “Bunchy,” was bestowed by one of his grandmother’s friends when he was a baby. Here’s how his mother, Nola Mae Carter, told the story:

“He was real plump when he was a baby, and she came and she started […] calling him Bunchy. And that’s how he got Bunchy” — like a bunch of greens.

Sources:

Image from the Sun-Telegram [San Bernardino, CA], 19 Jan. 1969, page 1.

Popular and unique baby names in Scotland (UK), 2021

Flag of the United Kingdom
Flag of the United Kingdom

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

Here are Scotland’s top 50 girl names and top 50 boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Olivia, 349 baby girls
  2. Emily, 318
  3. Isla, 317
  4. Freya, 270
  5. Ella, 259
  6. Amelia, 257
  7. Ava, 241
  8. Sophie, 238
  9. Grace, 235
  10. Millie, 216
  11. Lily, 205
  12. Sophia, 200
  13. Charlotte, 196
  14. Rosie, 190
  15. Aria, 183
  16. Evie, 181
  17. Maisie, 165
  18. Lucy, 164 (tie)
  19. Mia, 164 (tie)
  20. Eilidh, 160
  21. Ellie, 159 (3-way tie)
  22. Ivy, 159 (3-way tie)
  23. Orla, 159 (3-way tie)
  24. Jessica, 150
  25. Harper, 144
  26. Maya, 134 (tie)
  27. Willow, 134 (tie)
  28. Georgia, 126
  29. Daisy, 123 (tie)
  30. Sofia, 123 (tie)
  31. Mila, 122
  32. Isabella, 121 (tie)
  33. Ruby, 121 (tie)
  34. Hannah, 119
  35. Skye, 118
  36. Sienna, 116
  37. Molly, 113
  38. Hallie, 111
  39. Bonnie, 108 (tie)
  40. Poppy, 108 (tie)
  41. Eva, 106
  42. Esme, 104
  43. Anna, 102 (3-way tie)
  44. Ayla, 102 (3-way tie)
  45. Erin, 102 (3-way tie)
  46. Callie, 98
  47. Zara, 92
  48. Layla, 91
  49. Emma, 90 (tie)
  50. Robyn, 90 (tie)

Boy Names

  1. Jack, 382 baby boys
  2. Noah, 337
  3. Leo, 289
  4. Oliver, 284
  5. Harris, 273
  6. Finlay, 255
  7. Lewis, 254
  8. James, 252
  9. Rory, 247
  10. Alexander, 240
  11. Brodie, 236
  12. Alfie, 224
  13. Charlie, 220
  14. Theo, 219
  15. Archie, 217
  16. Lucas, 214
  17. Mason, 205
  18. Finn, 197
  19. Thomas, 193
  20. Freddie, 192
  21. Max, 190
  22. Logan, 187
  23. Harry, 181
  24. Jacob, 176
  25. Blake, 159 (tie)
  26. Luca, 159 (tie)
  27. Oscar, 157
  28. Jude, 155
  29. William, 146
  30. Caleb, 140
  31. Roman, 138
  32. Cameron, 136
  33. Jaxon, 133
  34. Adam, 131
  35. Joshua, 130
  36. Ollie, 129 (tie)
  37. Tommy, 129 (tie)
  38. Daniel, 125 (tie)
  39. Ethan, 125 (tie)
  40. Harrison, 124
  41. Luke, 122
  42. Arthur, 121
  43. Muhammad, 120
  44. Jamie, 118 (tie)
  45. Liam, 118 (tie)
  46. Reuben, 112
  47. Arlo, 110
  48. Grayson, 103 (3-way tie)
  49. Hunter, 103 (3-way tie)
  50. Kai, 103 (3-way tie)

The fastest-rising names in the girls’ top 100 were Lyla, Blake, and Rowan.

The fastest-rising names in the boys’ top 100 were Carson, Struan, and Myles.

Other names that have seen higher usage recently include Maeva (influenced by Made in Chelsea actress Maeva D’Ascanio) and Connell (influenced by Normal People character Connell Waldron).

And what about the unique names?

Almost 12% of baby girls were given a name that no other girl was registered with in 2021. Almost 9% of boys had unique names for births last year.

Baby names bestowed just once in Scotland last year include…

Unique Girl NamesUnique Boy Names
Arlo-Moon, Aquamarine, Boglarka, Bryar-Loch, Cleagh, Cocohuay, Dervla, Diadem, Ember-Willow, Estrid, Falluin, Floraidh, Ghillie, Gwenno, Hessa, Humna, Iolanthe, Ischia, Jahanara, Juaa, Ketaki, Knoxie, Linaz, Liola-Sky, Mharli-Mae, Myfanwy, Nardos, Nymeria, Ocean-Bleu, Otterly, Pannavee, Paris-Sarah, Quinnie, Ribhinn, Ruoyi, Salka, Stuti, Thyra, Tifa, Unsa, Velvetjane, Wilda, Xiylo, Ying, Zanna, ZarnishArziki, Athilan, Bligh, Bruar, Caladh, Ciurar, Domhnall, Doski, Eloim, Ezra’banx, Firth, Fury, Gilmar, Guyan, Hanzala, Harcus, Ieuan, Ivaylo, Jockie, Joris, Kairimui, Kallikrates, Linstrum, Lorenzo-Moon, Marric, Massinissa, Nakoah-Knox, Nimrod, Oputjo, Otter, Parnaj, Prokop, Quanders, Rascal, Rhue, Simanga, Somhairle, Torben, Trix, Uziah-Nova, Vakaris, Wrath, Xanthus, Yuveer, Zander-Blu, Zebedee

Here are possible explanations/associations for some of the above:

  • Diadem, a type of crown
  • Ischia, an island near Naples
  • Nymeria, a direwolf from Game of Thrones
  • Ribhinn, a Scottish-Gaelic word (rìbhinn) meaning “maiden, girl”
  • Tifa, a character from the Final Fantasy video games
  • Kallikrates, a 5th-century BC Greek architect
  • Masinissa, a 2nd-century BC Numidian king
  • Somhairle, a 12th-century Norse-Gaelic king

Finally, here are Scotland’s 2020 rankings, if you’d like to compare last year to the year before.

Sources: Babies’ First Names 2021 – National Records of Scotland, Trends in baby names 2021 (PDF)

Image: Adapted from Flag of the United Kingdom (public domain)