How popular is the baby name Melanie 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 Melanie.

The graph will take a few moments to load. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take 9 months!) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.


Popularity of the Baby Name Melanie


Posts that Mention the Name Melanie

Name quotes #112: Isaiah, Matisse, Aelfcytel

double quotation mark

Welcome to October! Let’s kick off the month with some quotes…

From a 2008 Jezebel post about about celebrity baby names:

To try to find out if celebrity kids can outrun their ridiculous names, MSNBC turns to Peaches Geldof, the celebutante who, in 2006, claimed, “I hate ridiculous names, My weird name has haunted me all my life.” Apparently, Peaches has made peace with her wacky moniker over the past few years, recently telling a reporter “It haunted me in my youth, but now I like it. I always got teased about it at primary school, being named after a fruit. Now people find it appealing. I like my name. I think it’s sexy and unusual.”

From a recent article in the Akron Beacon Journal about rookie football player Isaiah Thomas:

Thomas, 6-foot-5 and 266 pounds, was named after the Hall of Fame basketball player Isiah Thomas. The Detroit Pistons star was his father’s favorite player and his mother loved the name because of what it represents in the Bible.

His dad wanted Thomas to be a basketball player, and Thomas said he won two state championships at Memorial High School in Tulsa. But there was never any debate over which sport Thomas would play.

From the 2004 article “A Real Gem: Pop artist Ruby Mazur leads charmed life in LV” in the Las Vegas Sun:

Classic rock is pouring through Mazur’s spacious home, his 250-pound Newfoundland, Zeus, is circling the commotion and the artist’s 16-year-old twin sons, Cezanne and Miro, visiting from Vienna, are glancing over with a smile.

[…]

Now living in the golfing community of Rhodes Ranch, Mazur can sit back and scan his past and future. Two of his children — 18-year-old son Matisse and his daughter, actress and model Monet Mazur — are grown.

[Mazur, whose children are named after four famous artists — just like the Ninja Turtles, coincidentally — designed the cover art for thousands of albums during the 1970s.]

From a 2015 article about Anglo-Saxon personal names in History Today:

In the century before the Conquest, Scandinavian names had become so common in some areas that, not only had names such as Toki and Gyða been incorporated into the naming stock, but hybrid names had developed, creating truly Anglo-Scandinavian names, like Ælfcytel (combining Old English Ælf-, ‘elf’, and Old Norse -kettill, ‘cauldron’).

[This source also made an appearance in quotes #110.]

A name-change story (contributed by a Texas woman named Melanie) from a recent Washington Post article about changing babies’ names:

We named our second daughter Francisca. We called to tell my parents. My mother, who sounded disappointed, asked, “What was your second choice?” We told her Amelia. Mom told us that Amelia was her mother’s sister’s name. We said that was nice and moved on to calling other relatives. When we called my sister in law and told her we named our daughter Francisca, she said, “That’s funny, I had a dream you named the baby Amelia.” So right then the baby’s name was changed to Amelia.

Basketball star Wardell Stephen Curry II is typically addressed as Stephen (pronounced STEFF-in) or Steph (steff), but…

If you really, really know me, and you want to get under my skin a little bit, you go with Wardell. So there’s three options there. There’s Stephen, which is — I kind of know what the relationship is. If you go Wardell, that means we go way back.

Speaking of Steph Curry’s name…in 2013, the then-up-and-coming the Golden State player signed an endorsement deal with Under Armour instead of Nike in part because of a pair of name-related blunders:

The pitch meeting, according to Steph’s father Dell, who was present, kicked off with one Nike official accidentally addressing Stephen as “Steph-on” […] “I heard some people pronounce his name wrong before,” says Dell Curry. “I wasn’t surprised. I was surprised that I didn’t get a correction.”

It got worse from there. A PowerPoint slide featured Kevin Durant’s name, presumably left on by accident, presumably residue from repurposed materials. “I stopped paying attention after that,” Dell says. Though Dell resolved to “keep a poker face,” throughout the entirety of the pitch, the decision to leave Nike was in the works.

For more quotes about names, check out the name quotes category.

Popular and unique baby names in Sonoma County (California), 2021

Sonoma

According to the government of Sonoma, California, the most popular baby names in the county last year were Mia and and Mateo.

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

Girl Names

  1. Mia, 29 baby girls
  2. Olivia, 26
  3. Isabella, 24
  4. Luca, 22
  5. Luna, 21
  6. Gianna, 18
  7. Aurora, 17 (tie)
  8. Emma, 17 (tie)
  9. Eliana, 16 (tie)
  10. Riley, 16 (tie)
  11. Camila, 15
  12. Ava, 14 (4-way tie)
  13. Emilia, 14 (4-way tie)
  14. Madison, 14 (4-way tie)
  15. Zoe, 14 (4-way tie)
  16. Amelia, 13 (4-way tie)
  17. Charlotte, 13 (4-way tie)
  18. Chloe, 13 (4-way tie)
  19. Evelyn, 13 (4-way tie)
  20. Eleanor, 12 (6-way tie)
  21. Harper, 12 (6-way tie)
  22. Isla, 12 (6-way tie)
  23. Maya, 12 (6-way tie)
  24. Mila, 12 (6-way tie)
  25. Sofia, 12 (6-way tie)
  26. Hazel, 11 (4-way tie)
  27. Kennedy, 11 (4-way tie)
  28. Penelope, 11 (4-way tie)
  29. Quinn, 11 (4-way tie)
  30. Liliana, 10 (4-way tie)
  31. Scarlett, 10 (4-way tie)
  32. Violet, 10 (4-way tie)
  33. Ximena, 10 (4-way tie)
  34. Aria, 9 (4-way tie)
  35. Stella, 9 (4-way tie)
  36. Valentina, 9 (4-way tie)
  37. Zoey, 9 (4-way tie)
  38. Alina, 8 (5-way tie)
  39. Avery, 8 (5-way tie)
  40. Cora, 8 (5-way tie)
  41. Elena, 8 (5-way tie)
  42. Remi, 8 (5-way tie)
  43. Ayla, 7 (17-way tie)
  44. Delilah, 7 (17-way tie)
  45. Ella, 7 (17-way tie)
  46. Georgia, 7 (17-way tie)
  47. Grace, 7 (17-way tie)
  48. Josephine, 7 (17-way tie)
  49. Layla, 7 (17-way tie)
  50. Leila, 7 (17-way tie)
  51. Lillian, 7 (17-way tie)
  52. Lucia, 7 (17-way tie)
  53. Mackenzie, 7 (17-way tie)
  54. Madelyn, 7 (17-way tie)
  55. Melanie, 7 (17-way tie)
  56. Naomi, 7 (17-way tie)
  57. Sophia, 7 (17-way tie)
  58. Victoria, 7 (17-way tie)
  59. Vivian, 7 (17-way tie)

Boy Names

  1. Mateo, 38 baby boys
  2. Liam, 29
  3. Noah, 28
  4. James, 23
  5. Oliver, 22
  6. Benjamin, 21
  7. Lucas, 19 (tie)
  8. Sebastian, 19 (tie)
  9. Henry, 17 (4-way tie)
  10. Jack, 17 (4-way tie)
  11. Jacob, 17 (4-way tie)
  12. Julian, 17 (4-way tie)
  13. Hudson, 16 (3-way tie)
  14. Joseph, 16 (3-way tie)
  15. Santiago, 16 (3-way tie)
  16. Gabriel, 15 (tie)
  17. Theodore, 15 (tie)
  18. Daniel, 14 (4-way tie)
  19. Dylan, 14 (4-way tie)
  20. Elijah, 14 (4-way tie)
  21. Samuel, 14 (4-way tie)
  22. Angel, 13 (3-way tie)
  23. Dominic, 13 (3-way tie)
  24. Miles, 13 (3-way tie)
  25. Alexander, 12 (7-way tie)
  26. Anthony, 12 (7-way tie)
  27. Leo, 12 (7-way tie)
  28. Logan, 12 (7-way tie)
  29. Owen, 12 (7-way tie)
  30. River, 12 (7-way tie)
  31. William, 12 (7-way tie)
  32. Adrian, 11 (6-way tie)
  33. David, 11 (6-way tie)
  34. Ethan, 11 (6-way tie)
  35. Jackson, 11 (6-way tie)
  36. Jayden, 11 (6-way tie)
  37. Maverick, 11 (6-way tie)
  38. Asher, 10 (9-way tie)
  39. Beau, 10 (9-way tie)
  40. Elias, 10 (9-way tie)
  41. Hunter, 10 (9-way tie)
  42. Jesus, 10 (9-way tie)
  43. Jose, 10 (9-way tie)
  44. Mason, 10 (9-way tie)
  45. Parker, 10 (9-way tie)
  46. Wyatt, 10 (9-way tie)
  47. Damian, 9 (8-way tie)
  48. Emiliano, 9 (8-way tie)
  49. Ezekiel, 9 (8-way tie)
  50. Finn, 9 (8-way tie)
  51. Giovanni, 9 (8-way tie)
  52. Kai, 9 (8-way tie)
  53. Matias, 9 (8-way tie)
  54. Nicholas, 9 (8-way tie)

And here are some of the baby names that were bestowed just once in Sonoma last year:

Unique Girl NamesUnique Boy Names
Ahsoka, Bowyn, Cordova, Dutton, Eivissa, Fiadh, Galdina, Hanalie, Indira, Jinora, Ketsana, Levaleah, Metzli, Nebula, Odette, Peninaiaiga, Quinnie, Rockella, Sersha, Tallulah, Umi, Vrianna, Wren, Yadelene, ZeyaAxis, Beaudin, Codiak, Delmar, Elymus, Fletcher, Gibb, Herbert, Ilumi, Jonael, Kalais, Lesinali, Maimonides, Neithan, Ozan, Perrin, Ratu, Samarth, Tonalli, Usyk, Ville, Waimea, Xavien, Yamikani, Zabdiel

Some thoughts on a few of the above…

  • Ahsoka is a character from the Star Wars universe.
  • Dutton is the surname of the family featured on the TV show Yellowstone.
  • Sersha looks like a phonetic rendering of Saoirse.
  • Maimonides refers to Moses ben Maimon, a medieval Jewish philosopher.
  • Tonalli is a Nahuatl word that refers to the warmth of the sun (among other things).

Finally, here are the 2020 rankings for Sonoma, if you’d like to compare.

Source: Sonoma County Baby Names

Girl names on the decline in the U.S. in 2021

Which girl names decreased in usage the most from 2020 to 2021?

Here’s a table of the fastest-falling girl names of 2021. On the left are the top 25 decreases in terms of absolute numbers of babies, and on the right are the top 25 decreases in terms of relative numbers of babies.

RankGirl nameAbsolute fallGirl nameRelative fall
1Isabella-957Ashvi-76%
2Abigail-936Dessa-75%
3Victoria-603Jaeda-73%
4Alexa-583Amavi-73%
5Sophia-540Yameli-73%
6Brooklyn-504Raela-72%
7Anna-452Reniyah-72%
8Gianna-435Naeema-72%
9Harper-433Avyn-72%
10Aubrey-409Portia-71%
11Ava-401Jadah-71%
12Hannah-400Rona-71%
13Kaylee-366Jocelynne-71%
14Samantha-361Iolana-71%
15Serenity-359Nakshatra-70%
16Emily-358Jatziry-69%
17Genesis-356Irish-69%
18Ella-354Inanna-69%
19Melanie-348Evangaline-69%
20Brielle-346Alula-69%
21Mila-330Rakeb-68%
22Lauren-312Kiaya-68%
23Skylar-303Meral*-67%
24Londyn-300Kemya*-67%
25Arianna-298Jeri*-67%

*Also at -67% were Helayna, Asmara, Arriyah, Anu, Akane, Kimberlin, Jojo, Elianni, Naleya and Leta.

Interestingly, Dessa has dropped before — it was the fastest-falling girl name way back in 1933.

And I don’t think anyone will be surprised about the ongoing decline of Alexa.

Finally, here are the girl names that saw the steepest dives right out of the data (i.e., to below 5 instances of usage) in 2021:

  • given to 20 babies in 2020: Geisha
  • given to 17 babies in 2020: Glorianna, Malai, Taleigha
  • given to 16 babies in 2020: Emili, Kalonni, Nyella, Siaani

Do you have thoughts/insights about any of the above names?

How did “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” influence baby names in 1984?

Title of the TV beauty pageant "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" (1984)
“The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” pageant

In January of 1984, a one-of-a-kind beauty pageant called “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” was broadcast live on television from Oahu, Hawaii.

What made it unique? The fact that viewers at home could participate in picking the winner!

Back in 1984, this was a novel idea — so novel that, even though creator Dick Clark had come up with the concept back in the late ’60s, he wasn’t able to garner any interest in it until decades later.

The show was hosted by Jayne Kennedy and David Hasselhoff. In fact, the Hoff was featured in the TV commercial for the pageant:

TV commercial for "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" featuring co-host David Hasselhoff

Twenty-one young women from around the globe were chosen as contestants. Here are their names and the regions they represented (in order of introduction):

  • United States: Susanne Ashley Trimble
  • India: Safira Afzaal
  • Great Britain: Debi Brett
  • Japan: Yoko Ami
  • Swaziland: Zanella Tutu
  • Denmark: Lene Nyholm Jensen
  • Spain: Maria Jose Bustos
  • Italy: Antonia Dell’Atte
  • Brazil: Carmen Carolina Baldelli
  • Germany: Birgit Wiemann
  • Saipan: Zelma Tomokane
  • Puerto Rico: Deborah Carthy Deu
  • The Philippines: Yoraidyl (YOR-ah-dil) Diaz Stone
  • Canada: Elizabeth Stimson
  • Mexico: Jaqueline De La Vega Pineda
  • Singapore: Julie Nickson
  • Morocco: Nadia Bahy
  • France: Patricia Talazac
  • Hong Kong: Tracy Chan
  • Australia: Melanie Ivanhoe
  • Israel: Yarden Levinson

I want to draw your attention to two of these contestants, Safira Afzaal and Yarden Levinson, because the rare names Safira and Yarden both debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1984 specifically:

Girls named SafiraGirls named Yarden
1986..
1985..
198418*6*
1983..
1982..
*Debut

(Safira may be based on the Arabic name Safeerah, meaning “messenger”; Yarden, the Hebrew name of the Jordan River, is derived from a Hebrew word meaning “descend” or “flow down.”)

Here are Safira and Yarden introducing themselves at the start of the program…

Safira:

Beauty pageant contestant Safira Afzal from "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" (1984)

Yarden:

Beauty pageant contestant Yarden Levinson from "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" (1984)

Over the course of the two-hour program, the field of contestants was reduced three times: from 21 to 10 (by a panel of judges), from 10 to 3 (again by the judges), and finally from 3 to 1 (by popular vote).

Both Safira and Yarden survived the first cut. The second portion of the show featured the ten remaining women modeling in swimsuits, modeling in evening gowns, and, rather unusually, doing aerobic exercise. (How ’80s is that?)

Here’s Safira doing aerobics:

Beauty pageant contestant Safira Afzal from "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" (1984)

And here’s Yarden:

Beauty pageant contestant Yarden Levinson from "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" (1984)

Before the three finalists were announced, David Hasselhoff explained that each of the three would be assigned a specific “1-900” phone number.

To cast a vote for your favorite girl, you simply dial her phone number. It’s that easy. Your vote will automatically be registered in the phone company’s computer in Kansas City, Missouri, and there’ll be a telephone charge of 50 cents. The total number of calls received at the end of the ten-minute period by the phone company’s computer in Kansas City will be transmitted to us, five thousand miles away, in Hawaii, and we will know our winner.

The three finalists? Debi, Jaqueline, and Yarden. (Not Safira, sadly.)

Here’s Yarden, right after being named a finalist:

Beauty pageant contestant Yarden Levinson from "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" (1984)

During the next ten minutes, viewers saw (among other things) clips of the finalists talking about themselves. Yarden mentioned that, in Israel, every girl goes into the military and “learns how to fight,” and that she “served in a rescue unit in the Air Force.” She also said:

I come to the competition and they look at me and they say, ‘You’re Israeli? You’re blonde, I mean, how can that be?’

Alas, Yarden finished in third place with just 17.48% of the vote.

The winner was Debi Brett, the Brit, with 53.46% of the vote. (She received over $100,000 in cash and prizes, including a 30-day round-the-world trip, a full-length mink coat, a grand piano, a diamond ring, a Dodge 600 convertible, and a Ricoh 35mm camera.)

So, neither Safira nor Yarden won the pageant. But their names live on the U.S. baby name data, which is arguably far cooler. :)

I’m not sure what became of Yarden after the pageant, but I can tell you a bit about Safira (whose last name is actually spelled Afzal). She was born in Pakistan, raised in England, and went on to earn a law degree and become a barrister.

(Other post-pageant careers: Debi became photographer; Antonia became a model/TV personality; Deborah won Miss Universe 1985 and became an actress/TV personality; “Jaqueline” (actually spelled Jacqueline) became a model/TV personality; and “Julie” (Julia) became an actress — in fact, she played the female lead in the second Rambo movie.)

So what are your thoughts on the names Safira and Yarden? Which one would you be more likely to use for a baby girl?

Sources: