How popular is the baby name Merle 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 Merle.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Merle


Posts that Mention the Name Merle

Popular baby names in Liechtenstein, 2020

liechtenstein

The tiny country of Liechtenstein — located in the Alps, between Austria and Switzerland — welcomed 188 baby girls and 165 baby boys in 2020. According to Liechtenstein’s Office for Statistics (Amt für Statistik), the most popular baby names in the German-speaking microstate were Sofia and Maximilian/Oscar (tie).

Here are Liechtenstein’s top girl names and top boy names of 2020:

Girl Names

  1. Sofia/Sophia, 7 baby girls
  2. Laura, 5
  3. Hanna/Hannah, 4
  4. Amélie/Amelie, Anna, Annika, Emma, Julia, Lina, Mia, Nina, Noemi, Nora, Sophie, and Valentina, 3 each [12-way tie]
  5. Alya, Amelia, Elena, Elisa/Eliza, Ella, Emilia, Estelle, Klara, Lara, Leonie, Letizia, Luisa, Malia/Maliyah, Mara, Melissa, Mina, Naomi, Noelia, and Paula, 2 each [19-way tie]

Boy Names

  1. Maximilian and Oscar/Oskar, 4 baby boys each [tie]
  2. Laurin, Leo, Lian/Lyan, Luis/Louis, Noah/Noa, and Theo, 3 each [6-way tie]
  3. Gustav, Henri, Ivan/Iwan, Lenny, Leon, Leopold, Matteo, Max, Muhamed/Muhammed, Nico, Nino, Noel, and Thiago/Tiago, 2 each [13-way tie]

(Lian, one of the 2nd-place boy names, is a German short form of Julian or Kilian.)

Liechtenstein also released the single-use baby names of 2020, which is very cool. All the names not accounted for above are in the table below:

Unique girl names (98)Unique boy names (113)
Adea, Adriana, Ahlam, Aitana, Alejna, Alenia, Alina, Ally, Alya-Su, Amina, Amy, Anastasia, Anely, Annalena, Anna-Rosa, Anouk, Aria, Ariana, Aslihan, Aurora, Bissan, Carolina, Cecilia, Chiara, Clea, Cora, Darija, Elenia, Elina, Elizabeta, Elizan, Elna, Eltea, Emanuela, Esîlya, Fabia, Farah, Fatima, Fjella, Georgie-Gisele, Gioia, Giulia, Helena, Ida, Ilenia, Iris, Irma, Ivy, Jamie, Joleen, Joya, Juna, Kaia, Katharina, Keysi, Ksenija, Lena, Leonor, Lilian, Liyana, Loredana, Lorena, Luana, Luena, Maeva, Malak, Maria, Maria-Luisa, Marie, Melina, Merle, Mia-Sophie, Miira, Mila, Mira, Naila, Natalia, Nayeli, Nelia, Nika, Riva, Rivanna, Romy, Ronja, Salima, Samira, Sandrina, Senada, Soley, Tajra, Teresa, Tina, Valérie, Viviana, Xoawa, Yara, Yesim, ZeynepAaron, Adrián, Aidan, Ajan, Alessandro, Alonso, Alp, Anas, Aril, Armon, Arthur, Aurel, Aurelio, Benedikt, Benjamin, Benno, Bruno, Christian, Christoph, Clark, Curdin, Cyano, Damiano, Danilo, Dante, Davide, Dominik, Eduardo, Elija, Elvis, Emanuel, Emil, Emilian, Emilio, Enes, Erian, Erion, Fabian, Federico, Finn, Gabriele, Giuliano, Hamza, Hazar, Hendrick, Jamie, Jan, Jari, Jeremias, Jérôme, Johannes, Jonah, Jonas, Jorel, Julian, Kentse, Kiano, Konstantin, Lauri, Leart, Levin, Liam, Liandro, Linus, Lio, Lionel, Lorent, Luan, Macgyver, Mahir, Majiid, Marco, Marius, Martim, Massimo, Mats, Maurice, Michael, Michele, Mike, Mikyas, Milan, Nael, Nando, Nawin, Neo, Nick, Nicolas, Niklas, Oliver, Omer, Paul, Philomeno, Pierangelo, Raffi, Ragnar, Redford, Rico, Ruben, Samuel, Sebastian, Tenzin, Tino, Tobias, Umut, Valentino, Valerio, Victor, Vito, Yakup, Yanis, Yuusuf, Zeno

Finally, since this is the first time I’m posting rankings for Liechtenstein, let’s throw in the country’s top baby names for the two previous years:

  • In 2019: Emma (9) and a four-way tie between Fabio, Leon, Matteo and Paul (4 each).
  • In 2018: Valentina (7) and a three-way tie between Ben, Leon, and Samuel (4 each).

Sources: Vornamenstatistik – Amt für Statistik (AS), Liechtenstein – Wikipedia, Behind the Name

Inconspicuous anagram baby names: Blake/Kaleb, Hale/Leah

letters

I recently updated my old anagram baby names post to make it much more comprehensive. As I worked on it, though, I noticed that many of those sets of names had obvious similarities, such as the same first letters and/or the same rhythm.

So I thought I’d make a second, shorter list of anagram names that were less conspicuously similar. Specifically, I wanted the second list to feature sets of names with different first letters and different numbers of syllables.

And that’s what you’ll find below — pairs of anagram names that are relatively distinct from one another. So much so that, at first glance (or listen), some might not even strike you as being anagrammatic at all. :)

Click on any name to check out its popularity graph…

Most of the names above have a clear number of syllables, but a few do not. (I categorized them according to my own interpretation/accent.) So, if you’re interested in using any of these pairings, just remember to test the names out loud first!

Which of the pairs above do you like best?

Popular baby names in Denmark, 2019

Denmark

According to Statistics Denmark, the most popular baby names in the country in 2019 were Emma and William.

Here are Denmark’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2019:

Girl Names

  1. Emma, 486 baby girls
  2. Alma, 453
  3. Clara, 438 (tie)
  4. Freja, 438 (tie)
  5. Sofia, 434
  6. Karla, 403
  7. Agnes, 399
  8. Ella, 386
  9. Olivia, 378
  10. Anna, 373

Boy Names

  1. William, 568 baby boys
  2. Alfred, 523
  3. Oscar, 514
  4. Noah, 484
  5. Karl, 477
  6. Lucas, 455
  7. Oliver, 454
  8. Arthur, 448
  9. August, 433
  10. Malthe, 426

In the girls’ top 10, Agnes and Olivia replaced Josefine and Ida. Notably, Ida dropped from first place in 2018 all the way down to thirteenth place in 2019. The last time Ida was outside the top 10 was in 2001.

In the boys’ top 10, Karl, Arthur and August replaced Carl, Victor, and Valdemar. (Yes, I double checked: “Carl,” which appeared in the rankings from 1998 to 2018, was replaced by “Karl” in the 2019 rankings. I don’t know why.)

In the girls’ top 50, Molly, Leonora, Merle and Mynte replaced Caroline, Johanne, Naja and Vigga.

In the boys’ top 50, Matheo, Erik and Walter replaced Laurits, Sebastian and Philip.

Sources: Names of Newborn Children – Statistics Denmark, Emma and William most popular baby names in 2019

Contrarian baby names: Cliff, Janet, Steve, Wanda…

corn

“Everly” is hot…”Beverly” is not. It’s a one-letter difference between fashionable and fusty.

If you’re sensitive to style, you’ll prefer Everly. It fits with today’s trends far better than Beverly does.

But if you’re someone who isn’t concerned about style, or prefers to go against style, then you may not automatically go for Everly. In fact, you may be more attracted to Beverly because it’s the choice that most modern parents would avoid.

If you’ve ever thought about intentionally giving your baby a dated name (like Debbie, Grover, Marcia, or Vernon) for the sake of uniqueness within his/her peer group — if you have no problem sacrificing style for distinctiveness — then this list is for you.

Years ago, the concept of “contrarian” baby names came up in the comments of a post about Lois. Ever since then, creating a collection of uncool/contrarian baby names has been on my to-do list.

Finally, last month, I experimented with various formulas for pulling unstylish baby names out of the SSA dataset. Keeping the great-grandparent rule in mind, I aimed for names that would have been fashionable among the grandparents of today’s babies. The names below are the best results I got.

Contrarian Baby Names: Girls

Alberta
Anita
Ann
Annetta
Annette
Bambi
Becky
Benita
Bertha
Bessie
Beth
Betty
Beverley
Beverly
Blanche
Bobbie
Bobby
Bonita
Candy
Caren
Carlene
Carol
Carole
Cary
Caryn
Cathleen
Cathy
Charla
Charlene
Charmaine
Cheri
Cherie
Cheryl
Chris
Christi
Cindy
Claudette
Coleen
Colleen
Connie
Dale
Danette
Danita
Darlene
Dawn
Dawna
Deanne
Debbie
Debora
Debra
Deirdre
Delores
Denice
Denise
Diane
Dianna
Dianne
Dollie
Dolores
Dona
Donna
Doreen
Dori
Doris
Dorthy
Eddie
Edwina
Ernestine
Ethel
Gail
Gayle
Gena
Geralyn
Germaine
Gilda
Glenda
Glenna
Harriett
Jackie
Janet
Janice
Janis
Jayne
Jean
Jeanette
Jeanie
Jeanine
Jeanne
Jeannette
Jeannie
Jeannine
Jeri
Jerri
Jerry
Jill
Jimmie
Jo
Joan
Joann
Joanne
Jodi
Jody
Joellen
Joni
Juanita
Judi
Judy
Juli
Kandi
Karin
Kathie
Kathy
Kay
Kaye
Kerrie
Kerry
Kim
Kimberley
Kitty
Kris
Kristi
Ladonna
Laureen
Lauretta
Laurie
Lavonne
Lee
Leesa
Lois
Lorene
Lori
Lorie
Lorinda
Lorna
Lorraine
Lorrie
Lou
Louann
Lu
Luann
Luanne
Lucretia
Lupe
Lyn
Lynda
Lynn
Lynne
Madonna
Marcia
Marcy
Margie
Mariann
Marianne
Marla
Marsha
Maryjo
Maureen
Meg
Melba
Melinda
Melva
Michele
Migdalia
Mitzi
Myrna
Nanette
Nelda
Nicki
Nita
Norma
Pamela
Patrice
Patsy
Patti
Patty
Pauline
Peggy
Pennie
Phyllis
Randy
Reba
Rene
Rhonda
Rita
Robbie
Robbin
Roberta
Robin
Rochelle
Ronda
Rosanne
Roseann
Roxane
Roxann
Sandy
Saundra
Sharon
Sheila
Shelia
Shelley
Shelly
Sheri
Sherri
Sherry
Sheryl
Shirley
Sondra
Sue
Susanne
Suzan
Suzanne
Tammie
Tammy
Tena
Teri
Terri
Terry
Thelma
Theresa
Therese
Tina
Tonia
Tonya
Tracey
Traci
Tracie
Tracy
Treva
Trina
Trudy
Velma
Verna
Vicki
Vickie
Vicky
Wanda
Wendy
Willie
Wilma
Yolanda
Yvonne

Contrarian Baby Names: Boys

Adolph
Al
Alford
Alphonso
Arne
Arnie
Arnold
Artie
Barry
Barton
Bennie
Bernard
Bernie
Bert
Bill
Billie
Bob
Bobbie
Brad
Bradford
Brent
Bret
Britt
Bud
Buddy
Burl
Burt
Butch
Carey
Carleton
Carlton
Carmen
Carroll
Cary
Cecil
Chester
Chuck
Clarence
Claude
Cletus
Cleveland
Cliff
Clifford
Clifton
Columbus
Curt
Curtiss
Dale
Dan
Dana
Dannie
Darrel
Darryl
Daryl
Dave
Davie
Del
Delbert
Dell
Delmer
Denny
Derwin
Dewey
Dirk
Don
Donnie
Donny
Doug
Douglass
Doyle
Duane
Dudley
Duwayne
Dwain
Dwaine
Dwane
Dwight
Earl
Earnest
Ed
Edsel
Elbert
Ernie
Farrell
Floyd
Fred
Freddie
Fredric
Gale
Garland
Garry
Garth
Gene
Geoffrey
Gerard
Gerry
Gilbert
Glen
Glenn
Greg
Gregg
Greggory
Grover
Guy
Hal
Haywood
Herbert
Herman
Homer
Horace
Howell
Hubert
Irwin
Jackie
Jame
Jeff
Jefferey
Jeffry
Jerald
Jerold
Jess
Jim
Jimmie
Jodie
Jody
Johnie
Johnnie
Karl
Kelly
Ken
Kenney
Kennith
Kent
Kermit
Kerry
Kim
Kirk
Kraig
Kurt
Laurence
Lawrance
Len
Lenard
Lennie
Les
Leslie
Lester
Lindell
Lindsay
Lindsey
Linwood
Lloyd
Lonnie
Lonny
Loren
Lorin
Lowell
Loyd
Lynn
Marion
Marty
Matt
Maxie
Mel
Merle
Merrill
Mickel
Mickey
Millard
Milton
Mitch
Mitchel
Monty
Neal
Ned
Nicky
Norbert
Norman
Norris
Orville
Perry
Pete
Phil
Ralph
Randal
Randel
Randell
Randolph
Rayford
Rick
Rickey
Rickie
Rob
Robby
Robin
Rock
Rodger
Rogers
Rojelio
Rolf
Ron
Roosevelt
Rudolfo
Rudolph
Rufus
Russ
Rusty
Sal
Sammie
Sandy
Sanford
Scot
Sherman
Sherwood
Skip
Stan
Stanford
Steve
Stevie
Stewart
Stuart
Sylvester
Tad
Ted
Terence
Thurman
Tim
Timmothy
Timmy
Tod
Todd
Tom
Tommie
Toney
Tracey
Tracy
Val
Vernell
Vernon
Waymon
Wendell
Wilbert
Wilbur
Wilford
Wilfred
Willard
Willis
Winfred
Woody

Interestingly, thirteen of the names above — Bobbie, Cary, Dale, Jackie, Jimmie, Jody, Kerry, Kim, Lynn, Robin, Sandy, Tracey, Tracy — managed to make both lists.

Now some questions for you…

Do you like any of these names? Would you be willing to use any of them on a modern-day baby? Why or why not?

What popularized the baby name Cheryl?

Actress Cheryl Walker in the movie "Stage Door Canteen" (1943)
Cheryl Walker in “Stage Door Canteen

It’s hard to pinpoint the origin of the name Cheryl (Cherie + Beryl? Cherry + Beryl?), but it’s clear that the name saw a drastic rise in popularity during the first half of 20th century. Cheryl went from a rarity in the early 1900s to one of the most popular girl names in the U.S. by the mid-1950s.

I doubt Cheryl could have achieved this kind of popularity without a series of pop culture boosts — two caused by the same person, interestingly.

The first (and smallest) boost happened in 1938:

  • 1940: 285 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 408th] – 42 in CA
  • 1939: 289 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 390th] – 49 in CA
  • 1938: 397 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 312th] – 76 in CA
  • 1937: 145 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 563rd] – 16 in CA
  • 1936: 94 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 688th] – 10 in CA

Many of these babies were born in California specifically.

The cause?

A 19-year-old from Pasadena named Cheryl Walker. In late 1937, she was selected as the 1938 Queen of the Tournament of Roses. Local newspapers (including the Los Angeles Times) talked about Cheryl quite a bit during the last month of 1937 and the first few months of 1938.

She signed a film contract with Paramount around that time, but didn’t have much success in the entertainment industry until five years later.

That’s when she played the romantic lead in the wartime hit Stage Door Canteen, released in the middle of 1943. Dozens of major celebrities — including Tallulah Bankhead, Helen Hayes, Katharine Hepburn, George Jessel, Gertrude Lawrence, Gypsy Rose Lee, Ethel Merman, Paul Muni, Merle Oberon, Mary Pickford, and Johnny Weissmuller — had cameos in the film, which was one of the highest-grossing of the year.

(Notably, several months before Stage Door Canteen came out, LIFE magazine published a series of photos of the actress along with a short article subtitled “Cheryl Walker rises from stand-in for Veronica Lake to stardom.”)

In both 1943 and 1944, the number of babies named Cheryl increased significantly:

  • 1945: 8,150 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 32nd]
  • 1944: 7,970 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 36th]
  • 1943: 2,878 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 102nd]
  • 1942: 590 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 280th]
  • 1941: 439 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 311th]

The name of Cheryl’s character, Eileen, also saw increased usage, as did many variant spellings of Cheryl:

Name19421943194419451946
Cheryl5902,8787,9708,15011,525
Sheryl3245889491,0551,632
Sherrill202207263206250
Cheryle2780176184238
Sherryl4971104140203
Cheryll11416998120
Sheryle1219263152
Cherryl9195958104
Sharelle28*10
Charyl24*271721
Scheryl11*1175
Cherril667
Sherral668
Sherelle6*
Sheril51169
Chyrl5*8710
Cheril6*7
Cherl6*58
Sherryll565
Cherill5*
Cheyrl5*59
Chyrel7*10
Cheryal6*5
Cherryle5*
Sherell5*
Sherrille5*
Chryl9*
Sherryle7*
Cherel5*
Cherle5*
Cherryll5*
Chyral5*
Shyrel5*
*Debut

(The variant Sharelle was the top debut name of the year in 1943.)

Usage of the name Cheryl plateaued in the late ’40s and early ’50s, then began to rise again in 1954:

  • 1956: 21,280 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 18th]
  • 1955: 19,100 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 19th]
  • 1954: 15,000 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 22nd]
  • 1953: 12,271 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 28th]
  • 1952: 12,197 baby girls named Cheryl [rank: 31st]

Why?

It wasn’t Cheryl Walker — she’d retired from acting by this time.

Instead it was a short-lived TV show called Waterfront (1954-1956). The central character, John Herrick, was the captain of a San Pedro Harbor tugboat called the “Cheryl Ann.”

The show also gave a boost to the compound names Cherylann, Cherylanne and Sherylann.

[EDIT, 6/10 – Diana reminded me about Mouseketeer Cheryl, who was on The Mickey Mouse Club from 1956 to 1958. No doubt she contributed to the name’s popularity as well in the mid-to-late ’50s!]

Cheryl became one of the top 20 baby names in the country in 1955, and it remained in the top 20 until 1961, peaking at 13th in 1958.

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

After that, usage began to decline. Cheryl fell out of the top 50 in 1972, then out of the top 100 in 1980. (This despite a late-1970s uptick inspired by actress Cheryl Ladd, singer Cheryl Lynn, and/or model Cheryl Tiegs.)

[EDIT, 7/7 – Cheryl M. reminded me to include Cheryl Ladd.]

And in 1998, exactly 40 years after nearly reaching the top 10, Cheryl fell out of the top 1,000 entirely.

What are your thoughts on the name Cheryl? (Do you like it more or less than the spelling Cherrill?)

Sources:

Image: © 1943 Life