How popular is the baby name Mufasa 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 Mufasa.

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Popularity of the baby name Mufasa

Posts that mention the name Mufasa

What gave the baby name Etosha a boost in the 1980s?

Image from the documentary movie "The Lions of Etosha" (1984).
From “The Lions of Etosha

The curious baby name Etosha first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1974. It returned to the data in 1981, and saw peak usage in 1984. (A variant form, Etoshia, was a one-hit wonder in 1984.)

While I don’t know what gave the name that initial nudge in the ’70s, I do have a theory about what influenced “Etosha” in the ’80s.

  • 1986: 6 baby girls named Etosha
  • 1985: 13 baby girls named Etosha
  • 1984: 22 baby girls named Etosha [peak]
  • 1983: 10 baby girls named Etosha
  • 1982: unlisted
  • 1981: 12 baby girls named Etosha [return]
  • 1980: unlisted
  • 1979: unlisted

I think the 1981 return and the 1984 peak are attributable to two different things…that happen to be extremely similar. How similar? Well, both are Emmy-nominated wildlife documentaries that were filmed at Etosha National Park in Namibia. (Namibia is in southern Africa, on the Atlantic side.)

  • The first documentary, Etosha: Place of Dry Water (1980, PBS), was a National Geographic Special narrated by Alexander Scourby. It was nominated for an Emmy in 1981.
  • The second documentary, The Lions of Etosha: King of the Beasts (1984, CBS), was narrated by none other than James Earl Jones (who, a decade later, became a lion when he voiced the character of Mufasa in The Lion King). This one was reviewed in several major publications (e.g., New York Times, Washington Post) and was nominated for an Emmy in 1984.

Etosha National Park contains (and takes its name from) the vast Etosha pan, which is so large that it’s visible from space. The word Etosha (pronounced ee-TAH-sha) means “great white place” in the language of the Ovambo people.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Etosha?


Interesting one-hit wonder names in the U.S. baby name data

single flower

They came, they went, and they never came back!

These baby names are one-hit wonders in the U.S. baby name data. That is, they’ve only popped up once, ever, in the entire dataset of U.S. baby names (which accounts for all names given to at least 5 U.S. babies per year since 1880).

There are thousands of one-hit wonders in the dataset, but the names below have interesting stories behind their single appearance, so these are the one-hits I’m writing specific posts about. Just click on a name to read more.


  • 2020: Jexi













  • (none yet)


As I discover (and write about) more one-hit wonders in the data, I’ll add the names/links to this page. In the meanwhile, do you have any favorite one-hit wonder baby names?

Image: Adapted from Solitary Poppy by Andy Beecroft under CC BY-SA 2.0.

[Latest update: Apr. 2024]

How did “The Lion King” influence baby names?

The character Simba from the movie "The Lion King" (1994)
Simba from “The Lion King

Disney princesses often influence the baby name charts. But what about Disney animals?

We’ve already talked about two deer and a squirrel, so today let’s check out five lions and a meerkat.

The Lion King, released in 1994, was a Hamlet-influenced, coming-of-age story that focused on a lion cub named Simba. So it’s no surprise that Simba was the first Lion King-inspired baby name to debut on the charts…


The name Simba — not to be confused with Symba! — first appeared in the data in 1994:

  • 1997: unlisted
  • 1996: unlisted
  • 1995: 9 baby boys named Simba
  • 1994: 5 baby boys named Simba [debut]
  • 1993: unlisted

Simba comes from the Swahili word for “lion.”


Sarabi, the name of Simba’s mother, first appeared in 1995:

  • 1997: 5 baby girls named Sarabi
  • 1996: 9 baby girls named Sarabi
  • 1995: 12 baby girls named Sarabi [debut]
  • 1994: unlisted
  • 1993: unlisted

Sarabi comes from the Swahili word for “mirage.”


Mufasa, the name of Simba’s father, also first appeared in 1995:

  • 1997: unlisted
  • 1996: unlisted
  • 1995: 7 baby boys named Mufasa [debut]
  • 1994: unlisted
  • 1993: unlisted

It was a one-hit wonder on the charts.


Nala was the name of Simba’s childhood best friend (and, later, love interest). Her name saw a big boost in usage in the mid-1990s:

  • 1997: 55 baby girls named Nala
  • 1996: 51 baby girls named Nala
  • 1995: 85 baby girls named Nala
  • 1994: 24 baby girls named Nala
  • 1993: unlisted


Timon, the name of Simba’s meerkat friend, also saw increased usage in the mid-1990s:

  • 1997: 17 baby boys named Timon
  • 1996: 19 baby boys named Timon
  • 1995: 19 baby boys named Timon
  • 1994: 9 baby boys named Timon
  • 1993: 7 baby boys named Timon


Kiara wasn’t in the original Lion King movie, but she was the main character of the direct-to-video sequel The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride, released in October of 1998. She was Simba and Nala’s daughter. The name Kiara, already popular, saw a massive spike in usage in 1999:

  • 2001: 2,289 baby girls named Kiara [rank: 144th]
  • 2000: 2,559 baby girls named Kiara [rank: 130th]
  • 1999: 4,023 baby girls named Kiara [rank: 78th]
  • 1998: 1,733 baby girls named Kiara [rank: 172nd]
  • 1997: 1,263 baby girls named Kiara [rank: 238th]

…So which of these names do you like best? Would you use a Lion King-inspired name for your own baby?

Source: SSA

Image: Screenshot of The Lion King