How popular is the baby name Noel 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 Noel.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Noel

Posts that Mention the Name Noel

Popular Baby Names in Hungary, 2020


According to data from the Hungary’s Ministry of the Interior, the most popular baby names in the country in 2020 were (again!) Hanna and Bence.

Below are Hungary’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names for each of the last four years (since 2016):

Girl Names


Boy Names


Finally, here are a few of the interesting names I noticed in Hungary’s recent top-100 lists (2017-2020):

  • Boróka (f), pronounced BO-ro-kaw , from the Hungarian word boróka, meaning “juniper.”
  • Csenge (f), pronounced CHENG-geh, derived from the Hungarian word cseng, meaning “to ring, clang.”
  • Csongor (m), pronounced CHONG-gor, possibly derived from a Turkic word meaning “falcon.”
  • Emese (f), pronounced EH-meh-sheh, possibly derived from the Finno-Ugric word eme, meaning “mother.”
    • This was the name of the grandmother of Árpád (845-907), considered by many Hungarians to be the founder of the country.
  • Hanga (f), pronounced HAWNG-gaw, from the Hungarian word hanga, meaning “heather.”
  • Szabolcs (m), pronounced SAW-bolch, of unknown meaning but possibly derived from a Slavic word meaning “marten.”

Sources: Statistics – Hungary’s Deputy State Secretariat for the Administration of the Ministry of the Interior, Behind the Name

Popular Baby Names in Finland, 2020

According to the Finnish Digital Agency, the most popular baby names in the country last year were Aino and Leo.

Here are Finland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2020:

Girl Names

  1. Aino, 276 baby girls
  2. Olivia, 252
  3. Sofia, 244
  4. Pihla, 239
  5. Aada, 237
  6. Eevi, 227
  7. Isla, 226
  8. Lilja, 220
  9. Helmi, 216
  10. Ellen and Ella, 206 each (tie)

Boy Names

  1. Leo, 356 baby boys
  2. Eino, 335
  3. Oliver, 326
  4. Elias, 323
  5. Onni, 308
  6. Väinö, 281
  7. Noel, 264
  8. Eeli, 228
  9. Toivo, 224
  10. Leevi, 207

In the girls’ top 10, Pihla and Isla replaced Emilia. (The name Pihla is based on the Finnish word pihlaja, meaning “rowan tree.”)

In the boys’ top 10, Toivo replaced Hugo.

Among Finland’s Swedish-speakers (about 5% of the population) the top baby names were Ellen and Emil.

In 2019, the top two names in Finland were also Aino and Leo.

Sources: Suosituimmat Etunimet (“Most Popular First Names”), Pihla – Behind the Name

Popular Baby Names in Finland, 2019

According to Finland’s Digital and Population Data Services Agency, the most popular baby names in the country last year were Aino and Leo.

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

Girl Names

  1. Aino, 278 baby girls
  2. Aada, 271
  3. Sofia, 255
  4. Eevi, 254
  5. Olivia, 246
  6. Lilja, 238
  7. Helmi, 236
  8. Ellen, 228
  9. Emilia, 223
  10. Ella, 220

Boy Names

  1. Leo, 380 baby boys
  2. Elias, 344
  3. Oliver, 332
  4. Eino, 318
  5. Väinö, 310
  6. Eeli, 267
  7. Noel, 259
  8. Leevi, 249
  9. Onni, 241
  10. Hugo, 195

The top girl name, Aino — rhymes with rhino — means “the only one.” It’s a poetic variant of the Finnish word ainoa, meaning “only” or “sole.” The name was invented by writer Elias Lönnrot for a character in the 19th-century Finnish epic poem the Kalevala. Originally, the character had been nameless and referred to simply as “the only daughter” (aino tyttönen) or “the only sister” (aino sisko).

In the girls’ top 10, Lilja, Ellen, and Emilia replaced Venla, Emma, and Isla.

In the boys’ top 10, Hugo replaced Niilo.

Among Finland’s Swedish-speakers (5% to 6% of the total population) the top baby names are Saga and Emil.

The top two names in Finland were the same (Aino and Leo) back in 2017, but they changed to Eevi and Eeli in 2018.

Sources: Names – Digital and Population Data Services Agency, Aino (mythology) – Wikipedia, Aino – Wiktionary

Where did the baby name Keir come from?

Actor Keir Dullea in the movie "David and Lisa" (1962).
Actor Keir Dullea in “David and Lisa

The compact name Keir first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in the early 1960s:

  • 1968: 28 baby boys named Keir
  • 1967: 6 baby boys named Keir
  • 1966: 12 baby boys named Keir
  • 1965: 6 baby boys named Keir
  • 1964: 21 baby boys named Keir
  • 1963: 13 baby boys named Keir [debut]
  • 1962: unlisted
  • 1961: unlisted

The spelling Kier debuted as well.

What was the influence?

Actor Keir Dullea, whose first big movie role was the a lead part in the offbeat romance David and Lisa (1962). He ended up winning a Golden Globe for “Most Promising Newcomer – Male” in early 1963.

He went on to appear in other movies, none more successful than Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), in which he played another David: astronaut David Bowman, who spoke the classic line, “Open the pod bay doors please, HAL.”

His full name is pronounced KEER duh-LAY, which is easy to remember if you think of the Noel Coward witticism, “Keir Dullea, gone tomorrow.” I’m not sure how his parents came up with the name Keir, but it could be an Anglicized form of the Irish name Ciar, which means “black.”

(Keir was also on TV a lot, and once appeared in an episode of the short-lived show Channing — just like Joan Hackett, whose character Djuna Phrayne had a big impact on the baby name Djuna.)

Do you like the name Keir?

Source: Keir Dullea – Wikipedia

Where did the baby name Buff come from?

Buff Cobb and Mike Wallace of the TV series "Mike and Buff" (1951-1953).
Buff Cobb and Mike Wallace

Here’s a curious one: Buff. It appeared in the SSA data in the middle of the 20th century as both a boy name and a girl name — but slightly more often as a girl name. The female usage was entirely in the 1950s:

  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: 5 baby girls named Buff
  • 1958: unlisted
  • 1957: unlisted
  • 1956: 6 baby girls named Buff
  • 1955: 15 baby girls named Buff
  • 1954: 10 baby girls named Buff
  • 1953: 6 baby girls named Buff
  • 1952: 5 baby girls named Buff [debut]
  • 1951: unlisted
  • 1950: unlisted

What was the influence here?

An actress with an intriguingly gender-neutral name: Buff Cobb.

She was born Patrizia Chapman in Italy in 1927 to American parents. When she decided in her teens to become a film star, she created the stage name “Buff Cobb” from her mother’s nickname, Buffy, and her maternal grandfather’s surname, Cobb. (He was writer/humorist Irvin Cobb.)

While Buff’s film career didn’t pan out, she did tour with a company putting on Noël Coward’s play Private Lives in the late ’40s. During a stop in Chicago, she was interviewed for a radio show by a young reporter named Mike Wallace — most famous today for his work as a 60 Minutes correspondent from 1968 to 2006.

She and Mike got married in 1949 and began co-hosting a Chicago radio show, which led to two New York City TV shows (both live):

  • Mike and Buff (1951-1953), originally entitled Two Sleepy People, one of television’s first talk shows. “[T]he couple would engage in heated debate over a different topic each day, then try to settle their differences after interviewing experts.” One of Mike’s catchphrases on the show was: “Smarten up, Buff!” The show was sponsored by Pepsi and guests included Harry Belafonte and Mickey Spillane.
  • All Around the Town (1951-1952), an interview show typically broadcast from different parts of New York City.
mike and buff

A year after Mike and Buff was cancelled, the real Mike and Buff were also cancelled — they divorced in 1954. Buff appeared regularly on just one more TV show after that: the ’50s game show Masquerade Party, from 1953 to 1955. Usage of the (female) name Buff was highest during these years.

Do you like the name Buff for a baby girl? Do you like it more or less than Buffy and Buffie (both of which also debuted during the first half of the ’50s)?


Image: Clipped from page 12 of the December 1952 Radio-TV Mirror.