How popular is the baby name Pat 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 Pat.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Pat


Posts that Mention the Name Pat

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

Game show hostess Vanna White on "Wheel of Fortune" (January, 1986).
Vanna White on “Wheel of Fortune

The baby name Vanna only saw a smattering of usage every year until the early 1980s, when it suddenly became trendy:

  • 1988: 58 baby girls named Vanna
  • 1987: 87 baby girls named Vanna
  • 1986: 111 baby girls named Vanna [peak]
  • 1985: 71 baby girls named Vanna
  • 1984: 39 baby girls named Vanna
  • 1983: 21 baby girls named Vanna
  • 1982: 7 baby girls named Vanna
  • 1981: 8 baby girls named Vanna
Graph of the usage of the baby name Vanna in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Vanna

The like-sounding names Savannah and Savanna also got a boost during that time period, and the spelling variant Vannah debuted the year Vanna hit peak usage.

What spurred all this interest in the name Vanna?

If you owned a TV set during the ’80s, you already know the answer: Vanna White, hostess of the popular game show Wheel of Fortune.

Vanna White was chosen out of a field of 200 hopefuls to join host Pat Sajak on the show in December of 1982. (The original hostess, Susan Stafford, quit in October.)

Her job essentially consisted of walking in front of a puzzle board — sometimes right to left, sometimes left to right — and turning tiles to reveal letters as contestants made their guesses. (Today she still walks back and forth, but the puzzle board letters are touch-activated.)

Wheel of Fortune became the highest-rated syndicated show on television in the mid-1980s. As a result, Vanna White became “TV’s most improbable cult heroine.” She became so popular, in fact, that the press dubbed the phenomenon Vanna-mania.

(Several years after peak Vanna-mania, one reporter noted that it “was one of the oddest phenomenons of our time, bestowing superstar status on a woman whose only obvious skill was turning letters on cue.”)

By early 1986, Vanna White knew she had multiple namesakes:

“I’ve gotten tons of fan mail,” she marvels. “Love letters, marriage proposals, children being named after me, which is quite an honor. Every year on Sept. 4, I get a picture of this adorable little Vanna.”

So, where did the original Vanna get her unusual first name?

[T]he name Vanna came from my grandmother’s next-door neighbor. Her name was Vana Woorell … and she spelled her name with one n … my mother liked the name so much, she said, Well, I’m gonna name my daughter Vanna with two n‘s.

What are your thoughts on the name Vanna? Would you use it?

Sources:

Popular baby names in Ireland, 2021

ireland

According to data from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO), the most popular baby names in the country last year were Fiadh and Jack.

Here are Ireland’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Fiadh, 424 baby girls
  2. Grace, 412
  3. Emily, 388
  4. Sophie, 336
  5. Éabha, 288
  6. Lucy, 287
  7. Mia, 279
  8. Ava, 272
  9. Lily, 271
  10. Ella, 268

Boy Names

  1. Jack, 667 baby boys
  2. Noah, 475
  3. James, 442
  4. Conor, 360
  5. Rían, 357
  6. Liam, 353
  7. Charlie, 345
  8. Daniel, 325
  9. Cillian, 322
  10. Tadhg, 318

In the girls’ top 10, Éabha and Lily replaced Amelia and Hannah. (In both 2019 and 2020, Éabha was the fastest-rising girl name in Ireland.)

In the boys’ top 10, Rían, Cillian, and Tadhg replaced Finn, Fionn, and Harry.

Newbies to the girls’ top 100 were Indie, Ayla and Lottie; newbies to the boys’ top 100 were Teddy, Daithí, Páidí, Jaxon, Brody, Ted, Hunter, Tadgh, Tiernan, and Arlo.

The fastest-rising names in the top 100 in terms of numbers of babies were:

  • Croía (+60 baby girls), Emily (+59), Fiadh (+58), Éabha (+54), Isla (+52)
  • Rían (+72 baby boys), Jack (+70), Danny (+57), Theo (+53), Ollie (+51)

The fastest-rising names in terms of rank were:

  • Croía (+43 spots), Indie (+28), Ayla (+28), Fíadh (+24), Daisy (+21)
  • Ted (+49 spots), Hunter (+38), Hugo (+35), Brody (+35), Teddy (+31)

Rían (which was already on the rise) and Croía have both given a boost recently by Irish MMA fighter Conor McGregor, who welcomed a daughter named Croía Mairéad at the start of 2019 and a son named Rían in May of 2021.

Here’s what writer and Irish language activist Darach Ó Séaghdha’s had to say about the rise of Rían (and Éabha):

Given that the first name Ryan started to decline in popularity in the 2010s around the time Rian and Rían began to ascend it is reasonable to see Rían as an update or replacement to Ryan, much as Éabha has climbed in popularity as Eve, Ava and Aoibhe have wavered.

He also noted that “Rían and Rian would be the [most popular] Gaeilge-origin boy name if counted together, edging ahead of Conor.”

Sources: Irish Babies’ Names, Irish Babies’ Names 2021, The Irish For: The rise of Rían – the latest baby names in Ireland

P.S. To follow up on Friday’s post about the free lighthouse tour…the name Patrick is currently ranked 19th in Ireland, but none of the other three names (Paddy, Pat, or Patricia) rank anywhere near the top 100. That said, one of the names new to the boys’ top 100 last year was Páidí (pronounced paw-dee) — a pet form of Pádraig, which is an Irish form of Patrick.

Free lighthouse tour for people named Patrick, Patricia

Hook lighthouse, Ireland
Hook Lighthouse

Is your name is Patrick or Patricia? Do you live in Co. Wexford, Ireland?

If so, go check out Hook Lighthouse (“the oldest operational lighthouse in the world”) on St. Patrick’s Day — you’ll get a free guided tour!

Here’s the announcement from the Hook Lighthouse events page:

Celebrate all that is uniquely Irish at hook Lighthouse this St. Patrick’s Day … from a green theme in the café and the celebration of Paddy’s… yes, that’s right, if your name is Patrick, Pat, Paddy or Patricia you can enjoy access to a free Lighthouse tour on St. Patrick’s Day and enjoy snake hunts at 2 pm and 3 pm on the lighthouse lawns!

The tours don’t actually cost much — just €10 per adult, and about half that per child — but it sounds like a fun promotion nonetheless.

Source: Hook Lighthouse offering free tours for Patricks and Patricias this St Patrick’s Day

Image by Braden Collum from Unsplash

Where did the baby name Santini come from in 1979?

The movie "The Great Santini" (1979).
“The Great Santini”

The name Santini was a one-hit wonder in the U.S. baby name data in 1979:

  • 1981: unlisted
  • 1980: unlisted
  • 1979: 9 baby boys named Santini [debut]
  • 1978: unlisted
  • 1977: unlisted

Why?

That was the year the movie The Great Santini came out. Set in the early ’60s, it starred Robert Duvall as a Marine aviator self-nicknamed “The Great Santini.” He was good at his job, but not so good at being a husband and father. The film received two Oscar nominations.

It was based on a semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by southern writer Pat Conroy (who also wrote The Prince of Tides, another Oscar-nominated movie).

What do you think of the baby name Santini?

Source: The Great Santini – TCM

Nellybelle: Possible baby name?

While researching various baby names influenced by the people/events of the 1950s, I happened to come across Nellybelle, the name of a non-human character on the The Roy Rogers Show (1951-1957).

Nellybelle was a jeep with a mind of her own. When she wasn’t driving herself around, she was being driven by Roy’s sidekick, Pat Brady. According to the New York Times, Pat made the name Nellybelle a “household word” with his catchphrase, “Whoa, Nellybelle!”

All that exposure inspired more than a few people to call their cars Nellybelle, but it didn’t have the same influence on baby names: the name-combo has never been bestowed often enough to register in the U.S. baby name data (which excludes names used fewer than 5 times per year).

That said, it has certainly seen usage as a first-middle set. Many dozens of females born in the U.S. in the 1800s and early 1900s were named “Nellie Belle” and “Nellie Bell,” according to records.

What are your thoughts on the name Nellybelle? Would you use it for a modern-day baby?

Source: Pat Brady, Film Cowboy, Dies; Roy Rogers’s Sidekick Was 57