How popular is the baby name Renee 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 Renee.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Renee


Posts that Mention the Name Renee

What turned Sway into a baby name?

sway, gone in 60 seconds, movie, character
Angelina Jolie as Sara “Sway” Wayland

The word Sway popped up for the first time in the U.S. baby name data in 2001:

  • 2003: 14 baby girls and 5 baby boys named Sway
  • 2002: 12 baby girls named Sway
  • 2001: 8 baby girls named Sway [debut]
  • 2000: unlisted
  • 1999: unlisted

For a long time I assumed the main influence was MTV personality Sway Calloway. But, while I still think Sway had an influence on male usage, I’ve since discovered a much better explanation for the 2001 debut as a female name.

One of the main characters in the 2000 car heist film Gone in 60 Seconds was mechanic-slash-bartender Sara “Sway” Wayland (played by Angelina Jolie). She was the love interest of protagonist Randall “Memphis” Raines (played by Nicolas Cage), who was tasked with stealing 50 specific, expensive cars inside of 72 hours.

The film didn’t get great reviews, but I do remember appreciating the fact that each of the 50 cars was assigned a feminine code-name:

Mary, Barbara, Lindsey, Laura, Alma, Madeline, Patricia, Carol, Daniela, Stefanie, Erin, Pamela, Olga, Anne, Kate, Vanessa, Denise, Diane, Lisa, Nadine, Angelina, Rose, Susan, Tracey, Rachel, Bernadene, Deborah, Stacey, Josephine, Hillary, Kimberley, Renee, Dorothy, Donna, Samantha, Ellen, Gabriela, Shannon, Jessica, Sharon, Tina, Marsha, Natalie, Virginia, Tanya, Grace, Ashley, Cathy, Lynn, Eleanor

So, how do you feel about the name Sway? If you were having a baby girl, would you be more likely to name her something modern, like Sway, or something traditional, like Sara or Susan?

Sources: Gone in 60 Seconds (2000 film) – Wikipedia, Talk:Gone in 60 Seconds (2000 film) – Wikipedia

Baby names in the news: Ryder, Saynt, Crew

Some recent and not-so-recent baby names from the news…

Blu (rejected): A baby girl born in late 2016 in Italy was almost named Blu, but the Italian government rejected the name because it didn’t correspond to her gender. (The Local)

Betsy and Emory: Twin baby girls born in January of 2018 to singer Hillary Scott were named Betsy Mack and Emory JoAnn. Their older sister Eisele was behind the debut of Eisele in 2014. (Taste of Country)

Brianna: A baby girl born in Sacramento in early 2018 with the help of firefighter Brian Hoffer was named Brianna Renee in his honor. (CBS Sacramento)

Crew: A baby boy born in June of 2018 to reality TV stars Joanna and Chip Gaines was named Crew. (Motherly)

Harry and Meghan: Twin foals born in Wales the day before the royal wedding were named Harry and Meghan. (BBC)

Hayes: A baby boy born on the last day of 2017 to actress Jessica Alba was named Hayes. (People)

Marvel: A baby girl born in May of 2018 to musician Pete Wentz was named Marvel Jane. Her older brother Bronx was behind the rise of Bronx in 2009. (Business Insider)

Knight: A baby boy born in Vegas in during the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals was named Haizen Knight in part after the Vegas Golden Knights, who ultimately lost to the Washington Capitals. (KTNV Las Vegas, video)

Neve: A baby girl born in June of 2018 to Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, was named Neve Te Aroha. (NZ Herald)

Riley: A baby girl born in Vegas on the day the Vegas Golden Knights advanced to the playoffs was named Riley after player Reilly Smith. Her parents were survivors of the Las Vegas shooting. (NY Post)

Ryder: A baby boy born in May of 2018 was named Ryder after the Ryder Cup. (Ryder Cup…and here’s the follow-up post that mentions several more babies named Ryder)

Saynt: A baby boy born in February of 2018 to Australian actress Tessa James was named Saynt — a respelling of Saint, which would have been illegal in Australia. (news.com.au)

Sheboygan: A baby boy born in April of 2018 to a Michigan couple already famous for being prodigious producers of sons was named Finley Sheboygan — middle name derived from the phrase “she is a boy again.” (Today)

Stormi: A baby girl born in February to reality TV star Kylie Jenner was named Stormi. (People)

Name quotes #60: Kelvin, Reese, Nyadak

Benedict Cumberbatch quote

A Benedict Cumberbatch quote from a recent episode [vid] of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert:

I think England is the only place that makes people named Benedict Cumberbatch.

From an article about a Swedish woman who changed her son’s name because of a botched tattoo:

Local newspaper, Blekinge Läns Tidning, reported that 30-year-old Johanna Giselhäll Sandström had requested a tattoo of her children’s names, Nova and Kevin.

The tattoo artist didn’t ask the woman to check the spelling, which resulted in a tattoo that read: ‘Nova and Kelvin’.

[…]

After discovering the process of removing tattoos isn’t an easy one, Sandström began to realise the name was growing on her, so she opted for a less painful solution to the problem.

“We decided to rename the boy,” she said.

From a Slate essay about unusual Mormon names by Haley Swenson:

By now, I’ve heard all the jokes about Utah names, but what I haven’t heard is a unified theory of just why the Mormon people of Utah are so inclined to create them. I humbly offer two hypotheses.

The first is my historical-cultural theory—that the penchant for invented names among Mormons lies in its very foundation: It goes all the way back to its founder, Joseph Smith, who had to come up with the names of hundreds of figures to populate the faith’s foundational text that he wrote, the Book of Mormon.

[…]

My second theory is more sociological. […] [I]f you’re a Mormon kid in Utah, it can be hard to stand out from the pack. A differently spelled name or a new name altogether might be a reasonable way to firm up a sense of individuality from the first day. Why bring yet another Erin into the world when you can introduce an Aeryn, or better yet, an Aroarin?

From an article about the pregnancy of Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand:

Ardern told More FM she and partner Clarke Gayford had a list of baby names that wasn’t getting any shorter and had no favourites.

Picking a name wasn’t going well, she said.

“It’s one of those things where Clarke is absolutely convinced it will come to us as soon as it arrives.

“I think we’ll be sleep deprived and probably angry at each other so I don’t think that’s the best time to choose.”

From an article about a girl named after Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups:

When Renee Cupp became pregnant with her daughter, she toyed around with a few names. For a while, Lily was the front runner, until she and her husband had the idea to name their second child after their favorite chocolate and peanut butter candy. So, eight years ago, the couple printed the name Reese Eve Cupp on their daughter’s birth certificate.

Although the correct pronunciation of the candy is “Rees-IS,” Cupp tells PEOPLE that she has always pronounced it “Rees-EES,” which is a common inflection of the popular chocolate brand, thus the addition of her daughter’s middle initial.

[Little Reese E. Cupp won the company’s $10,000 fan contest a few weeks after this post went up. Not only that, but, “as a tribute to the most outrageous fan’s family, Reese’s will proclaim today [June 14, 2018] ‘Reese E. Cupp Day,’ and even pronounce the product Reese-EE for one day only.”]

From an article about drug naming trends in The Times (via ANS):

[Dr. Pascaline Faure] said that a clear trend was for names ending in “a” associated with femininity, as in “Maria”, or an “o”, which is masculine, as in “Mario”. “This is turning a drug into a sort of mate. It can be a girlfriend, with women’s attributes, or a boyfriend, with male ones,” she said.

From the essay “Why We Didn’t Name Our Son After His Grandfather, a Holocaust Survivor” by Jasmine Smith in Kveller:

I want my son, who is almost 2, to feel the history of his ancestors as something joyful and not heavy. I want him to recognize all the improbable elements that had to align; all the miracles that kept his grandfathers alive through their difficult lives long enough to create the families that would lead to his birth. I hope that, by giving him the gift of an unburdened name, he will be able to create a life that is equally as incredible as his grandfathers’ — a life that is already miraculous just by existing.

From an interview with fashion model Nyadak “Duckie” Thot:

In Melbourne, Australia, where she was born and raised in a culturally traditional Sudanese household with her mom, dad and six siblings, her peers at school couldn’t pronounce her real name, and it got to an unbearable point. […] Of course, neither name was something commonly found amongst Australian citizens. As she explains, both the words “Nyadak” and “Thot” are, in fact, Nuer, a South Sudanese language that’s native to the Nuer tribe. “Oh yeah,” she says wryly after noticing my surprised facial expression. “Many people don’t know I come from a tribe.”

Where did the baby name Chantel come from in 1957?

chantels, music, 1950s, doowop

Though The Chantels were technically the second African-American girl-group (after the Bobbettes) to achieve chart success, they missed being first by just a matter of weeks.

The quintet of Catholic choir girls — Arlene, Lois, Renee, Jackie, and Sonia — hit the scene in the latter half of 1957 with two singles: “He’s Gone,” released in August, and “Maybe,” released in December.

“Maybe” ended up becoming a hit in early 1958, reaching #2 on the R&B charts and #15 on the Hot 100. Here are the Chantels singing (well, lip-syncing) “Maybe” on The Dick Clark Show in March:

The word “Chantels” never ended up in the U.S. baby name data, but the non-plural form Chantel started popping up in 1957:

  • 1959: 5 baby girls named Chantel
  • 1958: unlisted
  • 1957: 5 baby girls named Chantel [debut]
  • 1956: unlisted
  • 1955: unlisted

The spelling Chantell debuted in 1958.

And look what happened in the early ’60s:

1961196219631964
Chantel5125645
Chantell..720
Chantelle..31*30
Shantel..11*19
Chantele..9*7
Shantell..6*12
Shantelle...9*
*Debut

I’m not sure what caused that explosion of variants in 1963. The Chantels’ next-biggest hit, “Look In My Eyes” (1961), is probably too early to account for it. The answer might be the 1962 movie If a Man Answers, which featured a character named Chantal played by Sandra Dee.

So where did the Chantels get their name? From a Catholic parish in Bronx — but not their own, St. Anthony of Padua. Here’s the story:

The girls were performing at a dance at St. Francis [sic] de Chantal parish in Throgs Neck, got a terrific hand from the audience, and had a brainstorm for the name of their group.

They simply altered Chantal — a French place name meaning “stony” — to create Chantel.

Do you like the name Chantel? Do you like it more or less than Chantal?

Sources:

Pop culture baby name game results, 2016

Here are the results of Pop Culture Baby Name Game 2016!

As usual, the disclaimer: Some of the names below were already on the rise. Others may have been influenced by more than just the single pop culture person/event listed. I leave it up to you to judge the degree/nature of pop culture influence in each case.

On to the names…

Luna, +849

  • Up from 2,796 baby girls in 2015 to 3,645 in 2016.
  • 6th-highest raw-number increase on the girls’ list in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Luna Simone, daughter of singer John Legend and model Chrissy Teigen.

Camila, +765

Greyson, +704

  • Up from 3,591 baby boys in 2015 to 4,295 in 2016.
  • 8th-highest raw-number increase on the boys’ list in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Greyson Valor, son of reality TV star Jenni “JWoww” Farley.

Adonis, +443

Kehlani, +272

Wade, +232

  • Up from 553 baby boys in 2015 to 785 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Deadpool (2016).

Prince, +187

  • Up from 820 baby boys in 2015 to 1,007 in 2016.
  • The name Princess also saw a jump in usage: 268 baby girls in 2015 to 369 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Prince.

Lyanna, +154

  • Up from 62 baby girls in 2015 to 216 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV show Game of Thrones.

Alessia, +130

Wilder, +122

  • Up from 215 baby boys in 2015 to 337 in 2016.
  • 9th-highest ranking increase on the boys’ list in 2016.
  • Wilder also saw higher usage among baby girls: 22 in 2015 to 38 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Gene Wilder.

Canaan, +99

  • Up from 283 baby boys in 2015 to 382 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: son of Oprah Winfrey (she announced this name in late 2015).
    • According to a 2010 biography, Winfrey’s son’s legal first name was Vincent.

Cyrus, +91

  • Up from 631 baby boys in 2015 to 722 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV mini-series Roots (2016).

Creed, +78

Bowie, +77

  • Up from 53 baby boys in 2015 to 130 in 2016.
  • Bowie also saw higher usage among baby girls: 43 in 2015 to 75 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of David Bowie.

Muhammad, +77

  • Up from 881 baby boys in 2015 to 958 in 2016.
  • The name Muhammadali also saw a jump in usage: 12 baby boys in 2015 to 24 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Muhammad Ali.

Ivanka, +74

  • Up from 37 baby girls in 2015 to 111 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Trump’s daughter Ivanka.

Cohen, +68

  • Up from 1,017 baby boys in 2015 to 1,085 in 2016.
  • Cohen also saw higher usage among baby girls: 12 in 2015 to 17 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Leonard Cohen.

Queen, +49

  • Up from 148 baby girls in 2015 to 197 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influences: the TV show Queen Sugar (2016-) and the movie Queen of Katwe (2016).

Melania, +41

  • Up from 90 baby girls in 2015 to 131 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Trump’s wife Melania.

Moana, +38

  • Up from 18 baby girls in 2015 to 56 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Moana (2016).

Jupiter, +36

  • Up from 42 baby girls in 2015 to 78 in 2016.
  • Jupiter also saw higher usage among baby boys: 25 in 2015 to 41 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter.

Hillary, +34

Simone, +33

  • Up from 340 baby girls in 2015 to 373 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influences: Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and celebrity baby Luna Simone.

Doris, +32

  • Up from 85 baby girls in 2015 to 117 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Hello, My Name Is Doris (2016).

Dream, +30

  • Up from 98 baby _s in 2015 to 128 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Kardashian baby Dream Renée.

Rio, +29

  • Up from 103 baby boys in 2015 to 132 in 2016.
  • Rio also saw higher usage among baby girls: 38 in 2015 to 61 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Malachi, +27

  • Up from 2,558 baby boys in 2015 to 2,585 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the TV mini-series Roots (2016).

Ali, +23

  • Up from 1,060 baby boys in 2015 to 1,083 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the death of Muhammad Ali.

Barron, +20

  • Up from 74 baby boys in 2015 to 94 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Trump’s son Barron.

Miesha, +19

  • Up from 13 baby girls in 2015 to 32 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: MMA fighter Miesha Tate.

Onyx, +18

  • Up from 38 baby girls in 2015 to 56 in 2016.
  • Onyx saw an even higher jump in usage among baby boys: 118 in 2015 to 172 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Onyx Solace, daughter of Alanis Morissette.

Francis, +17

  • Up from 619 baby boys in 2015 to 636 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Deadpool (2016).

Merrick, +17

  • Up from 191 baby boys in 2015 to 208 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Judge Merrick Garland.

Ajax, +16

  • Up from 17 baby boys in 2015 to 33 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Deadpool (2016).

Juno, +13

  • Up from 86 baby girls in 2015 to 99 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter.

Keanu, +13

  • Up from 197 baby boys in 2015 to 210 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Keanu (2016).

Halsey, re-entered with 12

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 12 baby girls in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Halsey (born Ashley Nicolette Frangipane).

Valor, +12

  • Up from 78 baby boys in 2015 to 90 in 2016.
  • Valor also saw higher usage among baby girls: 6 in 2015 to 14 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Greyson Valor, son of reality TV star Jenni “JWoww” Farley.

Hamilton, +11

  • Up from 86 baby boys in 2015 to 97 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the Broadway musical Hamilton.

Sanders, +11

  • Up from 12 baby boys in 2015 to 23 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Bernie, +10

  • Up from 11 baby boys in 2015 to 21 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Omran, +10

  • Up from 7 baby boys in 2015 to 17 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Syrian boy Omran Daqneesh.

Elle, +9

  • Up from 816 baby girls in 2015 to 825 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Elle King.

Teresa, +9

  • Up from 426 baby girls in 2015 to 435 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: canonization of Mother Teresa.

Dak, re-entered with 8

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 8 baby boys in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: NFL player Rayne Dakota “Dak” Prescott.

Wrigley, +8

  • Up from 22 baby boys in 2015 to 30 in 2016.
  • Wrigley also saw higher usage among baby girls: 15 in 2015 to 18 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: Chicago Cubs’ World Series win.

Boomer, +7

  • Up from 5 baby boys in 2015 to 12 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: celebrity baby Boomer Robert, son of Michael Phelps.

Dory, re-entered with 6

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 6 baby girls in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Finding Dory (2016).

Maui, re-entered with 5

  • After an absence, returned to the list with 5 baby boys in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Moana (2016).

Wilson, +5

  • Up from 433 baby boys in 2015 to 438 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Deadpool (2016).

Sully, +4

  • Up from 17 baby boys in 2015 to 21 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: the movie Sully (2016).

Teyana, +3

  • Up from 47 baby girls in 2015 to 50 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Teyana Taylor.

Draymond, +2

  • Up from 6 baby boys in 2015 to 8 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: NBA player Draymond Green.

Daya, +1

  • Up from 42 baby girls in 2015 to 43 in 2016.
  • Pop culture influence: singer Daya (born Grace Martine Tandon).

Names that went down in usage from 2015 to 2016:

Names not in the SSA data in either 2015 or 2016:

  • Angel Dust
  • Aroldis
  • Bison
  • Broncs
  • Cubby
  • Curiosity
  • Dopinder
  • Eleven
  • Emayatzy
  • E’myri
  • Esperanto
  • Hermine
  • Ingwen
  • Jikan
  • Jonbenet
  • Lorca
  • Kunta
  • Laremy
  • Linmanuel
  • Maga
  • MacGyver
  • Mountain
  • Moushumi
  • Ode
  • Phiona
  • Regé-Jean
  • Rykiel
  • Trump
  • Usain
  • Voltron
  • Zobrist

Some initial reactions…

I was surprised that Adonis and Wade jumped in usage as much as they did.

I was also surprised that Wrigley barely jumped at all in usage. Maybe “Wrigley” reminds too many people of gum?

usain bolt, race, 100m, rio, olympics
© 2016 Cameron Spencer/Getty

Where the heck is Usain? Why is Usain not in the data yet? Sure, track and field is relatively unpopular in the United States. Still, I thought Rio might do it — with the help of that viral photo of Usain Bolt cheekily grinning at the competition in the middle of that 100 meter sprint.

Finally, as a former ’80s kid, I did have my fingers crossed for Voltron. Oh well…

How about you? Did any of these rises/falls surprise you?

P.S. Some of the names from the 2015 Pop Culture Baby Name Game that have started/continued to do well: Adaline, Arlo, Bjorn, Bryshere, Finn, Furiosa, Gigi, Hakeem, Jedi, Joy, Kylo, Lagertha, Lucious, Margot, Mars, Rey, Saint, and Sullivan. Even more interesting is Atticus, which saw a drop in usage in 2016 after rising steadily for years. (Here’s more about Atticus and the Go Set a Watchman debacle.) The usage of Becky decreased as well — could Beyoncé’s song “Sorry” have anything to do with it?