How popular is the baby name Sharon 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 Sharon.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Sharon


Posts that Mention the Name Sharon

Rexall baby names: Juneve, Jonteel, Cara Nome

juneve, cosmetics, 1924, baby name, brand name
Juneve advertisement, circa 1924

The United Drug Company — a cooperative of dozens of independently-owned drugstores — was founded by businessman Louis K. Liggett in Boston in 1902.

The affiliated drug stores soon began selling medicines and other products under the brand name Rexall. (Eventually, “Rexall” became the name of thousands of drug stores across the U.S. and Canada.)

Rexall products included perfumed toiletries — talcum power, complexion powder, cold cream, vanishing cream, toilet soap, toilet water, etc. — plus the perfumes themselves. And, interestingly, some of the fragrance names had a small influence on U.S. baby names.

I don’t know precisely when each fragrance was put on the market, so I’ll just list them alphabetically…

Cara Nome

This is a fun one to start with because the fragrance name actually refers to a name.

United Drug’s Cara Nome fragrance was introduced around 1918 and saw its best sales in the 1920s. The Italian name, which translates to “dearest name,” was apparently inspired by an aria called “Caro nome che il mio cor” from the Verdi opera Rigoletto. (In case you’re wondering, the “caro nome” being referred to in the song is Gualtier.)

I found several people in the records named Cara Nome or Caranome:

  • Betty Cara Nome Patesel, b. 1923 in Indiana
  • Cara Nome Schemun, b. circa 1926 in North Dakota
  • Cara Nome Grable, b. 1929 in Michigan
  • Caranome Haag, b. circa 1931 in Wisconsin
  • Caranome Vollman, b. circa 1932 in Nebraska
  • Caranome Stiffey, b. circa 1933 in Pennsylvania
  • Caranome Fox, b. circa 1936 in Oklahoma
  • Caranome Cody, b. 1936 in Tennessee

In Italian, nome is pronounced noh-may (2 syllables). I don’t know how any of the people above pronounced their names, though.

Jeanice

Bouquet Jeanice, introduced around 1913, was one of United Drug’s earliest fragrances. It wasn’t on the market under the name “Bouquet Jeanice” very long, though, because the name was changed to “Bouquet Laurèce” (see below) in late 1915 due to a trademark dispute.

Still, the baby name Jeanice managed to debut in the U.S. baby name data during that short span of time, in 1915:

  • 1917: 11 baby girls named Jeanice
  • 1916: 11 baby girls named Jeanice
  • 1915: 7 baby girls named Jeanice [debut]
  • 1914: unlisted
  • 1913: unlisted

A lot of Jean-names had appeared in the data up to this point, but none of them ended with an “-s” sound.

Jonteel

United Drug introduced Jonteel products in late 1917 and marketed them heavily with full-page color advertisements in major women’s magazines (like Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, and Ladies’ Home Journal).

French names (or French sounding names) were all the rage for cosmetics at the time, and the name Jonteel — presumably based on the French word gentil, meaning “kind, courteous” — fit the trendy perfectly. (In fact, the name that was originally proposed “by a copywriter working for United Drug’s advertising manager” was Caresse-Jonteel, but the “Caresse” part was ultimately dropped.)

I found several people in the records with the name Jonteel:

Juneve

Juneve, pronounced “June Eve,” wasn’t one of United Drug’s more successful scents. It was introduced in 1923, seems to have been off the market entirely by 1928.

Despite this, it popped up on quite a few birth certificates. Here are the Juneves I found that were born during that window of time:

  • Juneve Key, b. December 1923 in Missouri
  • Mary Juneve Jones, b. 1924 in Utah
  • Juneve Black, b. circa 1924 in Kansas
  • Juneve Alsaida Foreman, b. 1924 in Michigan
  • Juneve Jura, b. circa 1924 in Illinois
  • Frances Juneve Smith, b. 1924 in Texas
  • Juneve Carlson, b. circa 1925 in Wisconsin
  • Juneve Massad, b. circa 1925 in Oklahoma
  • Juneve George, b. circa 1925 in Texas
  • Juneve Abraham, b. circa 1925 in Kansas
  • Clara Juneve Morris, b. 1925 in Texas
  • Juneve Friedrick, b. circa 1925 in Texas
  • Ruth Juneve Dehut, b. circa 1925 in Nebraska
  • Juneve Babcock, b. 1925 in Oregon
  • Juneve Gibbs, b. circa 1926 in North Carolina
  • Joyce Juneve Gutzmann, b. 1926 in Minnesota
  • Juneve Hodges, b. circa 1927 in Oklahoma
  • Juneve Malouf, b. circa 1927 in Texas
  • Juneve Fuller, b. 1927 in California
  • Gwendolyn Juneve Gepford, b. 1928 in Oklahoma
  • Juneve Malstrom, b. circa 1928 in Minnesota

The name Juneve also appeared a single time in the U.S. baby name data, the year after the scent was introduced:

  • 1926: unlisted
  • 1925: unlisted
  • 1924: 5 baby girls named Juneve [debut]
  • 1923: unlisted
  • 1922: unlisted

Laurece

Bouquet Laurèce was the new name for Bouquet Jeanice (see above). Advertisements for Bouquet Laurèce started appearing in the papers in late 1915, but I could find no mention of the scent after 1917, so apparently it was only on the market for a couple of years. But that was enough for the name Laurece to become a one-hit wonder in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1919: unlisted
  • 1918: unlisted
  • 1917: 6 baby girls named Laurece [debut]
  • 1916: unlisted
  • 1915: unlisted

Shari

United Drug introduced a scent called Shari in early 1926 with ads featuring copy like this:

Shari is something new in toilet goods. Shari appeals to most every woman and tends to add to personal loveliness. The distinctive fragrance of Shari perfume incorporated in the following beauty aids (now on sale at all our stores) will be the cause of their use on thousands of dressing tables during 1926.

Shari products proved popular, and the scent was on the market all the way until the early 1940s.

The baby name Shari debuted in the SSA data in 1927 and — like the Shari products themselves — gained momentum over the years that followed.

  • 1929: 10 baby girls named Shari
  • 1928: 8 baby girls named Shari
  • 1927: 9 baby girls named Shari [debut]
  • 1926: unlisted
  • 1925: unlisted

(Similar names like Sharon and Sherry were also slowly picking up steam in the 1920s. All three names would go on to see peak usage in the middle decades of the 20th century.)

Violet Dulce

United Drug’s Violet Dulce fragrance was introduced in the early 1910s — even earlier than Bouquet Jeanice. The name Violet was already relatively popular for newborns at that time, but I did find a single example of a newborn with the first-middle combo “Violet Dulce”:

  • Violet Dulce Starr, b. 1913 in Washington state

Rexall

Finally, I’ll mention that the baby name Rexall has popped up in the data a handful of times (1910s-1950s), though the usage doesn’t seem to follow any patterns.

How was the word coined? Here’s the story:

[Liggett] asked Walter Jones Willson, his office boy and an amateur linguist, to invent the brand name. It had to be short, distinctive, original, and easy to pronounce; it also had to look good in type and meet the legal requirements for a trademark. Willson submitted a long list of coined words, including “Rexal,” to Liggett, who added another “l.” Since “rex” was the Latin word for king, the new name supposedly meant “king of all.” (According to another explanation, “Rexall” stood for “RX for all.”)

Before settling upon “Rexall,” Liggett had considered using “Saxona” as the name of the brand.


Do you like any of the perfume names above? Would you give any of them to a modern-day baby?

Sources:

Where did the baby name Deshannon come from?

Jackie DeShannon album "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" (1969).
Jackie DeShannon album

Right around the time the name Shannon was seeing a steep rise in usage, the name Deshannon debuted in the U.S. baby name data:

YearGirls Named ShannonGirls Named Deshannon
1972
1971
1970
1969
1968
1967
1966
10,965 [rank: 22nd]
12,651 [rank: 21st]
13,548 [rank: 22nd]
10,448 [rank: 31st]
6,402 [rank: 53rd]
3,446 [rank: 101st]
2,992 [rank: 120th]
14
12
13
12 [debut]
.
.
.

The influence? Singer Jackie DeShannon, whose biggest hit, “Put a Little Love in Your Heart,” peaked at #4 on Billboard‘s “Hot 100” chart in the summer of 1969.

But this wasn’t DeShannon’s first hit. She’d already seen success with the song “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” which had peaked at #7 in the summer of 1965.

So it seems that sudden trendiness of “Shannon” was the x-factor that prepared expectant parents to see more name-potential in “DeShannon” the second time around.

The singer’s birth name was Sharon Lee Myers. She went through various stage names before settling on “Jackie DeShannon.” “Jackie” was chosen because it was gender-neutral, while “DeShannon” was created out of two earlier ideas: “Dee,” which, by itself, made the full name too close to ones already in use (like Sandra Dee and Brenda Lee), and “de Shannon,” which was often written incorrectly.

DeShannon also had a successful career as a songwriter, working with performers like Jimmy Page and Marianne Faithfull. In 1982, she received the Grammy Award for Song of the Year for “Bette Davis Eyes,” which she had co-written with Donna Weiss. (The song was a 1981 hit for singer Kim Carnes.)

How do you like DeShannon as a baby name?

Sources: What The World Needs Now Is Jackie DeShannon, Jackie DeShannon – Wikipedia

Where did the baby name Chantay come from?

The baby name Chantay made an impressive debut in the U.S. baby name data in 1960:

  • 1962: 16 baby girls named Chantay
  • 1961: 80 baby girls named Chantay
  • 1960: 67 baby girls named Chantay [debut]
  • 1959: unlisted
  • 1958: unlisted

Where did it come from?

Yet another single-episode TV character.

That character was Chantay, who appeared on a November 1960 episode of the western Lawman (1958-1962). Chantay was a Native American teenager (played by actress Sharon Hugueny) who had run away from the Indian school. She was befriended one of the show’s main characters, Deputy Johnny.

The California surf rock group The Chantays — famous today for the surf rock classic “Pipeline” (vid) — formed in 1961 and may have taken their name from the character as well.

Sources: Lawman, Season 3, Episode 9 – Chantay – TV.com, “Lawman” Chantay (TV Episode 1960) – IMDb.com

How did “The Real World” influence baby names?

“This is the true story…of seven strangers…picked to live in a loft…and have their lives taped…”

Several months ago, the cast of the inaugural season of MTV’s The Real World held a 6-day reunion in the very same NYC loft they shared back in 1992. The reunion — which was filmed, of course — is now airing as a series on the Paramount+ platform. (Here’s the trailer.)

When I was a teenager, I loved watching The Real World. (And I appreciated that the names of the cast members were always prominently displayed in the opening credits!) So I think now would be a great time to go back and see if any Real World cast member names had an influence on U.S. baby names.

First, let’s start with a comprehensive list of all the cast member names from each of RW‘s 33 (!) seasons…

  1. The Real World: New York (1992): Andre, Becky, Eric, Heather, Julie, Kevin, Norman
  2. The Real World: California (1993): Aaron, Beth (x2), David, Dominic, Glen, Irene, Jon, Tami
  3. The Real World: San Francisco (1994): Cory, Jo, Judd, Mohammed, Pam, Pedro, Puck, Rachel
  4. The Real World: London (1995): Jacinda, Jay, Kat, Lars, Mike, Neil, Sharon
  5. The Real World: Miami (1996): Cynthia, Dan, Flora, Joe, Melissa, Mike, Sarah
  6. The Real World: Boston (1997): Elka, Genesis, Jason, Kameelah, Montana, Sean, Syrus
  7. The Real World: Seattle (1998): David, Irene, Janet, Lindsay, Nathan, Rebecca, Stephen
  8. The Real World: Hawaii (1999): Amaya, Colin, Justin, Kaia, Matt, Ruthie, Teck
  9. The Real World: New Orleans (2000): Danny, David, Jamie, Julie, Kelley, Matt, Melissa
  10. The Real World: Back to New York (2001): Coral, Kevin, Lori, Malik, Mike, Nicole, Rachel
  11. The Real World: Chicago (2002): Aneesa, Cara, Chris, Keri, Kyle, Theo, Tonya
  12. The Real World: Las Vegas (2002-2003): Alton, Arissa, Brynn, Frank, Irulan, Steven, Trishelle
  13. The Real World: Paris (2003): Ace, Adam, Chris, Christina, Leah, Mallory, Simon
  14. The Real World: San Diego (2004): Brad, Cameran, Charlie, Frankie, Jacquese, Jamie, Randy, Robin
  15. The Real World: Philadelphia (2004-2005): Karamo, Landon, Melanie, M.J., Sarah, Shavonda, Willie
  16. The Real World: Austin (2005): Danny, Johanna, Lacey, Melinda, Nehemiah, Rachel, Wes
  17. The Real World: Key West (2006): Janelle, John, Jose, Paula, Svetlana, Tyler, Zach
  18. The Real World: Denver (2006-2007): Alex, Brooke, Colie, Davis, Jenn, Stephen, Tyrie
  19. The Real World: Sydney (2007-2008): Ashli, Cohutta, Dunbar, Isaac, KellyAnne, Parisa, Shauvon, Trisha
  20. The Real World: Hollywood (2008): Brianna, Brittini, Dave, Greg, Joey, Kimberly, Nick, Sarah, Will
  21. The Real World: Brooklyn (2009): Baya, Chet, Devyn, J.D., Katelynn, Ryan, Sarah, Scott
  22. The Real World: Cancun (2009): Ayiiia, Bronne, CJ, Derek, Emilee, Jasmine, Joey, Jonna
  23. The Real World: D.C. (2009-2010): Andrew, Ashley, Callie, Emily, Erika, Josh, Mike, Ty
  24. The Real World: New Orleans (2010): Ashlee, Eric, Jemmye, McKenzie, Preston, Ryan (x2), Sahar
  25. The Real World: Las Vegas (2011): Adam, Dustin, Heather (x2), Leroy, Michael, Nany, Naomi
  26. The Real World: San Diego (2011): Alexandra, Ashley, Frank, Nate, Priscilla, Sam, Zach
  27. The Real World: St. Thomas (2012): Brandon (x2), LaToya, Laura, Marie, Robb, Trey
  28. The Real World: Portland (2013): Anastasia, Averey, Jessica, Johnny, Joi, Jordan, Marlon, Nia
  29. Real World: Ex-Plosion (2014): Arielle, Ashley (x2), Brian, Cory, Hailey, Jamie, Jay, Jenna, Jenny, Lauren, Thomas
  30. Real World: Skeletons (2014-2015): Bruno, Jason, Madison, Nicole, Sylvia, Tony, Violetta
  31. Real World: Go Big or Go Home (2016): CeeJai, Chris, Dean, Dione, Dylan, Jenna, Kailah, Sabrina
  32. Real World Seattle: Bad Blood (2016-2017): Anika, Anna, Jennifer, Jordan, Kassius, Katrina, Kimberly, Mike, Orlana, Peter, Robbie, Theo, Tyara, Will
  33. The Real World: Atlanta (2019): Arely, Clint, Dondre, Justin, Meagan, Tovah, Yasmin

The names in boldface line up with a discernible increase in baby name usage. (Other Real World names may have affected baby names as well, but it can be hard to tell when, say, a name is already common, or already on the rise.)

Here are details on all the boldfaced names, plus two more influential RW names (from seasons 6 and 18) that didn’t even belong to primary cast members.

  • The name Jacinda (from season 4; 1995) saw peak usage in 1996.
  • The name Flora (5; 1996) saw increased usage in 1997.
  • The name Kameelah (6; 1997) saw increased usage in 1998.
  • The name Syrus (6; 1997) saw increased usage in 1997.
  • The name Jason (6; 1997) was probably not affected, but the name of Jason’s girlfriend, Timber, saw increased usage in 1998.
  • The name Amaya (8; 1999) saw sharply increased usage in 1999 and 2000.
  • The name Kaia (8; 1999) saw increased usage in 1999.
  • The name Ruthie (8; 1999) saw increased usage in 1999.
  • The name Aneesa (11; 2002) saw peak usage in 2002.
  • The name Arissa (12; 2002-3) saw peak usage in 2003.
  • The name Brynn (12; 2002-3) saw sharply increased usage in 2003.
  • The name Irulan (12; 2002-3) debuted in the data in 2003.
    • It looks like she was named after the fictional character Princess Irulan from Frank Herbert’s Dune books…?
  • The name Trishelle (12; 2002-3) saw peak usage in 2004.
  • The name Mallory (13; 2003) saw increased usage in 2003 and 2004.
  • The name Cameran (14; 2004) saw peak usage in 2004.
  • The name Jacquese (14; 2004) both returned to the data and saw peak usage in 2004.
  • The name Johanna (16; 2005) saw increased usage in 2005.
  • The name Nehemiah (16; 2005) saw increased usage in 2005 and 2006.
  • The name Janelle (17; 2006) saw increased usage in 2006.
  • The name Svetlana (17; 2006) saw peak usage in 2007.
  • The name Colie (18; 2006-7) both returned to the data and saw peak usage in 2007.
  • The name Tyrie (18; 2006-7) saw peak usage in 2007.
  • The name of Tyrie’s girlfriend, Jazalle, debuted in 2007 and is a one-hit wonder so far.
  • The name Kellyanne (19; 2007-8) returned to the data in 2008.
  • The name Baya (21; 2009) saw sharply increased usage in 2009. In fact, Baya was one of the fastest-rising baby names of 2009.
  • The name Averey (28; 2013) saw peak usage in 2013.
  • The name Kassius (32; 2016-17) saw increased usage in 2017.

Of all the names above, which one(s) do you like most?

And, for all the Real World fans out there: which season(s) do you like most? :)

Source: The Real World (TV series) – Wikipedia

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