How popular is the baby name Tell 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 Tell.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Tell


Posts that Mention the Name Tell

41 Pun Names for April Fools’ Day (4/1)

Headstone of Never Fail, Sr. (1906-1973)
Never Fail, Sr.

I can’t play a prank on you for April Fools’ Day, but I can give you a list of personal names that seem like pranks.

Except, they’re not.

All of the below are legit first & last names that belonged to real people — often multiple people. (In parentheses is a rough estimate of how many I’ve come across so far.)

Which one do you think is the worst?

  1. Alma Mater (several)
  2. April Showers (dozens)
  3. Bear Trapp (one)
  4. Candy Cane (several)
  5. Cliff Hanger (several)
  6. Constant Agony (two)
  7. Constant Craps (one)
  8. Crystal Ball (dozens)
  9. Death Knox (one)
  10. Drew Peacock (dozens)
  11. Gettysburg Battle (one)
  12. Gold Mine (two)
  13. Green Bean (several)
  14. Hazel Nut/Nutt (dozens)
  15. Ima Hogg (one)
  16. Jed I Knight (one)
  17. London England (dozens)
  18. Mud Brown (three)
  19. Never Fail (two) — father and son
  20. Norman Conquest (two)
  21. North West (hundreds)
  22. Nude Mann (one)
  23. Orbit Moon (one)
  24. Orchestra Harp (one)
  25. Paris France (several)
  26. Preserved Fish (several)
  27. Pullman Carr (several), one with the middle name Palace, as in the Pullman Palace Car Company.
  28. Rainy Day (one)
  29. River Bottom (one)
  30. Rocky Mountain (dozens)
  31. Sandy Beach (dozens)
  32. Sea Shore (several)
  33. Seymour Butts (two) — not just a Bart Simpson prank call!
  34. Silence Bellows (one)
  35. Soda Popp (one)
  36. Strong Beer (one)
  37. Tell No Lyes (several)
  38. Ten Million (one), who had a daughter named Decillian Million.
  39. Timber Wood* (one), who has a sister named Drift Wood.
  40. Truly Wright (several)
  41. Tu Morrow (one)

Some of the above are also on my Unusual Name Combinations list.

Finally, don’t forget about the best April Fools’ Day name of all time, April Fool Harris!

*Reminded of this one by @jessiejensen – thanks!

Source: Find A Grave
Image by P Black-Avitts from Find A Grave

Long List of Unusual Name Combinations

unusual combination

Here’s a long list of unusual name combinations I’ve been collecting over the years. I found these names on censuses, birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, and in the SSDI.

First Name + Middle Name

Above Hope Demmell
(female, married in 1619 in England)

Alma Mater Hughes
(female, born in 1887 in Texas)

American Queen Ingrain
(female, born circa 1894 in Alabama)

Americus Discoverer Le Ballister
(male, born in 1838 in Maine)

Apple Pie Bell
(male, born in 1886 in Georgia)

Apple Seed Powell
(female, gave birth in 1954 in Texas)

Atom Nucleus Blackwell
(male, born in 1983 in California)

Bacchus Naughty Orgill
(male, had a baby in 1841 in Jamaica)

Big Money and Little Money Carter
(brothers, born circa 1926 in Louisiana)

bigmoney-littlemoney

Birds Eye Conrad
(male, born in 1871 in Indiana)

Biscuit Foot Cobbin
(female, born circa 1939 in Texas)

Bitter Jam McClellan
(female, born circa 1925 in Oklahoma)

Black Eye Wesley
(female, born in 1892 in Georgia)

Burger King Austin
(male, born circa 1856 in California)

Catfish Hunter Kay
(male, born in 1997 in Texas)

Cloudy Day Canaan
(male, born in 1885 in Pennsylvania)

Confederate American Kenner
(female, born in 1863 in Utah)

Country Dream Patterson
(female, born in 1987 in Texas)

Easter Daybreak Mullarkey
(female, born in 1891 in Scotland)

Egyptian Pyramid Wade
(male, born in 1993 in Texas)

Electric Music Sparks
(male, born circa 1896 in West Virginia)

Emancipator Lincoln Quinn
(male, born in 1889 in Mississippi)

Equal Rights Gotcher
(male, born circa 1865 in Arkansas)

Evening Star Babcock
(female, born in 1979 in California)

Gold and Silver Gadbury
(female, gave birth in 1909 in Texas)

Gold Dollar Davis
(female, born in 1893 in Virginia)

Gold Dust Fauntlery
(female, born circa 1903 in Arkansas)

Holly Berry Pharo
(female, born in 1880 in England)

Hush Vocal Bryant
(female, born circa 1914 in Oklahoma)

Ice Cream Goldsmith
(female, born circa 1871 in Alabama)

Ice Snow Franklin
(female, born in 1899 in Georgia)

Jelly Bean Carlton
(female, born in 1931 in Texas)

Jesus Mosquito Mansul
(male, born in 1953 in the Philippines – Mosquito was the mom’s surname)

Joy In Sorrow Godman
(female, married in 1614 in England)

Lemon Lime Clay
(male, divorced in 1992 in Florida)

Lucky Boy Turipa
(born in 1948 in New Mexico)

Magic Brilliance Carter
(born in 1987 in North Carolina)

Magic Enchantress Creamer
(born in 1974 in California)

Mint Julip Wilson
(male, born circa 1921 in Illinois)

Northern Pacific White
(male, born in Minnesota in 1872)

Nucleus Demon Johnson
(male, born in 1987 in Texas)

Obey The Lord Jenkins
(female, born circa 1904 Georgia – sister of Prase)

Ocean Wave Hamilton
(male, born in 1888 in Texas)

Orange Lemon Thomas
(male, born in 1859 in Ohio)

Panama Canal Caldwell
(female, born in 1912 in North Carolina)

Pearl Shell Adams
(female, born circa 1901 in Tennessee)

Penny Nickel Sutherland
(female, married in 1987 in Florida)

Prase The Lord Jenkins
(female, born circa 1903 in Georgia – sister of Obey)

Quiet Glow Kellough
(male, born in 1881 in Ohio)

Rasp Berry Nelson
(male, had a baby in 1954 in North Carolina)

Red Apple Thomas
(female, born circa 1885 in Iowa)

Remember Death Comper
(male, born in the late 1500s in England)

Rocky Mountain Kennedy
(male, born in 1884 in Arizona)

Rose Of The Sea McKay
(female, born in 1884 at sea aboard the Duke of Westminster steamship)

Salary Grab Hamrick
(male, born in 1880 in Illinois – a reference to the Salary Grab Act apparently)

Sanspariel Audacious Thomas Philpott
(male, born in 1892 in England)

Somebody Nobody Lord*
(male, married in 1992 in Nevada)
*This one is a name change. Don’t know what his birth name was.

South Pole Mitchell
(male, born circa 1908 in Georgia)

Star Spangled Banner Osborne
(male, born circa 1860 in Illinois)

Sterling Silver Slayden
(male, born in 1966 in Texas)

Summer Solstice Walker
(female, born in 2001 in Minnesota)

Superior Inches Brown
(male, born circa 1858 in Wisconsin)

Supreme Intelligence Thomas
(born in 1983 in New York)

Treasure Trove Kittenger
(female, born circa 1895 in West Virginia)

United States America Cook
(female, born in 1896 in Ohio)

Vernal Equinox Richardson
(female, born in 1898 in Texas)

Vice President Evans
(male, born circa 1918 in South Carolina)

Vocal Refrain Rose
(female, married in 1951 in West Virginia)

Washington Territory Stockand
(male, born circa 1869 in Washington Territory)

Yankee Doodle Norris
(male, born in 1910 in Tennessee)

Similar names from other posts: April Fool Harris, Acts of the Apostles Kennett, Aussie Trooper Kenna, Christmas Carol Porter, Christmas Day Wagstaff, Christmas Eve Hayes, Dawn Siren Lingerman, Dee Day Edwards, Easter Lily Gates, Eclipse Glasses Banda, Eiffel Tower Sutherland, Emancipation Proclamation Coggeshall, Encyclopedia Britannica Dewey, Fearless Mentor Williams, Friday February Eleven Biddle, Harley Quinn Smith, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, Legal Tender Coxey, Louisiana Purchase O’Leary, Luna Eclipse Hill, Marijuana Pepsi Sawyer, Nanda Devi Unsoeld, Oregon Territory Winters, Pitbull Shotgun Collier, States Rights Gist, Thursday October Christian, Union Jack Smart, Victory Pearl Harbor Moore.

First Name + Last Name

American Born*
(female, born circa 1854 in Georgia)
*This is her married name. Not sure what her birth name was.

American Crook*
(female, born in 1836 in Tennessee)
*Another married name.

Bitter Apple
(female, born in 1874 in Tennessee)

Bitter Berry
(female, born in 1845 in Alabama)

Black Berry
(female, born circa 1925 in Washington)

Bum Dials
(male, born circa 1934 in Kentucky)

Cashmere Obedience
(male, born in 1907 in the Philippines)

Cheese Bologna
(male, born circa 1879 in Austria)

Constant Agony
(male, born circa 1805 in the Province of Canada East)

Continent Walker
(female, born in 1594 in England)

Copious Midgett
(male, born circa 1894 in North Carolina)

Cucumber Pickle
(male, born circa 1850 in Michigan)

Danger Dangervil
(born in 1943 in Florida)

Death Bugg
(male, born in 1746 in England)

Death Knox
(female, born circa 1927 in Mississippi)

Delicious Bacon
(female, born in 1895 in Georgia)

Dewdrop Trulove
(female, born circa 1933 in Mississippi)

Elder Berry
(male, born circa 1901 in Minnesota)

Every Evelyn
(female, born circa 1917 in Alabama)

Gold Mine
(male, born circa 1901 in Alabama)

Green Land
(male, born in 1886 in Tennessee)

Honorable Charming
(male, born circa 1782 in England)

Howdy Guy
(male, born in 1784 in England)

Ineeda Nunn
(female, born circa 1915 in North Carolina)

Larceny Luckydoo
(female, born circa 1914 in Arkansas)

London England
(male, born circa 1914 in Canada)

Magnetic Love
(female, born in 1912 in New York)

Many Moore
(female, born circa 1880 in Pennsylvania)

Married Young
(female, born circa 1923 in Tennessee)

Married  Young, born in Tennessee

Minnie Merrycats
(female, born circa 1880 in Utah)

Mud Brown
(born in 1877 in Wisconsin)

Much Moore
(female, born circa 1900 in Georgia)

Mustard Mustard
(female, born circa 1841 in Delaware)

Need Butler
(male, born circa 1933 in Pennsylvania)

Never Fail
(male, married in 1928 in Oklahoma)

Nude Mann
(male, born circa 1871 in Ohio)

Obedient Beard
(male, born circa 1852 in Indiana)

Odious Nutt
(male, born in 1879 in Texas)

One Moore
(male, born circa 1869 in Missouri – the youngest sibling in the family)

Orchestra Harp
(male, born in 1873 in Kentucky)

Phoebe Beebee
(female, born in 1876 in England)

Pullman Carr
(male, born circa 1906 in Illinois)

Scholastic Sauce
(female, born circa 1889 in Louisiana)

Scot Land
(born in 1959 in Wisconsin)

Sea Shore
(male, born circa 1892 in Kansas)

Silence Bellows*
(female, born in 1896 in New York)
*Another married name.

Slipper Wearing
(female, born circa 1873 in South Carolina)

Smart Strong
(male, born circa 1923 in Arkansas)

Smelly Cotton
(male, married in 1906 in Texas)

Some Moore
(male, born in 1850 in Virginia)

Square Kitchen
(born in 1909 in Illinois)

Strong Beer
(male, born in 1846 in Indiana)

Superb Bullocks
(female, gave birth in 1916 in Ohio)

Teaspoon Typhoon
(born in 1953 in Michigan)

Tender Shoulders
(female, born circa 1939 in Kentucky)

Village Millage
(male, born in 1872 in South Dakota)

Wiggle Messenger
(male, born in the 1700s in Massachusetts)

Similar names from other posts: Cole Sellar, Dill Pickle, Gettysburg Battle, Lottery Lament, Norman Conquest, Orbit Moon, Sacred Mango, Soda Popp, Ten Million, Truly Wright, Wrigley Fields.

Middle Name + Middle Name

Beata Apple Tree Hitchens
(female, born circa 1845 in England)

Ernest Big Boy Sloan
(male, born circa 1896 in South Carolina)

Lorelei Pink Dragonfly Dunlap
(female, born in 1996 in Texas)

Mary-Francis Morning Star Adams
(female, born in 1929 in Texas)

Nephi United States Centennial Jensen
(male, born in 1876 in Utah)

Ngan Ha Milky Way T Tran
(female, born in 1976 in Texas)

Oscar Church Bell Kham
(male, born in 1983 in Texas)

Shawn Country Cowboy Cunningham
(male, born in 1978 in Texas)

Country Cowboy

Shawn Hugh Hefner Moore
(male, born in 1975 in Texas)

Sidney Sweet Apple Granger
(male, born circa 1880 in England)

Similar names from other posts: James Good Hope Sky Martin, John Hodge Opera House Centennial Gargling Oil Samuel J. Tilden Ten Brook, Louis Meadows Brook Verhayden, Isaiah Olive Branch Williams, Rose Mary Echo Silver Dollar Tabor.

First Name + Middle Name + Last Name

Chevy Van Pickup
(male, born circa 1986 in Massachusetts)

Henry Ford Carr
(male, born in 1924 in Minnesota)

Jolly Jingle Bell
(male, born circa 1926 in Arkansas)

Little Bit Moore
(female, born circa 1924 in Tennessee)

Little Bit Moore

South East West
(male, born circa 1932 in Oregon – an older brother was named North)

Sun Shine Summers
(female, born circa 1924 in Texas)

Supreme Knowledge Allah
(born in 2002 in Minnesota)

Tell No Lyes
(born in 1734 in England)

Similar names from other posts: April May June, Crimson Tide Redd, Happy New Year, Merry Christmas Easter, Trailing Arbutus Vines.

Which of these name combinations is your favorite?

P.S. I did my best tracking down birth years and birthplaces, but in some cases I had to assume that the state where the Social Security Number was issued was also the birth-state, even though this isn’t always the case.

Revolutionary baby names in France: Pomme, Jonquille, Mort aux Aristocrates

Painting of the storming of the Bastille in 1789.
The storming of the Bastille, 1789

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that, up until the 1960s, the citizens of France were forced to obey a restrictive baby name law that was enacted in 1803.

Why did that law exist?

In order to curb the very non-traditional baby naming practices that had evolved during the years of the French Revolution.

It all started in September of 1792, one day before the French National Convention abolished the monarchy. On that day, a decree was issued. The decree allowed the citizens of France to change their forenames quite easily — all they had to do was “make a simple formal declaration before the registrar of their local municipality.”

Many people took advantage of this decree and chose new names with a revolutionary flavor (i.e., names that referred to nature, to the new republican calendar*, to republican virtues, to republican heroes, or to antiquity).

And, of course, they started giving their children revolutionary names as well.

Examples of these names include…

NameTranslation/Significance
Abeille“Bee” / refers to the date Germinal 15 (Apr. 4)
Abricot“Apricot” / refers to the date Thermidor 13 (Jul. 31)
Agricola-Vialarefers to Joseph Agricol Viala, child-martyr of the French Revolution
Ail“Garlic” / refers to the date Messidor 27 (Jul. 15)
Amour Sacré de la Patrie l’an Trois“Sacred Love of the Fatherland Year III”
Armoise“Mugwort” / refers to the date Thermidor 7 (Jul. 25)
Aubergine“Eggplant” / refers to the date Vendémiaire 26 (Oct. 17)
Bararefers to drummer boy Joseph Bara, child-martyr of the French Revolution
Belle de Nuit“Four o’clock flower”/ refers to the date Vendémiaire 16 (Oct. 7)
Betterave“Beet root” / refers to the date Brumaire 4 (Oct. 25)
Bitume“Bitumen” / refers to the date Nivôse 3 (Dec. 23)
Brutusrefers to ancient Roman politician Brutus
Carmagnolerefers to the song “La Carmagnole
Carotte“Carrot” / refers to the date Vendémiaire 7 (Sept. 28)
Calasrefers to executed merchant Jean Calas
Catherine Laurier ThimCatherine “Laurier-thym,” or “Laurustinus” / refers to the date Pluviôse 6 (Jan. 25)
Citoyen Français“French Citizen”
Cresson“Watercress” / refers to the date Brumaire 17 (Nov. 7)
Décadi“Tenth day” (of the ten-day week) / refers to the day of rest that replaced Sunday
Dix-Août“10 August” / refers to the insurrection of August 10 (1792) that overthrew the French monarchy
Dixhuit Fructidor“18 Fructidor” / refers to the Coup of 18 Fructidor in Year V (Sept. 4, 1797)
Droit de l’Homme Tricolor“Right of Man Tricolor”
Égalité“Equality”
Étain“Tin” / refers to the date Nivôse 26 (Jan. 25)
Faisceau Pique TerreurFasces,” “Pike,” “Terror” / refers, at least partially, to the Reign of Terror
Fédéré“Federated”
Fleur d’Orange Républicaine“Republican Orange-Flower”
Floréalbased on fleur, “flower” / one of the springtime months of the republican calendar
Fraise“Strawberry” / refers to the date Prairial 11 (May 30)
Franchise (frahng-sheez)“Frankness” / the root word, franc, is semantically associated with both “freedom” and “Frenchness”
Fructidorbased on fructis, Latin for “fruit” / one of the summertime months of the republican calendar
Fumier“Manure” / refers to the date Nivôse 8 (Dec. 28)
Guillaume Tellrefers to folk hero William Tell
Helvétius Mablyrefers to French philosophers Gabriel Bonnot de Mably and Claude Adrien Helvétius
Houlette“Shepherd’s crook” / refers to the date Floréal 30 (May 19)
Humain“Human”
Isabelle Civilis Victoire Jemmapes DumouriezIsabelle, “Civil,” “Victory,” Jemmapes [sic] refers to the Battle of Jemappes, and Dumouriez refers to general Charles François Dumouriez
Jonquille“Daffodil” / refers to the date Germinal 8 (Mar. 28)
Lagrenade“The Grenade”
La Loi“The Law”
La Montagne“The Mountain” / refers to a political group
Laurent Sans-culottesLaurent “Without Breeches” / refers to the common people
Le Peletierrefers to politician Louis-Michel le Peletier
Liberté“Freedom”
Lucius Pleb-EgalLucius “Plebeian-Equality”
Maratrefers to journalist and revolutionary martyr Jean-Paul Marat
Maratinerefers to journalist and revolutionary martyr Jean-Paul Marat
Marat, ami du peuple“Marat, friend of the people”
Marat, défenseur de la Patrie“Marat, defender of the Fatherland”
Minerverefers to Roman goddess Minerva
Mort aux Aristocrates“Death to the Aristocrats”
Mucius Scaevolarefers to ancient Roman youth Scaevola
Peuplier“Poplar” / refers to the date Pluviôse 9 (Jan. 28)
Philippe Thomas Ve de bon coeur pour la RépubliquePhilippe Thomas “Go with a good heart for the Republic”
Phytogynéantropeaccording to one source, it’s “Greek for a woman giving birth only to warrior sons”
Pomme“Apple” / refers to the date Brumaire 1 (Oct. 22)
Porte-arme“Weapon-holder”
Racine de la Liberté“Root of Freedom”
Raifort“Horseradish” / refers to the date Frimaire 12 (Dec. 2)
Raison“Reason”
Régénérée Vigueur“Regenerated Strength”
Rhubarbe“Rhubarb” / refers to the date Floréal 11 (Apr. 30)
Robespierrerefers to politician Maximilien Robespierre
Sans Crainte“Without Fear”
Scipion l’Africainrefers to ancient Roman general Scipio Africanus
Seigle“Rye” / refers to the date Messidor 1 (Jun. 19)
Simon Liberté ou la MortSimon “Freedom or Death”
Spartacusrefers to ancient Roman gladiator and military leader Spartacus
Sureau“Elderberry” / refers to the date Prairial 17 (Jun. 5)
Thermidorbased on thermon, Greek for “summer heat” / one of the summertime months of the republican calendar
Travail“Work”
Tubéreuse“Tuberose” / refers to the date Fructidor 6 (Aug. 23)
Unitée Impérissable“Imperishable Unity”
Vengeur Constant“Constant Avenger”
Victoire Fédérative“Federal Victory”

Though it’s impossible to estimate just how many revolution-era babies got revolutionary names, the number seems to be well into the thousands, judging by statements like these:

  • “[I]n the winter and spring of 1794 at least 60 per cent of children received revolutionary names in Marseilles, Montpellier, Nevers, and Rouen.”
  • “[I]n Poitiers…only 62 of 593 babies born in the year II [1793-94] were named after saints in the ancien régime manner. Instead, they were given names reflecting the contrasting sources of political inspiration.”

About a decade later, however, all this creative naming came to an end.

Under Napoleon Bonaparte, the French government enacted a law that restricted French given names to “names used in various calendars” (that is, the names of Catholic saints) and “names of persons known from ancient history.” In essence, the law was meant to “put an end to citizens bearing absurd names that signified inanimate objects, forms of vegetation, membership of the animal kingdom and abstract concepts.”

….And this was the law that gave the Manrot-le Goarnic family so much difficulty when they tried to give their children Breton names a century and a half later.

*The French republican calendar, in use from 1793 to 1806, was a secular take on the Catholic Church’s calendar of saints. The months “were named after natural elements, while each day was named for a seed, tree, flower, fruit, animal, or tool.”

Sources: