How popular is the baby name Theodore 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 Theodore.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Theodore


Posts that Mention the Name Theodore

Popular baby names in the Channel Islands, 2021

The island of Sark (one of the four main Channel Islands)
Sark (one of the Channel Islands)

The Channel Islands are an archipelago in the English Channel. They are divided into two territories — the bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey — and, like the Isle of Man, they are Crown Dependencies, but not officially part of the UK. (The residents of all three regions are British citizens, though.)

The Bailiwick of Jersey includes the most-populous island, Jersey, while the Bailiwick of Guernsey includes the less-populous islands of Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, and Herm.

English is the official language in both bailiwicks, but local forms of Norman French (like Jèrriais, and Guernesiais) are also spoken on certain islands.

The Channel Islands (off the coast of Normandy, France)
Channel Islands (off the coast of France)

Now, on to the names!

Jersey

Last year, Jersey welcomed a total of 890 babies — 426 girls and 464 boys. Here are the island’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Sienna
  2. Isla
  3. Olivia
  4. Willow
  5. Ellie
  6. Maria
  7. Sophia
  8. Valentina
  9. Amelia
  10. Charlotte

Boy Names

  1. Arthur
  2. Oliver
  3. Noah
  4. Freddie
  5. Alexander
  6. Lucas
  7. Toby
  8. William
  9. Henry
  10. Sebastian

Since 2014, the name Sienna has reached the girls’ top 10 only twice…but it ranked #1 both times. I can’t account for the higher usage in 2018, but the 2021 return could be attributable to the influence of royal baby Sienna Elizabeth, born in September to Princess Beatrice.

Guernsey

Last year, Guernsey welcomed a total of 527 babies — 263 girls and 264 boys. Here are the bailiwick’s top girl names and top boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Olivia, 6 baby girls
  2. Charlotte, 4 (6-way tie)
  3. Evie, 4 (6-way tie)
  4. Florence, 4 (6-way tie)
  5. Imogen, 4 (6-way tie)
  6. Isla, 4 (6-way tie)
  7. Penelope, 4 (6-way tie)

Boy Names

  1. Luca, 6 baby boys (tie)
  2. Theodore, 6 (tie)
  3. Archie, 5 (3-way tie)
  4. Leo, 5 (3-way tie)
  5. Theo, 5 (3-way tie)
  6. Arthur, 4 (6-way tie)
  7. George, 4 (6-way tie)
  8. Max, 4 (6-way tie)
  9. Oscar, 4 (6-way tie)
  10. Thomas, 4 (6-way tie)
  11. William, 4 (6-way tie)

My source also mentioned a few other facts…

  • Isabella was given to 3 baby girls, Jessica to 2, and Isabella-Jude, Izabella, and Isabelle to 1 each.
  • Lucas was given to 3 baby boys, and Matthew, Mateus, Matheus, and James to 1 each.
  • Over 54% of the babies born in Guernsey last year were given a name that was used just once.
  • Back in 1996, the top names in Guernsey were Jessica, Lauren, and Sophie (a 3-way tie) and James.

This is the first time I’ve posted rankings for Guernsey, but I’ve been posting Jersey’s rankings for a few years — here’s 2020, for instance.

P.S. In case you’re wondering, the word “bailiwick” refers to the jurisdiction of a bailiff.

Sources: Annual Statement – Office of the Superintendent Registrar – Government of Jersey (PDF), Revealed: Jersey’s most popular baby names in 2021, Olivia, Theo, and Luca most popular baby names in Guernsey

Images: Adapted from Channel Islands by Copernicus Sentinel-2, ESA under CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO and from Aerial view of Sark by Phillip Capper under CC BY 2.0.

Baby names associated with blue: Indigo, Gentian, Ao

blueberries

Looking for baby names that are associated with blue — including baby names that mean “blue”?

If so, you’re in the right place! I’ve collected dozens of ideas for you in this post.

Before we get to the names, though, let’s take a quick look at what the color blue represents…

Symbolism of blue

What does the color blue signify?

In Western cultures in particular, blue can be symbolic of:

  • Trust
  • Calm
  • Sadness
  • Peace
  • Loyalty
  • Depth
  • Authenticity

It can also be associated with melancholy. “To have the blues,” for instance, is an expression meaning “to feel sad.”

Top baby names associated with blue

To determine the top blue names, I first took into account the fact that certain names have a stronger connection to the color than other names. (I also did this for the top purple names and orange names.)

With this in mind, here are the top baby names that have an obvious association with the color blue:

  1. Ocean
  2. Navy
  3. Sky
  4. Indigo
  5. Sapphire

Now here are the same five names again, but this time around I’ve added some details (including definitions, rankings, and popularity graphs).

Ocean

The word ocean refers to the vast body of salt water that covers over 70% of the earth’s surface — or to any of the five large bodies of water (Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Antarctic, or Arctic) into which it is divided.

Ocean is currently the 711st most popular boy name and 877th most popular girl name in the U.S.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Ocean in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Ocean

Navy

In the mid-18th century, officers in Britain’s Royal Navy began wearing uniforms that were dyed blue with indigo. The pigment was particularly colorfast (i.e., able to withstand exposure to sun and salt water), so, over time, other countries began to use it for naval dress as well. The dark shade of blue eventually came to be known as “navy blue.”

The word navy refers to a country’s collective sea force. It comes (via French) from the Latin word navigia, meaning “vessels, ships, boats.”

Navy is currently the 452nd most popular girl name in the nation.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Navy in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Navy

Sky

The word sky refers to the upper atmosphere, which is bright blue on clear days. It’s based on the Old Norse word ský, which meant “cloud” (ironically).

Sky is currently the 717th most popular girl name in the U.S.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Sky in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Sky

Indigo

The word indigo refers to flowering plants of the genus Indigofera — particularly the species Indigofera tinctoria — or to the dye made from the leaves of these plants. By extension, it also refers to the purplish-blue color of this dye.

The name of the plant can be traced back to the ancient Greek word Indikón, meaning “Indian,” as the plant is native to India. (It’s no coincidence that the British Royal Navy began using indigo dye extensively during the years that the British East India Company was gaining control over the Indian subcontinent.)

Indigo is currently the 906th most popular girl name in the nation.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Indigo in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Indigo

Sapphire

The word sapphire refers to the blue variety of the mineral corundum. By extension, it also refers to the blue color of these crystals.

The name of the stone can be traced back to the ancient Greek word sappheiros, which is thought to have referred to lapis lazuli originally (not to sapphire as we know it today).

Sapphire is currently the 1,103rd most popular girl name in the U.S.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Sapphire in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Sapphire

More names associated with blue

bluebird

All the names below have an association with the color blue. The names range from traditional to unusual, and their associations range from strong to slight.

Those that have been popular enough to appear in the U.S. baby name data are linked to their corresponding popularity graphs.

  • Aciano is the Spanish word for cornflower (Centaurea cyanus), a species of plant with flowers that are usually blue.
  • Afina is a Romanian feminine name meaning “blueberry.”
  • Alice is part of “Alice blue” — a shade of blue named after Alice Roosevelt (the oldest daughter of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt) in the mid-1910s. It was inspired by either the blue of Alice’s eyes or the blue of one of her dresses, sources disagree. The name Alice ultimately derives from the Germanic name Adalheidis, meaning “nobility.”
aliceblue
(The web color aliceblue, hex value #F0F8FF, is considerably lighter than the original “Alice blue.”)
  • Ao is a Japanese name that can mean “blue,” depending upon the kanji being used to write the name.
    • Aomi is a Japanese name that can include the element Ao.
    • Aori is another Japanese name that can include the element Ao.
  • Aqua is a greenish-blue color. The name of the shade comes from the Latin word aqua, meaning “water.”
  • Asuman is a Turkish feminine name meaning “sky.”
  • Azure is a sky-blue color. The name of the shade ultimately derives from the Persian word lazaward, which referred to lapis lazuli.
    • Azul is the Spanish word for Azure.
    • Azur is the French word for Azure.
    • Azzurro (masculine) and Azzurra (feminine) are the Italian words for Azure.
  • Beryl is a mineral that can be blue. (Blue beryl is often called “aquamarine.”) The name of the mineral ultimately comes from the ancient Greek word beryllos.
  • Blue, of course, refers to the color blue. :)
  • Bluebell flowers are blue. “Bluebell” is the common name of plants of various genera (including Hyacinthoides).
  • Bluebird is a type of bird with predominantly blue plumage. “Bluebird” is the common name of birds in the North American genus Sialia.
  • Bluejay is another type of bird with predominantly blue plumage. “Bluejay” is the common name of the bird species Cyanocitta cristata.
  • Caelum is the Latin word for “sky, heaven.” (Though it’s used as a name in modern-day America, it was simply a vocabulary word in ancient Rome.)
    • Cielo is a modern Spanish feminine name based on caelum.
  • Cerulean is a sky-blue color. The word may ultimately be derived from caelum.
  • Chicory flowers are typically blue. “Chicory” is the common name of the plant species Cichorium intybus.
  • Chóro is a Hopi name meaning “blue-bird.”
    • Chórzhoya is a Hopi name meaning “little blue-bird.”
  • Cobalt is a vivid shade of blue. Cobalt pigment was originally made from the metallic element cobalt.
  • Cyan is a greenish-blue color. The name of the shade comes from the ancient Greek word kyanos, meaning “dark blue.”
  • Darya (pronounced dar-YOH) is a Persian feminine name meaning “sea, ocean.”
  • Denim fabric is traditionally blue, as it was originally dyed with indigo. The name of the textile is derived from the French phrase serge de Nîmes, which referred to fabric produced in Nîmes, a town in southern France.
  • Deniz (pronounced deh-neez) is a Turkish gender-neutral name meaning “ocean.”
  • Fayruz is an Arabic feminine name meaning “turquoise (the stone).”
  • Gentian (pronounced jen-shun) flowers are often blue. According to Pliny, the genus Gentiana was named in honor of Illyrian king Gentius, who is said to have discovered the plant’s medicinal properties. The name Gentian is traditional in Albania, the territory of which was inhabited by Illyrian tribes during ancient times.
    • Gentiana is the modern Albanian feminine form of Gentian.
  • Glory (besides being a vocabulary word) is part of “morning glory” — the common name of flowering plants in the family Convolvulaceae. Morning glory flowers are sometimes blue.
blue sky
  • Haneul is a Korean gender-neutral name meaning “sky.”
  • Hyacinth flowers are sometimes blue. The genus Hyacinthus was named for the plant’s association with the myth of Hyacinthus (who was one of the lovers of Apollo in Greek mythology).
  • Jurate (pronounced YOO-rah-teh) is a Lithuanian feminine name based on the word jura, meaning “sea.”
  • Kekai is a Hawaiian gender-neutral name meaning “the sea.”
  • Kallfu is a Mapuche feminine name based on the word kallfü, meaning “blue.”
    • Kallfuray is a Mapuche feminine name meaning “blue flower.”
  • Kyanite is a mineral that is usually blue. The name of the mineral is based on the ancient Greek word kyanos, meaning “dark blue.”
  • Lafken is a Mapuche name meaning “sea, ocean.”
  • Larimar is a light blue variety of the mineral pectolite. Its name, coined in the 1970s, is a combination of Larissa (the name of the daughter of one of the stone’s discoverers) and mar, the Spanish word for “sea.”
  • Lazuli is part of “lapis lazuli” (pronounced LA-piss LA-zuh-lee) — the name of a deep-blue gemstone. The word lazuli can be traced back (via Latin lazulum and Persian lazaward) to the place-name Lajward — a region in central Asia where the stone was mined. (The Latin word lapis simply means “stone.”)
  • Livia (feminine) and Livio (masculine) are the modern Italian forms of the Roman family name Livius, which is thought to derive from the Latin word lividus, meaning “bluish.”
  • Lobelia (pronounced loh-BEEL-ee-uh) flowers are often blue. The genus Lobelia was named in honor of Flemish botanist Matthias de l’Obel.
  • Lupine flowers are sometimes blue. The genus name Lupinus is derived from the Latin word lupinus, meaning “wolfish” (from lupus, “wolf”).
blue water
  • Mayim is the Hebrew word for “water.” (Though it’s used as a name among English speakers, it’s simply a vocabulary word among Hebrew speakers.)
    • Maya is a Hebrew feminine name based on mayim. It also happens to be a Zuni word meaning “crested blue-jay.”
  • Moana is a gender-neutral name meaning “ocean” in Hawaiian, Maori, Samoan, Tongan, and other Polynesian languages.
  • Myosotis (pronounced my-oh-SOH-tiss) flowers are frequently blue. The genus name Myosotis, meaning “mouse’s ear” in Latin, refers to the shape of the petals.
    • Miosotis is the Spanish form of Myosotis.
  • Nila (also spelled Neela) is a Hindi feminine name based on the Sanskrit word nila, meaning “dark blue” or “blue.”
  • Nilam (also spelled Neelam) is another Hindi feminine name based on the Sanskrit word nila.
  • Nilgün is a Turkish feminine given name based on the Persian word nilgun, meaning “indigo (the color).”
  • Safira is the Portuguese word for “sapphire.”
  • Sagar is a Hindi masculine name meaning “sea, ocean.”
  • Shyam is a Hindi masculine name based on the Sanskrit word shyama, meaning “dark blue”.
  • Sini is a Finnish feminine name meaning “blue.”
  • Sora is a Japanese gender-neutral name meaning “sky.”
  • Sunil is a Hindi masculine name derived from the Sanskrit word sunila, meaning “very blue.”
  • Tchelet is a Hebrew feminine name meaning “sky blue.”
  • True (besides being a vocabulary word) is part of “true blue” — an expression that means “loyal, faithful.” The association between the color blue and the idea of loyalty or constancy may been inspired by the unchanging blue of the sky.
  • Turquoise (pronounced TUR-koyz) is a mineral that is typically greenish-blue. The name of the stone can be traced back to the Old French term pierre tourques, meaning “Turkish stone.” Though it was mined in Persia, the stone was introduced to Europe in the 13th century by Turkish traders.
  • Umi is a Japanese feminine name that can mean “sea,” depending upon the kanji being used to write the name.
    • Umiko is a Japanese name that can include the element Umi.
  • Zafiro is the Spanish word for “sapphire.”

Can you think of any other names that have a connection to the color blue?

Sources:

Images by borislagosbarrera, Naturelady, Pexels, and Eiji Kikuta from Pixabay

Popular baby names in England and Wales (UK), 2021

London, England

Last year, England and Wales welcomed close to 625,000 babies.

What were the most popular names among these babies? Olivia and Noah.

Here are England and Wales’ top 50 girl names and top 50 boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Olivia, 3,649 baby girls
  2. Amelia, 3,164
  3. Isla, 2,683
  4. Ava, 2,576
  5. Ivy, 2,245
  6. Freya, 2,187
  7. Lily, 2,182
  8. Florence, 2,180
  9. Mia, 2,168
  10. Willow, 2,067
  11. Rosie, 2,028
  12. Sophia, 2,019
  13. Isabella, 2,010
  14. Grace, 1,992
  15. Daisy, 1,873
  16. Sienna, 1,869
  17. Poppy, 1,841
  18. Elsie, 1,840
  19. Emily, 1,797
  20. Ella, 1,756
  21. Evelyn, 1,729
  22. Phoebe, 1,678
  23. Sofia, 1,671
  24. Evie, 1,670
  25. Charlotte, 1,654
  26. Harper, 1,480
  27. Millie, 1,472
  28. Matilda, 1,437
  29. Maya, 1,433
  30. Sophie, 1,375
  31. Alice, 1,359
  32. Emilia, 1,353
  33. Isabelle, 1,304
  34. Ruby, 1,300
  35. Luna, 1,261
  36. Maisie, 1,229
  37. Aria, 1,202
  38. Penelope, 1,194
  39. Mila, 1,133
  40. Bonnie, 1,121
  41. Eva, 1,091
  42. Hallie, 1,070
  43. Eliza, 1,064
  44. Ada, 1,058
  45. Violet, 1,057
  46. Esme, 1,013
  47. Arabella, 1,012
  48. Imogen, 998
  49. Jessica, 997
  50. Delilah, 981

Boy Names

  1. Noah, 4,525 baby boys
  2. Oliver, 4,167
  3. George, 4,141
  4. Arthur, 3,766
  5. Muhammad, 3,722
  6. Leo, 3,465
  7. Harry, 3,089
  8. Oscar, 3,071
  9. Archie, 2,928
  10. Henry, 2,912
  11. Theodore, 2,889
  12. Freddie, 2,873
  13. Jack, 2,847
  14. Charlie, 2,674
  15. Theo, 2,514
  16. Alfie, 2,338
  17. Jacob, 2,319
  18. Thomas, 2,302
  19. Finley, 2,283
  20. Arlo, 2,154
  21. William, 2,093
  22. Lucas, 1,965
  23. Roman, 1,923
  24. Tommy, 1,901
  25. Isaac, 1,888
  26. Teddy, 1,875
  27. Alexander, 1,830
  28. Luca, 1,807
  29. Edward, 1,806
  30. James, 1,772
  31. Joshua, 1,737
  32. Albie, 1,729
  33. Elijah, 1,657
  34. Max, 1,650
  35. Mohammed, 1,619
  36. Reuben, 1,534
  37. Mason, 1,517
  38. Sebastian, 1,516
  39. Rory, 1,483
  40. Jude, 1,482
  41. Louie, 1,461
  42. Benjamin, 1,423
  43. Ethan, 1,398
  44. Adam, 1,367
  45. Hugo, 1,325
  46. Joseph, 1,307
  47. Reggie, 1,287
  48. Ronnie, 1,285
  49. Harrison, 1,254
  50. Louis, 1,240

Two of the names that saw marked increases in usage last year, Luca and Raya, were helped along by the animated films Luca (2021) and Raya and the Last Dragon (2021).

And the name Lilibet re-surfaced in the data (after a seven-year absence) with eight baby girls, no doubt thanks to the royal influence of Prince Harry’s daughter Lilibet, who was born in California in June of 2021.

Map of the nine regions of England
England’s nine regions

Home to nearly 56.5 million people, England is divided into nine regions. The top baby names within each of these regions last year were…

Girl NamesBoy Names
North East
(4.6% of the population)
1. Olivia, 167
2. Rosie, 137
3. Freya, 136
4. Isla, 135
5. Amelia, 129
1. George, 211
2. Oliver, 208
3. Noah, 188
4. Harry, 186
5. Charlie, 166
North West
(13.1% of pop.)
1. Olivia, 460
2. Isla, 373
3. Ava, 347
4. Amelia, 338
5. Ivy, 308
1. Muhammad, 875
2. Noah, 616
3. George, 603
4. Oliver, 584
5. Harry, 508
Yorkshire & the Humber
(9.7% of pop.)
1. Olivia, 298
2. Amelia, 272
3. Ava, 256
4. Isla, 230
5. Ivy, 222
1. Muhammad, 669
2. Noah, 449
3. Oliver, 415
4. George, 402
5. Arthur, 340
East Midlands
(8.7% of pop.)
1. Amelia, 288
2. Olivia, 281
3. Ava, 214
4. Isla, 206
5. Elsie/Mia, 200 (tie)
1. Oliver, 386
2. George, 378
3. Noah, 363
4. Harry, 302
5. Arthur, 298
West Midlands
(10.6% of pop.)
1. Olivia, 356
2. Amelia, 342
3. Isla, 234
4. Freya, 230
5. Ava, 228
1. Muhammad, 667
2. Noah, 447
3. Oliver, 378
4. Arthur, 362
5. George, 352
East
(11.2% of pop.)
1. Olivia, 478
2. Amelia, 371
3. Isla, 337
4. Ava, 323
5. Ivy, 281
1. George, 539
2. Noah, 499
3. Oliver, 497
4. Arthur, 464
5. Leo, 426
London
(15.6% of pop.)
1. Olivia, 459
2. Amelia, 455
3. Mia, 402
4. Sofia, 392
5. Maya, 383
1. Muhammad, 689
2. Noah, 626
3. Leo, 507
4. Adam, 429
5. Alexander, 407
South East
(16.5% of pop.)
1. Olivia, 615
2. Amelia, 546
3. Isla, 465
4. Ava, 454
5. Florence, 447
1. George, 729
2. Arthur, 701
3. Oliver, 693
4. Noah, 651
5. Henry, 609
South West
(10.1% of pop.)
1. Olivia, 360
2. Isla, 287
3. Florence, 277
4. Amelia, 259
5. Willow, 233
1. Arthur, 459
2. Noah, 410
3. George, 400
4. Oliver, 394
5. Oscar, 369

Wales, a separate country within the United Kingdom, is home to more than 3.1 million people. The top 10 names per gender in Wales last year were…

Girl Names (Wales)Boy Names (Wales)
1. Olivia, 173
2. Amelia, 164
3. Isla, 126
4. Freya, 114
5. Ivy 112 (tie)
6. Rosie, 112 (tie)
7. Ava, 110
8. Grace, 109
9. Lily, 107
10. Evie, 106
1. Noah, 275
2. Oliver, 213
3. Arthur, 186
4. Theo, 170
5. Leo, 168
6. Charlie, 156
7. Archie, 154
8. George, 152
9. Jack, 136
10. Oscar, 135

Welsh-origin names in that ranked within Wales’ top 100 included…

  • Girl names: Alys, Ffion, Seren, Eira, Mabli, Cadi, Eleri
  • Boy names: Osian, Elis, Macsen, Cai, Morgan, Gruffydd, Rhys

Now it’s time for a selection of names from the other end of the spectrum. Each of the rare names below was given to just 3 babies in England and Wales in 2021:

Rare Girl NamesRare Boy Names
Avesta, Branwen, Callisto, Dwynwen, Elliw, Fenne, Gwenlli, Hestia, Isidora, Jogaile, Kerenza, Lubaba, Monia, Nepheli, Orzala, Petruta, Ruari, Siri, Thisbe, Uriella, Valley, Wilder, Xana, Yris, ZelalAudie, Buddy-Bear, Cuthbert, Deaglan, Emeric, Finlo, Glyndwr, Horace, Ibrar, Johnboy, Kerr, Leofric, Madoc, Nazar, Ovi, Porter, Ranulph, Sirius, Teifion, Urhan, Vladut, Warwick, Xion, Yavuz, Zuko
  • Dwynwen is the name of the Welsh patron saint of lovers. St. Dwynwen’s Day, the Welsh version of St. Valentine’s Day, is celebrated on January 25th.
  • Glyndwr is a reference to Welsh nobleman Owain Glyndwr, who led the Welsh Revolt (1400-1415) against the Kingdom of England.
  • Teifion is based on the name of the River Teifi.

Finally, here’s a link to England and Wales’ 2020 rankings, if you’d like to compare last year to the year before.

P.S. The ongoing rise of the baby name Mabel accelerated in the late 2010s thanks to mononymous English singer/songwriter Mabel — who just so happens to be the niece of Eagle-Eye Cherry.

Sources (all ONS):

Map: Adapted from English regions 2009 by Nilfanion and Dr Greg under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Name quotes #110: Marné, Wulfstan, Brandon

double quotation mark

Time for another batch of name quotes!

From the book A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C. S. Lewis (2013) by Devin Brown:

Although born and baptized as Clive [Staples Lewis], Lewis soon took a disliking to the name his parents had given him. Sometime around the age of four, he marched up to his mother and, pointing at himself, declared that he was now to be known as “Jacksie.” This name, later shortened to Jacks and then to just Jack, became the only name he would answer to. In his book Jack’s Life, Douglas Gresham, Lewis’s stepson, provides the following background on why Lewis chose this name: ‘It was actually because of a small dog that he was fond of that he picked the name Jacksie, which was what the dog was called. It was run over (probably by a horse and cart as there were almost no cars in the time and place where he was a child), and Jack, as he later became known just took the name for himself.’

From a lecture on writing sci-fi and fantasy [vid] given by author Brandon Sanderson, an aside [at 36:05] about the name Brandon:

When I grew up in Nebraska, I was the only Brandon, like, in my school. It was a really original, interesting name. I’m like, ‘My parents came up with this great, original, interesting name.’ And then I moved to Utah to go to BYU and there were five in my freshman dorm. And then I realized: It’s a Mormon name! Who would have thought? It’s not in any of the scriptures but it totally is a Mormon name. There’s a ton. Brandon Flowers, right? Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson. There’s a lot of Brandons out there with an LDS background. Who knew?

[Brandon Flowers is the lead singer of The Killers, while Brandon Mull — like Sanderson — writes fantasy. Brandon Sanderson is behind the debuts of the baby names Kaladin and Sylphrena, btw.]

Speaking of Mormon names…from a recent Deseret News article about Utah’s unusual baby names by Meg Walter:

Heather Marné Williams-Young is named after Marné Whitaker Tuttle. According to legend, Marné Whitaker Tuttle’s mother named her Marne (with no accent) after the French town on the frontlines of World War I, thinking Marne, which rhymes with barn, was a beautiful name.

But Marné disagreed, so she added the acute accent over the e, and pronounced it “Mar-nay.” “There is nothing more Utah to me than women of a certain generation trying make their names more French by putting accents places they shouldn’t be,” Williams-Young says.

[Marné Tuttle (1920-2014), the wife of LDS church leader A(lbert) Theodore Tuttle, served as “temple matron” in the Provo Utah Temple in the early 1980s. During that time, Heather’s mother worked as a Temple employee. Both Heather’s mother and Heather’s mother’s roommate ended up giving their future daughters the middle name Marné.]

“There are a handful of us around Utah County who were all named after the same woman with the made-up name,” Williams-Young says. “I feel such a kinship with them.”

[One of Marné Tuttle’s own daughters, Clarissa, was also given Marné as a middle.]

From a 2015 article in History Today about Anglo-Saxon personal names by James Chetwood:

While it is hard to tell exactly how important the meaning of name elements were, it seems likely that people were aware, to some extent, that names carried some kind of meaning. Indeed, one of the most famous, or infamous, Anglo-Saxons is most often known to us today as Ethelred the Unready, the king who lost his kingdom to Cnut. However, the name Ethelred signified ‘noble counsel’. So, when his contemporaries labelled him Æðelræd Unræd they were not calling him ‘unready’, but using the meaning of his name to mock his lack of good counsel. Similarly, when Archbishop Wulfstan entitled his homily to the English people ‘Sermon of the Wolf to the English’, he was clearly doing so in the knowledge that the first part of his name did not just sound like, but signified, ‘wolf’. Surely it cannot be coincidence that ‘rich’, ‘strong’ and ‘beautiful’ were used in names, where ‘poor’, ‘weak’ and ‘ugly’ were not.

A feature of this naming system was flexibility. There was a finite number of elements, but they could be combined in a multitude of ways. This meant that, in essence, a name was created for, rather than given to, each person. So, while elements could be repeated to emphasize parentage and family links, there was very little repetition of full names and it would be unlikely that any two people within a community or family would have the same name.

From a recent article about baseball player Zebulon Vermillion in the New York Post:

Zebulon Vermillion, as he has to explain to just about everyone he meets, was born in Vail, Colo., not too far from the Rocky Mountains and a summit known as Pikes Peak. His parents, the outdoorsy type, read that the apex was named after Zebulon Pike, and it stuck with them.

Vermillion’s last name is Nordic and middle name — Cassis — French, after a fishing port in Southern France. His mother, who is trilingual, loves the city.

From the book Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire (2022) by Brad Stone, on the process of naming Amazon’s Alexa:

Bezos said he wanted the wake word to sound “mellifluous” and opined that his mother’s name, Jacklyn, was “too harsh.” His own quickly discarded suggestions included “Finch,” the title of a fantasy detective novel by Jeff VanderMeer; “Friday,” after the personal assistant in the novel Robinson Crusoe; and “Samantha,” the witch who could twinkle her nose and accomplish any task on the TV show Bewitched.

For more quotes about names, check out the name quotes category.

Popular and unique baby names in Alberta (Canada), 2021

alberta

Last year, the Canadian province of Alberta welcomed roughly 50,000 babies — almost 26,000 boys and over 24,000 girls.

What were the most popular names among these 2021 babies? Olivia and Noah.

Here are the top-10 lists by gender:

Girl Names

  1. Olivia, 210 baby girls
  2. Charlotte, 166
  3. Ava, 165
  4. Emma, 163
  5. Amelia, 160
  6. Sophia, 137
  7. Isla, 135
  8. Abigail, 120
  9. Evelyn and Chloe, 119 each (tie)
  10. Aria, 112

Boy Names

  1. Noah, 274 baby boys
  2. Jack, 219
  3. Oliver, 208
  4. Liam, 197
  5. Theodore, 191
  6. William, 174
  7. Ethan, 162
  8. Levi, 148
  9. Benjamin, 147
  10. Henry, 146

In the girls’ top 10, Evelyn, Chloe and Aria replaced Emily and Lily. (Three replace two because of the tie for 9th place.)

In the boys’ top 10, Ethan and Henry replaced Lucas and Owen. (Maverick, which has been rising steadily over the last few years, reached 13th in 2021 and could potentially enter the top 10 in 2022.)

Rare baby names that were bestowed just once in Alberta last year include…

Unique Girl NamesUnique Boy Names
Anangokaa, Arendelle, Bluejay, Chickadee, Chokecherry, Dafflin, Eberle, Finvola, Guillemette, Hemley, Izna, Jisu, Khizra, Lunafreya, Maximina, Nicêhis, Oromia, Pernilla, Queniva, Roux-Zelle, Shimmer, Skadi, Thylane, Ulyana, Valhalla, Winlinna, Xyrille, Yuzuki, ZitraAtrium, Brome, Calvince, Donlathee, Eberle, Fidelcastro, Gambit, Heimdallr, Itthipat, Jaiku, Kihêw, Kikinaw, Lefty, Makisig, Malësor, Nashford, Orca, Peanut, Qamber, Raistlin, Strive, Te-Ahumairangi, Totem, Universe, Valvatorez, Waseskwan, Xef, Yosiah, Zevry

Some explanations and/or potential influences for a few of the above:

  • Anangokaa means “there are (many) stars” in Ojibwe.
  • Arendelle is the name of a kingdom in the movie Frozen.
  • Brome refers to various types of grass in the genus Bromus.
  • Eberle — given to one girl and one boy last year — could refer to hockey player Jordan Eberle, who played with the Edmonton Oilers during the 2010s.
  • Fidel Castro was the revolutionary/statesman who led the island nation of Cuba for nearly five decades.
  • Gambit (besides being a word) is an X-Men character.
  • Heimdallr (besides being a Norse god) is a Marvel character.
  • Kikinaw means “our house/home” in Cree.
  • Kihêw means “eagle” in Cree.
  • Lunafreya is a character from the video game Final Fantasy XV.
  • Makisig means “elegant” or “gallant” in Tagalog.
  • Malësor means “highlander” in Albanian.
  • Nicêhis means “my little heart” or “my dear heart” in Cree.
  • Raistlin is a Dragonlance character.
  • Skadi (besides being a giantess in Norse mythology) is a character in the TV series Vikings.
  • Te Ahumairangi is the name of a hill in Wellington, New Zealand.
  • Valvatorez is a character from the video game Disgaea 4.
  • Waseskwan means “the sky is clearing (after a storm)” in Cree.

One other name that stood out to me is Bauer, given to 7 baby boys and 1 baby girl in 2021. I was paying close attention to the hockey playoffs this year, and I couldn’t help but notice “Bauer” everywhere — on sticks, on gloves, on helmets, etc. It makes me wonder how many of the baby Bauers out there (both in Canada and in the U.S.) have been named — either intentionally or inadvertently — after the ice hockey equipment brand.

Finally, here are the 2020 rankings for Alberta, if you’d like to compare.

Sources: Alberta’s Top Baby Names, Olivia and Noah most popular baby names in 2021, Olivia, Noah continue reign as most popular Alberta baby names, The Ojibwe People’s Dictionary, Online Cree Dictionary, Wiktionary