How popular is the baby name Toshiba 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 Toshiba.
I’m a baby name blogger, but sometimes I feel more like a baby name detective. Because so much of my blogging time is spent doing detective work: trying to figure out where a particular baby name comes from, or why a name saw a sudden jump (or drop) in usage during a particular year.
If a name itself doesn’t make the answer obvious (e.g., Lindbergh) and a simple Google search hasn’t helped, my first bit of detective work involves scanning the baby name charts. I’ve learned that many search-resistant baby names (like Deatra) are merely alternative spellings of more common names (Deirdre).
If that doesn’t do it, I go back to Google for some advanced-level ninja searching, to help me zero in on specific types of historical or pop culture events. This is how I traced Irmalee back to a character in a short story in a very old issue of the once-popular McCall’s Magazine.
But if I haven’t gotten anywhere after a few rounds of ninja searching, I officially give up and turn the mystery baby name over to you guys. Together we’ve cracked a couple of cases (yay!) but, unfortunately, most of the mystery baby names I’ve blogged about are still big fat mysteries.
Here’s the current list of open cases:
- Wanza, girl name, debuted in 1915.
- Nerine, girl name, debuted in 1917.
- Laquita, girl name, debuted in 1930.
- Norita, girl name, spiked (for the 2nd time) in 1937.
Delphine, girl name, spiked in 1958. Leshia, girl name, debuted in 1960.
- Lavoris, girl name, debuted in 1961.
Djuna, girl name, debuted in 1964.
- Latrenda, girl name, debuted in 1965.
- Ondina, girl name, debuted in 1968.
- Khari, boy name, debuted in 1971.
Jelani, boy name, debuted in 1973.
- Toshiba, girl name, debuted in 1974.
- Brieanna, girl name, debuted in 1979.
- Sumiko, girl name, spiked in 1980.
Tou, boy name, debuted in 1980. Marquita, girl name, spiked in 1983.
- Caelan, boy name, debuted in 1992.
- Deyonta, boy name, debuted in 1993.
- Trayvond, boy name, debuted in 1994.
- Zeandre, boy name, debuted in 1997.
- Yatzari, girl name, debuted in 2000.
- Itzae, boy name, debuted in 2011.
If you enjoy sleuthing, please give some of the above a shot! I’d love to knock one or two off the list before I start adding more mystery names in the coming weeks…
Update, 7/13/16: More still-open cases from the Mystery Monday series last summer: Theta, Memory, Treasure, Clione, Trenace, Bisceglia, Genghis and Temujin.
The curious name Lavoris first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in the early 1960s:
- 1963: 28 baby girls named Lavoris
- 1962: 40 baby girls and 7 baby boys named Lavoris
- 1961: 36 baby girls and 6 baby boys named Lavoris [debut]
- 1960: unlisted
- 1959: unlisted
Was the name inspired by Lavoris mouthwash?
That’s my only theory so far, but it’s not a great one.
Lavoris mouthwash — with a name coined from the Latin words lava (“a washing”) and oris (“of the mouth”) — has been around since the early 1900s, and was popular in the middle of the 20th century. But this doesn’t explain why dozens of babies suddenly got the name Lavoris in 1961. I haven’t found any evidence of a conspicuous Lavoris advertising campaign in 1960-1961, for instance. Ads seem to run consistently throughout the ’50s and ’60s.
The higher usage for baby girls suggests to me that Lavoris could have been the name of a female character on TV or in the movies around that time.
Like Toshiba, another baby name that also happens to be a well-known brand name, the brand could either be the answer, or be masking the answer…
Any ideas on this one?
I haven’t blogged about a mystery name in a while, so let’s try this one…
The baby name Toshiba debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1974 with 58 baby girls:
- 1978: 40 baby girls named Toshiba
- 1977: 38 baby girls named Toshiba
- 1976: 26 baby girls named Toshiba
- 1975: 35 baby girls named Toshiba
- 1974: 58 baby girls named Toshiba [debut]
- 1973: unlisted
In terms of the biggest girl-name debuts of all time, Toshiba landed just outside the top 50, tied with Siobhan for 53rd.
The variants Tashiba and Tosheba also debuted in 1974, while Tasheba debuted a year earlier.
Now, Toshiba is a brand name. We all know that.
But something tells me that the company/brand didn’t have anything to do with the baby name. The Japanese company Toshiba has been around for well over a century, it’s been exporting goods (transistors, TVs, ovens, etc.) to the U.S. since long before ’70s, and there wasn’t some big advertising push in 1973/1974.
The brand is so well-established, though, that my internet searches aren’t letting me see anything but the brand. So I can’t get past it to see what the real answer might be.
Was Toshiba a character in a ’70s TV show (like Ibe/Ebay)? Maybe a long-forgotten musician or actor?
Do you have any ideas?
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently compiled several lists of unusual baby names using birth records from the Georgia Department of Human Resources (covering January 1990 through July 2007).
Here are some highlights:
- Animal names: Badger, Coyote, Jerboa, Manatee, Peacock, Stallion
- Car names: Civic, Dodge, Elantra, Scion, Tiburon, Toyota
- City names: Cambridge, Kyoto, Madrid, Montreal, Sacramento, Zurich
- Country names: Belgium, Ethiopia, Gibraltar, Iceland, Seychelles, Vatican
- Food names: Cola, Dextrose, Dijon, Kiwi, Nacho, Teriyaki
- Occupation names: Attorney, Butcher, Guitarist, Messenger, Spy, Writer
- Trademark names: Dasani, Exxon, L’Oreal, McAfee, Nokia, Toshiba
The one I liked best of all was Teflon…for the non-stick baby, of course.
There were also many alcohol-related names, such as Bacardi, Chianti, Courvoisier, Michelob, Sangria, Tequila and Tanqueray.