How popular is the baby name Vela 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 Vela.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Vela


Posts that Mention the Name Vela

The Curious Name Tanaquil

Last week’s post on Vera Zorina helped me discover another interesting name: Tanaquil (pronounced tan-a-keel). It belonged to French-born American ballerina Tanaquil “Tanny” Le Clercq (1929-2000) who, like Zorina, had been married to famous choreographer George Balanchine.

Thanchvil, Etruscan, female, nameTanaquil Le Clercq was named after the legendary Etruscan prophet Tanaquil, whose omen-reading abilities helped her husband become the fifth king of Rome (616-578 B.C.).

The Etruscan rendering of the name Tanaquil is “Thanchvil.” The Etruscans had a relatively small pool of first names (praenomina) to draw from, so it’s possible that many Etruscan women were named Thanchvil. In fact, the MFA in Boston owns a sarcophagus (dated 350–300 B.C.) for Thanchvil Tarnai and her husband Larth Tetnies.

The Etruscan language has long been extinct, so there’s no telling what Thanchvil means. (In lieu of that, here are some of the other Etruscan female names that we know about: Thana/Thania, Ramtha/Ranthia, Hastia/Fastia, Aula/Aulia, Vela/Velia, Setha, Arnthi, Larthi.)

Getting back to Tanny…tragically, her professional career was cut short when she was stricken with polio in 1956 at age 27. She was paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of her life. The “stranger-than-fiction twist” is that, at age 15, she had actually danced the part of a polio victim at a March of Dimes benefit, and Balanchine had danced the part of polio itself:

In the final movement — a sunny allegro — she reappeared in a wheelchair, children tossed dimes, and she rose and danced again. What at the time was a simple exercise in entertaining a charity audience acquired in retrospect the weight of an omen or a hex. Balanchine, who was deeply mystical, was haunted by the notion that he had somehow brought on her fate.

Makes the fact that she was named after a noted omen-reader seem rather foreboding, doesn’t it?

Sources:

Image from Sarcophagus and lid with husband and wife © 2017 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Baby Names Needed: Whimsical, Weird Names for Quadruplets

Estelle wrote to me recently with a tall order:

I’m having quads (!!!) in 4 weeks and I need names! I’m having one boy and three girls. My 4 year old son’s name is Cosmo. My husband and I like spacey, whimsical and weird names.

In fact, they “don’t have any limits on how weird a name can be.”

One girl name they’re considering is Ione, which is a family name.

The combination of Cosmo and the adjective “spacey” made me think of star and constellation names right off the bat:

Adhara
Aldebaran
Altair
Aludra
Antares
Antlia
Aquarius
Aquila
Aries
Auriga
Azha
Carina
Corvus
Cygnus
Deneb
Denebola
Hamal
Kastra
Lacerta
Libra
Lyra
Meissa
Musca
Nashira
Norma
Orion
Pavo
Polaris
Rana
Rigel
Shaula
Sheratan
Sirius
Sirrah
Suhail
Taurus
Thuban
Vega
Vela

One nice thing about these is that several together probably wouldn’t scream “star names” to the average person. Unlike, say, a group of flower names. (Though I’m sure stargazers would catch on pretty quickly.)

And here’s what we have for non-galactic suggestions:

Allegra
Althea
Apollonia
Artemis
Aurora
Briony
Calypso
Clio
Danae
Demetria
Echo
Eulalia
Freya
Hestia
Imelda
Imogen
Isis
Lucasta
Luna
Jonquil
Minerva
Olympia
Rhea
Sapphira
Severina
Ursula
Vita
Xanthe
Zelda
Zenobia

Those were the girl names, these are the boy names:

Agni
Aldous
Barnaby
Casper
Cyril
Elan
Evander
Erasmus
Fabio
Gideon
Horatio
Ignatius
Isidore
Jethro
Leander
Loki
Magnus
Milo
Nigel
Odin
Pascal
Peregrine
Reuben
Rémy
Silas
Taliesin
Theron
Tycho
Ulysses
Zenon

What other whimsical names can you come up with for Estelle? And, can you put together any good combinations of 1 boy and 3 girl names?

Update: The babies have arrived! Scroll down to see what names Estelle selected.

One-hit wonder baby names (in the top 1,000)

Not one-hit wonder pop songs, but one-hit wonder baby names!

Many baby names have only managed to rank among the most popular in the U.S. a single time.

Here are all the one-hit wonders of the top 1,000 so far (1880-2005), grouped by decade. If I’ve written an explanatory post about the name, I’ve added a link to the post.

(Please note that the rankings from earliest decades are based on data that isn’t very reliable. So, most of those names didn’t make the top 1,000 for any particular reason — they’re mostly just statistical anomalies.)

1880s

Girl Names, 1880-89 Boy Names, 1880-89
Adina, Almyra, Chanie, Chrissie, Clemie, Cordella, Dayse, Delina, Delle, Elmire, Elzada, Estie, Fronnie, Lovisa, Lucina, Manerva, Manervia, Minervia, Neppie, Nolie, Orilla, Rillie, Sybilla, Tella, Thursa, Achsah, Ala, Alabama, Amey, Chestina, Chloie, Crissie, Daisye, Dema, Dollye, Eithel, Mila, Senora, Siddie, Sylvania, Tiney, Zilpah, Affie, Arah, Artelia, Birdella, Cathern, Cilla, Elizbeth, Fannye, Francina, Genevra, Iza, Jerusha, Loda, Lucetta, Lucindy, Luda, Mahalie, Modena, Nanna, Nelie, Olena, Sinda, Vicy, Almina, Argie, Beatrix, Cappie, Caro, Cloe, Deetta, Dorathea, Ermine, Felicie, Icey, Junia, Lovey, Marianita, Mattye, Pearla, Simona, Alzina, Annice, Georganna, Leala, Lurana, Milly, Nealy, Olivine, Oney, Savilla, Sussie, Theodocia, Violetta, Aurilla, Dosia, Emmy, Essa, Ica, Ilma, Lolla, Medora, Octa, Alwilda, Angele, Betha, Clytie, Ermina, Hilah, Louisiana, Metha, Oline, Pricilla, Alwine, Anice, Clemma, Eppie, Gustie, Octavie, Orelia Francies, Margretta, Orra, Pairlee, Pallie, Chessie, Erla, Herma, Lulah, Noemie Agustus, Baldwin, Candido, Ceylon, Clemente, Firman, Friend, Hays, Hence, Hunt, Isam, Jabez, Obed, Rafe, Redden, Salomon, Sannie, Tilden, Ambers, Cas, Casimiro, Dixon, Elonzo, Emry, Erving, Esequiel, Manly, Marius, Marrion, Mercer, Obe, Philo, Primus, Prosper, Pryor, Roll, Wiliam, Wing, York, Alanzo, Alby, Alcee, Auguste, Caswell, Clabe, Ell, Greene, Hansford, Lone, Marsh, Pearley, Wenzel, Blanchard, Bose, Charle, Emett, Grove, Hanson, Jep, Jeptha, Linzy, Lute, Milas, Thurlow, Blain, Bowman, Bunk, Donaciano, Ebenezer, Ignatz, Odin, Oley, Osborn, Shep, Vollie, Drury, Elon, Fielding, Fleet, Fount, Lark, Lim, Nim, North, Orvis, Reason, Virge, Worley, Zenas, Acey, Algernon, Amasa, Amil, Calhoun, Colbert, Elby, Fuller, Ham, Lilburn, Lovett, Pratt, Ruffin, Bliss, Dorr, Ethelbert, Gilford, Gilman, Graves, Hillery, Shepherd, Benjman, Celestino, Hart, Hilmer, Le, Liston, Lott, Nils, Vere, Abie, Alver, Anatole, Boone, Branch, Bush, Claiborne, Edw, Fed, Governor, Hjalmar, Levin, Redmond

1890s

Girl Names, 1890-99 Boy Names, 1890-99
Ethie, Fleeta, Jessye, Jetta, Sibbie, Idabelle, Lulla, Olar, Sylva, Versa, Allena, Cannie, Cliffie, Clotilda, Elmyra, Josefita, Lurena, Elfreda, Adel, Alleen, Trilby, Zela, Zeta, Manilla, Vara, Irva Almus, Conard, Guilford, Neely, Polk, Rance, Red, Algot, Alphons, Barnard, Burk, Berkley, Iverson, Job, Powell, Vick, Burleigh, Con, Ebert, Murdock, Nolen, Willaim, Aubra, Avon, Bolden, Link, Thorwald, Alston, Audy, Donat, Emmons, Erby, Esley, Hebert, Hezzie, Hughey, Oddie, Vinton, Zed, Alwin, Evander, Gaither, Grafton, Guthrie, Ovila, Acy, Aloys, Arthor, Boysie, Cam, Hale, Lisle, Offie, Silver, Virgel, Willy, Dabney, Adams, Arba, Collie, Ewart, Gladstone, Schley, Shafter, Baker, Bynum, Colvin, Elizah, Griffith

1900s

Girl Names, 1900-09 Boy Names, 1900-09
Luvinia, Dagny, Ethyle, Augustina, Girtha, Edris, Vernia, Beadie, Ilda, Neola, Orma, Vela, Clydie, Rosabelle, Theta, Arnetta, Clementina, Launa, Azalee, Macel Goebel, Tallie, Ancil, Buren, Erland, Esco, Mathews, Pate, Doll, Ivor, Victoriano, Beckham, Lenon, Ozzie, Teddie, Arbie, Council, Duard, Harm, Severo, Tobie, Fredie, Graydon, Jiles, Benard, Harrold, Delmus, Delphin, Gilmer, Ogden, Oland, Samie, Esker, Levie, Robley, Othel

1910s

Girl Names, 1910-19 Boy Names, 1910-19
Arietta, Loree, Blanchie, Felice, Maebell, Orene, Cleone, Lahoma, Rosaria, Idamae, Lavelle, Michelina, Victory, Haruko Amerigo, Gennaro, Hymen, Melbourne, Geno, Gilmore, Saverio, Arvo, Berlin, Gerhardt, Hughes, Tatsuo, Orvin, Foch, Laddie, Metro, Therman

1920s

Girl Names, 1920-29 Boy Names, 1920-29
Arlyne, Venice, Vernelle, Enriqueta, Lorrayne, Ailene, Illa, Kazuko, Felicitas, Joline, Sydell Harden, Shoji, Fidencio

1930s

Girl Names, 1930-39 Boy Names, 1930-39
Charlsie, Belia, Thomasina, Monna, Nira, Marcelina, Darlyne, Shirleyann, Vernetta, Larae, Jonell, Noreta, Noretta, Shelvie, Helaine, Dotty, Karel Derl, Darl, Orlin, Marland, Darwyn, Delwin, Harlon, Ronal

1940s

Girl Names, 1940-49 Boy Names, 1940-49
Phyliss, Jerrilyn, Carlyn, Rozanne, Michaele, Lyndia, Regena, Shirleen Wendel, Wilkie, Eusebio, Lucky, Cornel

1950s

Girl Names, 1950-59 Boy Names, 1950-59
Rhona, Sharleen, Debera, Ellyn, Jacqulyn, Pandora, Doretta, Denese, Valinda, Debroah, Jeryl, Melodee, Sheilah, Sheryll, Gaylene, Kathey, Nilda, Lanita, Perri, Tambra, Tari Danniel, Deryl, Erasmo, Mikeal, Kennard, Rahn, Ricci, Kem

1960s

Girl Names, 1960-69 Boy Names, 1960-69
Jeanmarie, Daneen, Denine, Djuana, Djuna, Caprice, Denita, Inger, Sonji, Sunday, Tatia, Wende, Melissia, Cinnamon Dwyane, Tal, Destry, Anthoney, Jemal

1970s

Girl Names, 1970-79 Boy Names, 1970-79
Dyan, Tisa, Treena, Camisha, Keena, Brande, Tamisha, Pepper, Chaka, Shandra, Torie, Corie, Kamilah, Shawnna, Shawnte, Ariane, Kindra, Somer, Sharee Abelardo, Diallo, Jabbar, Mauro, Toma, Kareen, Dimitrios, Hakim, Jerimy, Torry, Amin, Demetric, Kinte, Kunta, Shalon, Hasan

1980s

Girl Names, 1980-89 Boy Names, 1980-89
Renada, Tai, Evita, Joi, Latoyia, Martine, Nereida, Tashina, Cristen, Jenilee, Tenika, Dwan, Grisel, Shenna, Teela, Shira, Violeta, Britta, Cherrelle, Kyrie, Sable, Shardae, Sharde, Sharday, Shatara, Diandra, Grecia, Jalissa, Taja, Alexandr, Audriana, Audrianna, Brittnay, Christin, Elizabet, Katherin, Stephani Horacio, Adalberto, Marchello, Hung, Huy, Trumaine, Tavaris, Cordaro, Joseluis, Brantley, Geraldo, Christop, Alexande

1990s

Girl Names, 1990-99 Boy Names, 1990-99
Alannah, Kanesha, Ieshia, Miesha, Miriah, Shaquana, Tiesha, Brianda, Shaniece, Shawnee, Coraima, Crysta, Deyanira, Jasmyne, Kalene, Kaylene, Shannen, Adilene, Clarisa, Meranda, Nohely, Iridian, Keanna, Daijah, Jaycie, Yamilex, Baylie, Julisa, Micayla, Yulisa, Yulissa, Shae, Kyara, Tatyanna Mykel, Dijon, Keifer, Colter, Davonta, Devaughn, Khari, Shyheim, Tyrin, Damarcus, Dustyn, Rashaan, Keion, Raquan, Coleton, Jajuan, Keandre, Kenan, Christion, Jacquez, Jelani, Miguelangel, Tavian, Tyrik, Arman, Tyreese, Tyreke

2000s (so far)

Girl Names, 2000-05 Boy Names, 2000-05
Dariana, Maiya, Neha, Yamilet, Beyonce, Dafne, Keila, Mikaila, Nallely, Nayely, Taina, Kiya, Rianna, Arly, Karyme, Gwyneth, Heidy, Treasure, Anneliese, Arleth, Jolette, Mikalah, Montserrat Dayne, Daunte, Jaheem, Jaquez, Lisandro, Luc, Osbaldo, Yousef, Ajay, Jahir, Mordechai, Andon, Jayvon, Koda, Trenten, Adin, Damari, Makhi

P.S. Here’s a list of the two-hit wonder names in the top 1,000.