How popular is the baby name Waterloo 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 Waterloo.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Waterloo


Posts that Mention the Name Waterloo

Babies named for the Battle of Waterloo

Battle of Waterloo (June 18, 1815)
Battle of Waterloo

The Battle of Waterloo — which marked the final defeat of Napoleon and the end of the Napoleonic Wars — took place on June 18, 1815, near the village of Waterloo (located south of Brussels).

Fighting against Napoleon were two forces: a British-led coalition that included Germans, Belgians, and Dutch (all under the Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley) and an army from Prussia (under Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher).

Hundreds of babies were given the name “Waterloo” — typically as a middle — during the second half of the 1810s. Most of them were baby boys born in England, but some were girls, and some were born elsewhere in the British Empire (and beyond).

  • William Wellington Waterloo Humbley*, b. 1815, in England
  • Isabella Fleura Waterloo Deacon †, b. 1815, Belgium
  • John Waterloo Todd, b. 1815, England
  • Fredrick Waterloo Collins, b. 1815, Wales
  • Jubilee Waterloo Reeves (née Davis), b. 1815, England
  • Dent Waterloo Ditchburn, b. 1815, England
  • Joseph Waterloo Hart, b. 1815, England
  • Henry Waterloo Nickels, b. 1815, England
  • Sophia Waterloo Mills, b. 1815, England
  • Henry Waterloo Prescott, b. 1815, England
  • Richard Waterloo Renny, b. 1815, England
  • John Waterloo Posthumous Brittany, b. circa 1815, England
  • Charlotte Waterloo Grapes, b. circa 1815, England
  • Louisa Waterloo France, b. circa 1815, Belgium
  • James Waterloo Clark, b. 1816, England
  • Henry Waterloo Johnson, b. 1816, England
  • George Waterloo Holland, b. 1816, England
  • Charles Waterloo Wallett, b. 1816, England
  • John Waterloo Wilson, b. circa 1816, Belgium
  • Frederick Waterloo Jennings, b. 1817, England
  • William Waterloo Horford, b. 1817, England
  • George Mark Waterloo Smith, b. 1817, England
  • Edward Waterloo Lane, b. 1817, England
  • Robert Waterloo Cook, b. 1817, England
  • Eleanor Waterloo Whiteman, b. 1817, England
  • Ann Waterloo Barlow, b. 1818, England
  • Wellington Waterloo Teanby, b. circa 1818, England
  • William Wellington Waterloo Jackson, b. circa 1819, England

Interestingly, babies were still being named Waterloo long after the battle was over. Many more Waterloos were born from the 1820s onward:

The place-name Waterloo is made up of a pair of Middle Dutch words that, together, mean “watery meadow.” Since the battle, though, the word Waterloo has also been used to refer to “a decisive or final defeat or setback.” (It’s used this way in the 1974 Abba song “Waterloo” [vid], for instance.)

The Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) followed the French Revolutionary Wars (1792-c.1802), which followed the French Revolution (1789-1799), which gave rise to a number of revolutionary baby names in France.

Sources:

*William Wellington Waterloo Humbley was born on the day of the battle (while his father, an army officer, was abroad taking part). He was baptized the following summer, and the Duke of Wellington himself stood godfather. Several years after that, in 1819, his parents welcomed daughter Vimiera Violetta Vittoria Humbley — named after the battles of Vimeiro (1808) and Vitoria (1813).

† Isabella Fleura Waterloo Deacon’s father, Thomas, had been wounded in the previous battle (Quatre Bras, on the 16th). Her mother, Martha — who was traveling with the army — searched the battlefield for him all night. Eventually she discovered that he’d been transported to Brussels, some 20 miles away, so she walked there with her three young children. (Through a 10-hour thunderstorm, no less.) She reached Brussels on the morning of the 18th, located her husband, and gave birth to Isabella on the 19th.

Brazilian Baby Names

The LA Times published an interesting article on Brazilian baby names several years ago (1999). Here are some highlights:

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Brazilian parents who like creative spellings tend to gravitate toward the letters K, W and Y because — at the time the article was written — these letters were not technically part of Brazilian Portuguese.

[In 2009, Brazil enacted spelling reforms that officially added K, W and Y to the alphabet. I’m not sure if this has made them any less desirable for baby names.]

Examples of creative spellings: Tayane (Diana), Kerolyne (Carolina).

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Sometimes, parents choose names inspired by Jogo do Bicho (“the animal game” or “the animal lottery”). This is “a kind of urban numbers game based on superstitions that imbue animals and dates with good luck.”

Example of an animal lottery name: Antonio Treze de Junio de Mil Novecentos e Dezesette (June 13, 1917).

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There are distinct class differences when it comes to naming:

  • In Rio’s favelas (slums), “Edson, Robson, Anderson and Washington are favorite first names […] partly because of the percussive “on” sound and partly because American-sounding names are seen as cool and classy.”
  • Many lower-middle-class parents go for more elaborate names. The Rio registrar explaining these class differences said that, “[b]y seeking status, some cross the line into silliness.” He gave examples like Siddartha, Michael Jackson, Concetta Trombetta Diletta and Marafona (synonym for prostitute).
  • Many wealthy and upwardly mobile parents stick to simple, classic names.

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“Brazilian law forbids names that could expose children to ridicule,” but the law is rarely enforced. For instance, the following made it through…

  • Antonio Morrendo das Dores (Dying of Pain)
  • Barrigudinha (Little-Bellied Girl)
  • Ben Hur
  • Colapso Cardiaco (Cardiac Collapse)
  • D’Artagnan
  • Flavio Cavalcanti Rei da Televisao (King of Television)
  • Nausea
  • Nostradamus
  • Onurb (flip of surname, Bruno)
  • Onurd (brother of Onurb, above)
  • Saddam Hussein
  • Skylab
  • Tchaikovsky Johannsen Adler Pryce Jackman Faier Ludwin Zolman Hunter Lins (goes by “Tchai”)
  • Waterloo
  • Welfare (He said he was named after his father. “My grandfather’s name was Moacir, which in the Tupi Guarani indigenous language means Bad Omen. So he named my father Welfare, because it meant well-being, which was the opposite. And there was a famous English soccer player in Sao Paulo named Harry Welfare.”)
  • Xerox

Do you know anyone from Brazil with an interesting name or name story?

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