Category: baby name history
The weather bureau says summer starts June 1 — and temperatures in Omaha this June show they have a point. Astronomers say summer started when the sun reached its annual highest place in the sky at 5:34 p.m. Monday.
“Summer” goes back millennia to “sem,” the word for summer in ancient Indo-European. Though not as ancient, “winter” also goes back thousands of years, to a Germanic word which probably meant “wet season.”
By Abby Sandel
Last week, Nameberry’s story on Crazy Baby Names was everywhere. Because outrageous baby names never get old, and it’s kind of mind-boggling to imagine introducing your kids, Royaltee and Ruckus.
Except that this is a very old trend. There have always been creative namers.
We recognize choices like Nevaeh and Messiah, Brynlee and Blaze as novelties of our time, but it’s difficult to know how to think about the rarities of an earlier age. Back in 1913, Exie, Vada, and Coy were in the US Top 1000. Are they vintage gems, or the Jayden and Kaylee of another age – or both?
Baby-name fads have come and gone over the decades, but one trend has held true: Names are getting longer.
By the 2000s, the average syllable count for a top 20 boys’ name had climbed to 2.25 — up from 1.8 in the 1880s.
Girls’ names, meanwhile, have gotten even longer. A Top 20 female name had an average syllable count of 2.75 last year. That compares with 2.05 in the 1880s.
Determining what makes a name contemporary vs. what makes a name established can be tough.
For example, if a name was first used by one notable person (real or fictional) in the 17th century, but hadn’t become widespread or familiar until within the past decade, does that qualify the name as established or modern?
There may be some debate, but to me, any name that hadn’t been widely familiar or used until within the past 20-30 years is a modern name. That isn’t to say that sometimes modern names can’t have historic origins. Modern names with historic origins are new names that sound… well… old.
Here are some examples:
Most of us know that the top names on the Social Security list aren’t given to as many babies as they once were. Here, data whiz Kelli shows how the Number 1 names have become less and less popular through the years, tracing the percentages of babies given the top name from 1880 to now.