Category: baby name history
The shadowy world of film noir, those stark black-and-white, often low-budget films with single-word titles—Possessed, Pursued, Trapped, Tension, Decoy, Detour, Breakdown, Blackmail—produced in Hollywood from roughly the early 1940s to the late 1950s, were populated with smoldering femmes fatale, hard-boiled detectives, corrupt cops, cynicism, intrigue and suspense
A lot of the female characters had a distinctive style of forgotten two-syllable names like Veda, Velma, Verna, Meta, Mida and Nita, while the tough guys who weren’t named Nick or Tony or Barney were occasionally given some wildly eccentric monikers.
Here, from both classics of the genre like The Maltese Falcon to barely remembered B-movies, some of the more interesting examples:
- Althea – The Unsuspected
- Angel – Guilty Bystander
- Barby – The Fallen Sparrow, Sleep, My Love
- Brandy – Two of a Kind
- Brigid – The Maltese Falcon
- Candy – Pickup on South Street, Breakdown
- Carmen—The Big Sleep
- Cecily – The Two Mrs Carrolls
- Celia – The Secret Behind the Door
- Cora –The Postman Always Rings Twice, Brute Force
- Dell – Shadow on the Wall
- Della – The Burglar
- Eden – Murder is My Beat
- Edwina/Eddie – Fingers at the Window
- Effie – The Maltese Falcon
- Evangeline – T-Men
- Fay – The Killing
- Frennessey – World for Ransom
- Fritzie – The Big Bluff
Mother Nature gives birth to a whole set of little terrors each hurricane season, so it’s only natural that we have a set of names by which to reprimand them- six sets of names, actually.
You don’t have to be a Weather Channel enthusiast to know that hurricane names are, by design, short, distinctive male and female names, listed in alphabetical order each year . What you may not know, however, is who is responsible for naming the hurricanes and why odd names like Gaston and Virginie made the 2010 list.
Since 1979, there have been six lists in rotation for Atlantic hurricane names, each established and maintained by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
A sanity check for all of you who may have thought “I swear I remember a hurricane with that name before…:” You’re right. Each list is repeated every seventh year, so this year’s list will reappear in 2016.
An exception to the rule. If a storm is so deadly or catastrophic that its continued use would be inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity, the offending name is stricken from the list and another name is selected by the WMO committee to replace it. Katrina, Floyd, and Ike? All gone.
So how are new names decided upon by the WMO? Just like any proud mother and father, a lot of thought goes into naming a newborn.
The committee takes into consideration the public’s response toward a name. While a child with a complicated name may become exasperated by teachers’ constant mispronunciation of their names, a complicated hurricane name could have more catastrophic consequences. Thus, hurricane names should be easy to recall and on the shorter side.
The popularity of the first letter in a name is also a factor in the naming process. Current lists exclude Q, U, X, Y, and Z due to the dearth of names starting with those letters (Though hurricane names from 1958 included Udele, Virgy, Xrae, Yurith, and Zorna.)
The committee also considers ethnic names. Atlantic Ocean hurricanes, much like many of our country’s immigrants, have ties with European nations. Thus, the names may be French, Spanish, and English, in lieu of the major languages bordering the Atlantic Ocean.
Here are some hurricane names that really stand out (and haven’t made it into the Top 1000 in the last ten years), whether their respective hurricanes have been but a blip on the radar or otherwise.
On this year’s list:
Yesterday we took a look at the girls’ names moving in and out of fashion and now we turn our attention to their brothers.
And here we find a somewhat different picture.
Overall, it confirms the fact that there is much greater consistency on the boys’ side of the fence, with a huge proportion of the names already established in the Top 100 list of 1880, and very few new ones entering in the succeeding years: only one or two per decade, with a large number of them having Irish roots.
Names that we might think of as fairly recent favorites were already on the list in the 1880s: Cameron, Carson, Carter, Chase, Cole and Cooper, Hunter and Haydn, for example. (Further evidence of the 100-year rule.)
So, again, here they are, arranged by decade, and then giving the particular years that they were among the Top 100.
- Angel: 1888, 1891, 1899, 1907-1910, 1912-1914, 1916-2009
- Blake: 1883, 1886, 1892-1894, 1897, 1903, 1906, 1911, 1920-21, 1933, 1942-1943, 1945-2009
- Bryan: 1883, 1886, 1890, 1892, 1894-2009
- Caleb: 1880-1907, 1909-1911, 1914-1915, 1917-1918, 1920, 1922, 1925, 1964, 1966, 1968-1009
- Cameron: 1882-1885m 1888, 1895-1896, 1900, 1911-1912, 1916, 1920-1924, 1926, 1930-1931, 1934, 1936, 1939, 1941-2009
- Carson: 1880-1882, 1884-1892, 1894-1896, 1898-2009
- Carter: 1881, 1883-1977, 1980-2009
- Chase: 1885, 1972-2009
- Cole: 1886, 1912, 1951, 1954-1965, 1967-2009
- Cooper: 1882, 1885-1887, 1889, 1982, 1984-2009
- Diego: 1887, 1958, 1963-2009
- Dominic: 1885, 1887, 1890-1892, 1894-2009
- Ethan: 1882, 1884, 1886-1887, 1891, 1893, 1896, 1898, 1901, 1952, 1954, 1956-2009
- Hayden: 1880, 1885, 1888-1892, 1895-1901, 1903-1930, 1922-1936, 1941-1944, 1947, 1986-2009
- Hunter: 1880-1886, 1888-1902, 1904-1920, 1922-1924, 1926-1929, 1931-1932, 1934-1935, 1945-1950, 1954, 1956-2009
- Isaiah: 1880-1968, 1971-2009
- Jason: 1880-1898, 1900-2009
- Jesus: 1880-1890, 1892-2009
- Jordan: 1880-1889, 1891-1901, 1903-1910, 1912-1915, 1917, 1919-2009
- Josiah: 1880-1896, 1898-1899, 1903-1904, 1906-1907, 1912, 1914, 1916, 1975-2009
- Justin: 1880-1881, 1884-1886, 1888-1894, 1896-2009
If I were a cookbook writer, I think my first title would be: “100 Ways to Dice and Slice the Social Security List.” There is so much information to be found embedded in it and so many ways to look at it, that there seems to be no end of different and intriguing ways to parse the data.
Pam will be writing later about the startling number of names that have been in the Top 1000 consistently—which is to say every single year– since score-keeping began in1880. Today I’ll take a look at the patterns followed by the names that have moved in and out of fashion.
First, the girls, grouped by the decades they first came into favor, followed by the specific years when they were included in the Top 100. (This does not include names that have been up there every single year.)
You may be surprised at when some of the names initially appeared—sometimes earlier, sometimes later than you might have guessed. Zoe and Chloe, for example, were both strong in the 19th century, as were Savannah and Samantha. Alexis was already up there in the 1940s, but Alexa didn’t break through till the 70s; Kayla was there as early as the fifties, while—and this may not be such a surprise– Kaitlyn, Katelyn, Kaylee and Makayla all broke through as a group in the eighties, along with Hailey and Bailey.
1880s-90s (and possibly earlier)
- Abigail: 1880-1897, 1901-1903, 1906, 1939, 1943, 1946, 1949-2009
- Andrea: 1880-1881, 1884-1887, 1889, 1901-1904, 1907-2009
- Ava: 1880-1972, 1974-1975, 1984, 1986-2009
- Bella: 1880-1931, 2000-2009
- Chloe: 1880-1943, 1982-2009
- Ella: 1880-1983, 1988, 1990-2009
- Faith: 1880-1882, 1884-1886, 1888-2009
- Isabella: 1880-1948, 1990-2009
- Isabelle: 1880-1954, 1957, 1991-2009
- Jessica: 1880-1893, 1895, 1898-1900, 1903-1912, 1914-1918, 1935, 1937, 1939-2009
- Lily: 1880-1964, 1966, 1970, 1972, 1976, 1979-2009
- Madelyn: 1893, 1895-1965, 1986-2009
- Mariah: 1880-1908, 1910-1911, 1913, 1973, 1975-2009
- Melanie: 1886, 1938-2009
- Samantha: 1880-1902, 1907, 1964-2009
- Savannah: 1880-1922, 1924-1925, 1928, 1983-2009
- Sofia: 1881, 1881, 1886, 1888-1889, 1891-1892, 1895, 1898, 1900-1901, 1906-1914, 1916-1917, 1920-1925, 1927-1931, 1935, 1969, 1971-2009
- Sophie: 1880-1955, 1984-2009
- Sydney: 1886, 1905, 1932-1957, 1959-1961, 1963-1967, 1981-2009
- Valeria: 1881-1944, 1946-1976, 1983, 1985-2009
- Zoe: 1880-1912, 1914-1926, 1928-1929, 1931-1941, 1951-1955, 1957-1961, 1966, 1970, 1973, 1975, 1983-2009
For a number of years, when I wasn’t writing about names, I was writing about antiques and collectibles for a syndicated newspaper column. But of course when I was thinking about antiques, I was still also thinking about names.
Looking at the field of antique furniture, for example, I found that when it came to early British cabinetmakers, the names were relatively unexciting. George Hepplewhite. Robert Adams. Thomas Chippendale. Thomas Sheraton. Nothing too juicy there.
But with the Early American cabinetmakers and clockmakers it was quite a different story. Lots of antiquated Biblical names, more than one Chauncey, Ebenezer and Lemuel, a few virtue names rarely heard in modern times (Prudent, Noble), a couple of Latinate names and a Greek god—in other words a variegated picture of American Colonial and Federal era nomenclature:
Some prime examples:
- Abel Cottey
- Abiel Chandler
- Abner Toppan
- Ansel Goodwin
- Asa Holden
- Chauncey Boardman, Jerome
- Duncan Phyfe
- Ebenezer Knowlton, Tracy, Parmalee
- Elbert Anderson
- Eli Terry
- Elias Ingraham
- Elijah Booth, Sanderson
- Eliphaler Chapin
- Elisha DeWolfe, Jr
- Elnathan Taber
- Enos Doolittle
- Ephraim Haines, Downes
- Everadus Bogardus
- Garvan Carver
- Gawen Brown
- Gerrard Hopkins
- Gideon Roberts
- Heman Clark
- Hercules Courtenay