Lost Names Return to the Charts
Let’s look at the comeback kids in this year’s baby name charts: the lost names that parents are using again after years of neglect.
To make it into this special category, a name has to appear in the US baby name rankings — the full list below the Top 1000 of all the names given to five or more girls or boys — having been MIA for ten years or more.
In 2019, 163 girl names and 176 boy names returned to the charts. Some were relatively popular before they fell into disuse, while others are just occasional blips in the data. The longest radio silence was from Azena, a girl name that last appeared in 1913 and had 7 births in 2019, 106 years later. The longest gap for boy names was Arvi, which was last recorded in 1921.
Here’s our pick of the best names that haven’t seen the light of day for a decade or more. Today, they make an interesting collection of options that are almost unique, but not newly invented.
Boniface (1937) — Grand, ancient and saintly.
Idabelle (1942) — A Southern-feeling combo name with elements that are back in fashion.
Jacinth (2005) — A unisex floral name, meaning “hyacinth”.
Louelle (1927) and Louetta (1979) — Two classy blended names with great nickname options.
Kaiona (2003) — One of many “Kai” names on the rise.
Roric (1974) — A Germanic-cool version of Roderick. The spelling Rorik is already gaining in popularity.
Quillian (1971) — Quill is rising fast, and this Irish surname makes a longer formal version.
Mellow (1939) — We’re surprised this girl name didn’t surface in the hippie 60s and 70s, but it’s an interesting, gentle choice now.
Artie (1989) — A truly gender-crossing name, this nickname for Arthur was more popular for girls in the early twentieth century, then went over to the boys from the 1940s. In 2019 it returned to the girls’ lists. Who knows where it will go from here?
Aglaia (2006) — One of the Graces in Greek myth, and an unusual way to get to Aggie.
Eliodoro (2004) — Elio is having a moment, and this longer variation may appeal too.
Jyoti (2006) — An Indian name meaning “light”.
Majida (1977) — Feminine form of the Arabic name Majid.
Pnina (1992) — Hebrew name with a unique sound and spelling.
Vee (1965) — V is one of the coolest sounds for girls, so it’s not surprising that some parents got straight to the point.
Kinnon (1996) — Straightforward yet rare Scottish name.
Milner (1922) — A variation on Miller.
Nielsen (1991) — Combining the popular “son” ending with Scandi style.
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Emma Waterhouse Said
on September 17th, 2020 at 5:34 am
Florin is one of my favourite names! Glad to see it making a comeback. I also love Caruso!
on September 17th, 2020 at 9:21 am
Vee is actually so cute haha I previously had that on an internal list of “if I was ever a celebrity wanting to name their child something a la Moxie Crimefighter” but I could definitely see it IRL.
Others I Liked:
The whole list of casual nicknames, really
I could see Wyndham and Mellow as very sweet middle names – I would like Wyndham more if it weren’t for the hotels
Sophie Kihm Said
on September 17th, 2020 at 10:45 am
I rememeber seeing the name Evanelle in a book when I was 13 (a friend showed it to me because she thought it was an interesting name!). It’s always seemed very wearable to me.
on September 17th, 2020 at 8:59 pm
I really like Louelle! Roric sounds really cool, and it’s so funny that Vee is considered for some a full name! I happen to know a lot of Pnina’s. (Or Penina)
on September 17th, 2020 at 9:48 pm
Can somebody help me? I have never been able to figure out how to find names “given to only 5 babies, or 7 babies” in a given year. When I look ate the S.S. website, I can only find names in the top 1000. What am I missing?
on September 17th, 2020 at 10:09 pm
I love Evanelle and Florin! I discovered Evanelle when I did research for a guest blog I did for nb almost 2 years ago, and it always stuck with me! I love Eva and Nell, and they’re even better together. (Or maybe it was Avanelle? Either way, super pretty!) I like Eliodoro, but I like Heliodoro, Helio, and Helios even more.
@JadeRain, there’s a link to “beyond the top 1000” where there’s a Notepad file you can download that lists every name given to 5 babies or more, from number 1,001 all the way up to… goodness, probably thousands higher than that. https://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/limits.html You can download the file for beyond each state’s top 100, or beyond the national 1000.
on September 18th, 2020 at 10:56 am
@ashthedreamer Thank you!
on September 21st, 2020 at 6:52 am
Florin & Caruso would made a fabulous sibset!
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