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Lost Names Return to the Charts

September 17, 2020 Clare Green
lost names

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.

Other names returning after a long break include surnames Milner (last seen in 1922) and Caruso (1923) for boys, and cute girl names GeorgiaMae (1921), Revie (1922) and Louelle (1927).

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.

Best of… vintage comebacks

Alphonsus (1978) — A more serious spin on classic Alfonso.

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.

Otillia (1926) — The female versions of Otto are fairly popular in Britain but lesser-used in the States.

Best of… on-trend sounds

Cova (1952) — Pre-covid-19, this name had huge style potential as a blend of Cora and Nova. Now its future may not be so assured.

Evanelle (1930) —  Is this a double name (EvaNelle), or a feminization of Evan? Either way, the popular Ev- sound could take it far.

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.

Best of… whimsical words

Arcadian (2007) — From the region of Arcadia in Greece, in mythology the home of the god Pan.

Domino (2007) — More often used for girls, this fun Dominic-alternative has put in an appearance for boys again.

Florin (2003) — An olde worlde coin, and a land in The Princess Bride.

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.

Poem (2008) — Children are called Poet and Sonnet, so why not Poem too?

Best of… cross-gender names

Archie (1974) — Harry and Meghan’s son not only boosted this as a boy name, but also put it back on the girl charts.

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?

Clover (2008) and Leilani (2005) — These botanical names have put in an occasional appearance for boys over the years.

Tyger (2001) — A wild, spirited name, using the spelling from William Blake’s poem, that’s more common for boys but equally good for girls.

Best of… multicultural names

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.

Franca (2002) — Streamlined alternative to Frances and Francesca.

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.

Best of… casual nicknames

Ezzie (1950) — A lively girl name that’s part-Ezra, part-Izzie.

Jocko (1955) — Fun or too jockish? Either way, ex-Navy SEAL Jocko Willink has brought his nickname to public attention.

Lewie (1973) — Royal baby Louis also put this spelling of his name back on the charts.

Revie (1922) — Reverie and Revel are on a little uptick, and this short form follows.

Vee (1965) — V is one of the coolest sounds for girls, so it’s not surprising that some parents got straight to the point.

Best of… surname style

Kinnon (1996) — Straightforward yet rare Scottish name.

Milner (1922) — A variation on Miller.

Nielsen (1991) — Combining the popular “son” ending with Scandi style.

Voltaire (2008) — Paying homage to the French thinker.

Wyndham (2004) — English surname with a literary/arty flavor thanks to Wyndham Lewis.

 

Enjoyed these? Now discover the comeback baby names of 2018 and 2017.

About the author

Clare Green

Clare Green writes Nameberry's weekly round-up of the latest baby name news, including celebrity announcements, unusual naming stories, and new statistics from around the world . Clare, who has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, lives in England, where she has worked in libraries and studies linguistics. You can follow her personally on Instagram and Twitter.

View all of Clare Green's articles

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