The “F” Names: They’re few and far between

Once more this year the list of most popular names—particularly for girls—is vowel –heavy, with six of the top ten names starting with A, E, I or O, and five more filling out the top twenty.

As a result, naturally, there are fewer consonant-starters visible, some letters practically non-existent.  One of these is F, with only a single  representative, Faith, in the top 100, and a grand total of nine girls’ names out of the whole list of top 1000.

If we look back a century—testing the 100-year rule–it was a very different story, with 31 girls’ and 34 boys’ names starting with this initial.  Several of them were versions of the same name (variant spellings are nothing new!); for instance, Freda, Frieda, Freida and Freeda all made the list—but not the current Kahlo-influenced FridaFlorence—no longer visible on today’s list–was represented in 1910 by Florance, Flora, Flossie, Flo, Florrie and Florene, and Frances (which hangs on at #802 today, with Francesca at 470) showed up in such variations as Fannie, Fanny, Francis, Francisca and Frankie, and there were three spellings of Fay/Faye/Fae.

Among the more unusual choices that made the girls’ list a hundred years ago were Fairy, Floy and Fronie.On the 1910 boys’ list Francis and Frances both appeared, and, with the same root, there were Frank (the highest at #8), Francisco, Franklyn and Frankie, and in the Fred (#22) family, Frederick, Freddie, Fredrick, Frederic, Federico and Fritz.  Also up there were Forest and Forrest, Floyd, Freeman, Foster, Felton, Fulton, Florian, Ford, Fay, Finis and Farris.

The only F- names whose popularity has survived over the course of the century are Faith and Frances in the girls’ column, and the more numerous Fernando, Frank, Fletcher, Felix, Frederick/Fredrick, Felipe, Francis, and Frankie for boys.  One big change evident on the current list is the trend towards Celtic/Gaelic names starting with F–Finley appears for both genders, Fiona ranks at 313 for girls, and for boys, there are the increasingly popular Finn and Finnegan.

What are some other names that could shore up the F-list?  Here are some possibilities that didn’t appear on either the current or the 1910 list:

GIRLS

FABLE

FANCHON

FANIA/FANYA

FANTINE

FENELLA

FEODORA

FERGIE

FIA

FIFI

FIONNUALA/FINULA

FIORELLA

FLANNERY

FLAVIA

FLEUR

FRANCA

FRANÇOISE

FREDERICA

FREYA

FRITZI

FUCHSIA

BOYS

FARRELL

FENN

FERGUS

FERRIS

FIELD

FINIAN/FINNIAN

FIO

FITZ

FLANN

FLINT

FOLEY

FOX

FRANZ

FRASER

FRISCO

FROST

FYFE

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38 Responses to “The “F” Names: They’re few and far between”

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abbey Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 4:46 am

My son is a Felix and the only other kids with F names are all Finns of both genders. Oh and we do know of one little Florence. It sure wasn’t hard to buy him a wooden ‘F’ for hos bedroom door!

I had the dilemma with my second pregnancy, of loving the name Freya (which is excessively popular in the UK, but not here in Australia yet). Lucky we had a boy as two F names might have been a bit much. What are the odds of loving two F names? It did strike me as odd as there are so few around.

http://www.legitbabenames.wordpress.com Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 8:37 am

My favorite F names for females are Fabiana/Fabienne, Flaviana, Farrah, Francesca and Freesia. For a boy its Fabian.

Joan Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 9:48 am

My husband and I have two F names as frontrunners for Baby #2 (not yet in the works): Floyd for a boy, Florence for a girl.

Britta Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 9:59 am

I have always liked the names Felicia and Felicity, although the TV show kind of ruined the second one for me.

Courtney W. Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 10:22 am

I’d be interested in knowing the impact of “Ph” names included with this list. The sounds are the same, so I’m curious…surely Philip, Phoebe, & Phineas deserve a spot here.

Bella Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 10:47 am

I love F names! I was so jazzed to see this blog.

F names I love that coincide with the list-

Fania
Fantine
Fionnouala
Fiorella
Freya
Ferris

F names not on the blog-

Fallon (I really want to use this one, one day!)
Freyja
Fjola
Fainne
Felicity
Farrah
Fairamay

JNE Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 10:56 am

I have a soft spot for F names… I love Frederick and Fox was a mn possibility for our son, but I couldn’t get my husband entirely on board with that. On the girls side several of the F names are lovely: Frederica, Francesca, Flora/Florence, and Flavia… plus Fia and Fifi are some favorite nns for F names and other names that include the f sound.

I’m surprised Finnian and Frisco are not more popular, given Finn’s popularity and how current -o enders seem to be.

Juliet Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 11:15 am

I love Franca! The actress Franca Potenta really made me fall for it.

Juliet Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 11:17 am

Apparently the actress spells it Franka Potente — cool name nevertheless!

linda Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 11:29 am

Courtney–Good point on the Ph names–I’ll have to look into it.

Elizabeth Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 11:39 am

F-names are so cool – great blog!

My personal favourites are Flora/Florence, Francesca nn Frankie, and Frederick and, even though it’s popular now, I do love Finlay/Finn.

British American Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 12:51 pm

I have a British cousin in her 20s named Florence. I do think the name should be more popular than it is now. I think she has a cousin on the other side of the family called Faye. An old high school friend has a 4 year old Faye (in the UK.)

I also like Flora. Spotted a 3 year old one locally.

Frederic is a new personal favourite.

Oh and my husband’s cousin has a 2 year old named Finnegan.

Fergus is all dog to me, because of the children’s book by David Shannon. But I do like it as a boy’s name too.

An American friend liked the name Fanny, until I explained the British slang for that term.

Andrea Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 1:17 pm

I had a soft spot for the Bobbsey twins, silly as they were, though I liked Nan best. Flossie makes me think of dental floss and Freddie reminds me most of Freddie Krueger now. A lot of the F names just sound out of date.

anita Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 1:40 pm

While you’re at it,take a new look at Fern(as in Charlotte’s Web),Freida(as in Kahlo),Faye(as in Ray and Dunaway),and don’t forget the old-fashioned,but still lovely Fiona.

Dearest Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Floyd! Awww, I love Floyd, but only because Pink Floyd forced me to get used to it 🙂 I love Pink Floyd as well…

Favourites in this blog:
Fable, Fantine, Franca, Farrell, Field, Floyd, Fox, Franz!, Frost and Fyfe/Fife for a girl.
My Great-Grandfather was called Frantz Wilhelm, so that’s a name I really want to use!!

Other F names I love:
Fairamay, Fawn, Fallon, Farah, Fer, Fiametta, Fidelia, Flora, Florentin, Fortuna and I’m playing with Firefly as a middle name (along with Hummingbird and Sunflower)
Favour, Ferdinand, Ferrand, Fisk, Fleming, Florian, Forest, Foy and Friend.

Ph names (for the fun of it)
Philomena, Philothea, Phaedra and Phillida/Phyllida
Philo and Phinnaeus

Taffy Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

I am forced to fleer and floccinaucinihilipilificate this footling flock.

Dublin Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 2:51 pm

I love “F” names (including “Ph” names)! Fiona, Felicity, Fern (my grandmother’s name) and Pheobe are my favorites for girls. I also love Farrah, Felicia, Flora, and Fallon. Finn and Philip are great for boys.
When I was discussing names with a good friend of mine, I mentioned ‘Fiona’ and she made a face. When I asked why, she said, “It’s just the “F” sound”. When I compared it to Pheobe she relented and admitted the ‘F’ sound wasn’t unpleasant, it was just uncommon. Funny, because that is one of the reasons it is so appealing to me.
Thanks for this blog! It gives me even more F names to love!

Joy Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 2:54 pm

My favorite nn for any F girls name is Effie.

jotadito Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 4:34 pm

I wonder whether, once F experiences a revival, the misspellings with Ph will be quick to follow. In 10 years, that might be the new K in place of C. Imagine how awful:
Phrancesca
Phrederick
Phlora
etc…

Kathleen Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 4:39 pm

cool list! Freya was a runner-up for our daughter, and I just adore Fenella and Flavia!

Kathleen Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 4:43 pm

and from the comments, I too love Fern! I couldn’t get my husband anywhere near it.

linda Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 4:49 pm

jotadito–
Perish the thought!!!

Eva Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 4:58 pm

I always thought Floral might make a cool name. It has quite a pleasing sound. It sounds like Laura/Laurel/Flora. Maybe as a middle name.

what about Florimel from the Fairie Queene? i think its divine!

Rose Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 4:59 pm

My brother has an F name – Farrell. I’ve never met anybody else with his name. He’s twenty-eight, so my mom was definitely ahead of the times with that one.

I like F names, but I don’t love them. The only ones I’m really drawn to are Farrah, Florence, and Felix. That said, some of my favorite names are Ph names…

Nicole H Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Not mentioned at all but I delivered (my 1st catch as a midwife apprentice) a baby boy named Fulton. He’s a cutie & that name will always be special to me!

Rosy Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 6:31 pm

My favorite F names are Frances, Fiona, Flavia, Fiorella, and Flora. I didn’t realize how little F names were in the top 1000!

Freya Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Freya is my name! 🙂

Eglantine Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Our daughter is Frederique and I also love Florence/Flo and Flora. I like Forrest for a boy but we have a family reason for not using it.

smismar Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Florence was my grandmother’s name and definitely on my list – maybe a variation like Flora. Another favorite is Fiala, a little known Czech name that I came across that means “Violet.”

peach Says:

June 8th, 2010 at 11:04 pm

I know three between the ages of 1 and 2 1/2 with “F” names: Foxen, Finn, Fiona. My personal favorites are Felix and Fantine.

susan Says:

June 9th, 2010 at 12:25 am

Great blog! I love names that start with “F”! My favorites are Frances, Fiona, and Florence for girls and Floyd, Finn, and Frederick for boys. One of these days, “F” will have a comeback!

Eva Says:

June 9th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

i have recently fallen in love with the name Fintan for a boy 🙂

SarahWrightHere Says:

June 10th, 2010 at 4:25 am

I once met this adorable little girl named Fee, the german word for Fairy 🙂
there’s also Finnja/Finja as the female version of Finn, Franziska, Florentine, Ferederike and Felicitas for girls.
Not a big fan of it, but there’s Fergal for boys.
I can’t think of many F-names for boys I’m afraid.

http://pencilsandwhatnot.wordpress.com/ Says:

June 11th, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Freddie and Flossie are two of my favourite nicknames … it’s just a pity that every other guy I come across seems to be a Freddie, and I’m not in love with Flora/Florence, although they are nice.

Finn is devastatingly handsome, despite the popularity.

Other names on the list which I like are Fable, Fantine, Fionnuala and Fiorella (a lady on the boards chose this recently, and it struck me as so pretty).

Ferris is a lot of fun, thanks to the iconic Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, plus the magic of ferris wheels!

Nicolette Sari Says:

June 18th, 2010 at 5:40 pm

I love F names! I have a Francesa and my son’s middle name is Fredrick. I dont know why F names aren’t more popular.

willaisie Says:

June 21st, 2010 at 4:23 pm

I really love “F” names!! Frances has always been one of my favorites, I also like Francesca. I am currently in love with Freya, I even think a Frances with the right sounds in her middle name could be called Freya. I am very upset that Finn has become so popular, I would haved loved a little Finnian. Fiona and Fleur, and Fiori (italian for flower) are also high on my list! Fyfe is stinking adorable! I guess I have a thing for the “F/Ph” sound! On a side note, my dad wanted to name me Phoebe, but mum won out with Jennifer…darn!

vintageluvs Says:

July 3rd, 2014 at 4:00 pm

I love the whimsical feeling of F-names. I had three girls in my class in high school, and teachers got them so confused because they all started with Fs! There was Florence, Felicia, and Fiona– all exotic sounding to my ear. In a Catholic school, you would expect lots of Marys, Catherines, and Elizabeths, which there are, but I think Catholic schools have a naming culture all unto themselves. I mean, only in Catholic school would it be acceptable to be named Fiona (probably because of the heavily Irish influence) or Aurora.

Titus245Mama Says:

March 15th, 2016 at 1:30 pm

I cannot help but think about the line from “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”–

“T’wert no ‘F’ names in the Bible, so Ma named him ‘Frankincense’ because he smelled so sweet!” 😀

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