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The modal decade of birth for these sisters is the 1960s. They’re boomers–or in Karen’s case, maybe the leading edge of Gen X.

Tyrone and Stacy are Xers, most commonly born in the 1970s.

Chad is a millennial, coming into the world during the Reagan administration.

Tangentially, some names are experiencing a renaissance. When I was a kid, names like Vivian, Amelia, Stella, Evelyn, and Charlotte were the names of old ladies at church. None of my classmates had those kinds of grandmotherly names. They’ve come roaring back since then, though. Charlotte and Amelia are now two of the very most popular girl names in the country.

It’s harder to find male names that experience the same kind of resurgence after the old generation passes away, ending the name’s association with elderliness. The virile names Rex of Felix, both etymologically Latin, are a couple I have been able to discover. There are surely more, but it’s a less common phenomenon among boys than it is among girls.

Parenthetical to the tangent, the best safeguard against a boy’s name primarily becoming a young girl’s name during the boy’s lifetime is to turn to the good book. There is no gender fluidity in biblical names. Matthew, Mark, Luke, Jacob, John, David, Michael, Noah–these are male names, and they will stay that way.

What are some names formerly given to boys that have since been usurped by girls? Lindsey, Kennedy, Sydney, Riley, Skyler, Lauren, Taylor, Kendall, Morgan, Peyton, Dakota, Bailey–just to name a few. These were all exclusively or primarily male names that have since become female names. That’s a non-exhaustive list of the names they’ve stolen from us!

Before really digging into it tonight, I’d been under the impression that there were no instances of a girl’s name transforming into a boy’s name over time, but I’ve found one modest counterexample in Dominique.

It’s modest because today about 50 in one million American boys are given the first name, while 40 in one million girls are. Hardly the definitive reversal of a name like Sydney. A century ago, a female Sydney was unheard of. Today, 500 in one million girls get the name, compared to just 10 in one million boys who do.

 
• Category: Culture/Society • Tags: Namingways 
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  1. Movies and TV shows. Don’t you watch TV?

    For instance. Charlotte? Sex in the City.

  2. How could you skip Jason and Joshua? Jesus Christ. There was a time when a teacher would say “Jason” and half the class would answer.

    Answer: Here Come the Brides

    And she would say “Jennifer” and the other half of the class would answer.

    Answer: Love Story

    I like how those who grew up in the 1960s thought they were being all creative by choosing “different” names like Jason and Megan and Amanda.

    The thing is, they were so un-creative in reality that the “different” names they chose were all the same.

    • Agree: Dutch Boy
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    What about film actress Jennifer Jason Leigh?
  3. The male Dominique spike corresponds to the career of NBA player Dominique Wilkins.

    • Thanks: Audacious Epigone
    • Replies: @paranoid goy
    'Correspondence does not causation imply".
    If a name becomes popular at some time, do you think it is because some bloke played good ball, or because there were so many of them, at least one was likely to not suck at playing ball?
    I just bought a yellow car. Have you noticed how many yellow cars there suddenly are?
  4. On the contrary, I don’t think the name Noah is safe as that. There is at least one prominent female celebrity named Noah (Noah Cyrus, born 2000), and over the past decade there has been a surge in girls named ‘Noa’, sans h, which is an exclusively female name: https://www.babynamewizard.com/voyager#prefix=noa&sw=both&exact=true

    ‘Noa’ is of Israeli origin; while it is pronounced differently in Hebrew than ‘Noah’ is (because the authentic pronunciation ends with a very Middle Eastern kh sound that English elides), the difference is non-existent in English.

    I am not quite sure what marks a name out as likely to flip, but it does seem as though names with feminine endings (in the ‘ah’ or ‘ee’ sound) are dangerous, as for some reason are names that are originally British or Irish surnames. Names ending with consonants — especially plosive consonants such as b, d, g, k, t — seem safest. I distinctly can’t think of names ending with those sounds that have been subject to this effect. (You should take into account nicknames as well: ‘Charles’ remains as masculine as ever, but ‘Charlie’/’Charley’ have become predominantly female names over the past decade quite abruptly. Names uncommon or short enough that they do not have common nicknames, in addition to ending with a plosive — say, Conrad or Eric — might be the safest. Or ones whose nicknames end in plosives, like Peter –> Pete).

    I can very easily see ‘Noah’ becoming feminized. Most of your other examples are fine, although ‘Michael’ for girls is popular enough that it shows up on the Baby Name Voyager, albeit declining since the 1980s. Anything that ends with -el or -elle is evocative of female names of French origin and is liable to get feminized as long as the style for adopting male names into feminine ones continues.

    • Thanks: Audacious Epigone
    • Replies: @Audacious Epigone
    The best defense Noah has is how common a boy's name it has become--probably the single most common boy's name in the US in the 2010s, though I'd have to do the math to be sure. Definitely in the top five.
    , @AnotherDad
    Thanks NameEnthusiast--you covered everything i've observed and a bit more. Excellent comment.
  5. There seem to be some secular trends beyond particular names. See e.g. names starting with O. all of them:

    In contrast, names starting with St, Tr or (especially) Sh come out of nowhere, peak in 60ies and recede afterwards.

    • Thanks: Audacious Epigone
    • Replies: @songbird
    I've wondered if there is some sort of socio-political cycle when it comes to names - if names somehow tract to the state of civilization or perhaps the economy in a cyclical way. Something like the hemline index theory. Perhaps not even names but phonemes of names.
  6. Yes, it all comes from TV and movies. Most people are not as creative as they think.

    “Skyler” was a name I had never even heard before watching Breaking Bad. It still sounds odd to me.

    As for the feminization of male names, perhaps is part of the general strategy of feminization?

    No idea, but it seems to happen mostly (or uniquely) in the English language. I don’t see evidence of that in Italian, French, Spanish, etc. Perhaps because in those languages most names already have very marked gender variations (i.e. Paolo, Paola)

    • Replies: @Indiana Jack
    "Skyler" is a simplified spelling of the German/Dutch name "Schuyler". Its was the surname of a prominent family of Dutch origin in the NYC area in the Colonial period, and perhaps due to the prestige of the family, people began using it as a given name for boys. The most famous example was probably Schuyler Colfax, vice president of the United States from 1869 to 1873.
  7. Anonymous[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @obwandiyag
    How could you skip Jason and Joshua? Jesus Christ. There was a time when a teacher would say "Jason" and half the class would answer.

    Answer: Here Come the Brides

    And she would say "Jennifer" and the other half of the class would answer.

    Answer: Love Story

    I like how those who grew up in the 1960s thought they were being all creative by choosing "different" names like Jason and Megan and Amanda.

    The thing is, they were so un-creative in reality that the "different" names they chose were all the same.

    What about film actress Jennifer Jason Leigh?

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
    Not popular enough. It has to be something really really popular with young mothers, or future young mothers in their teens. Love Story and Sex in the City were fantastically popular amongst that demographic. And Here Come the Brides had Bobby Sherman in it, the Justin Bieber of his day.

    That fantastically popular with future mothers-in-training Twilight has bequeathed us "Bella." I bet they think they are so creative. Nobody but me, they go, would think of naming their daughter after a character idolized by millions and millions of sad little teenaged girls.

  8. Off topic but related to the piece you are working on… the climate — Corona nexus is as strong as ever:

    (1)

    The leaders in overall Corona deaths are in order:

    New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Connecticut

    Cold, northern states all.

    By contrast, the three most populous states are California, Texas and Florida in that order. They do not make the top of the list, and all have milder climates. The later two have been notorious for not distancing like everyone else, and yet they are doing well.

    (2)

    Superspreading events have occurred at meatpacking plants again and again. Guess what? The ‘factory floor’ in a meatpacking plant is refrigerated.

    (3)

    The tropical countries continue to do far better.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational

    Superspreading events have occurred at meatpacking plants again and again. Guess what? The ‘factory floor’ in a meatpacking plant is refrigerated.
     
    They are also heavily populated by aliens from sunny countries who are chronically deficient in Vitamin D in such northern climes.

    These people do not belong here; it's not good for either us OR them.
    , @Audacious Epigone
    Post forthcoming by the weekend, I commit.
  9. @Haruto Rat
    There seem to be some secular trends beyond particular names. See e.g. names starting with O. all of them:

    https://i.imgur.com/J7Ozvry.png

    In contrast, names starting with St, Tr or (especially) Sh come out of nowhere, peak in 60ies and recede afterwards.

    I’ve wondered if there is some sort of socio-political cycle when it comes to names – if names somehow tract to the state of civilization or perhaps the economy in a cyclical way. Something like the hemline index theory. Perhaps not even names but phonemes of names.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    From what I've seen, girl names cycle on about the same timescale as clothing fashions. Boy names cycle on a century+ timescale.

    As far as Haruto Rat's surprising observation about names cycling together, I have no idea.
  10. The most noticeable increase in a name for me is “Ariel”. I never met anyone with that name the first fifty years of my life. The last ten years I’ve met four young women in their twenties with that name. I looked it up on the internet and in 1990 it had the biggest increase, 273%, of any female name and stayed high for several years after that. That shows how influential popular culture is since the popular “Little Mermaid” movie from that time period had a main character with that name.

    • Replies: @songbird
    When I was in middle school, I had an older teacher named Ursula, the name of the witch in the movie. I thought it was a really weird name, but maybe it is more common in certain European countries.

    Strange as it is said to derive from ursa - Latin for bear. Odd to name a girl after the word for bear. Maybe, it has something to do with the constellation.
    , @Audacious Epigone
    The Disney movie Frozen came out in 2013. Elsa spiked phenomenally as a girl's name in 2014 but has since fallen back to pre-movie levels, a little lower even.
  11. @songbird
    I've wondered if there is some sort of socio-political cycle when it comes to names - if names somehow tract to the state of civilization or perhaps the economy in a cyclical way. Something like the hemline index theory. Perhaps not even names but phonemes of names.

    From what I’ve seen, girl names cycle on about the same timescale as clothing fashions. Boy names cycle on a century+ timescale.

    As far as Haruto Rat‘s surprising observation about names cycling together, I have no idea.

    • Replies: @songbird
    Maybe, to a certain extent it has something to do with fashion. In a certain decade, a mother-to-be will say dismissively, "oh, that's a middle-aged lady's name." Or in another few decades, "that's an old lady's name." Then the old lady's die off and the name becomes cool again.

    But what I'm really puzzled about are these names that seem to come out of nowhere. I suppose they must have some source - entertainment or maybe books of names that parents-to-be search. I looked up the name "Braden" and was flabbergasted to see this:

    Braden Allenby (born 1950), American scientist
    Braden Lay-Michaels (born 1965), American philanthropist
    Braden Barty (born 1970), American film producer
    Braden Birch (born 1989), Canadian ice hockey player
    Braden Gellenthien (born 1986), American archer
    Braden Holtby (born 1989), Canadian ice hockey player
    Braden Hunt, American voice actor
    Braden King (born 1971), American filmmaker
    Braden Looper (born 1974), American baseball player
     
    I swear I had never heard that name before about 2010, then I started hearing it everywhere.

    Another interesting puzzle to me is how certain white ethnic names seem to appeal to blacks, but not others. I would say, certain French names, like Monique, and certain Irish names, like Kevin or Sean, but not French or Irish names as a whole. I guess the French names might have something to do with Francophone black countries, but I'm really puzzled by the the Irish names. I wonder if it might have something to do with the transplantation of Irish people to the Caribbean during Cromwell's time.
  12. Do not curse your children with Semitic names.

  13. @Almost Missouri
    From what I've seen, girl names cycle on about the same timescale as clothing fashions. Boy names cycle on a century+ timescale.

    As far as Haruto Rat's surprising observation about names cycling together, I have no idea.

    Maybe, to a certain extent it has something to do with fashion. In a certain decade, a mother-to-be will say dismissively, “oh, that’s a middle-aged lady’s name.” Or in another few decades, “that’s an old lady’s name.” Then the old lady’s die off and the name becomes cool again.

    But what I’m really puzzled about are these names that seem to come out of nowhere. I suppose they must have some source – entertainment or maybe books of names that parents-to-be search. I looked up the name “Braden” and was flabbergasted to see this:

    Braden Allenby (born 1950), American scientist
    Braden Lay-Michaels (born 1965), American philanthropist
    Braden Barty (born 1970), American film producer
    Braden Birch (born 1989), Canadian ice hockey player
    Braden Gellenthien (born 1986), American archer
    Braden Holtby (born 1989), Canadian ice hockey player
    Braden Hunt, American voice actor
    Braden King (born 1971), American filmmaker
    Braden Looper (born 1974), American baseball player

    I swear I had never heard that name before about 2010, then I started hearing it everywhere.

    Another interesting puzzle to me is how certain white ethnic names seem to appeal to blacks, but not others. I would say, certain French names, like Monique, and certain Irish names, like Kevin or Sean, but not French or Irish names as a whole. I guess the French names might have something to do with Francophone black countries, but I’m really puzzled by the the Irish names. I wonder if it might have something to do with the transplantation of Irish people to the Caribbean during Cromwell’s time.

  14. Avoid the last name first names and you will typically end up with a non-sexually ambiguous first name for your child. Enthusiasm for last name first names strikes me as a Waspy affectation, possibly for association with some upper class surname. The spread of this to others is deplorable.

  15. You don’t find too many guys named Gaylord anymore. Adolph has kind of taken a hit as well.

    • Replies: @Twinkie

    Adolph has kind of taken a hit as well.
     
    But Karl and Joseph have not. Nobody likes losers, I guess.
  16. @bro3886
    You don't find too many guys named Gaylord anymore. Adolph has kind of taken a hit as well.

    Adolph has kind of taken a hit as well.

    But Karl and Joseph have not. Nobody likes losers, I guess.

  17. @DanHessinMD
    Off topic but related to the piece you are working on... the climate -- Corona nexus is as strong as ever:

    (1)

    The leaders in overall Corona deaths are in order:

    New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Connecticut

    Cold, northern states all.

    By contrast, the three most populous states are California, Texas and Florida in that order. They do not make the top of the list, and all have milder climates. The later two have been notorious for not distancing like everyone else, and yet they are doing well.

    (2)

    Superspreading events have occurred at meatpacking plants again and again. Guess what? The 'factory floor' in a meatpacking plant is refrigerated.

    (3)

    The tropical countries continue to do far better.

    Superspreading events have occurred at meatpacking plants again and again. Guess what? The ‘factory floor’ in a meatpacking plant is refrigerated.

    They are also heavily populated by aliens from sunny countries who are chronically deficient in Vitamin D in such northern climes.

    These people do not belong here; it’s not good for either us OR them.

  18. @Dumbo
    Yes, it all comes from TV and movies. Most people are not as creative as they think.

    "Skyler" was a name I had never even heard before watching Breaking Bad. It still sounds odd to me.

    As for the feminization of male names, perhaps is part of the general strategy of feminization?

    No idea, but it seems to happen mostly (or uniquely) in the English language. I don't see evidence of that in Italian, French, Spanish, etc. Perhaps because in those languages most names already have very marked gender variations (i.e. Paolo, Paola)

    “Skyler” is a simplified spelling of the German/Dutch name “Schuyler”. Its was the surname of a prominent family of Dutch origin in the NYC area in the Colonial period, and perhaps due to the prestige of the family, people began using it as a given name for boys. The most famous example was probably Schuyler Colfax, vice president of the United States from 1869 to 1873.

    • Thanks: Audacious Epigone
  19. @Mark G.
    The most noticeable increase in a name for me is "Ariel". I never met anyone with that name the first fifty years of my life. The last ten years I've met four young women in their twenties with that name. I looked it up on the internet and in 1990 it had the biggest increase, 273%, of any female name and stayed high for several years after that. That shows how influential popular culture is since the popular "Little Mermaid" movie from that time period had a main character with that name.

    When I was in middle school, I had an older teacher named Ursula, the name of the witch in the movie. I thought it was a really weird name, but maybe it is more common in certain European countries.

    Strange as it is said to derive from ursa – Latin for bear. Odd to name a girl after the word for bear. Maybe, it has something to do with the constellation.

    • Replies: @A123
    Ursula Andress had a very famous scene in the James Bond film Dr. No.

    PEACE 😷
    , @Twinkie

    Strange as it is said to derive from ursa – Latin for bear. Odd to name a girl after the word for bear.
     
    There are female bears. In all seriousness, bears, including female bears, figure positively in a number of mythologies.
  20. I while ago I noticed that the name Eugene was most popular when eugenics was.

    • Thanks: Audacious Epigone
    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
    ... and suddenly the title of Andrew Bird's song "Eugene" makes sense.
  21. @songbird
    When I was in middle school, I had an older teacher named Ursula, the name of the witch in the movie. I thought it was a really weird name, but maybe it is more common in certain European countries.

    Strange as it is said to derive from ursa - Latin for bear. Odd to name a girl after the word for bear. Maybe, it has something to do with the constellation.

    Ursula Andress had a very famous scene in the James Bond film Dr. No.

    PEACE 😷

    • Replies: @songbird
    Ah, yes, that scene - I did not recall the name of the actress.

    When I first saw Dr. No, I did not care for it. I think there is a scene with rubber snake in it, the sort one could buy in the cheapest toy store. But I guess I appreciate it more now for being less PC than some of the later iterations of Bond.
  22. @songbird
    When I was in middle school, I had an older teacher named Ursula, the name of the witch in the movie. I thought it was a really weird name, but maybe it is more common in certain European countries.

    Strange as it is said to derive from ursa - Latin for bear. Odd to name a girl after the word for bear. Maybe, it has something to do with the constellation.

    Strange as it is said to derive from ursa – Latin for bear. Odd to name a girl after the word for bear.

    There are female bears. In all seriousness, bears, including female bears, figure positively in a number of mythologies.

    • Replies: @songbird
    I tried to see if I could find other female names derived from bear. Couldn't find anything reliable. One claim is that the name Garcia comes from a Basque word for bear and was a female name, but that seems somewhat doubtful.

    I think there might be a few female names that come from lion.
  23. I’ve always thought of Rex as a typical name for a German Shepherd (and pretty much only for a German Shepherd – i.e., not for other breeds).

    When I first saw the Austrian TV show ‘Inspektor Rex’ my first thought was “They got the dog’s name right” – unlike in the US series ‘Run Joe Run’.

  24. Enthusiasm for last name first names strikes me as a Waspy affectation, possibly for association with some upper class surname. The spread of this to others is deplorable.

    Agreed. Unless you actually are an aristocrat, this practice should be avoided; especially for naming boys. Other kids will think your son is effeminate, and adults will think it too try-hard.

    My wife and I have developed a strict set of rules for naming our children:

    1. First name must be a common New Testament name (e.g. Peter, Paul, Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth) or a well-known saint’s name (e.g. Anthony, Dominic, Catherine).

    2. The name must pair well with our very Italian last name, either by being something very neutral-sounding (e.g. John) or of the same ethnicity (e.g. Giovanni), rather than some other ethnicity (e.g. Ivan).

    3. Preference is given to names of close family members, such as parents, grandparents, and siblings, so long as the name doesn’t violate one of the other rules.

    4. Creativity is reserved for middle names, such as using a less common saint’s or historical figure’s name (e.g. Perpetua, Octavian).

    • Replies: @RSDB

    some other ethnicity (e.g. Ivan)
     
    http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/arvindgupta/little-world-camillo.pdf#page=7


    Duly vested, Don Camillo approached the font. “What do you wish to name this child?” he asked Peppone’s wife. “Lenin Libero Antonio,” she replied. “Then go and get him baptized in Russia,” said Camillo calmly, replacing the cover on the font. The priest’s hands were as large as shovels and the three left the church without protest. But as Don Camillo was attempting to slip into the sacristy he was arrested by the voice of the Lord. “Don Camillo, you have done a very wicked thing. Go at once and bring those people back and baptize their child.”
    ...

     

  25. @A123
    Ursula Andress had a very famous scene in the James Bond film Dr. No.

    PEACE 😷

    Ah, yes, that scene – I did not recall the name of the actress.

    When I first saw Dr. No, I did not care for it. I think there is a scene with rubber snake in it, the sort one could buy in the cheapest toy store. But I guess I appreciate it more now for being less PC than some of the later iterations of Bond.

  26. @Twinkie

    Strange as it is said to derive from ursa – Latin for bear. Odd to name a girl after the word for bear.
     
    There are female bears. In all seriousness, bears, including female bears, figure positively in a number of mythologies.

    I tried to see if I could find other female names derived from bear. Couldn’t find anything reliable. One claim is that the name Garcia comes from a Basque word for bear and was a female name, but that seems somewhat doubtful.

    I think there might be a few female names that come from lion.

  27. @DanHessinMD
    Off topic but related to the piece you are working on... the climate -- Corona nexus is as strong as ever:

    (1)

    The leaders in overall Corona deaths are in order:

    New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Connecticut

    Cold, northern states all.

    By contrast, the three most populous states are California, Texas and Florida in that order. They do not make the top of the list, and all have milder climates. The later two have been notorious for not distancing like everyone else, and yet they are doing well.

    (2)

    Superspreading events have occurred at meatpacking plants again and again. Guess what? The 'factory floor' in a meatpacking plant is refrigerated.

    (3)

    The tropical countries continue to do far better.

    Post forthcoming by the weekend, I commit.

    • Thanks: res
    • Replies: @DanHessinMD
    I look forward to it!

    Knowledge the protectiveness of indoor humidification will be particularly important come fall and winter. Luckily, for the moment it is May and the weather is saving us. Most of this virus' activity was at the tail end of cold and flu season. But come winter if there isn't a vaccine round 2 could be trouble.

    The collective stupidity of society in not talking about the one easiest thing everyone can do to help themselves does not make me optimistic about the future.

    Brazil seems to be going for herd immunity in a hot and humid climate and in my opinion it is working beautifully. They have recorded 7K deaths in a nation of 200 million people.

    We should go for herd immunity during the summer if we have any sense. Viral respiratory infections are far more survivable in humid conditions.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6561219/ .

    "Scientists call on WHO to provide guidance on indoor humidity in coronavirus battle"
    https://www.foxnews.com/science/scientists-call-on-who-to-provide-guidance-on-indoor-humidity-in-coronavirus-battle

    A petition to get WHO to issue guidance that indoor humidity should be between 40% and 60%, signed by not enough people, from scientists at Harvard, Yale and the University of Zurich.

    https://40to60rh.com/

  28. @Mark G.
    The most noticeable increase in a name for me is "Ariel". I never met anyone with that name the first fifty years of my life. The last ten years I've met four young women in their twenties with that name. I looked it up on the internet and in 1990 it had the biggest increase, 273%, of any female name and stayed high for several years after that. That shows how influential popular culture is since the popular "Little Mermaid" movie from that time period had a main character with that name.

    The Disney movie Frozen came out in 2013. Elsa spiked phenomenally as a girl’s name in 2014 but has since fallen back to pre-movie levels, a little lower even.

    • Replies: @The Germ Theory of Disease
    Well thank heavens at least that the name "Katniss" hasn't spiked anywhere, at least not that I'm aware of. The other truly great tragic female character of recent cinema, but at least Elsa is a name you can live with, whereas Katniss, I mean yeeesh...

    Interestingly, the whole Disney marketing team got completely caught off guard during the opening run of Frozen, because they thought all the little girls would want to be the adventurous, wise-cracking Anna, not the tragic, isolated, self-hating Elsa -- so they had plenty of Anna merch ready for the store shelves but nothing for the Snow Queen, despite the fact that she's the one with the sexy dress and the ego complex. When every little girl in America wanted the Elsa braid and the Elsa dress, and not the Anna mittens, they were totally caught short-handed. Shows you how good marketing execs are at reading the psychology of six year old girls.
  29. @NameEnthusiast
    On the contrary, I don't think the name Noah is safe as that. There is at least one prominent female celebrity named Noah (Noah Cyrus, born 2000), and over the past decade there has been a surge in girls named 'Noa', sans h, which is an exclusively female name: https://www.babynamewizard.com/voyager#prefix=noa&sw=both&exact=true

    'Noa' is of Israeli origin; while it is pronounced differently in Hebrew than 'Noah' is (because the authentic pronunciation ends with a very Middle Eastern kh sound that English elides), the difference is non-existent in English.

    I am not quite sure what marks a name out as likely to flip, but it does seem as though names with feminine endings (in the 'ah' or 'ee' sound) are dangerous, as for some reason are names that are originally British or Irish surnames. Names ending with consonants -- especially plosive consonants such as b, d, g, k, t -- seem safest. I distinctly can't think of names ending with those sounds that have been subject to this effect. (You should take into account nicknames as well: 'Charles' remains as masculine as ever, but 'Charlie'/'Charley' have become predominantly female names over the past decade quite abruptly. Names uncommon or short enough that they do not have common nicknames, in addition to ending with a plosive -- say, Conrad or Eric -- might be the safest. Or ones whose nicknames end in plosives, like Peter --> Pete).

    I can very easily see 'Noah' becoming feminized. Most of your other examples are fine, although 'Michael' for girls is popular enough that it shows up on the Baby Name Voyager, albeit declining since the 1980s. Anything that ends with -el or -elle is evocative of female names of French origin and is liable to get feminized as long as the style for adopting male names into feminine ones continues.

    The best defense Noah has is how common a boy’s name it has become–probably the single most common boy’s name in the US in the 2010s, though I’d have to do the math to be sure. Definitely in the top five.

  30. @David
    I while ago I noticed that the name Eugene was most popular when eugenics was.

    … and suddenly the title of Andrew Bird’s song “Eugene” makes sense.

  31. @Anonymous
    What about film actress Jennifer Jason Leigh?

    Not popular enough. It has to be something really really popular with young mothers, or future young mothers in their teens. Love Story and Sex in the City were fantastically popular amongst that demographic. And Here Come the Brides had Bobby Sherman in it, the Justin Bieber of his day.

    That fantastically popular with future mothers-in-training Twilight has bequeathed us “Bella.” I bet they think they are so creative. Nobody but me, they go, would think of naming their daughter after a character idolized by millions and millions of sad little teenaged girls.

  32. @Audacious Epigone
    Post forthcoming by the weekend, I commit.

    I look forward to it!

    Knowledge the protectiveness of indoor humidification will be particularly important come fall and winter. Luckily, for the moment it is May and the weather is saving us. Most of this virus’ activity was at the tail end of cold and flu season. But come winter if there isn’t a vaccine round 2 could be trouble.

    The collective stupidity of society in not talking about the one easiest thing everyone can do to help themselves does not make me optimistic about the future.

    Brazil seems to be going for herd immunity in a hot and humid climate and in my opinion it is working beautifully. They have recorded 7K deaths in a nation of 200 million people.

    We should go for herd immunity during the summer if we have any sense. Viral respiratory infections are far more survivable in humid conditions.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6561219/ .

    “Scientists call on WHO to provide guidance on indoor humidity in coronavirus battle”
    https://www.foxnews.com/science/scientists-call-on-who-to-provide-guidance-on-indoor-humidity-in-coronavirus-battle

    A petition to get WHO to issue guidance that indoor humidity should be between 40% and 60%, signed by not enough people, from scientists at Harvard, Yale and the University of Zurich.

    https://40to60rh.com/

    • Replies: @res

    We should go for herd immunity during the summer if we have any sense. Viral respiratory infections are far more survivable in humid conditions.
     
    I agree. And not only for that reason. Summer should also make it more possible to manage a response if the situation starts to get out of hand. I use the analogy of controlled burns in the forest. Those are done when the weather conditions are favorable to controlling the fires (humid and not windy). To be clear (it is frustrating how necessary caveats like this are given how quickly so many people assume the worst of everyone who differs from them politically), the idea is to minimize fatalities by establishing herd immunity among those at relatively low risk while protecting higher risk people.

    A counterargument would be if we can expect a vaccine and/or better treatment which can make it into broad usage before the flu season starts.

    Thanks for the RH links. Interesting that Fox has picked up the idea. I wonder what prompted them. Now if Tucker would talk about it maybe Trump would get interested. But that would mean all Democrats would reflexively oppose the idea (though Fox being the first media outlet with the idea is probably enough to make that happen).
  33. It seems many formerly-boys’ names are easier to see on a log plot. Jordan, Ashley, Courtney, (and to a much lesser extent, Robin) for example, go back a very long time but were never popular. The female peak was both higher and later. Popular boys’ names are less likely to be directly taken, but rather feminized. Alexander becomes Alexandra, Julius Julia, Andrew Andrea, James Jaime, John Joanna, Charles Charlotte or Carol.

    With the exception of Alexander (depicted as relatively unmanly by Homer), being a Bronze Age hero seems to insulate your name from feminine appropriation. I don’t think one can easily feminize Hector or Achilles, or Hercules or Jason, or Moses or Joshua. And it has not been done for slightly later David or Solomon.

    It is also interesting how few ancient female rulers’ names are popular. No one wants to be Boadicea or Zenobia. But the much earlier Bronze Age non-rulers Helen and Cassandra are not unknown.

    These, of course, are just unresearched opinions, so I would welcome counter-examples and refutations.

    • Thanks: Audacious Epigone
  34. @Audacious Epigone
    The Disney movie Frozen came out in 2013. Elsa spiked phenomenally as a girl's name in 2014 but has since fallen back to pre-movie levels, a little lower even.

    Well thank heavens at least that the name “Katniss” hasn’t spiked anywhere, at least not that I’m aware of. The other truly great tragic female character of recent cinema, but at least Elsa is a name you can live with, whereas Katniss, I mean yeeesh…

    Interestingly, the whole Disney marketing team got completely caught off guard during the opening run of Frozen, because they thought all the little girls would want to be the adventurous, wise-cracking Anna, not the tragic, isolated, self-hating Elsa — so they had plenty of Anna merch ready for the store shelves but nothing for the Snow Queen, despite the fact that she’s the one with the sexy dress and the ego complex. When every little girl in America wanted the Elsa braid and the Elsa dress, and not the Anna mittens, they were totally caught short-handed. Shows you how good marketing execs are at reading the psychology of six year old girls.

    • Replies: @Audacious Epigone
    Can confirm.
  35. In Germany, name is indicative of class status: kids from a good bourgeois background tend to have either traditional Germanic sounding names (Friedrich, Gertrude) or biblical/classical inspired names (Maria, Peter).

    Having an American inspired name like Cindy or Kevin is tied in with lumpenproletariat stereotypes. When you think about it, it isn’t that different from the US, though: what comes to mind when you hear the name “Shaniqua” or “Cletus”?

    • Replies: @Audacious Epigone
    In the case of the latter, that some folk'll never eat a skunk but then again some folk'll:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7qhVJIPfck
  36. @anon
    The male Dominique spike corresponds to the career of NBA player Dominique Wilkins.

    ‘Correspondence does not causation imply”.
    If a name becomes popular at some time, do you think it is because some bloke played good ball, or because there were so many of them, at least one was likely to not suck at playing ball?
    I just bought a yellow car. Have you noticed how many yellow cars there suddenly are?

    • Replies: @anon
    Look at the chart. When he was born (1960), it was unheard of. When he became famous as a young adult (the 80s), it spiked.
  37. @NameEnthusiast
    On the contrary, I don't think the name Noah is safe as that. There is at least one prominent female celebrity named Noah (Noah Cyrus, born 2000), and over the past decade there has been a surge in girls named 'Noa', sans h, which is an exclusively female name: https://www.babynamewizard.com/voyager#prefix=noa&sw=both&exact=true

    'Noa' is of Israeli origin; while it is pronounced differently in Hebrew than 'Noah' is (because the authentic pronunciation ends with a very Middle Eastern kh sound that English elides), the difference is non-existent in English.

    I am not quite sure what marks a name out as likely to flip, but it does seem as though names with feminine endings (in the 'ah' or 'ee' sound) are dangerous, as for some reason are names that are originally British or Irish surnames. Names ending with consonants -- especially plosive consonants such as b, d, g, k, t -- seem safest. I distinctly can't think of names ending with those sounds that have been subject to this effect. (You should take into account nicknames as well: 'Charles' remains as masculine as ever, but 'Charlie'/'Charley' have become predominantly female names over the past decade quite abruptly. Names uncommon or short enough that they do not have common nicknames, in addition to ending with a plosive -- say, Conrad or Eric -- might be the safest. Or ones whose nicknames end in plosives, like Peter --> Pete).

    I can very easily see 'Noah' becoming feminized. Most of your other examples are fine, although 'Michael' for girls is popular enough that it shows up on the Baby Name Voyager, albeit declining since the 1980s. Anything that ends with -el or -elle is evocative of female names of French origin and is liable to get feminized as long as the style for adopting male names into feminine ones continues.

    Thanks NameEnthusiast–you covered everything i’ve observed and a bit more. Excellent comment.

  38. AE–i’m a late boomer, grew up with “Karen”s and have known several “Becky”s

    However, these “Becky”s are actual “Rebecca”s. That’s the far more common name and the peak is much broader and later–boomer, through X, to millennial.
    https://www.babynamewizard.com/voyager#prefix=rebecca&sw=both&exact=false

    ~~

    Great to see “old lady” names returning for girls.

    Don’t personally have much use for Evelyn or Vivian.

    But Charlotte and Amelia are good solid, pleasantly feminine, traditional Euro–French and Anglo-Germanic–names.

    Beats the heck out of silly women* naming their daughters for their favorite movie/TV character.

    • Thanks: Audacious Epigone
  39. I’m not sure if this is a prank or not, but I’m absolutely sure it’s a first:

  40. res says:
    @DanHessinMD
    I look forward to it!

    Knowledge the protectiveness of indoor humidification will be particularly important come fall and winter. Luckily, for the moment it is May and the weather is saving us. Most of this virus' activity was at the tail end of cold and flu season. But come winter if there isn't a vaccine round 2 could be trouble.

    The collective stupidity of society in not talking about the one easiest thing everyone can do to help themselves does not make me optimistic about the future.

    Brazil seems to be going for herd immunity in a hot and humid climate and in my opinion it is working beautifully. They have recorded 7K deaths in a nation of 200 million people.

    We should go for herd immunity during the summer if we have any sense. Viral respiratory infections are far more survivable in humid conditions.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6561219/ .

    "Scientists call on WHO to provide guidance on indoor humidity in coronavirus battle"
    https://www.foxnews.com/science/scientists-call-on-who-to-provide-guidance-on-indoor-humidity-in-coronavirus-battle

    A petition to get WHO to issue guidance that indoor humidity should be between 40% and 60%, signed by not enough people, from scientists at Harvard, Yale and the University of Zurich.

    https://40to60rh.com/

    We should go for herd immunity during the summer if we have any sense. Viral respiratory infections are far more survivable in humid conditions.

    I agree. And not only for that reason. Summer should also make it more possible to manage a response if the situation starts to get out of hand. I use the analogy of controlled burns in the forest. Those are done when the weather conditions are favorable to controlling the fires (humid and not windy). To be clear (it is frustrating how necessary caveats like this are given how quickly so many people assume the worst of everyone who differs from them politically), the idea is to minimize fatalities by establishing herd immunity among those at relatively low risk while protecting higher risk people.

    A counterargument would be if we can expect a vaccine and/or better treatment which can make it into broad usage before the flu season starts.

    Thanks for the RH links. Interesting that Fox has picked up the idea. I wonder what prompted them. Now if Tucker would talk about it maybe Trump would get interested. But that would mean all Democrats would reflexively oppose the idea (though Fox being the first media outlet with the idea is probably enough to make that happen).

  41. @The Germ Theory of Disease
    Well thank heavens at least that the name "Katniss" hasn't spiked anywhere, at least not that I'm aware of. The other truly great tragic female character of recent cinema, but at least Elsa is a name you can live with, whereas Katniss, I mean yeeesh...

    Interestingly, the whole Disney marketing team got completely caught off guard during the opening run of Frozen, because they thought all the little girls would want to be the adventurous, wise-cracking Anna, not the tragic, isolated, self-hating Elsa -- so they had plenty of Anna merch ready for the store shelves but nothing for the Snow Queen, despite the fact that she's the one with the sexy dress and the ego complex. When every little girl in America wanted the Elsa braid and the Elsa dress, and not the Anna mittens, they were totally caught short-handed. Shows you how good marketing execs are at reading the psychology of six year old girls.

    Can confirm.

  42. @nebulafox
    In Germany, name is indicative of class status: kids from a good bourgeois background tend to have either traditional Germanic sounding names (Friedrich, Gertrude) or biblical/classical inspired names (Maria, Peter).

    Having an American inspired name like Cindy or Kevin is tied in with lumpenproletariat stereotypes. When you think about it, it isn't that different from the US, though: what comes to mind when you hear the name "Shaniqua" or "Cletus"?

    In the case of the latter, that some folk’ll never eat a skunk but then again some folk’ll:

    • Replies: @Wency
    "Cletus" and "Brandine" always struck me as names that people who aren't exposed to rednecks might think a redneck would have. Or maybe names a 19th century prospector and his wife (or his horse) would have.

    I'm probably exposed to true rednecks more than most people here. I think the most common phenomenon is a name that's spelled a weird way and maybe a few years behind the times. Names like Kerstyn seem to be common. Also stripper names.

    One dead give-away of being working class or lower is going with the shortened form of a classic name as your proper name. So your birth certificate might read "Bill" or "Kati" [sic] and not "William" or "Katherine".
  43. I like Mike.

    • Replies: @Audacious Epigone
    What about Ike?
  44. @paranoid goy
    'Correspondence does not causation imply".
    If a name becomes popular at some time, do you think it is because some bloke played good ball, or because there were so many of them, at least one was likely to not suck at playing ball?
    I just bought a yellow car. Have you noticed how many yellow cars there suddenly are?

    Look at the chart. When he was born (1960), it was unheard of. When he became famous as a young adult (the 80s), it spiked.

  45. @Liberty Mike
    I like Mike.

    What about Ike?

    • Replies: @Truth
    My bike likes Ike.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsVPWUZW31A
  46. @Audacious Epigone
    What about Ike?

    My bike likes Ike.

    • Replies: @Audacious Epigone
    The charismatic Med.
  47. Wency says:
    @Audacious Epigone
    In the case of the latter, that some folk'll never eat a skunk but then again some folk'll:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7qhVJIPfck

    “Cletus” and “Brandine” always struck me as names that people who aren’t exposed to rednecks might think a redneck would have. Or maybe names a 19th century prospector and his wife (or his horse) would have.

    I’m probably exposed to true rednecks more than most people here. I think the most common phenomenon is a name that’s spelled a weird way and maybe a few years behind the times. Names like Kerstyn seem to be common. Also stripper names.

    One dead give-away of being working class or lower is going with the shortened form of a classic name as your proper name. So your birth certificate might read “Bill” or “Kati” [sic] and not “William” or “Katherine”.

    • Replies: @iffen
    I’m probably exposed to true rednecks more than most people here.

    You'll have to be content with 2nd place.
    , @Audacious Epigone
    This episode was during The Simpsons Harvard-grad writer days, so that assessment seems spot on.
  48. @Wency
    "Cletus" and "Brandine" always struck me as names that people who aren't exposed to rednecks might think a redneck would have. Or maybe names a 19th century prospector and his wife (or his horse) would have.

    I'm probably exposed to true rednecks more than most people here. I think the most common phenomenon is a name that's spelled a weird way and maybe a few years behind the times. Names like Kerstyn seem to be common. Also stripper names.

    One dead give-away of being working class or lower is going with the shortened form of a classic name as your proper name. So your birth certificate might read "Bill" or "Kati" [sic] and not "William" or "Katherine".

    I’m probably exposed to true rednecks more than most people here.

    You’ll have to be content with 2nd place.

  49. @Truth
    My bike likes Ike.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsVPWUZW31A

    The charismatic Med.

  50. @Wency
    "Cletus" and "Brandine" always struck me as names that people who aren't exposed to rednecks might think a redneck would have. Or maybe names a 19th century prospector and his wife (or his horse) would have.

    I'm probably exposed to true rednecks more than most people here. I think the most common phenomenon is a name that's spelled a weird way and maybe a few years behind the times. Names like Kerstyn seem to be common. Also stripper names.

    One dead give-away of being working class or lower is going with the shortened form of a classic name as your proper name. So your birth certificate might read "Bill" or "Kati" [sic] and not "William" or "Katherine".

    This episode was during The Simpsons Harvard-grad writer days, so that assessment seems spot on.

    • Replies: @Saint Louis
    Cletus was actually the name of an early pope.
  51. @Audacious Epigone
    This episode was during The Simpsons Harvard-grad writer days, so that assessment seems spot on.

    Cletus was actually the name of an early pope.

  52. RSDB says:
    @Saint Louis

    Enthusiasm for last name first names strikes me as a Waspy affectation, possibly for association with some upper class surname. The spread of this to others is deplorable.
     
    Agreed. Unless you actually are an aristocrat, this practice should be avoided; especially for naming boys. Other kids will think your son is effeminate, and adults will think it too try-hard.

    My wife and I have developed a strict set of rules for naming our children:

    1. First name must be a common New Testament name (e.g. Peter, Paul, Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth) or a well-known saint's name (e.g. Anthony, Dominic, Catherine).

    2. The name must pair well with our very Italian last name, either by being something very neutral-sounding (e.g. John) or of the same ethnicity (e.g. Giovanni), rather than some other ethnicity (e.g. Ivan).

    3. Preference is given to names of close family members, such as parents, grandparents, and siblings, so long as the name doesn't violate one of the other rules.

    4. Creativity is reserved for middle names, such as using a less common saint's or historical figure's name (e.g. Perpetua, Octavian).

    some other ethnicity (e.g. Ivan)

    http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/arvindgupta/little-world-camillo.pdf#page=7

    Duly vested, Don Camillo approached the font. “What do you wish to name this child?” he asked Peppone’s wife. “Lenin Libero Antonio,” she replied. “Then go and get him baptized in Russia,” said Camillo calmly, replacing the cover on the font. The priest’s hands were as large as shovels and the three left the church without protest. But as Don Camillo was attempting to slip into the sacristy he was arrested by the voice of the Lord. “Don Camillo, you have done a very wicked thing. Go at once and bring those people back and baptize their child.”

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