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Olympic Baby Names are Vanishing

July 27, 2021 Namerology 2 min read No Comments

What do Simone Biles, Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky have in common? If you were reading this article anywhere else, the answer would be about their records of excellence in Olympic sports. But in this space we measure impact in baby names. The three dominant athletes have had the exact […]

Lessons in Naming from American Sign Language

July 17, 2021 Namerology 3 min read 1 Comment

Who gets to name Kamala Harris? For those of us in the hearing world, the question may scarcely make sense. Vice President Harris is a grown woman whose name is well established (despite opponents’ attempts to diminish her by deliberately mangling it). But for American Sign Language users, the question […]

The Many Faces of X

July 1, 2021 Namerology 2 min read 7 Comments

The letter X has put its stamp on the past generation of American baby names. Over the last 25 years, names have included the letter seven times as often as in earlier generations. Beyond the numbers, we’ve seen a creative explosion in the way parents use X in names: inventing, […]

To “Infinity” and Beyond

June 15, 2021 Namerology 2 min read 6 Comments

Once upon a time, there was only Charity. In the early decades of U.S. national baby name stats, starting in 1880, Charity was the only -ty “concept” word being used as a name. It was the lone reminder of a past style of demure virtue names like Chastity and Amity. […]

Add H: America’s Silent Trend

June 7, 2021 Namerology 3 min read 6 Comments

There’s a new letter in town, and it’s just for show. Allow me to introduce the “ornamental H,” an alphabetic flourish that’s adding a stylistic—not phonetic—note to names like Whyatt, Khadence and Ameliah. The story behind the style is a cultural ride that takes us everywhere from the Bible to […]

Iorek (armored bear) and Suho (K-pop star)

The Brand-New Boys’ Names Alphabet, from Abaddon to Zeref

May 19, 2021 Namerology 3 min read No Comments

Over a thousand names made their all-time debuts in the 2020 baby name statistics, meaning they were given to five or more American boys or girls for the first time ever. Together, they make up a cultural kaleidoscope. You’ll find names representing languages and faiths from around the world; popular […]

How a Viral Name Post Got the Story Backwards

May 15, 2021 Namerology 3 min read 2 Comments

The Reddit post earned thousands of upvotes and comments. Strangers pointed me to it; friends and family pointed me to it. The data was right there in a graph, the trend unmistakable. And yet the name story wasn’t true. The baby name Karen did not just plummet into obscurity, pushed […]

The Top 5 Baby Names of Every US State

May 13, 2021 Namerology 1 min read 8 Comments

Olivia unites us, Theodore divides us, and Oliver is the King in the North. Those are some of the takeaways from a new look at the most popular baby names in every US State in 2020. Olivia, the nation’s top girl’s name, ranks in the top 5 in every single […]