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June 24, 2005


Evidently, starting about four years ago, 93 percent of all parents of male babies in America decided to name those babies "Dylan." And now there's not a damn thing we can do about it.


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...and when they grow up they can change them to Robert Zimmerman

Actually, it started about 43 years ago, but is now reaching a new high...

Bob Dylan's first release was in 1962 and people are still going crazy about it.*

*This message has been brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department.

I thought it was for the Beverly Hills 90210 character. You know the cool one with the sideburns. Okay, the all had sideburns.


...and forhead wrinkles... You may be onto something, though.

Baby name popularity for the last century

Dylan was ranked

938 in the 60s
392 in the 70s
187 in the 80s
34 in the 90s
19 in 2004

Dillon shows similar trends, but is less popular overall, and expecially recently.

I will alert you all to the next "Dylan" problem coming up. The next public hazard name will be "Tyler". If you all want to avert this catastraphy, you will need to change their names to "Bismaldo". This is for YOUR benefit, really.

Maybe it's something about the "D" sound. My nieces male friends all seem to be named Dustin or Devin. Of course, the popular name for little girls in their town is now Tyranny. Seriously. It's probably not spelled that way, but still ... I don't think it bodes well for their future relationships.

Gee, all the Dylans I know are little girls.

All the Dylans I know are little girls. Of course, my daughter has younger friends who are girls whose names are Parker, Avery, Chapin, and Hayden and Sloane. What happened to Susan, Margaret and Sally?

I always liked names that sounded old, like "Atticus," "Reginald," or "Artemis" for boys. I don't know what would make a good Girl's name. Maybe "Virginia," "Elizabeth," or "Reginald."

Sloane? That's awesome! Now we know the next Ferris Bueller will have a love intrest!

13 years ago we named our daughter Olivia because it was so unique! Hahahaha! Then when no one else was doing it, we named our 3rd daughter Sofia because it was so unique! Hahahaha! Ugh. Oh well, at least it's not Ashley and Brittany.

16 years ago, my friend refused to tell what she was naming her baby until the deed was done. Biiiiig Mistake! When her daughter was in the third grade, she had 2 classmates with the same first name as she, so the teacher decided to call them all by their middle name. BUT, all three girls were named 'Ashley Danielle'. Fortunately, my friend learned from all her friends the mistake she had made, and had been calling her daughter Dani from Day 2.

Ha ha! Excellent alternative, Cin. "Beelzebub" is one of those words that makes me laugh just saying it. That and "Piggly Wiggly" (for those who aren't from the deep South, that's a grocery store chain)

katiejane -

Deep south? We got Piggly Wigglys in Nodak ... or, we used to, at least ... the chain wasn't so exclusive then ... but most are gone now, replaced by local grocery moguls, or Albertsons, Super Valu and such ...

A&P and National Tea were also in Nodak, once, but are there no longer ... as well as Red Owl ...

No Vons, or Ralphs, or Safeway in Nodak tho ...

Sorry, TMI, besides not funny ...

Teacher: Who can answer this question? Dylan? Not you Dylan. Dylan. No, that Dylan. Oh forget it. Heather?

Actually, I can relate. Growing up, there were always at least three other Alans (Alen, Allen, Allan) in my classes.

I always thought Sheakspearian names would be good. "Benvolio, Tibalt! Dinner's ready!"

Of course, we went and named our kid Chris.

in 2005 it's trace. jug and urine are great names if your a ta ta or a penis.

here in upstate ny, all the girls under 12 are named Meagan, or Meaghan, or Meeegann, or, you get it. any others are named emily.
go for ethnic names. but ones that match with your eth. example: sean rosenbaum, bad. moishe o'hara, bad.
and what to do with the hyphenated-last-name problem when all the hyphens grow up and maybe marry and have kids with the other hyphens? the people designing computer forms will have to leave LOTS more spaces.

Some good advice my mom gave me when I was pregnant with my first child - Just imagine them in their older years in a retirement home. "Bunny! They have creamed spinach AGAIN!"

When we were in college, my husband knew a gal who had named her baby Placenta. She thought it sounded pretty.

MOTW, that's just evil.

My daughter's name is Audrey. My fingers are crossed that it stays low on the trend scale... and I'm keeping her FAR away from her classmate, "Trenton." *shudder*

My son named his second daughter Melissa. His second wife is named Melissa. His first daughter-in-law is named.....Melissa. We have to color code freaking CHRISTMAS. Pass me a dog biscuit, damn it.

queensbee (re:hyphenated names)favorite British aristocrat name -

"Richard Plantagenet Campbell Temple-Nugent-Brydges-Chandos-Grenville, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos"

but you know he was always called "Squiffy" or something like that.

In school, I knew five other kids with my first name, all in my grade. One was of the male persuasion (of which I'm not a member), and another had almost the same name.

In an effort to ward of any potential identity crises, I now go by my middle name, but some folks still call me by my first name, including several members of my family.

So it didn't work. I have to sign my emails to family members with both names, because I can't keep track of who knows me as what.

I prefer "Dylan" to "Apple".


I've got a "Steven" and a "Susan." Of course, that was 20 years ago and just fine with me and the ex.

and I prefer "Apple" to "Microsoft" ... but that's another story ...

I hear dread people - the popular name in our family line is Amy (with hardly any variations, ever), usually/often as a middle name ... My great-grandmother, grandmother, aunt, three (minimum) cousins, daughter, cousins' kids, and cousins' grandkids ... there are at least 20 of them in six generations of a narrow segment of my family tree ... but we're all so spread out across the country, that it never seems to be confusing ... not much, anyway ...

MOTW - Placenta is a nice-sounding name ... if you go by sound ONLY ...
Which reminds me of an old story about Ring Lardner ... seems someone in the newspaper bidness was compiling a list of the (20? 100?) most beautiful words in the English language ... Lardner read the list, and sat awhile, thinking ... then he said (to whomever was also in the room)

"What's the matter with Gangrene?"

I looked up my first name on that link above ... fairly low on the list, peaked in the 80s, I think ... almost evenly split between boys and girls, so I've had my share of meeting namesakes (with MANY spelling variations) of both genders, over the years ... and, much of my "bulk mail" is addressed to the opposite gender ...

I actually have learned to adapt, however, and I often respond to the (approximate) Spanish pronunciation ... which use was started by my daughter when she took Spanish class in HS ...

Call me what you want to, just don't call me late to dinner ...

Fifteen years ago, Mrs. Stuffin and I decided on Leslie for a girl and Zachary for a boy (after Dr. Zachary Smith from "Lost in Space" - cool!). When little Leslie was born and they put her in that room full of incubators or whatever along with the other 5 babies born that day, FOUR OF THEM WERE NAMED ZACHARY. I am not making this up.

We named both our children after their grandparents - Samuel and Clara. There are a few Sams here and there, but not a Clara in sight. She LOVES her name!

Reminded of this by MOTW's "Placenta"... there was a comedian, the late Dennis Wolfberg, who had a very funny bit taken from his days as a school teacher. Not sure I'll get this precisely right, but will try real hard:

"I actually had a girl in my class named 'Fallopia'. 'Fallopia'! I couldn't wait until the next year, when I'd get to teach her brother, 'Testicles'!" (Pronounced to rhyme with 'Hercules' and/or 'Pericles'.)

My name is Debbie. I think there was some sort of obscure law that 90% of female children born between 1955 and 1962 had to be named Deborah or Debra (I spell mine the real way, with the h). In one of my junior high phys ed classes there were nine Debbies. My kid's names are Allyson and Denise. Allyson is somewhat common, but I know only one other Denise under the age of 30. It's been tough for my Denise because we live in a semi small town...if something happens and the name Denise comes up, she's busted.

When my mom was in the hospital with me their was an african-american woman that decided a good name for her new boy was "Myconium". The nurses took to calling him behind his mother's back "that little black sh*t", not that I think that it's funny in the least.

I was the only Kevin in my class from second grade on (oddly enough, the other Kevin and I became really good friends that year). But my mom lived in a sorority-house room where all four roommates were named Barbara (nicknames abounded, needless to say; my mom's was "Bobbie").

I'm a teacher, and this summer the "T" boy names are predominating: I have three Tylers, a Taylor and a Tanner.

MOTW--I got a big kick out of the nursing-home story. I've always thought it would be funny in 50 years when everyone has a Grandma Tiffany and Grandpa Jason. But I'm not expecting the pendulum to swing to the really-old-fashioned side again anytime soon; can anyone see contemporary parents naming their sons Marvin, Homer, or Floyd, or their daughters Agnes, Opal or Bessie?

Okay, I simply must weigh in on this subject. I grew up as a third generation Esther (mother & grandmother both Esthers) in a world on no Esthers. There were no cute pencils or keychains or souvenir mugs with "Esther" printed on them. "Esther" also gave rise to the following nicknames: Esther Pester, Esther Fester, Uncle Fester, Easter, and my personal favorite, Esther Chester the Molester. I now have three daughters and no little Esthers. Sometimes I feel a little bad about it, but I figure, if they want to stand out, let them stand out because they are class valedictorian, not because they have a name that rhymes with "molester."

I guess it depends on where you live too. My name here in the West is really rare, but in the north-middle (Or whatever that region is called) it is real common. Not that I care that much anyway. With five of us within six years, we all ended up answering to the last name, because teachers couldn't keep us all straight.

One of my co-workers named her baby boy "Tanner Patrick". I didn't have the nerve to tell her that his initials are the same as those for "toilet paper". You can imagine what kids will do with that.
He'll have to be one tough kid.

I need TEE-PEE for my BUNGhole, Kid Charlemagne

What seems to be the problem with the name Dylan?

Oh, yeah. Dylan Thomas's child is named Aeronwy.

Matt Groening's Homer was named after his dad, Homer Groening. (His mom was named Marge, and his sisters, Lisa and Maggie. Matt himself was not named Bart.)

There are altogether too many "Katies" around my age, I am very glad that my parents didn't listen to my grandmother who thought that they needed to call me Katie because Kathryn would be too long of a name to learn to spell. I hated it when I was little and we would go on vacation and none of the name things had the name spelled the my way.

My little brother on the other hand, has absolutely no problem with sharing his name with others. The option was between Jedidiah and Zachary, we all voted for Jedidiah, which is an altogether cooler name, and one that almost no one has (though the name made my sister's hockey teammates think that we're Amish).

In my first grade class of 25 or so there were 4 other boys with my name: John. Our teacher addressed the issue by calling one John, one Johnny, one Jonathon, and one by his initials: J.P. Me? I had to go by not-as-common emergency back-up name. To this day I can tell who met me where (and or when) by what they call me.

BTW, in reference to scat's post above about the out-of-order state listing on the SSA site: the list is of full state names, but in alphabetical order by ZIP code abbreviation. A certain twisted logic, I guess...

"Kev, Matt Groening allegedly named his son Homer."

Yeah, my grandfather was a Homer too; the other one was a Marvin, also referenced in my posting. But, Simpsons, Martians and Paranoid Androids notwithstanding, I'm glad my folks didn't see fit to name me after either of them.

not quite. I am an unfortunate gen X with a Baby boomer "glamorous' name. Always hated it.
Named my kids names not currently in fashion to avoid "name congestion". no good. I now have one of the millions of Katies and Alex's out there.

Ha! I can beat all your sad stories!

This goes against my better judgement, suffering as I have for my entire life listening to the same jokes, etc., but my first name is Faye. I'm a guy.

Named after my grandpa. Thanks, Dad.

In the series Our Gang there was
Farnina - a boy - Trellis - a girl and she then went to play with Linolium and of course there was Stymie.

Dave, if I recall correctly, you made a similar note regarding the names Jacob (my 8 year old brother) and William in a column a few years ago. You know, when you wrote those things. I seem to recall you wishing people would name their sons Porgy.

Heard of a girl in the Boston area named Female, pronounced fa-MAL-i. The story goes that, seeing the id bracelet, her mother thought the hospital named her.

My wife works in a hospital and runs across all kinds of great monikers. Two examples:

Jetta (a girl, named after the car -- actually that's a pretty cool name!)

Etienne (a girl, but the great part is it's pronounced "ahn-YAY" because [I guess] the mom had heard of the designer Etienne Aigner and didn't realize the SECOND name was pronounced that way)

BTW, speaking of common names -- when I was in a line of students filing out of a college class one long-ago day, the professor said "David?" and I swear, FIVE of us in a row turned around.

My wife works in a hospital and runs across all kinds of great monikers. Two examples:

Jetta (a girl, named after the car -- actually that's a pretty cool name!)

Etienne (a girl, but the great part is it's pronounced "ahn-YAY" because [I guess] the mom had heard of the designer Etienne Aigner and didn't realize the SECOND name was pronounced that way)

BTW, speaking of common names -- when I was in a line of students filing out of a college class one long-ago day, the professor said "David?" and I swear, FIVE of us in a row turned around.

Doggonit, the first time I submitted that item above, I got sent to a Submission Error Screen of Doom! I tried one more time ... and it got double-posted?! (Sorry gang.)

Straight out of engineering school, at my first job, I couldn't help but take a head count of whether I was the only skirt in the office. My first day at work two "Kim's" were absent/vacation.
Well, they BOTH turned out to be male-Kims, and I was the only woman engineer in the place. Sigh.

I didn't stay there very long. :D

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