Baby names at risk of going extinct in 2024

These once-popular baby names might just become a thing of the past soon.”

23 thoughts on “Baby names at risk of going extinct in 2024

  1. These are the posts that generate a lot of excited comments. Maybe testosterone levels are on a steep decline.

  2. FWIW. Give not a rat’s ass what babies are called. Delicious baby recipes was the best idea ever expressed in the English language. Anyway, I’m here to chime in with the replies that are in essence dismissive of the article’s value proposition.

    Mckenzie is on the list. MacKenzie is not. That’s the short answer to the misunderstanding about Johnny being on the list. In the prose, some connections are made among variants, but the methodology clearly does nothing to aggregate them.

    Concur with fwald that extinction is rhetorical, ie clickbait. My own (weird) way of summing this point up is that the slope is not the X intercept.

    Meanwhile, yes, sampling was, um, flawed. Let’s call a spade a spayed: it’s like drinking polluted water. It’s useless info to begin with, made worthless by bad process, & then dressed up in sciencey clothes.

    I did always like the name Mystycin. Not a given name. And, I dunno, maybe had less to do with the name itself… more to do with, I dunno, something else.

    1. Forgot to mention: Had a square dance partner named Constance… or Connie for short. Preferred to be called Lissy. Short for her middle name. Last name Planck.

  3. Saint’s name or the Pope’s name, which is how my father got stuck with the middle name of Benedict, which he hated.

  4. The use of the word “extinct” here was just stupid clickbait. The cyclical nature of name popularity is historically and culturally interesting but hardly a cause for alarm.

    1. The Ethelreds and Ethelberts of 1200 years ago argue against your point. Who knows maybe people in Britain still haul out that name. I certainly hope not.

      I also hope that X AE A-12 is a one off.

      1. Point stands: stupid clickbait, still. That names may go out of fashion after many generations is as fwald says historically & culturally interesting. But the decline in Ethelreds & Ethelberts in the English-speaking world, however extreme, is as fwald remarks, unalarming.

        In the long run, we are all dead. Today, we aren’t able to decipher Etruscan. The history & indeed the language of ancient Corsica, they had one, we may presume, is gone without a trace just because they didn’t have a writing system… as far as we know.

      2. There’s still an Englebert kicking around (admittedly, not his birth name).

        That’s a surprise. He is on my “didn’t know he was still alive” list.

        1. 1. Engelbert.

          2. Wikipedia: Engelbert Humperdinck (singer). That is a clue.

          3. Engelbert Humperdinck (composer), 1854-1921.

          4. The singer adopted the composer’s name.

          5. The composer was German.

          6. This perhaps explains some of the difference between Engel & Ethel. But, basically, Engelbert & Ethelbert are different animals.

          7. Word extinctions, as more generally, evolution, origins, languages, & borrowings are complicated. Casual connections can be tempting, but we may just as well step in quicksand as find solid footing.

        2. At least one of the panelists on The Masked Singer guessed that a costumed performer was ol’ Engelbert, so they must have had some reason to believe he was still alive and kickin’.

          (That character was eventually unmasked as John Schneider. Heaven only knows how I happened to see that. I saw about one moment of the show all year, and it happened to be the Engelbert moment.)

          Shur’ ’nuff, an Australian website announced that ol’ Engee will make a farewell tour this year, at age 169.

          Oh, wait! It was the OTHER Engelbert Humperdinck who was born in 1854. The living one is still a stripling at a mere 87 years old, and he just dropped a new album. Who knew?

  5. This applies only to people who registered and volunteered their baby names on that website company, so in other words it is hardly a true snapshot of the country. And I think we can safely assume few blacks or other minorities are represented by those results.

    1. That last part was my exact thought while reading the article. The majority of those names just scream white people.

  6. I find it very hard to believe that some of the names on that list will ever go extinct. Names like Michelle, and Diana will remain with us for the foreseeable future. By putting Johnny on the list, did they mean to distinguish it from John and/or Jonathon? My father was named John, but went by Johnny. My parents named my brother after him but went with the Irish form Sean. My sister named named her son after him but decided to call him Jack. So maybe Johnny is the least popular form of John these days?

    The article also states that the boy’s name, Orion, has fallen 92 spots. I have never met, nor even heard of anyone named Orion, at least outside of Greek mythology or astronomy.

    The article did remind me of one of my favorite chapters in the book Freakonomics. The chapter examined the question of whether having an…let’s say “odd” name negatively impacted your success in life. As part of the discussion, they gave examples of the craziest names they had been able to find. Apparently, a woman in California named two of her children Orange Jello and Lemon Jello (pronounced Or-ahn-gel-lo and Lem-Ahn-gel-lo). But the craziest example was a woman that named her child Shithead (pronounced Shi-Tahd). Maybe she had just seen a Steve Martin movie? The ultimate conclusion of the chapter was that having an odd name wasn’t something that would hold you back from success. What would hold you back from success was having a parent that would name you Shithead.

    1. It’s a pattern. It seems like most new parents will either give their baby a name that reflects something in current pop culture, or they will give them a “unique” name to try to set them apart from the other children (and in some cases they just misspell the damn name… like instead of Aidan it becomes Ayden or instead of Madison it becomes Madisynn). So eventually the “old fashioned” names get curiously reused… we’ll see the Brookes and Blakes and Johnny’s make a comeback in a few decades. Probably after Betty, Abigail, and Theodore become popular again.

      1. Madison barely existed (if at all) as a girl’s first name until the movie Splash. Other common names…predominantly girls’ names, it seems…were inventions of authors (Jessica, Vanessa, Pamela). And Emma was brought out of Victorian-era retirement after Rachel named her daughter on Friends.
        Random observation: 18 of the top 25 girls’ names on the 2023 popularity list end with an “a”. Whatever that means.

        1. Ah yes. And Jordan was not a girl’s first name until Cocktail.

          In Latin the feminine words end with a, so I think that’s how most western names flow. You don’t see too many male names end with an A. There are a few, of course, but they end to be non-American (Sasha, Andrea, etc).

        2. Victorian nonsense aside, Emma has always been a popular Brit name. And Rachel named her baby in 2002. Emma Watson starred in the first Harry Potter movie 2001. Just an observation as didn’t watch and have never watched either “series/franchise.”

          1. When a former fiancee, way long ago, and I were discussing baby names, I threw out Emma. The shit hit the fan because Barb reckoned that it had something to do with Mrs. Peel (Diana Rigg). And maybe it did.

          2. If I had a female puppy, I would surely name her Mrs. Peel.

            Kidding aside, I think Emma is a nice enough name. I would have considered it as a compromise choice if one of my children had been a girl. I never had a biological daughter, but if I had, I was pushing for Lilianna or a variant (Liliane or Lilianne). And that was before the career of Leelee Sobieski. I got push-back on that name, so I think we would have landed on Emma. But that was 40 years ago, so I don’t know whether I remember it correctly.

          3. Emma may not have been on the endangered species list, but statistics clearly show a huge uptick after season eight of Friends. As for Scoopy’s point about Christian names, I find it interesting that. on the 2023 rankings, a fair number of boys’ names in the upper reaches are still of Biblical origin, including Noah at #1, but to find a girl’s name from the Bible you have to look all the way down to #35, where sits Abigail. On the other hand, it seems that people still tend to be quite conservative when it comes to choosing middle names, where the old stand-bys…Rose, Marie, Jane…continue to dominate.

      2. My mother was named Gloria, and she hated her name. She said that whenever they were singing “Oh Gloria” during Mass she felt like everyone was looking at her. She had decided that her name was just too exotic. She told us that she had deliberately given all of us very normal names (Michael, Sean, James, Sheila, and Mary).

        I dated a girl named MeLinda for 3 years. She had decided that Melinda was too common and she wanted to be more unique, so she started capitalizing the L in her name. I could tell some really “interesting” stories about her, but I’ve already given her semi-unique first name, so I won’t.

        I used to teach in the South Bronx and I had students with some very unique names, especially the girls. Well, they might not have really been very unique but I hadn’t heard of them before. I remember being at a faculty meeting when my principal just announced “I’m worried about the Asias.” We had a LOT of girls whose names ended in Asia.

    2. I think it refers specifically to people who name their children Johnny as their given name, not a nickname. I don’t know anything about this specifically, but I remember reading somewhere that more people now name their children Larry rather than Lawrence. I assume they figure that almost every Lawrence will end up being called Larry anyway.

      On a vaguely related note, my parents named me Gregory, then called me Greg from the earliest I can remember. I can’t remember anyone ever calling me Gregory. I’m not sure why they bothered with the -ory thing on my official birth certificate. I think it was a Catholic thing. If I recall correctly, the priest told them that they had to pick a saint’s name. (I may not be correct about that, but I can’t check with them as they are no longer taking questions.)

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