Saturday, January 2, 2016

What will boys be named in 2016?

The data for 2015 is not out yet as of this writing, but the Social Security Administration has posted the rankings of names from 2014. These are boys' and girls' names for newborns in that year by popularity.

I would guess that 2015 won't be much different than 2014, which would mean that Noah would still enjoy a strong surge of popularity for boys. Frederick was wallowing down around #497, which means our hopes of a big rebound have yet to be realized. I never knew a single Noah growing up; like a lot of Old Testament names, besides Michael, it had lost a lot of juice. Now it's all the rage.

These things do change year by year, though. Top Ten 2014 names like Liam and Mason and Ethan will give way to others. Maybe Ezekiel or Tad or Amminadab. Who knows?

I would have thought Francis would have gotten a huge boost in 2014, Pope Francis being so popular among Catholics and non-Catholics alike since his elevation in 2013. But it only rose from #505 to #478. Sure, it jumped over Frederick, but that's not the papal name elevation one would have expected. And Frank is a great name. I've had lots of buddies named Frank.

It got me wondering if there were other papal names that ought to be revived, names that could use a dusting-off for boys. Maybe one of these could become popular boys' names for 2016. A lot of these men became saints, so it's a double tribute.

Linus (2nd pope)
Would be great, but will forever be the kid with the blanket now.

Hyginus (9th pope)
Sounds nice 'n clean, doesn't it?

Felix (three popes and two antipopes)
Nah; will always be the neat guy.

Innocent (13 popes, 1 antipope)
I just can't see it catching on.

Urban (8 popes)
This I can see catching on, but maybe for the wrong reasons. Like kids getting named "Brooklyn."

Sylvester (2.5 popes, 1.5 antipopes -- questions about Sylvester III)
Despite movie tough guy Stallone, people seem to be stuck on Sylvester as the name of a lisping cat. Hopeless.

Agapetus (2 popes)
Maybe would get traction in the Deep South, or in Park Slope.

Hilarius (46th pope)
Best name ever! But what a curse if he had no sense of humor.

Telesphorus (8th pope)
Impressive, but the kid would go through life with absolutely no one pronouncing his name properly. Sad.



Celestine (5 popes, 1 antipope)
Lovely name, but probably considered effeminate in the U.S.

Lando (121st pope)
Yes, really. Forget it.

Hormisdas (52nd pope)
Nah.

Zosimus (41st pope)
C'mon, that's awesome! Zosimus! Potent! Even its nicknames would be excellent! Zossy! Zozz! Zosman! Definitely deserves a look. Make it happen, moms!
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