Just Jade

Jade Puget, from daylife.com

A few posts ago, we talked about the name Camille, and that it has usage for males and well as females. This post acts as a follow on, as we look at the name Jade, which also has seen use as a male name.

We cite the American guitarist Jade Puget as one of the more notable male bearers of the name. Emma Bunton’s partner, with whom she had her sons, Beau and Tate, is also called Jade.

Unsurprisingly, Jade has not fared particularly well as a male name in England&Wales in recent years:

  2003 2004 2005 2006
Ranks 2470 3651 N/A N/A
Births 5 3 N/A N/A
  2007 2008 2009 2010
Ranks N/A N/A 4527 3332
Births N/A N/A 3 5

And as a female name, she’s had an even harder time these past few years, falling from inside the Top 100 to out of the Top 300:

  2003 2004 2005 2006
Ranks 77 90 116 149
Births 668 580 448 351
  2007 2008 2009 2010
Ranks 238 248 296 308
Births 216 200 160 154

Jade Goody was a well known reality show contestant, coming fourth Big Brother in 2002. This did not mean she was particularly popular, as she was repeatedly mocked by the press for her lack of general knowledge, such as her belief that Rio de Janeiro was a person, not a place.

In 2007, she re-entered Big Brother in the Celebrity version and became a part of the racism controversy surrounding that particular series. As you can see from the table above, Jade suffered a drop of 89 places between 2006 and 2007, with 135 less babies born in 2007 with the name. Since the controversial series began in January of 2007, it’s likely that the events in the house did contribute towards many people opting for a different name. Especially since the incident caused international outcry and a torrent of complaints.

It’s also worth noting that the years Jade was used for a lad coincide with releases of AFI, the band Jade Puget plays for. Sing the Sorrow was released in 2003 and Crash Love was released in 2009. The album in between, Decemberunderground, was released in 2006 and was their biggest commerical success as it reached #1 in the US, so he’s not had an overly powerful influence.

Unlike Camille, there are a handful of name sites which do not list Jade as a male name, notably Nameberry, BabyNames.co.uk and BehindtheName, but Baby Names Wizard does.

Mick Jagger named his daughter, born in 1971, Jade and sparked her rise, which peaked at 16th in 1994.

She did not fellow fellow gemstone names, such as Ruby and Pearl, in popularity until much later because at the time she was related to a slang word meaning broken-down old horse, or even nagging woman. The name itself comes from the Spanish phrase, piedra de ijada, and literally means stone of the bowels, coming from the belief that the Jadestone could cure bowel problems.

We also have the word jaded, which the Oxford Dictionary defines as:

adjective

  • bored or lacking enthusiasm, typically after having had too much of something:meals to tempt the most jaded appetites
  • Irish informal physically tired; exhausted.

Whilst we’re on the subject, it is worth making note of the name Jaden/Jayden, which is currently gaining ground as a male name.

Jaden Smith, son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett is one of the more prominent bearers of the name, and had his breakthrough role in The Pursuit of Happiness, released in 2006. Between 2006 and 2007 we can see a noticeable rise in popularity for an otherwise declining name.

  2003 2004 2005 2006
Ranks 191 225 214 235
Births 197 162 174 163
  2007 2008 2009 2010
Ranks 164 204 205 193
Births 310 230 231 272

The alternate spelling Jayden is the one to watch for:

  2003 2004 2005 2006
Rank 110 93 84 66
Births 471 577 769 1125
  2007 2008 2009 2010
Rank 32 29 26 26
Births 2118 2519 2667 2567

Britney Spears’ second son, Jayden James, made an appearance in September 2006, the year Jayden broke the 1000 births barrier. However, there was a slight decline in births in 2010, which may indicate this name has reached its peak.

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Categories: Boy Names | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Just Jade

  1. Awkward Turtle

    I know a Jade, a Jayde and a young Jayden. I don’t think it is particularly masculine, although I can imagine it on someone artistic.

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    • I agree, Jade doesn’t scream masculinity, although there are a handful of male sportsman who do bear the name. I think at the end of the day, that’s why Jade is rarely used as a male name.

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  2. I still don’t quite know what to make of Jade — the stone is beautiful and has such richness of meaning and association.

    But the word jade’s meaning in English is not exactly complementary — even if it is little used any more — and jaded is still a common adjective.

    Add to that the etymology of the gemstone. From OED:

    French le jade (1667 in Hatzfeld & Darmesteter), for l’ejade (Voiture, 1633) = Italian iada (Florio, 1598), < Spanish ijada in piedra de ijada or yjada (Monardes, 1569), lit. ‘colic stone’, < ijada, yjada, ‘the small ribs, the collike, the flanke’ (Minsheu); compare the synonym nephrite n. and adj. < Greek νεϕροί kidneys, reins.

    Lovely!

    I think Jade probably saw too much use in the UK in the 80s and 90s for it to be taken up as a boy's name for the foreseeable future. It has seen much less use in the US, and just looking at SSA, it seems to be dithering as a girl's name at the moment. But it's sufficiently high up the female charts for it to be unlikely to be re-embraced for boys over there either.

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  3. Hey, love the new look of the blog!

    I find Jade pretty boring for a girl, but on a boy seems sort of new. The fact it sounds like the start of Jayden would be a major factor in its use for boys, I’m sure. I’ve seen it spelled Jayd for boys just to make it even more obvious it’s being used as a short form of Jayden rather than after the gemstone.

    I see Jade used as a middle name much more than as a first name for girls.

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