Posts Tagged With: Laurie

Barely Legal Drivers

Today I want to talk about a controversial BBC Three show thats recently finished it’s second series called Barely Legal Drivers. For those not familiar – and as the video above explains – the premise of the show is that various youngsters are lent the family car for the wee. Whilst they think they’re part of a show looking at modern life of young people in Britain, but actually they’re driving is scrutinised by their parents and ex-traffic officer Judith Roberts. There has been several cases of pretty shocking (and in more than a few, downright dangerous) driving in the series thus far (you can see some in the video), which has caused some controversy amongst the general British public.

Now, I’ve been watching the show with a bemused look on my face since I’m 20, and thus in the exact demographic for participants, however I hasten to add that unlike those on the show I do have my own little runaround (Gypsy, whom I’ve mentioned in passing before) and almost 3 years no claims bonus.

But we’re not here to snipe about others driving, but instead to look at the names, which also happen to be a look into the names of my own generation. Perhaps the most notable naming I’ve seen thus far on the show is a set of twins named Zahra and Farah. I think that it’s the first time I’ve seen the two names paired together, and I kinda loved it, despite the match-y-ness. The name Zahra (or Zara) almost certainly came into the English speaking world as an offshoot of Sarah, a name that comes from Hebrew and means princess. The name is also similar to Zahrah, an Arabic name that means blooming flower. The name Farah is Arabic in origin and means joy/delight.

Another set of twins that have appeared have less match-y names of James and Brian.

Another interesting fact is that there has been both a Chantal and Chantelle featured. The name Chantelle is a respelling of Chantal, which isn’t as modern as some may think: she comes from Old Provençal word cantal and means stone. The name Chantelle was #83 in 1994, but has fallen all the way to #750 since then. Ouch. It’s not much better for Chantal, who ranked at #571 in 1996 and now doesn’t even rank for 2013 (i.e. less than 3 girls were given the name). Clearly, the names are sadly past their best.

Another girl popped up with the name Dominique (using the nickname Dom). This is an interesting one for me to look at as I used to work with a girl my age with the same name, but at the same time the name appears to be more male-centric across the channel in France. Dominique is the French form of Dominic, which comes from Latin origins and means of the Lord. The name has fallen from #309 in 1996 to #2460 in 2013.

A young lad with the name Renaldo appears. Now, the name could be a respelling of the Portuguese name Ronaldo who ultimately comes from the Ragnvaldr (via Scottish name Ronald). The name is formed of two Old Norse elements:

  • regin, meaning might, counsel
  • valdr, meaning ruler

Many of the names on the show are what you might consider popular picks for my generation of youngsters born in the 90s, but have sadly fallen out of favour since.

Two examples of this are in Bradley and Dean. The former is a surname-turned-first name that means broad meadow. He’s fallen from #34 to #117 since 1994. Another name is Dean, who also comes from Old English and means valley. He’s had less staying power than Bradley, having fallen from #67 to #429 since 1994.

Nicknames – or what appears to be simply nicknames – appear frequently. A girl with the name Caz appears, with Caz being short for Caroline. I have a close friend who is also a Caroline nn Caz. Caroline was a Top 100 name from 1944 to 1984, but she’s fallen a long way since then, ranking at #733 in 2013. The name comes from the Karl family of names and so mean either man or woman, depending on whether you feel feminising the name means feminising the meaning.

There’s also an episode that features a Jamie and a Jessie. Now, Jessie is pretty certain to be actually a Jessica – a name that was #3 in 1994 and hasn’t strayed too far from that ranking since as in 2013 she came in at #6 in England&Wales. I might not be a fan myself, but the British public has for her to be a consistent Top 5 name for almost 20 years. That’s impressive.

The name Jessica was introduced to the British public by Shakespeare in Merchant of Venice, where he got the inspiration from a Biblical character called Iscah, who was also known as Jesca; the name means he beholds.

As for Jamie, he could actually be a James, a name that was #2 in 1994. However, Jamie ranked at #26, so it’s not so certain. The name James is Hebrew in origin and means supplanter.

A Tommy appears, and since Thomas was #1 in 1994, you could make an educated guess that he was born a Thomas – especially since Tommy didn’t enter the Top 100 until some 20 years later in 2011. The name Thomas is like Jessica in that with a 2013 rank of #6, he’s a long time keeper in the eyes of the British public; the name means twin.

Two final mentions go to Jac and Lauri, in which Jac is likely a respelling of Jack, and Lauri is most like a nickname for Laura.

Jack has been in the Top 3 since 1994, making him the ultimate male name of the past two decades in England&Wales, whereas meanwhile Jac has been hoovering around the 300 mark – and he’s currently at #350. Jack is a nickname of John and in 1984, the name John outranked Jack at #14 to #74 before Jack launched into his two decade long dominance; the names means Yahweh has favoured.

Laura was inside the Top 10 in 1994 at #9, and since then has fallen all the way to #146 with little signs of a reverse in fortune. The name comes from the Latin laurus and means bay tree. Whilst Lauri has hovered around the 3-baby-per-year mark, the spelling Laurie fares better at #910 for boys and #1360 for girls (both down from around the 500 mark in 1996).

All in all, the names are a little snapshot of the 20-somethings of today here in England&Wales, and that’s of personal interest to me as someone who grew up amongst them.

Categories: Names from the Box | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tuesday Conundrum: New Data, New Gender

It’s my name!

A few weeks ago now I set out a little weekend conundrum, giving you 14 names and asking you to all correctly identify which 7 ranked higher for girls, and vice versa.

These were the answers:

Ranked Higher For Boys

Ashley, Brook, Harper, Laurie, Mackenzie, Morgan & Tristyn

Ranked Higher For Girls

Beaux, Bobbi, London, Lou, Reese, Skyler & Storm

Since the release of the 2011 data, there are three names which have altered slightly; one name no longer ranks for either, whilst two others have since swapped to the other gender, care to guess which three names you think they are?

I do recommend reading through the linked post for guidance if you feel a little uncertain, as that may help narrow down the options when you take a peek at the rankings.

Categories: Friday Conundrum | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Friday Conundrum Answers

Wrong type of celebratory card, but you get the idea

We’re back, with the much-awaited answers to Friday’s fun little conundrum.

Truth be told, I was a little cheeky when it came to choosing the names to feature in the Friday conundrum, so for me it came as no surprise that the same names were consistently being wrongly identified as the other gender. However, now you shall know the truth.

The names which ranked higher for boys:

Ashley, #178 compared to #516 for girls

It’s understandable if you got this wrong, a recent Nameberry blog post did say:

at this point, do leave Ashley to the girls

Well, not us Brits, clearly. I don’t suppose anyone is watching the Euros? We have two Ashleys in our current England squad, Ashley Young and Ashley Cole. The former was born in 1985, the year Ashley ranked at #2 in the States and in 1984 the name ranked at #49 for boys in England&Wales.

Brook, #1109 compared to #1389 for girls

This is despite the fact that Brooke ranks inside the Top 100, at #45, so this one was a surprise for me. But obviously, not for some of you since a couple of you called right on this one.

Harper, #897 compared to #930 for girls

This name was a case of testing to see whether you’ve all been listening, and clearly you haven’t since everyone got this wrong. This name is also the reason I carefully worded my definition of ‘most popular’ to highest ranking, because truth be told more baby girls were named Harper in 2010, but the name ranked higher for boys. Crafty wording on my behalf? Perhaps.

Laurie, #1109 compared to #1815 for girls

Spelled Lori, this name only ranks for girls (at #2392), but this spelling is more popular for boys. I do know lads named just Laurie, my age and indeed younger.

Mackenzie, #239 compared to #1332 for girls

The interesting thing to not here is that the name is climbing for boys, and falling for girls. The alternate spelling of McKenzie ranks even higher for boys at #153.

Morgan, #106 compared to #229 for girls

My goddaughter, whom we’ve previously mentioned, was going to be named Morgan should she have been a boy. I will hand it to anyone who thought this ranked higher for girls, Morgan ranked inside the Top 100 for girls back in the early noughties – peaking at #59 in 2000, however the male ranking still eclipsed the female one at #52 in 2000. Both have clearly dropped since then, but more so on the female popularity list.

Tristyn, #3332 compared to not ranking at all for girls

I wondered whether the spelling-with-a-y would trip some up, and it looks like it did. I know, this was another mean-spirited selection and perhaps you all would’ve opted for the blue side if it had been spelled Tristan.

What it does demonstrate is that -yn isn’t necessarily a feminine ending, and indeed in Wales many male names are spelled with a y, i.e. Gwyn is a male name, Gwen is a female name.

As it so happens, another variant Trystan only ranks for lads too, and the highest ranking version of the name is Tristan at #121. Possible Top 100 aspirations? With all the variants to consider, it’s very much a possibility.

The names which ranked higher for girls:

Beaux, #2843 compared to not ranking at all for boys

Clearly, if you have a working knowledge of French grammar, your inclination would be that this name ranked higher for boys, as beaux is the masculine plural form of beau, a French word meaning beautiful. This was a slightly mean pick on my behalf, especially as late last year there was a Brit celeb-baby boy born named Beaux.

Bobbi, #1093 compared to #1801 for boys

I wondered whether those whom know that Bobby ranks at #83 for the boys would be inclined to believe this ranks more highly for a boy, but that sadly isn’t the case. I do wonder, however, whether people were swayed by Ms. Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of Whitney Houston, as I presume more know about her than the fact that Bobby is in the England&Wales Top 100.

London, #2392 compared to #2941 for boys

There have been two examples of celeb-babies of both genders being given the name London in recent times: in September 2011, Jay McGraw welcomed a son named London Phillip; at the end of May 2012 Brooke White welcomed daughter London Ray.

Lou, #4012 compared to not ranking at all for boys

Woo! How could I resist not including my name? This is in line with European trends for Lou as a female name.

Reese, #1180 compared to #1241 for boys

The names Rhys (#65) and Reece (#84) both rank not only higher for boys, but both are inside the Top 100. Then we have the Reese Witherspoon spelling which is slightly ahead for girls.

Skyler, #1731 compared to #2400 for boys

This is the flipside to the States, where Skyler ranks higher for boys at #287 compared to #456 for girls.

Storm, #1093 compared to #1801 for boys

No one got this right either, and I can see why, the name Storm could be seen as akin to the name Bear – which is seen almost exclusively as a boy name, amongst the emerging crop of boys names with an almost wild & rugged edge to them. But alas, this is not the case.

Categories: Friday Conundrum, Popularity | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Under 30s British Stars Rich List

Mika, from blogspot.com

This little list has been in the news today, courtesy of Heat Magazine, so it seems a good time to talk about some of the names of the 30 honoured rich British stars who are under-30s. All of them are in the world of showbiz, and given their placing on the list are likely recognisable by name to most Brits. To keep it interesting, I’ve decided to focus on the names outside our current Top 100.

That immediately excludes #1, Daniel Radcliffe – known to the world as Harry Potter. It also excludes Keira Knightley (#2), Robert Pattinson (#3), Emma Watson (#4), Katie Melua (#8), Charlotte Church (#10), Emily Blunt (#11), Alex Turner (#13), Sienna Miller (#17), James Morrison (#20), Lily Allen (#21), Sarah Harding (#26), Florence Welch (#29) and Jamie Bell (#30).

Technically speaking, we should also exclude the man at #14, Michael Holbrook Penniman, but it seems fair to mention the name he mostly goes by – Mika. Some take the name as feminine, some go the opposite way. It depends on how you approach it, because Mika is very much feminine in Japan, where it means beautiful perfume. Anyone into F1 will also be aware of two-time world champion Finnish driver Mika Häkkinen who . In Finland, Mika is a short form of Mikael – their version of Michael, but Häkkinen is quite simply just Mika Pauli. Alternatively you have Micah, a short form of the Biblical Micaiah, or Mica, which is also the name of a silverly mineral.

Shooting back up to the top end of the list, we have the final key Harry Potter actor, Rupert Grint, at #5. Rupert is a German version of the once popular name Robert. Historically, Robert peaked in England&Wales at #5 in 1944. By contrast, in the States, Robert was #1 from 1924 to 1939. Currently, Robert sits at #90 in England&Wales, falling 49 places since 2000. Rupert, on the other hand, sits at #360 in 2010, up 208 places from #568 in 2000.

Leona Lewis (#6) is the most successful X Factor UK winner to date, and Chlokie covered her name superbly over the weekend, whilst Elea covered the slightly similar Leonie at the same time. As you might guess, the name relates to the Greek word for lion, leon and the Latin leo, meaning the same thing. An interesting tidbit is the Leona’s middle name is Louise, completely her trio of L-names. In 2010, the name Leona was at #380, but the key figures to consider are these:

  • 2004: #480
  • 2005: #509
  • 2006: #311
  • 2007: #200

Leona Lewis came to prominence in the second half of 2006, causing her name to boost up following a slight fall between 2004 and 2005. She has fallen since then, but we’ve yet to see whether this is just a slight dip all names tend to go through.

#7 is Cheryl Cole, who also found fame via a talent-come-reality show Popstar: The Rivals when she was placed into the girl group Girls Aloud – which in 2011 Guiness World Records named the most successful reality Tv group. The other four members also make the list, of which only Sarah Harding was excluded for having a Top 100 name. It is, in a sense, a false measure however as Cheryl was #68 in 1984. This pattern continues with the two of the three other members of Girls Aloud. The first of these is third member Kimberley Walsh’s (#24) name was #43 in 1984 and she was born in 1981 (only data for 1954, 1964 etc is available until 1996). The fourth member to mention is Nicola Roberts (#27), whose name was even higher up at #12 in 1984. So, in theory that only leaves  final member Nadine Coyle (#25) with non-Top 100 name. However, I’m in a good mood, so we’ll talk about all four.

If you’re wondering why Cheryl ranks so much higher than her four bandmates, you need only look above to Leona; Cheryl Cole spent 2008-2010 as a judge on The X Factor and was generally well-received by the public. This increased exposure for her led to a reasonably successful solo career. The name Cheryl is likely to have been inspired by the name Cherie combined with Beryl.

Kimberley is a place name, and we’re not just talking about the town in Nottinghamshire. There is a diamond mining town in South Africa called Kimberley as well, which was named after Lord Kimberley – the peerage Earl of Kimberley exists to this day in the UK, currently bestowed upon John Armine Wodehouse, who is the 5th Earl of Kimberley; he took the title in 2002.

Nicola is the Italian form of Nicholas, but also a feminine form in the English-speaking world, and whilst she’s the sole Irish member of the group, Nadine Coyle’s name isn’t. Nadine is the French version of the Russian name Nadya, a name that derives from Nadezhda which means hope.

As for the rankings of the four names, it’s clear some have fared better than others since the 1980s, it’s worth noting that Cheryl is the least popular name, despite Cheryl outranking her bandmates on the rich list:

  • Cheryl: #965
  • Kimberley: #383
  • Nicola: #263
  • Nadine: #801

Towards the end of the top 10 is Craig David at #9, whose middle name is Ashley. The name Craig has roots in Scottish Gaelic, specifically with creag, which means either rocks or crag. I’ve had the pleasure of watching a French person try to say this name before, and she didn’t get a gold star for her attempt. Literally, it’s KRAYG, and the name is #89 in Scotland but, crucially, only at #503 in England&Wales in 2010.

Moving further down the list we get to yet another singer, this time Joss Stone at #12. Speaking of the French, the singer’s full name is Jocelyn Eve and Jocelyn is an exclusively male name in France, with the female spelling being Jocelyne. There’s a place called Josselin in Brittany, but the name could have come from a Germanic tribe, the Gauts. Another famed Joss is Mr. Whedon, for whom Joss is a short form of Joseph. Jocelyn is at #840 in England&Wales for 2010.

At #15 is Coleen Rooney: wife of Wayne; mother of Kai. Her name comes from Irish caílin and means girl, but it’s also worth noting that the French word for hill is colline. Coleen doesn’t rank, but Colleen was given to 7 girls in 2010, which gives it a ranking of #3156.

Miss.16 is the now world-reknowned singer Adele, whose full name is Adele Laurie Blue Adkins. Like Adelaide, the name Adele comes from the Germanic element adal, meaning noble. I wouldn’t hesitate to attribute any rise in Adele to this lady, given her popularity. Adele released Hometown Glory, her breakthrough song, in October 2007, so let’s quickly look at some data from the years around that:

  • 2006: #594
  • 2007: #623
  • 2008: #467

I’m willing to bet she had some doing with the jump between 2007 and 2008. The crunch-point? By 2010, the name Adele had again fallen outside the Top 500 to #683.

At #18 is Natasha Bedingfield and at #19 is Duffy. Natasha was recently mentioned in the post on Natalie over at the newly named The Name Station. Duffy was born Aimée Ann, and we’ve previously mentioned the name Duffy. Quickly sidelining to the French again, there’s a delightful French singer, Coeur de Pirate, who reminds me a lot of Duffy and she herself is called Béatrice. Natasha is at #171, with 310 births, whilst Duffy does not rank.

The 22nd spot is taken up by Paolo Nutini, a Scot. His father is from Tuscany by descent, but the family have lived in Scotland for a handful of generations. Paolo’s music career took off in 2006, when he released his début album These Streets, which was certified 4x Platinum, and was in the charts for a record-breaking 196 weeks. The name Paolo is the Italian version of Paul, which means humble. 23 boys were given the name Paolo in 2010, putting the name at #1144.

Whilst Emma Watson was excluded, Gemma Arterton does make the list with her slightly different name. Arterton played Strawberry Fields in the most recent Bond film, Quantum of Solace. The name Gemma related to the Italian word for gem. In 2010, Gemma ranked at #354, with 128 born.

The final entrant to mention is Taio Cruz. Cruz is the name of the third Beckham boy, which is the Spanish word for cross. As for Taio, I’m at a slight loss. My best guess is that it is related to Tao, which is Chinese and means peach or long life. What’s more likely is that Mr.Cruz is the reason Taio is inside the Top 1000 in England&Wales at #832, with 35 of them born; Cruz ranks higher at #433 with 87 born.

Categories: Boy Names, Girl Names, Names in the News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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