How you finish, decade by decade

Nov 22nd 2006

Last time I gave out a little challenge: can you find a distinctive name ending tied to each decade from the 1880s to today? Ok, maybe that challenge isn't SO little. Not many of us today can tell the trendy names of 1890 from the hot new creations of 1910. But even back then, 20 years was a long time in fashion terms--and a lot of the fashion action came at the end of names. In the 1870s-80s for instance, about a fifth of all American girls were given "-IE" names. By the 1910s the number of -IEs was cut in half, replaced by the likes of -LMA.

Today's trends work both ends of the name. Our Mc/Mac/Mak- and Kay/Kai/Kae- names are more than matched by our -Lee/Leighs and our...well, you'll see.

120 years of trendy name endings:

1880s: Girls named -TTIE

1890s: Girls named -LDA

1900s: Girls named -OLA

1910s: Boys names -STER

1920s: Boys named -AND

1930s: Girls named -LENE

1940s: Boys and girls named -ONNIE

1950s: Girls named -EEN

1960s: Girls named -RI

1970s: Girls named -NYA

1980s: Girls named -ANY/ANIE

1990s: Girls named -TNEY/DNEY

2000s: Boys named -DEN/DYN/DIN


By Megan W. (not verified)
November 22, 2006 1:51 PM

Fascinating post!

I'd like to add a boy list:
-VIN names seem to peak in the 20's & 30's


(Devin is much later though)

the -WIN names I can think of are later
(40's, 50's)


By jb (not verified)
November 22, 2006 3:32 PM

What a great post! I want more graphs! I wonder what the most timeless name endings are?

By jb (not verified)
November 22, 2006 3:36 PM

The thing that strikes me most is that the trend peaks keep getting more and more narrow. This suggests to me that trends are accelerating. Maybe it has to do with increased communication through the decades. Maybe someday in the future, a particular name will scream 2050 instead of 2050's???

By Abi (not verified)
November 22, 2006 3:36 PM

Find out how common your name is (in the UK at any rate) at I found that there were 12,377 people called Abigail, but only 28 people called Abigail Cooper. Bearing in mind that the population is now at 60.4 million or something like that. 1,178,806 of these people are called John. The top boy's name for about a decade has been Jack, and there are only 44,281 of them.

By Abi (not verified)
November 22, 2006 3:42 PM

(The accuracy of this site is, of course, questionable, because for one, where do they get that data? I also looked up some full names of people I know only to find out they didn't exist. Still, it gives you a rough picture.)

By RobynT (not verified)
November 22, 2006 4:25 PM

There's a similar site as the one Abi mentions here:
But yeah same gripe, it tells me I don't exist.

By Lydia (not verified)
November 22, 2006 4:37 PM

Yeah, the site doesn't really do what it says...they just take census figures for the commonness of first names and last names and multiply! But life doesn't work that way...somebody with the last name Gonzalez is a lot more likely to be named Juan than somebody with the last name Chung is.

By Jason (not verified)
November 22, 2006 6:59 PM

Should we be able to use the NameVoyager to look at names by endings? If so, I can't figure out how.

By Wendy (not verified)
November 22, 2006 7:59 PM

Jason asks my question, how can we look up names using endings?

Happy Thanksgiving!

By Valerie (not verified)
November 22, 2006 8:14 PM

Yes, I loved this post too. I think my name qualifies as part of the 1960's -RI boom- I was born in 1962.
What's so interesting is that there *were* these booms. I hadn't realized that maybe my mother was subconsciously influenced by them (my Dad didn't get much of a look in with naming in my family... or much else for that matter...)!

By betty (not verified)
November 22, 2006 8:38 PM

what about -IS names for both boys and girls? Lois, Phyllis, Iris, Willis, Otis, Dennis... is there a common decade for these?

By RobynT (not verified)
November 22, 2006 8:51 PM

Jason and Wendy: I think that only Laura can make the cool ending sound charts. From what others have said, the Wizard is only set up to go by beginnings for us regular users.

By JN (not verified)
November 22, 2006 9:31 PM

We just named our first child Arlo and I'll be curious to now follow names that end in o. Traditionally, these names have been masculine. I'm wondering, though, with the Jolie-Pitt "Shiloh" whether that end sound will also become trendy for girls' names.

Perhaps this has happened before? For example, maybe the -er ending that sounds traditionally masculine to me was adopted by the feminine side when Jennifers, Heathers, etc. rose to popularity.

I am fascinated by all this, especially as I think about how my son's name will affect him (and his image) throughout his life.


By Keren (not verified)
November 22, 2006 10:42 PM

Well I know several boys called Milo, also one each of Leo, Sholto, Otto and Mungo. And Otso who is Finnish and Thimo and Luchino who are Dutch.

So I think you're onto something with the -o ending.

By Camilla (not verified)
November 23, 2006 8:05 PM

But even with this, will people ever understand the concept that by using a very modern-sounding name, they are dating their children with something that will soon seem as ugly as -lene does to us now?

By ??? (not verified)
November 25, 2006 12:36 AM

Hey...I like the name that weird? And what's a good middle name?

By Val W (not verified)
November 25, 2006 1:26 AM

I thnink Amelia is pretty. MN kind of depends on your last name (sound,length). But, I like Amelia Rose, Amelia Isabelle and Amelia Scout.
I also like the spelling Emilia.

By psyche (not verified)
November 25, 2006 1:30 AM

Emilia and Amelia are different names.

Amelia isn't weird, quite the opposite, in fact. It's in the top 100 in the USA. I don't particularly care for it, but it's not a bad name.

Amelia Josephine
Amelia Clare/Claire
Amelia Jane
Amelia Vivian
Amelia Katherine
Amelia Rachel
Amelia Willow
Amelia Kirsten

By Valerie (not verified)
November 25, 2006 2:07 AM

I like Amelia, and a lot of the suggestions for mn.
In my family tree we have a lot of Amalias. What do you think of Amalia? Apparently it's more common in Germanic and Hispanic countries- my ancestors were German.

By RobynT (not verified)
November 25, 2006 3:14 AM

I like Amelia and Amalia. I went to high school with a girl named Amelia (b. 1979) and she went by Amy. And I really like Amelia Jane.

By Tansey (not verified)
November 25, 2006 6:51 AM

I too like Amelia Jane and Amelia Claire. With four syllables, Amelia needs something simple to follow it, depending of course on the surname.
Amelia Chloe*
Amelia Rose
Amelia Anne**
Amelia Zoe
Amelia Kate
* two syllables so I'm not sure if it scans well
** the two 'a's don't sound brilliant together but still fit - my own daughter's name ends in 'a' and our surname begins with 'e', but they sounds OK together.

By Keren (not verified)
November 25, 2006 1:12 PM

The only thing against Amelia Jane is the series of children's books by Enid Blyton which have names like Amelia Jane is Naughty Again and Amelia Jane in Trouble.

By chloe (not verified)
November 25, 2006 2:28 PM

Don't forget the Amelia Bedelia series.

Ok I have to ask, aren't Emilia and Amelia pronouced the same way (or very similar)? Just wanted to add that I like Amelia Rose.

By Sarah (not verified)
November 25, 2006 2:35 PM

I am pregnant with baby number 4. We know he is a boy, and I am due in Jan. Unfortunaly we still have no names we can agree on. The other children are Alexa (mn Rose), Tristan (mn David) and Aubrey (mn Claire). Any suggestions?

By RobynT (not verified)
November 25, 2006 3:17 PM

I would pronounce Emilia E-mee-lee-a and Amelia Ah-mee-lee-a so I guess just the first syllable different.

I just remembered I went to high school with another girl named Emalia. Or something... Maybe it was Emilia but I just didn't know how to pronounce it.

By RobynT (not verified)
November 25, 2006 3:21 PM

From doing my own Internet Sib Name Search:
Tanner, Addison, Avery, Carter, Gabriel, Evan, Hayden, Finley, Ansel, Joel, Kelsey, Brook, Adrian, Andrew, Travis

By Sarah (not verified)
November 25, 2006 3:45 PM

Thanks Robyn.
I like Carter and Evan best. Finley is cute too.
I had Tristan, (my first son's name), picked before I was married. I didn't even have too think about it when he was born. My husband picked both girl names and now the choice is mine again.

Anyone else want to add to the list?

By Keren (not verified)
November 25, 2006 4:17 PM

You've got two girls with an A and one boy with a T, do you want another T to match? In which case I suggest Theo.

By Valerie (not verified)
November 25, 2006 8:38 PM

I like Theo and Finley, so far.

My suggestions (as I see Tristan being on the artistic side for a boy (as opposed to ultra-macho), and I like it):

Some unusual ones there, I think!

By Tansey (not verified)
November 25, 2006 10:28 PM

Valerie and Robyn T - lovely mix of names there. I also like Finley or Finlay too but Theo is my favorite at present. Travis is very 70's now as is Hayden.
Sarah - Alexa Rose, Tristan David, Aubrey Claire and Theo Finlay? Eeek, two boys with T as their first initial - how about Finlay Theo? Your girls have the same first inital too so possibly don't want to have matching sets of gender siblings.

By RobynT (not verified)
November 26, 2006 12:20 AM

Valerie: I'm curious what names you consider to be more macho since I consider several of the names on your list (Zachary, Nicholas, Colin, Roland, Marcus) more on that side. I don't mean this in a bad way, just sort of curious about how we think of names.

I guess I am partly swayed by the people with these names I've known. I think maybe I also find the N at the end to be very manly--like my name, originally a boys' name. I think that I consider names affiliated with Christianity to be very manly also.

By Valerie (not verified)
November 26, 2006 5:40 AM

Robyn, that's fascinating! I guess it's just very personal.
I usually find boys' names which end in n to be more artistic or gentle- some other examples would be Julian, Adrian, Damian, Crispin. Maybe that's because of the people I've met! And in terms of biblical names, I guess it depends on the character. For example, Raphael is an archangel, so I see him as a bit ethereal.
Do any of the rest of you have a viewpoint on this- what names do you find macho/sensitive?

By Abi (not verified)
November 26, 2006 10:44 AM

I'd agree with you on all of those Valerie, except perhaps Nicholas, which although isn't 'macho', does seem less of a 'sensitive' name. Colin I just see as either a little boy in the 1940s or an old man today. I can't understand why anyone would call their son Colin. Zachary and Marcus are certainly on the 'sensitive' side. Roland is very uncommon; it makes me think of the only Roland I know of: that French Knight in the Crusades who got beaten, so they wrote a song about him. Anyone else remember the Song of Roland?

I think examples of more 'macho' names would be the more traditional names, like Sam, David, John or Matthew.

By Terri (not verified)
November 26, 2006 6:13 PM

I'm still looking for a good name for my third child! My two oldest are named Aidan Christopher and Kaleigh Makena.
The last name begins with S. 2 syllables.
Any suggestions?? We are thinking about Quinlan for a boy and Delaney for a girl. But I'm not completely sold on either one.

By Cheryl (not verified)
November 26, 2006 6:40 PM


I just love Delaney! Go with that!

I am less enthralled with Quinlan. It makes me think of Karen Ann Quinlan, and also echos "Aidan" with the very (too?) popular 'an' ending. Do Quincy or Quinn have any appeal?

When I thought of a boy's name to go with Aidan and Kaleigh, the first one to enter my head was "Seth" . .

By RobynT (not verified)
November 26, 2006 7:14 PM

Sydney, Lindsey, Ross, Mia, Tyler, Erin, Sasha, Darcy, Faith, Camille... It also seems like you like names with the long A sound so that might be a way to find more names you like...

Is Kaleigh pronounced KAY-lee or Kah-LAY?

Something I found while doing this:
I think it is just free-associating names, but it might be kind of helpful.

By Terri (not verified)
November 26, 2006 9:21 PM

Kaleigh is pronounced KAY-LEE.
I also really like the name Finlay for either a boy or girl, although probably leaning towards boy. My husband likes Rowan, for a boy.

By Keren (not verified)
November 26, 2006 10:06 PM

'Sensitive' boys' names : Julian, Aubrey, Cedric, Sebastian, Lancelot, Bertrand, Perry,Robin, Felix, Tristan.

'Macho' boys' names: Bill, Jake, Mick, Ed, Robert, Mark, Mac.

I like boys' names that are just a shade to the macho side of sensitive: Gabriel, Daniel, Jacob, Adrian, Judah.

By Keren (not verified)
November 26, 2006 10:08 PM

Darcey might be an alternative to Delaney. Quinlan is a bit of a mouthful - how about just Quinn? Or Conlan, Connor or I like your husband's idea of Rowan.

By Keren (not verified)
November 26, 2006 10:12 PM

oooh, just thought, the ultimate macho name has to be my little cousin, the wonderfully named Spike Rock.

By Val W (not verified)
November 26, 2006 11:11 PM

I have also heard of Quinlan for a girl, as well as Quinn. I like both. I also think Delaney is very nice. (come to think of it, my sister teaches a girl named Rowan too). These are all cute.
For a boy I love the names Jacob or Gabriel for you.
Aidan, Kaleigh and Jacob.
Aidan, Kaleigh and Gabriel.

Sarah, for you I can only think of Jonah.
Alexa, Tristan, Aubrey and Jonah.

Do you think I can use Tristan? My last name has 3 syllables. (Similar to Worthingtin). Is it too much with the tan, tin endings?

By Valerie (not verified)
November 26, 2006 11:20 PM

Keren- I agree with you. "Macho side of sensitive" sounds good for a son of mine! I like your choices, apart from Adrian, for some reason.
OK, Spike Rock HAS to take first prize... or can anyone beat it? (Real life examples preferred.)
Abi- yes, I've heard of the Song of Roland, which is partly why I like the name, as does my husband. It has pedigree, is well-known but rarely used these days. However, my parents have a friend of that name who is known as Roly-- yuk!
I included Colin because I'm living in teh US and it's considered quite new and trendy here, from what I can gather, although I previously thought it a bit dated. I think my fondness stems from reading "The Secret Garden" as well.

Oh God, I just remembered the most UNmacho boy's name I ever heard. He was a childhood playmate of my mother's and his name was Fairy Gosling.

By RobynT (not verified)
November 27, 2006 12:26 AM

I can see that some of the boys' names considered less macho are ones that are (or could be) used for girls: Robin, Tristan, Perry, Aubrey. Well I'm sure we won't ever settle this but it's interesting anyways.

Re: Tristan Worthington: I think it's fine. I know a Tristan who has a last name with three syllables (though it ends with an A).

By Val W (not verified)
November 27, 2006 3:22 AM

re: macho (Spike Rock) names in real life; what about Madonnas' boy, Rocco, I think. That's pretty macho.

By Abi (not verified)
November 27, 2006 12:30 PM

Rocco sounds like a cartoon character.

By Elizabeth T. (not verified)
November 27, 2006 1:38 PM

Fairy Gosling? Wow! Do you know what happened to him, Valerie? I wonder how his name influenced his opportunities. With luck and a strong personality, not a whit, but I'm curious.

By Christiana (not verified)
November 27, 2006 2:12 PM

I like Colin with Tristan, Alexa and Aubrey. I also like Cameron.

I think tristan Worthingtin or whatever it is sounds pretty decent. I don't think you'd have issues with the tin/tan match up.

I guess I just can't picture naming a baby "Spike." A dog, maybe, a vampire - fine, but a baby? Seems really weird to me.

Aidan, Kaleigh and Brennan? You've got such a Celtic sound there... Lachlan? Declan? I like Brennan best of those three.

By Valerie (not verified)
November 27, 2006 4:17 PM

Elizabeth T.
I don't know what happened to Fairy Gosling. I was always afraid he would have had a rough time growing up, and wondered if he might have changed his name to survive! When I googled him, there was just one entry, saying that he built a boat in 1960. He would have been probably mid-twenties at that time, so seemed to have kept the name at that point...unless that was another Fairy Gosling!!

By Christiana (not verified)
November 27, 2006 5:53 PM

Totally off the subject, but my BF just told me she had chosen Cameron Michael for her sons name. She's been agonizing over it for a couple of months. It's funny because Cameron was my top 5 for a girl. She said "I didn't know that - you can't say I stole it!" I never would have claimed she stole my name, even if she knew about it. She got to it first, so she can have it. I still love it, even though I know there are more boy Camerons than girl Camerons. But I can't imagine talking with her about our children and always having to say "my Cameron" so I guess it's out. Bummer.

By lizpenn (not verified)
November 27, 2006 6:07 PM

that's very big of you, christiana -- i can't say i wouldn't have a little pang of resentment about my favorite name being scooped by a best friend! what are your next contenders for a girl name? and are you expecting a girl now?