In memoriam: the departed names of 2005
99 baby names that made the U.S. top-1000 lists in 2004 vanished from the charts in 2005. Most of them lived their whole lives on the popularity fringes -- variant spellings (Jazmyne, Jakobe) or fleeting pop-culture phenomena (Gwyneth, Koda). But some were old friends. A dozen familiar, once-common names left the charts for the first time this year after decades of steady use.
I'll present them in order, based on the decade when each hit its peak:
1950s Barry Dwight Anita Diane
1960s Robin Sheila
1970s Christa Tracy
Some of the departed are unsurprising. Arnold, for instance, had been hanging on by a thread, sustained largely by family namesakes. In contrast, Robin's decline has been shockingly swift. It's a clear victim of the rush toward the new and different -- if the name Robin hadn't already had its day, parents would be inventing it right now.
The biggest surprise to me, though, is Dorothy. With so many parents looking for sweet old-fashioned girls' names, I've been expecting Dorothy (or Dorothea) to start an upswing. Instead, the name is disappearing altogether. So here's an opportunity for all of you who say you want to avoid popular trends: follow the yellow brick road.