Name Doppelgangers: Candace and Cadence

Jun 17th 2012

The surface resemblance between Candace and Cadence is obvious. The more interesting parallels run deeper. Here's a graph showing American babies named Candace/Candice, starting in 1920:

popularity of name Candace and Candice

Candace is an ancient hereditary title of queens of Ethopia, and is mentioned in the Bible. That Biblical reference made it an occasional, obscure choice of American parents for generations. A small handful of Candaces were born each year; alternate spellings were pretty much unheard of. Then, as the graph above clearly shows, something happened. The year was 1942, when the name Janice was at its fashion peak. The "something" was a movie called Meet the Stewarts, a romantic comedy about socialite Candace "Candy" Goodwin, who marries her blue-collar sweetheart.

The movie isn't much remembered today. It doesn't even show up on Wikipedia's list of 1942 film releases. But boy, did it make an impact on America. From 1942-45, over a thousand girls were named Candace, and another hundred Candice (a spelling shift toward the more familiar Janice model).

Then in 1946, another something happened: a celebrity baby. The popular ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, creator of Charlie McCarthy, had a daughter named Candice. The little girl made appearances on her father's radio show, further raising the name's profile.

Candace & Candice started a gradual decline in the mid-1950s, only to come back a decade later when Candice Bergen, now all grown up, made her debut as a film actress. Ms. Bergen continued to propel the name for the next 25 years, making her spelling of the name more popular than the traditional version.

Flash forward into the 21st Century. The Janice craze is long forgotten; the name Kaitlyn, it all its many spellings, is now at its fashion peak. Movies have changed, too -- the raunchy American Pie franchise is a world apart from Meet the Stewarts. But when an installment called American Wedding introduces a new character named Cadence to the ensemble, the result is mighty familiar:

popularity of name cadence kaydence kadence

Once again, a relatively minor but attractive film character has popped up with exactly the name parents were looking for. It's a name that echoes the sound of an established hit, with a modest fresh twist.

Will Cadence continue to follow in Candace's footsteps? That's in the hands of all the young Cadences out there. Could skateboard star Tony Hawk's daughter Kadence be the next Candice Bergen?

 

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Comments

1
By AngelaAiea (not verified)
June 17, 2012 3:04 PM

The rise seems to begin slightly before American Wedding. The movie "Shallow Hal" (starring Jack Black and Gwyneth Paltrow) had a character named Cadence, and came out in 2001.

2
By AngelaAiea (not verified)
June 17, 2012 3:04 PM

The rise seems to begin slightly before American Wedding. The movie "Shallow Hal" (starring Jack Black and Gwyneth Paltrow) had a character named Cadence, and came out in 2001.

3
By AngelaAiea (not verified)
June 17, 2012 3:04 PM

The rise seems to begin slightly before American Wedding. The movie "Shallow Hal" (starring Jack Black and Gwyneth Paltrow) had a character named Cadence, and came out in 2001.

4
June 17, 2012 5:48 PM

As someone born in the early 80s, the most familiar Candace to me is Candace Cameron of Full House. Looks like there's a spike around the time of that show too!

5
June 18, 2012 11:55 AM

It's funny, I was in college when American Wedding came out and I do remember hearing the name Cadence and thinking it was pretty.  I've4 also always been a music nerd so it amused me that Michelle was this huge band geek and her sister's name was Cadence.

It's always bugged me when people spell it Kadence/Kaydence/Caydence though.  It's a word name, people!  What's wrong with the original spelling?  Feels like Krystal/Kristal/Christal all over again.

 

6
By Beth the original (not verified)
June 18, 2012 1:54 PM

Ahhhh, but Credence is just around the corner.  I already know one.

Cadence also fits in with all the musical/literary names now I'm seeing: Lyric, Allegra, Harper, Sonnet, etc.

7
By J&H's mom (not verified)
June 18, 2012 4:51 PM

You know what else is around the corner? Girls named Kayden. I know one of those already!

I have to confess, I am just not a fan of Cadence (No offense to moms of any irl). I just find the front part clangy, and the overall sound is just too trendy for my stodgy tastes.

I wonder if its popularity got sped along by military families. The first two I heard of were the babes of servcice members, and the mother of each had heard it in the American Wedding movie and fallen in love with it because of the connection to the military march/cadence.

I had thought maybe some of them would be called Cady or Cadi, a nn I have a soft spot for, but so far they've all been called by the full name, with a huge variety of spellings. One of my son's best kinder pals this year was Kaydance.

8
By TamaraR (not verified)
June 18, 2012 9:18 PM

I knew the mom of a little girl Cadence (born late 90s) who named her that for the meaning as welll as the nickname Cady.

Guess she wasn't one of the ones that J&H's mom knows!

9
June 18, 2012 9:43 PM

The first time I encountered the name Cadence was the character Cadence Roth in Armistead Maupin's novel Maybe the Moon, published in 1992.  Since that novel had nowhere near the popularity of Maupin's Tales of the City, I don't know that the character (a Jewish dwarf) had anything to do with the name Cadence coming into vogue.  BTW speaking of names, Cadence Roth was partly based on Tamara de Treaux, who played E.T. in the movie of the same name.

10
By mk
June 18, 2012 9:50 PM

I always misread Cadence as Candace when it's used as a person's name. Even when reading this post.

11
June 19, 2012 9:27 PM

It's a shame when word names get removed from their original definition because some kind of media popularized it.  I've never seen or even heard much about either of those movies (American Wedding or Shallow Hal).  I like Cadence because it's a beautiful word for a beautiful thing: rhythm.

12
By Annee (not verified)
June 26, 2012 4:18 PM

Oh, but what about the lovely Constance?  Is there any hope for a comeback?  Sigh ...

13
By OvenMitt (not verified)
July 12, 2012 8:16 PM

Ugh, I am not a Cadence fan. My sister-in-law's first born is named Cadence, and she is a twit. And every time I hear her say enunciate her name so deliberately, I wince inwardly. And my girls' schools are littered with Cadence/Caydence/Kadences. Candace, however, recalls positive memories of my preschool teacher. 

14
January 17, 2013 3:33 AM

Does Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates bear a remarkable resemblance to Jake the American Dragon?

15
February 3, 2013 11:53 PM

When I become a parent, I will most likely have his or her name sourced from the Bible.  Candace is a good name considering that it was taken from the Bible.  I wouldn't have any problems with making a few changes to the spelling of course, a name such as Candice would be fine.

16
February 20, 2013 5:09 AM

Those baby names are quite common nowadays but I think they sound sweet and pleasing to the ear.  Maybe I will try to come up with a name too that sounds similar to those two names.  Of course that is if me and my spouse will be able to successfully make a baby.

17
March 6, 2013 12:52 AM

In my opinion, this name is quite common already.  In fact, I have 3 persons that I know who has named their child Candace.  Maybe you guys can do a little bit of brainstorming to mix up these name and create unique results.

18
March 13, 2013 1:19 AM

The name Candace is actually a very sexy name for a girl, it reminds me of a famous model under that name. Cadence on the other hand is a great name for a boy, especially if you have male and female twins, you can name them Candace and Cadence. That would be very cool to say the least.

19
April 1, 2013 6:07 AM

Not many babies that I have heard of were given this name and in my opinion it is a good one if you are looking for a unique name for your baby. You can just play around with the spelling and add a little twist if you want to make it better. Naming babies is among the most fulfilling and important tasks you will do as a parent.

20
April 6, 2013 11:33 PM

Which of the two names are a name for a boy and which one is for a girl? Do you think they can be interchanged for both sexes? What is the proper pronounciation for these two names?

21
July 26, 2013 7:11 AM

Candice definitely is one of my favourite names.... I sounds very nice...

23
December 19, 2013 7:48 AM

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 The popular ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, creator of Charlie McCarthy, had a daughter named Candice.    pikaluotot

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Then in 1946, another something happened: a celebrity baby. The popular ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, creator of Charlie McCarthy, had a daughter named Candice

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May 6, 2014 12:24 PM

That Biblical reference made it an occasional, obscure choice of American parents for generations. A small handful of Candaces were born each year; alternate spellings were pretty much unheard of. 

 

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May 7, 2014 2:39 AM

Didn't know most of these things until I've read this article. Thank you so much. Another thing that I know that this is definitely a great name for baby. 

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May 9, 2014 11:09 AM

I love babies! as well as baby names! Was quite confused as to what should candace or candice spell since I was planning to name my baby girl Christine Candice/Candace. Hmm, maybe it doesn't matter that much. I'll just let my husband suggest and we can both decide. Anyway, thanks for this
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The little girl made appearances on her father's radio show, further raising the name's profile.

 

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