Tough Baby Name Trivia

Aug 23rd 2012

Ready for a real challenge, name enthusiasts? Plaudits to anybody who can correctly answer even a few of these:

1. Every #1 boy's name in U.S. history has been either a biblical name or the name of a King of England...except one. What's the one exception?

2. Can you name a familiar girl's name that became popular based on a famous battle? (There are at least two!)

3. Only three names longer than 10 letters were given to 100 or more American boys or girls last year. (Not counting compound names like Miguel Angel.) How many of them can you name?

4. Which girl's name currently boasts the most different spellings in the girls' top 1,000?

5. Which books of the Bible had ten or more baby namesakes in the U.S. last year -- not counting books named for people (e.g. Ruth, Luke)?

(answers below)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1. Robert was #1 from 1924-1939, and in 1953.

2. The Siege of Kimberley in the Second Boer War spurred use of the name Kimberley/Kimberly.

The name Alma is typically associated today with its Latin and Spanish meanings ("fostering/nourishing," "soul"). It's original burst of popularity, though, came from the Battle of the Alma in the Crimean war. That Alma was a river, which took its name from the Turkic word for "apple."

3. The average girl's name is 6.1 letters long and the average boy's name 4.6 letters. Yet the three longest names are all male: Christopher, Maximiliano, and Maximillian.

4. Nine spellings of Kaelyn rank among the top 1,000 names for American girls. In descending order of popularity: Kaelyn, Kailyn, Kaylin, Kaylynn, Kaylyn, Kaylen, Cailyn, Kailynn, Kaelynn.

5. Babies were only named for the first three books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus. The most popular by far is Genesis, a top-100 name for girls.


August 23, 2012 1:40 PM

What about Brittany--was it spurred into being from Battle of Brittany?  

Robert is a French king's name--seems close kinship to British King's names!

August 23, 2012 1:44 PM

Why not give us a chance to try to come up with the answers ourselves? Not that I would have been able to, but I'd have enjoyed seeing the NE expertise at work.

August 23, 2012 2:10 PM

Thank you for posting the answers today!  I'm curious but impatient. :)

When I was pregnant, I read somewhere about Appomattox having been used as a baby name.  It spawned an ongoing joke with my husband that I was actually having triplets -- dubbed Appomattox, Hastings, and The Bulge.  I always pictured The Bulge as a girl.

August 23, 2012 4:01 PM

I would've gotten Christopher - and that's all.


What is up with Leviticus though?! Seriously - can't believe that there were more than 10 babies named Leviticus.


I guess maybe they go by Levi for short?

August 23, 2012 6:07 PM

Excellent quiz! I guessed Robert, Christopher, and Kaelyn, so I think I'll go to bed now and end the day on a successful note.

By mk
August 23, 2012 10:03 PM

Interesting! I guessed Christopher, Kimberly, and Genesis. For #4 I guessed Katelyn rather than Kaelyn-so close!

August 24, 2012 12:36 AM

I got #1 right. For #2, I had no idea. On #3, I knew Christopher and Maximiliano, but was stuck on the third one. I guessed Caitlin for #4 - I was wrong. On #5, I knew Genesis, but had no idea on the other two.

August 24, 2012 10:01 AM

Regarding famous battles, I was thinking of Clothilde, because the name means "famous battle."

August 24, 2012 10:03 AM

Robert the Bruce was also a Medieval King of Scotland for 20+ years. Lead the Scots War of Independence against the British. Only got that and Christopher - good trivia LW!


August 24, 2012 11:46 AM

For the battle name, Shiloh?  Not runaway popular, but certainly familiar.

August 24, 2012 9:18 PM

I was most surprised that the average boy's name is 4.6 letters long.  I always feel that my older boys - Paul and Mark - have short names. But apparently they are only a little less than average.

August 24, 2012 9:59 PM

Fun and very challenging quiz!

I got #1 right - Robert (although there were three kings of Scotland by that name, so I thought of it as a royal name -- like the names of his older brothers Edward and John -- when we chose Robert for our third son)

#2 -- I missed

#3 -- I got

#4 -- I guessed Caitlin -- was close :-)

#5 -- I had no idea

So only 2 out of 5 and I thought I knew a lot about names!

August 27, 2012 9:41 AM

Miriam-- I thought of Shiloh, too, and was surprised to see that it was wrong. But looking again at Laura's wording, I don't think anyone could argue that the name "became popular based on a famous battle." (Unless there were a lot of 19th-c. Shilohs of which I'm unaware--quite possible.)

I still think it's a horrific name to give a girl in the American context. Even if the battle is not intended as the point of reference, it's still the first thing many Americans are going to think of.

I'd be interested to hear more about Kimberly and its journey from battle site to male and then, ultimately, female name.

August 28, 2012 4:22 PM

From a battle: Joan of Arc only after she was canonized by the Catholic church in the mid 20th century. Most varient spellings? Brianna maybe.

 Argh! Neither were right. :(

September 7, 2012 5:02 AM

My  cousin's name is  Kaelyn and most of the people usually spell her name with incorrect spellings like Kailyn, Kaylin, Kaylynn, Kaylyn, Kaylen, Cailyn, Kailynn, Kaelynn.

October 20, 2012 5:52 PM

I think my name, Hayley, has way more spelling variants than nine. Just the ones I have come across:

1. Hayley

2. Haley

3. Haylee

4. Haleigh

5. Hailey

6. Hailee

7. Haylie

And ways people have mis-spelled my name:

8. Hayli

9. Halee

10. Haily

11. Hayleigh 

12. Haileigh 

and the weirdest one ever, 

13. Haliy (totally not correct phonetically, but you see the point...) 

My name is mispelled daily, I can feel for ay other Kaelyn's, Bailey's, Kaylee's, etc...


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