Naming With the Seasons, 21st-Century Style
Way back in 2005 I wrote about a name trend that came straight from the calendar -- if you flipped pages in your calendar once every 50 years. Month names for girls changed at that pace, with May peaking in the 1870s, June in the 1920s, and April in the 1970s.
OK, maybe the naming calendar doesn't follow the exact order of the Gregorian calendar, but the pattern is unmistakable. Here's the graph I posted back then:
After April, though, we ran out of the simple, sunny months of spring. So I mused on the options to continue the cycle:
"One possibility is to start over at May, a name which seems due for a renaissance. Another is to branch out into more adventurous seasons...And there's one other possibility, which is already hitting its stride. In the past generation, parents have started to throw over the months in favor of whole seasons: Summer and Autumn are still climbing, and Winter has time for a surprise strike by the '20s to come."
Eight years later, do we see any indications of a seasonal future? Perhaps. One of the old spring favorites is indeed showing signs of a renaissance. It's not May, though, but June, which fits the classic 100-year name lifecycle:
But I'll come out right now and say, with a decade to go, that June won't add a fourth towering peak to the mountain range of the original graph. Those slopes are too hard to climb today. Just take a look at both of today's season names, Summer and Autumn, compared to 1800s hit May:
Yet the march through the seasons hasn't quite seen its last. This past year, that long shot Winter cracked the top 1000 for the first time ever.