These Baby Names Go to Extremes

Mar 10th 2016

Most baby name judgments are a matter of taste. There's no objectively "coolest" or "strongest" or "smartest" name. But some things about a name can be measured, and that means we can determine champions...or at least extremes.

The names below are all tops by some measure, profound or silly. In cases of ties, the name given to the most babies in the most recent statistical year was awarded the crown.

Longest Name
First off, some ground rules. Just stringing two names together doesn't count. (I'm talking to you, ChristopherJohn and SamanthaNicole). With that in mind, the longest current baby name in America is Oluwatimilehin, a Yoruba name meaning "the Lord supported me/the Lord is my strength." Oluwatimilehin was given to 19 boys, which gave it the tiebreaker over other names like Oluwafunmilayo and Oluwaseyifunmi. In fact, the 15 longest individual names are ALL Yoruba names starting with Oluwa.

Longest String of Repeated Letters
Willliam. Could this just be a typo? Yeah, probabllly.

Fastest Rise
Of all the names ranking in today's top 20, none got there as fast as the girl's name Harper. In the space of a decade, the name went from rare to everywhere:

Biggest Vanishing Act
Name trends come and go, but it's rare for a popular name to vanish altogether. Every year, some babies are still named Wilbur and Myrtle. The #1 biggest hit of the past that has disappeared completely is the girl's name Willie, which ranked in the top 100 for more than 50 years straight starting in the 1880s, but is now unheard of. The runners-up are all nicknames too, like Pam, Doug, Patti and Jan.

First In the Alphabet
If you added every newborn baby in America to your contacts list, Aaban would show up first….

Last In the Alphabet
…while you'd have to scroll a lonnngggg way down to get to Zyyon. (The all-time alphabetical backstop, Zzyzx, didn't register in this year's stats.)

Highest Scrabble Value
Weighing in at a lean eight letters, Jazzmyne edges out the likes of Krzysztof, Melchizedek and Kamsiyochukwu with a powerhouse Scrabble score of 38. (If you're thinking "but there's only one Z tile," assume we're playing Super Scrabble.)

Longest Name Made of One-Point Letters
Not every Scrabble rack is made for a triple word score. Aristotelis (the Greek form of Aristotle) gives you just 11 points in 11 letters. The girl's champion, Antoinette, clocks in at 10.

Highest Low
Plenty of names are classics, but one has earned the right to say it truly never goes out of style. William alone has never dipped below a rate of 4 born out of every 1,000 American babies.



March 10, 2016 5:12 PM

Awesome blog! About "The Longest String Of Repeated Letters", I've seen Harrrison...but I think that was a typo too.

March 10, 2016 6:14 PM

I wonder if Willliam is done on purpose to get a pronunication of will liam

March 11, 2016 2:25 AM

I've actually encountered someone named Oluwafunmilayo. (Not in person, so I have no idea whether they're male or female.)

March 11, 2016 7:05 PM

I agree with katjsh--since hyphens and capital letters are removed from the data, there's a possibility those Willliams are actually Will-Liam or WillLiam.

March 14, 2016 11:25 AM

Besides Willliam (the frequency of its appearance is somewhat conspicious, maybe there are real Will'Liams out there) the following names with three consecutive letters appeared at least once in the statisics of the SSA: Kathleeen, Larrry, Melisssa, Michellle, Tammmy, Jennnifer, Mattthew, Tifffany, Britttany, Joshuaaaron.

With the exception of Joshuaaaron probably all are typos.

The (real) Hebrew name Leeel never made it to the statistics.

March 22, 2016 12:32 PM

My (female) cat's name is Willie so I find it kinda funny that it's so uncommon.