A well-known rule of baby naming says that it takes about 100 years for a name to come back into fashion. That’s why we recently wrote a list of century-old names that are ready for a revival.
But not every vintage name is destined to be revived. We don’t predict the return of Hyman, for instance. Or Normal. Or Butler. Or Rube. Or Walburga. All these names were in use in 1918, given to at least five babies born that year, but that’s not the case today.
They’re not alone. Nameberry analyzed Social Security data to discover over 5,000 names that were given to babies a century ago but have now gone extinct.
Some of these names were relatively obscure names, like Tsuyako and Mieczyslaw. Others were unusual variant spellings of names that have declined in popularity, like Ulysees and Lauraine. A few are usable, or even elegant.
But a lot of them are just plain funny to us now. We combed through the list to find the most interesting and hilarious of these extinct names from 1918 — and couldn’t whittle it down to fewer than 200. Here they are, in all their glory, along with the number of children given each name in 1918:
Damned by Faint Praise
Apparently a lot of parents in 1918 wanted to set achievable expectations for their kids.
Terms of Endearment
Some of these are now so outmoded, you wouldn’t even use them in conversation, much less as a legal first name.
Ruined By Pop Culture
For every Atticus and Khaleesi that make it big after being featured in fiction, there are five Boos and Tyrions that are sullied by the spotlight.
This is just a small sampling of the many, many -man names in common use a century ago.
Ironically, the phrase Big Bertha, which was instrumental in depopularizing the name Bertha, derives from a kind of artillery used in World War I, which would obviously be fresh in the minds of parents in 1918.
“Gay” was a relatively popular component of 1918 baby names.
As you may have heard, the name Donald took a big hit around the 2016 election ― but it’s still in use, unlike these variants for boys and girls.
You change a few letters, you get to a word you don’t necessarily want associated with your child.
Rejected From The Seven Dwarves
Not every word ending in the -y sound needs to be a baby name ― especially not in the post-Snow White era.
Sin In The Heart
These two have lost their luster.
A For Effort
It seems many parents in 1918 thought that adding an “a” to the end of a word automatically made it a girls’ name.
We have trouble seeing any of these as the next Brooklyn or Madison.
This type of virtue name may never come back into style.
Words, Words, Words
Though we tend to think of weird word names as a recent invention, these names prove they’ve been around for ages.
Ride Of The Valkyrie
While these names may have felt just right in a Minnesota town populated exclusively by farmers from Bavaria and Norway, they’re slightly tougher sells today.
Presumably these had different connotations in 1918. (Also, the last one is still only an insult if you’re speaking with a lisp.)
Eeny, Meeny, Miny, No
Parents a century ago leaned a little too heavily on the suffix -ene.
It’s A Job
Nothing wrong with an occupational name ― Mason is one of the most popular boys’ names in the country ― but something about these particular professions as names just feels off.
Parents in 1918 seemed rather fond of physical attribute names.