One of the best things about the internet—for those of us obsessed with names and history—is that there are a bunch of tools out there for tracing the popularity of your name. Here are three of my favorites.
Welcome to the excellently weird world of informal naming systems: here’s how we’re naming all the newly-discovered places on Pluto after Cthulhu, Balrog, Meng-p’o, and other dwellers from the underworld.
There is a persistent story in a lot of American families that their last name was changed at Ellis Island, garbled by an agent who simply wrote it down incorrectly. Now, it's possible that the name really was changed at some point, but it didn't happen at Ellis Island. Here's why.
The Flash finally made it's way to the UK yesterday, and I enjoyed the pilot quite a lot - but one thing bothered me. Why is no one calling the Flash, well 'Flash'?
Considering he's a main character in the Star Wars saga, it's pretty bizarre that Emperor Palpatine has gone over three decades with naught but a surname to his, err, name. But a new Star Wars novel coming out plans to reveal his forename for the very first time - and it's really dumb.
Phillip K. Dick. Alfred E. Neuman. Ulysses S. Grant. These are all people whose names are inseparable from their middle initials. But Bruce Feiler of The New York Times has a evidence that middle initialism is on the decline. Unless you want to be perceived as smart. In that case, middle initial away.
What did you name your Commander Shepard? Wait. Let me guess. Your Shepard—assuming you went with something other than the default name—has one of the names in the image above, right?
Popular names comes and go like the wind, making it next to impossible to know which ones will endure or make a comeback. A new Baby Name Predictor attempts to solve this problem by determining which names will rise and fall in popularity over the next 25 years.
Voldemort. Professor Moriarty. Doctor Moreau. Mordred. The Morlocks. Aside from being nefarious figures, these characters have something in common: the syllable "mor." Is there something that makes that particular sound come off as evil to English-fluent ears?
Using US census data, creator Brian Lee Yung Rowe has developed an interactive map showing how names have grown and waned in popularity in different states since the early 1900s.
Trendy names come and go, and so too do those androgynous names that work just as well for both girls and boys. Check out this gorgeous data visualization to see how our acceptance of these gender-neutral names have changed over the course of the past 100 years.
Many of the traits we think of as uniquely human can be found in at least a handful of animal species, but names really are almost unheard of outside our species. The reason why I have to say "almost"? Look no further than everyone's favorite exemplar of non-human intelligence, the dolphin.
Via National Geographic comes this at-a-glance visualization of surnames across America.
Earlier this year, radio station WNYC mined the the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's dog license registration database to produce this map of dog breed popularity. Unsurprisingly, small breeds are popular in the city. Well, except Labs. Nothing stops the American obsession with Labs.
This is excellent. Last night a friend sent us this post by redditor TheIndieArmy, who observes that "the popularity graph for the name Bruce looks awfully familiar."
So you're writing a vampire novel filled with interesting, dynamic characters. You've worked out the plot, and come up with an unexpected yet satisfying conclusion. Now you just have to give names to the characters that have been living in your head and you think you'll call this one . . . Lucy. No! Bad! There are…
Meet Miss Pussy Galore Honey Rider Solitaire Plenty O'Toole May Day Xenia Onatopp Holly Goodhead Tiffany Case Kissy Suzuki Mary Goodnight Jinx Johnson Octopussy Domino Moneypenny. The 28-year-old woman formerly known as Emma-Louise Hodges decided that it was time to make her Bond Girl aspirations come true, and…
As you walk through the streets of your city, you might orient yourself by intersection, neighborhood, or the presence of your favorite coffee shop. This interactive map of London, however, lets you view the city a different way: by concentrations of Johnsons, Bennetts, and Patels.
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but would Usain Bolt, by any other name, be as fast? How much do our names determine what we do in life? We've taken a look at why a disproportionate number of those of you named Baker are probably bakers.