Least popular baby names in UK that are ‘extinct’ – and those at risk of disappearing

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Over the last few years, several names have proven the most popular with parents, including Olivia and Amelia, Muhammad and Noah.

As these monikers have risen in popularity, naturally some have gone the other way – and some have even disappeared from the lists altogether.

Language learning platform Babbel has analyzed a century of baby-name records from the Office for National Statistics and cross-referenced with newly-released 2020 data in order to identify names that were once common – appearing in the lists of 100 most popular for newborns between 1914 and 1994 – but are now considered extinct (with no appearance in 2020).

They’ve also shared a look at some of the names that are ‘endangered’ with 10 or fewer children receiving the name in 2020.

It’s bad news for Graeme and Bertha
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According to their research, the names which have become extinct since 1994, are Graeme, Horace, Iain, Leigh, Melvyn, Nigel and Royston for boys.

And for girls, the list includes Bertha, Beverley, Carol, Carole, Doreen, Gail, Gertrude, Gillian, Glenys, Glynis, Hilary, Jeanette, Jill, Kay, Kerry, Lesley, Lindsay, Lyndsey, Lynne, Lynsey, Mandy, Maureen , Muriel, Phyllis.

There were many more Babbel monikers considered to be ‘endangered’, which were those featured in the top 100 between 1914-1994 but 10 or fewer babies with the name recorded in 2020.

The at-risk names for girls were Annette, Beryl, Brenda, Carolyn, Cheryl, Dawn, Debbie, Debra, Denise, Diane, Donna, Doris, Edna, Freda, Geraldine, Gladys, Gwendoline, Hilda, Janet, Janice, Jean, Jordan, Kirsty, Lindsey, Lorraine, Lynda, Lynn, Marian, Marion, Marjorie, Marlene, Maud, Mildred, Norma, Pamela, Pauline, Sheila, Shirley, Suzanne, Thelma, Tracey, Tracy, Toni and Yvonne.

Meanwhile, for boys, there were hardly any in 2020 named Barry, Cecil, Clarence, Claude, Clifford, Cyril, Dale, Donald, Gary, Garry, Glen, Glenn, Gordon, Graham, Howard, Keith, Leslie, Neville, Norman, Rodney, Stewart, Stuart and Trevor.

Speaking about the findings, Ted Mentele, Editor in Didactics at Babbel, said: “Naming practices form the basis of all language as well as the basis of identity. The fact that the etymological roots of these names can be traced back to different languages ​​and cultures from around the world shows how languages ​​have impacted on each other over time.

“We hope that by drawing attention to the overlooked roots and intriguing meanings of these endangered names, we can give them a new lease of life for the next generation, and save them from being forgotten.”

While Dr Harry Parkin, Editor of The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain, added: “Exactly why certain names become especially frequent and why certain names die out is very complex. Sometimes, certain vocabulary will be used because it is seen as prestigious.

“Popular culture is certainly a relevant aspect. Or, certain vocabulary might be used in certain groups and communities. Vocabulary use (and indeed other aspects of language use) is therefore linked with a sense of identity. The Norman Conquest then had a
considerable impact on the given name stock of England.”

Did your name make the endangered list? Let us know in the comments below.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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