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Baby Name Trend Starter

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Pain: This might be a different Hercules!
Panic: Yeah! Hercules is a very popular name nowadays!
Pain: Remember like a few years ago, every other boy was named Jason and the girls were all named Brittany?

Fiction has an influence on people, both unconsciously and consciously. Many people are inspired by them—to buy things featured in a work, to get pets due to one being featured in a work, or even to name their child (and to a lesser extent, their pet) after a character featured in a work.

If a work is extremely popular, then it often causes a fad where many babies are named after major characters from the work for about a year or two. In hindsight, it can be easy to tell when someone was born if their name was a popular fad name during that period. Usually, these fads die out quickly, however, some become so popular that they popularize an obscure name (or even a name originally intended for the opposite gender) to the point where the name stays popular long after the popularizing work becomes a distant memory. The bad side of this is that if a name loses popularity after the fad, then it can be awkward for the child later in life (such as if they're named after a fantasy character with an odd name).

Note, that names usually must follow the One-Mario Limit (AKA, they're obscure or even invented names). If they're a common name then the work must have been the main cause of why it became (even more) popular all of a sudden.

To see how names have changed in popularity over the years in Britain, visit this page from the Office for National Statistics, which has an interactive chart.

See Baby Name Trend Killer for when the opposite happens. Subtrope to The Red Stapler.

Real Life Examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • The popularly of the Renault Clio ads starring a woman named Nicole and her Papa caused many babies to be named "Nicole".

    Anime & Manga 
  • Sakura, written in hiragana rather than kanji, shot up to the top 5 girls names in Japan while the Cardcaptor Sakura anime was airing, peaking at #1 in 2000 when the series ended.
  • The year that Idol Time PriPara premiered, Yui, the name of the show's protagonist, topped baby name charts in Japan.
  • During the year of Kirakira Precure A La Mode, one of the protagonists' names, Himari, went up 8 places as runner-up.
  • Apparently, Saki became somewhat of a popular baby girl name back when Sukeban Deka was hot. Actress and singer Saki Fukuda is named that way because her mother was a fan of the series, while AV actress Saki Ninomiya goes under artistic name because her parents were fans as well (she was born the year in which the series premiered, and has implied in interviews that Saki is her true given name).
  • Mei has become a top 10 baby name in Japan thanks to it being the name of one of the girls in My Neighbor Totoro. In 2014, it was the most popular girl name.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animation 
  • Frozen:
  • The year before Inside Out was released, the name of the film's protagonist, Riley, was the 32nd most popular baby name for girls in the United States. After the film's release, the name jumped 20 places up on the chart to become the 12th most popular girl's name and then became the 7th most popular baby name in 2016. It then became the third most popular baby name in 2020, in time with the film's sudden boom in popularity on Disney+.
  • The year after Ice Age came out, Diego, the name of one of the main animal characters in the movie, jumped from the 140th most popular baby name in the United States to number 83.
  • After The Little Mermaid (1989) came out, the name "Ariel" exponentially became more popular. Unfortunately, the name "Ursula" suffered the reverse.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse:
    • The surprise critical and commercial acclaim of the movie made Miles, an already popular name, jump 23 places from 98th to 75th in 2019, and continued to grow to 54th place by 2020.
    • Gwen, an uncommon name, saw a big bump in popularity, jumping 82 places from 909th to 827th place in 2019.
  • Toy Story:
    • Andy jumped up 25 places the year after Toy Story's release. However, it declined around the time Toy Story 2 came out.
    • The name of Keanu Reeves' character in Toy Story 4, Duke, grew in popularity due to the success of both the actor and the film.
  • The name Flynn jumped up 871 places a year after the release of Tangled.
  • Keanu Reeves' character in The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, Sage, caused the name to increase in popularity despite the film only having a teaser trailer released at the point. It helps that the actor who played the character is extremely popular, and the trailer frequently showed up before many theatrical releases around this period.
  • Sleeping Beauty:
    • "Aurora" as a baby name took a while to catch on, but it suddenly became much more popular in the 2000s notably around the time the Disney Princess line was established, which gave the film a renewed burst of popularity. It leapt up even higher after Maleficent was released.
    • "Meriweather" was known as a boys' name before the movie (with Merry being a common nickname for it), but it's now associated with girls after the good fairy.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • By 1935, over 40 thousand babies were named Shirley by mothers either in honour of Shirley Temple or in hopes that their daughter would be just as much of a box office superstar as their namesake.
  • Stanley Kubrick's 1962 adaption of Lolita had a positive effect on the name "Lolita" itself, which had fallen out of popularity thanks to the original book but had a small resurgence following the film's release. In Lolita itself, the girl is actually named Dolores, variously nicknamed Dolly, Lo, or Lola. Lolita was the pseudo-intellectual Humbert's "fancy" nickname for her.
  • "Madison" as a first name was almost nonexistent when the movie Splash was made, and was mostly a boy's name when it did appear. (It derives from an old English/Welsh name that either means "Matthew's son" or "Maude's son", so that makes sense.) Then after the film's mermaid picked up the name, it exploded in popularity as a girl's name, reaching the top ten in girls' names in the United States in 1997, staying there over a decade and a half, and even reaching second in 2001 and '02, before dropping to eleventh in 2015. (It also reappeared as a boys' name after Splash was released, but never attained the explosive popularity that it did as a girls' name.) In the film itself, it was a Line-of-Sight Name taken from a street sign (Madison Avenue in New York City); Tom Hanks' character's immediate reaction is, "That's not a [feminine first] name!"
  • "Damien" saw a brief but gigantic spike in popularity after The Omen (1976) came out thanks to that film's iconic villain, The Antichrist Damien Thorn. Ironically, the name was originally associated with a saint, but the film used it as a Louis Cypher name due to how similar it sounded to the word "demon", and thus made it sound badass. It rose again in popularity in the 2000s, particularly a brief one-day spike among boys born on June 6, 2006 — which, not coincidentally, was also the release date of the remake.
  • The name "Jennifer" received a boost with the release of Love Story, becoming the single most common female given name in the United States for the years 1970-1984, where it had previously been relatively uncommon. Then it happened in Spanish. Love Story (and the many works that followed it) briefly made Jennifer a popular name in Spain, where it didn't exist in any form, and where before Franco's death, it was extremely discouraged to use non-standard (read: non-Catholic) names.
  • While the name Kevin had become quite popular for German boys in the '80s, it reached its peak as the most common name in 1991 after the release of Home Alone and stayed very high in popularity for about 10 more years. Unfortunately, as noted on the Baby Name Trend Killer page, stereotypes concerning this and other "American" names later killed it stone-dead in the '00s.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe fueled many parents to name their children after characters, among others "Valkyrie", "Quill", "Rocket", and "Hawkeye". Even more so, in 2017, 50 children were given the name "Marvel".
  • The Breakfast Club caused many parents to name their baby daughters Allison after one of the main characters in the film, becoming a top ten girl's name for most of the '90s.
  • The success of The Notebook caused an increase in the number of babies named Noah in the United States. Nine years after that film's release, the name topped the chart for male baby names.
  • Charlie's Angels (2000) seems to have done this with Dylan as a girl's name, even as various real-life tragedies (noted on the Baby Name Trend Killer page) took off its shine as a boy's name. Before that film came out, it was an almost entirely masculine name, one that went with her tomboy demeanor.
  • Scream (1996)
    • The film marked a turning point in "Sidney" going from a boy's name to a unisex name, thanks to its Final Girl Sidney Prescott. While the name was already rising in popularity before the film came out, it spiked even higher afterwards, as did the alternate spelling "Sydney", which was in the top 25 girl's names from 1999 through 2003 (likely also helped along by Alias).
    • "Tatum", the name of Sidney's best friend, also took off as a girl's name after having been almost unheard of before the film came out. It continued rising in popularity, and in the 2010s became a unisex name.
  • As detailed here, Breakfast at Tiffany's is singlehandedly responsible for the explosive spread of Tiffany as a name in the '70s and '80s. Amusingly enough, the main character's name is actually "Holly", and the title refers to the jewelry store ("Tiffany" was the surname of the family who started the jewelry store).
  • "Samara" spiked in popularity in the mid-'00s after the release of the American remake of The Ring. This one is especially notable because the original Japanese version of the film, Ringu, destroyed the popularity of "Sadako", its name for the Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl villain.
  • "Luke" may be a Biblical name, but it skyrocketed in popularity following the release of Cool Hand Luke in 1967. Amusingly: it got even more popular a decade later following the release of the original Star Wars, likely thanks to Luke Skywalker.
  • The popularity of Clerks in The '90s caused a lot of parents to name their newborn sons "Dante" after the film's protagonist Dante Hicks. While it wasn't a box-office hit, it became extremely well-traveled on home video in the latter half of the decade, which was when the name really took off.

  • The names "Isabella", "Edward", and "Jacob" were popular before The Twilight Saga was published. Still, they saw a significant boost, as did the invented name "Renesmee", given to 55 baby girls in the US in 2010.
  • By the time the Harry Potter series concluded in 2007, the previously rare name Hermione had experienced a huge spike in popularity, as did the less-rare-but-still-uncommon names Luna and Lily. The names Ron(ald) and Harry have long been perennial standards but likewise experienced a significant spike attributed to the series.
  • Millions of baby girls were named Alice after the success of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.
  • The introduction of Amber as a name after the mid-20th century has been attributed to Kathleen Windsor's sweeping historical romance Forever Amber. Jewel names have long been popular, but at the time of the book's setting, Amber was considered one of the more exotic, unusual jewel names, along with such names Emerald and Topaz. By the time the book was written, however, jewel names were considered embarrassingly old-fashioned but for a few popular holdouts such as Ruby and Pearl, so the reintroduction of Amber was a double blast from the past. These days the name's popularity has nearly eclipsed the original book.
  • J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan popularized the name Wendy so much after its release, that he is often erroneously credited with inventing the name. At the time, it was nothing more than an obscure nickname for Gwendolyn.
  • Since the 1960s, naming your child after a character from J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings has been something of a trend for aging hippies and nerds. "Galadriel" has been on the US popular name list since 1969.
  • The Polish/Lithuanian name "Grażyna" was invented by the poet Adam Mickiewicz for his narrative poem Grażyna, A Lithuanian story. It's derived from the Lithuanian word graži, meaning "beautiful", and it was widespread in Poland up until around the 1980s.
  • The name "Pamela" was invented for a book, Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded. This generated one of the first entertainment marketing booms, with Pamela towels, dishes, playing cards, stationery, etc. In 1740.
  • The name "Svetlana" was invented by a Russian poet and popularized by another in the early 1800s. It's still hugely popular today, both in Russia and outside it, and is even used as the Russian translation of a Greek saint's name. "Svetlana" wasn't a nonsense word, though; "svet" means light, and it's a little like naming your daughter "Radiance" or something. The closest English equivalent would be Helen.
  • The name "Vanessa" was invented by Jonathan Swift for his lover Esther Vanhomrigh ("Van" from her surname, "Essa" from a pet form of her given one) and used in his semi-autobiographical poem Cadenus and Vanessa, published after Vanhomrigh's death. The name became a popular choice for girls following the publication of the poem.
    • This becomes a plot point in one of the Doctor Who tie-in novels, where the Doctor recognises a character as a secret time-traveller because she's trying to blend in in Ancient Rome with the name Vanessa, when of course it didn't exist then.
  • Shirley was a boy's name until Charlotte Brontë gave the heroine of her novel that name. After that, it became much more popular as a girl's name, as Shirley Temple and the writers of Airplane! can attest.
  • The Fault in Our Stars made Hazel jump to the top 100 baby names two years after its release.
  • The success of Pippi Longstocking outside its native Sweden popularized the name "Annika" in many other countries.
  • 'Ayla' is a Turkish and Scottish feminine name (in the latter case it's a variant on Aila or Isla), which became a lot more popular in Western countries from the 1980s onwards following the success of the Earth's Children series.
  • Back in the 1850s, Uncle Tom's Cabin boosted the popularity of the name "Eva," after the novel's tragic ill girl. One reader apparently considered renaming her existing daughter after the character.
  • Many red-nosed pets, especially dogs, are named after the title character of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
  • For a long time, Tatiana was considered a vulgar, peasant name in Russia. Then along came Eugene Onegin, and the name’s popularity skyrocketed among all the social classes.
  • The novel Peyton Place led to a surge in girls named Alison.
  • The Mortal Instruments did this for "Jace", a short form of "Jason", which started skyrocketing in the late '00s, jumped into the top 100 boy's names by 2012, and overtook the name it was derived from the following year.
  • The name Eric (and its variants) had been pretty much unknown in Britain following the end of the Danelaw. In 1858, a novel titled Eric Or Little By Little was published. Although largely forgotten today, this was one of the most popular children's novels of the era and created a vogue for the name Eric that lasted until World War I, when it fell out favour due its Germanic connotations.
  • Before it was a name, "Mavis" was an outdated word for a thrush, until Marie Corelli used it in The Sorrows of Satan for the character Mavis Clare. As a result, real people started naming their daughters Mavis, and the name was quite popular in the first half of the twentieth century.
  • Heidi is a rare name in English-speaking countries. Without the influence of Heidi, it probably wouldn't be a name at all.
  • "Katniss" was unheard of as a given name before the release of The Hunger Games, which led a number of parents to give their daughters the name in the early 2010s. It enjoyed another boost in 2020 with the release of the prequel novel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The names Dylan and Brandon experienced a surge in popularity during the run of Beverly Hills, 90210.
  • Bewitched:
    • Samantha was a fairly uncommon name in the U.S. before the series.
    • The series also popularized the name "Tabitha" after the child witch on the show had that name. After the '80s, however, the popularity of the name started to decline.
  • The Brazilian Soap Opera Escrava Isaura was extremely popular in Poland, and caused a number of young girls to be named Isaura.
  • Doctor Who: The name "Amelia" experienced a recent surge in popularity, coming as high as #1 in the U.K. and #12 in the U.S. for girls. BBC America speculated that the character Amelia Jessica "Amy" Pond was responsible.
  • Dynasty (1981): The names Crystalnote , Alexis, Fallon, and Dominique became popular for girls born in the 80s thanks to the show's resident Rich Bitches. Granted, "Dominique" was a pre-existing French namenote , but its popularity in the US grew tenfold thanks to the show.
  • From Sex and the City, Carrie's rugged puppy Aidan seems to have inspired a resurgence in that name (and its variant Aiden).
  • Family Ties led to "Mallory" becoming a popular girls' name, even though it was almost completely non-existent prior to the show (and was basically a last name adopted into a first name). Unlike "Madison", which came about under similar circumstances, "Mallory" died out quickly after the show ended.
  • True Blood made Sookie the fastest-growing name for girls in 2010.
  • The popularity of Game of Thrones led to many baby girls named "Arya" (or "Aria") and "Khaleesi". The latter is a title for Daenerys Targaryen, not a proper name in the series itself; "Daenerys" itself hasn't nearly become as popularnote .
  • Survivor: The Australian Outback contestant Colby Donaldson inspired people to name their kids Colby following his season, as explained by Jeff Probst when Colby made his return in the All-Stars season.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • "Xander" picked up as a boy's name since the series came out, with the biggest spike in usage coming the year that Buffy went off the air. Since then, it's remained modestly popular. Interestingly, "Xander" was technically a common name to begin with; the Buffy character's full name is "Alexander;" he simply shortened it to to "Xander" rather than the more conventional "Alex."
    • Charisma Carpenter, who played Cordelia Chase on Buffy and Angel, has said that numerous fans tell her they named their daughters Cordelia after her. The name had declined in popularity after the 1800s, and the show gave it a small resurgence.
  • After it was used as the name of Murphy Brown's mother, many people named their baby girls Avery. Like Madison, the name had only been used for boys prior to the show's premiere and soon became one of the most popular names for girls. As of 2018, it's in the top 15.
  • After it was used as the name of one of the doctors in ER, Carter became a popular name for boys.
  • Grayson became a popular name after it was used as the name of Jules' husband in Cougar Town. The year after the show's premiere, it jumped up 50 places on the popular baby names chart and is now in the top 10.
  • Modern Family: The pet dog Stella caused many people to give their daughters and pets the same name.
  • "Nellie" rose from 668 to 307 due to a variant "Nelly" being borne by the daughter of Billie Faiers of The Only Way Is Essex.
  • The telenovela Marimar is popular in the Philippines. As a result, "Marimar" is a common name for female dogs.
  • Audrey jumped up 20 spots on the baby name chart in 2006 after it was used as the name of the mom in Drake & Josh.
  • The Walking Dead made Ezekiel gain popularity again after lingering in obscurity for many years. In 2018, it made the top 100 baby names.
  • The popularity of thirtysomething made the name Ethan jump almost 200 places to the top 100 baby names after it was used as one of the names of the children in the show. It also had an impact on the name Brittany, which made the top 10 girl's names list the year after its' premiere.
  • A combination of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the 2012 version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles having characters nicknamed Leo caused the name to jump up 30 places in 2013.
  • Grey's Anatomy caused the previously unknown name Sadie to jump into the top 100 baby names the year after the show's premiere.
  • The name Ruth increased in popularity after a contestant on The Bachelor gave her daughter the name.
  • Glee had this impact on "Finn" and "Quinn", the names of two of the main characters on that show. Notably, Quinn was known mainly, though not exclusively, as a boy's name before it was given to cheerleader Quinn Fabray, after which it skyrocketed in popularity as a girl's name and eventually entered the top 100 for such.
  • "Malcolm" saw a brief rise in popularity thanks to the success of Malcolm in the Middle, though it trailed off after the series concluded.
  • In the short term, Keeping Up with the Kardashians gave a brief spike to the names "Kourtney" and "Khloe" in the early '10s. To a lesser extent, it also happened to "Chloe", who Khloé Kardashian's first name is a variation of, though that name had been rising in popularity for a while by that point.
  • Supernatural: In 2013, the name "Castiel" appeared in the top 1,000 baby names in the United States. "Dean" also rose in popularity around the same time after declining for several decades.
  • Friends: The show's main characters became a seminal influence on baby names in the '90s and early '00s when it was at the height of its popularity.
    • "Rachel" was already a popular name before the show's success, but afterwards, it saw a surge in popularity that briefly made it one of the top 10 girl's names in 1996.
    • The name of her baby, Emma, also boomed in popularity, to the point where it's currently one of the top 10 names for baby girls, helped along by various other entries on this list.
    • This also happened to "Phoebe" for the same reason.
    • "Chandler" was a fairly uncommon first name before the show's premiere in 1994, but the following year saw it rapidly spike into the top 200 boy's names, where it would remain through 2000.
    • "Ross" had already peaked as a boy's name in The '80s and fallen off since, but the show's premiere caused a small boomlet in the mid-'90s.
  • While the name "Peyton" existed prior to One Tree Hill (especially with the popularity of Peyton Place), its popularity saw a resurgence since the show's 2003 debut.
  • This happened with "River" in the 2010s thanks to two shows, Firefly and Doctor Who, that had Action Girl characters by that name. While Firefly had only a brief run and lousy ratings in 2002 due to it getting Screwed by the Network, it built its cult fandom in the ensuing years, especially after its creator Joss Whedon enjoyed a Career Resurrection in the early '10s. One of the show's characters, the Little Miss Badass River Tam, became especially iconic. Around that time, Doctor Who also introduced a popular character named River Song, a Lady of Adventure envisioned as a Distaff Counterpart to the Doctor. Amidst the mainstream explosion of geek culture during that time, the name River came to be seen as one you'd give to a girl who could kick ass and not put up with jerks. The funny thing? The boost was as both a girl's name and a boy's name. As noted below under Real Life, the name had already gotten some attention after the death of the male actor River Phoenix in 1993, and it still had those associations twenty years later.
  • "Dexter" enjoyed a large bump as a boy's name in the late '00s and early '10s thanks to the TV show of the same name. While the show's main character Dexter Morgan was a Serial Killer and a Villain Protagonist, he was also a handsome and charismatic one with a lot of redeeming qualities who only killed people who deserved it, and so, for many young parents, the name came to be seen as dark but cool.
  • Yellowstone:
    • Before the show premiered, "Dutton" was unheard of as a given name, and indeed, on the show it's the last name of the central family. Afterwards, it became one of the fastest-growing baby names of 2022.
    • "Kayce", an abbreviated variant on "Casey", was also on that list thanks to Kayce Dutton.

  • The name "Kayleigh" was popularized in the U.K. after it appeared in a 1985 hit single of the same name by the British Progressive Rock band Marillion. The name itself was derived from "Kay Lee", an ex-girlfriend of singer Derek "Fish" Dick.
  • The Australian singer-songwriter John Williamson created a song about a tomboy whose father nicknamed her Cydy (short for sidekick). It is now an official (if still mostly uncommon) Australian girl name.

  • The Bible has been a popular source of baby names for centuries. Common examples include Adam, Angelnote , Elijah, Eve, Isaiah, Joseph, Joshua, Leah, Luke, Mary, Matthew, Rebecca, etc. This also includes variations in different languages: Maria, Marie, Mariah, etc.
  • Greco-Roman mythology has also been a centuries-long source of baby names, with Jason and Diana being the most common in the modern Anglosphere, though Cassandra, Hector, Orion, Selene, Troy, and Venus are fairly popular as well.

  • The name "Jennifer" became hugely popular in the United Kingdom after George Bernard Shaw gave it to the female lead in his 1906 play The Doctor's Dilemma. At the time, it was an uncommon name derived from "Guinevere".

  • While the name "Barbara" peaked in the late 1930s and early '40s and has been on a steady decline since, its diminutive "Barbie" briefly spiked in The '60s thanks to the famous doll bearing that name. (Ruth Handler, Barbie's creator, named the doll after her daughter Barbara.)

    Video Games 
  • The Legend of Zelda: The name "Zelda" had been out of vogue for decades by the time the first game came out. Now it's a fairly common name thanks to the perennial popularity of the series, with a particularly big spike in babies named Zelda after Breath of the Wild released. Robin Williams' daughter Zelda Williams is a famous example of someone named after the character. For the record, the character herself was named after a famous person, Zelda Fitzgerald.
  • In English-speaking countries, the name Laura spiked in the late 1970s/early 1980s, died down, but popped up again briefly as "Lara" around the beginning of the 2000s in a resurgence attributed to the Tomb Raider franchise. Oddly, it doesn't seem that many gamers directly named their daughters after the character, but that the game's popularity simply caused the name's visibility to increase enough that non-gamers became more aware of it.
  • Enforced by Bethesda, who announced a challenge for players of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: if any of them had a child on its then-latest release date (11/11/11) and named it after a Skyrim character, the child could get free games for life. At least one couple did it, with their son Dovahkiin.
  • A few parents were inspired to name their daughters Cortana, particularly after Halo 3, when it entered the baby charts - and at least 100 of them exist now in the US!
  • Raiden has apparently taken off as a name in the US after Mortal Kombat (which also led to parents naming their daughters Kitana and Mileena) and Metal Gear.
  • Aeris first entered the baby naming charts just after a certain characternote  from Final Fantasy VII first appeared in 1997. Though still rare, the name had basically never been used prior, and it enjoyed a rising popularity until the end of the 2010s.

    Western Animation 
  • In 2016, the names Chase and Skylernote  made the top 100 baby names due to them being the names of two of PAW Patrol's most popular characters. On a smaller note, the name "Rocky", which had declined in the 2000s and was not in the top 1000 baby names for that decade as a result, began a slow rise in popularity once one of the show's dogs had that name, returning to the top 1,000 in 2014.
    • In Japan, Kento, which was the dub name of Ryder, became a popular boys' name after the show's Japanese premiere.
  • After the premiere of The Loud House, the name of the protagonist (Lincoln) and one of his sisters (Luna) rose in popularity, with the former name breaking the top 50 and the latter name breaking the top 15.
  • The name "Wyatt" rose in popularity after the premiere of Super Why! due to the titular protagonist having that name in his non-superhero form (albeit spelled "Whyatt").
  • The popularity of Elena of Avalor caused the name of its protagonist to rise 50 places the year after it premiered.
  • Before the premiere of Bubble Guppies, Gil was a very obscure name. In 2012, the name hit the top 3,000 baby names in the United States thanks to the show's popularity.
  • The name "Finn" rose in popularity after Adventure Time debuted, to the point where in 2017, the name jumped 200 places higher than it was before the show premiered! (Although another Finn in 2015's The Force Awakens probably also helped.)
  • "Mabel" jumped 300 places after the premiere of Gravity Falls. Its popularity outlasted the show; in the UK, it reentered the top 100 girl's names in 2019 and has continued its ascent since. Ironically, the joke with Mabel was that Alex Hirsch deliberately wanted to give her a name that was very old-fashioned and a bit uncool, its previous peak of popularity having been in the late 19th century. Pacifica Northwest even lampshaded this in their first meeting, calling it "a fat old lady's name".
  • An interesting example of this trope: after the Animated Adaptation of Curious George became popular in Japan (a country which usually uses traditional names), more people started using the name George (or Joji in Japanese) for their kids. This trend also may have explained why many recent anime like HuGtto! Pretty Cure and King of Prism have featured characters with that name.
  • "Daria" saw a brief jump in popularity in the late '90s thanks to the animated series of the same name.

    Real Life — Actors 
  • The name "Emma" was already rising in popularity, but jumped (from thirteenth to fourth place in the States) upon the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone with Emma Watson. Since then, it has never been out of the top four and was at #1 in 2008 and from 2014 through '18.
  • Thanks to Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura in Star Trek: The Original Series, there were spikes in popularity of the name Nichelle as a baby name.
  • "Jayden", a name that was practically unheard of before The '90s, skyrocketed in popularity after 1998 when Jaden Smith was born, peaking in 2010 as the fourth most popular boy's name.
  • "Owen" boomed in popularity after Owen Wilson starred in Anaconda and Armageddon (1998). As of 2019, it's in the top 30 baby names.
  • The name "Emilia", once a fairly obscure variant on "Emily", has surged in popularity thanks to the increasing popularity of the actress Emilia Clarke.
  • "Liam", an Irish variant of "William", was unheard of in the US until 1994, when it entered the top 1000 baby names, thanks to the release of Schindler's List, featuring Irish heartthrob Liam Neeson. It would skyrocket to number 2 on the list in 2013, thanks to The Hunger Games star Liam Hemsworth.
  • In Brazil, ever since a famous actor couple named their son "Enzo" in the late '90s, the name skyrocketed in popularity — "Enzo Gabriel" in particular became the most common composite name in 2009, and outright male name in 2018! A kindergarten class featuring seven "Enzos" went viral, and the name is now memetic as a trendy baby name (for single moms in particular; the female equivalent is "Valentina", which took off without a clear reason). Like "Karen", "Becky", and "Chad", it is also an online slang term: say "Enzos", and others will know you're talking about the current teenage populace in a demeaning way.
  • Shortly after Darla Hood became one of The Little Rascals in 1935/36, parents all over the country were naming their baby girls "Darla".
  • Tends to happen from time to time with popular Saturday Night Live cast members. For example, the names "Victoria" and "Maya" increased in popularity after Victoria Jackson and Maya Rudolph became regulars on the show.
  • "Ryan" exploded as a boy's name in The '70s after Ryan O'Neal starred in Love Story, which (as noted above) did the same to "Jennifer" as a girl's name.
  • "Drew" took off first as a boy's name in The '80s, then had a smaller boom as a girl's name in The '90s, thanks to Drew Barrymore.
  • The girl's name "Alyssa" had a rapid rise in popularity in the mid-1980s, following Alyssa Milano's Star-Making Role on Who's the Boss?. It went from being ranked at 230 in popularity for girls in 1982 to number 27 in 1990. It dropped slightly, but then saw another boost in the late '90s and early '00s, where it was solidly in the top 15 names for girls from 1997 to 2004, which coincides neatly with her appearance on Charmed (1998).
  • "Millie", a diminutive of "Mildred" or "Millicent", started skyrocketing as a girl's name in the US in the late 2010s, hitting the top 200 by 2020, thanks to Millie Bobby Brown's Star-Making Role on Stranger Things. There wasn't a similar boost in the UK or the rest of the English-speaking world despite Brown being English herself, possibly because, in those countries, the name had already been a popular choice since the 2000s.
  • "Olivia" became a popular name after Olivia de Havilland starred in Captain Blood.
  • "Annette" boomed in popularity in the 1950s when Annette Funicello starred in The Mickey Mouse Club.
  • The tragic and sudden early death of River Phoenix in 1993 caused the name "River" to enter the top 1,000 boy's names for the first time the following year, as many parents named their sons in tribute to a talented actor taken too soon (especially one who, before his fatal overdose, was not widely known to have drug problems). As noted above, it has continued to rise since then.
  • After Roots (1977) premiered, many parents named their sons "Levar" after LeVar Burton, who played Kunta Kinte in his Star-Making Role. To a lesser extent, it also happened to "Kunta" itself, but to a smaller degree.

    Real Life — Athletes 
  • The tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash caused those names to trend in 2020. Kobe's name had previously spiked in the late '90s and early '00s when he first started playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.
  • The name Jalen and other variations was popularized in the 1990s by the basketball player Jalen Rose. Rose's name was a combination of the names of his father James and his uncle Leonard.
  • "Brady" saw a large spike as a boy's name in the 2000s due to Tom Brady, the quarterback for the New England Patriots who went on to become one of the winningest pro athletes in American history. The name peaked in 2007 when Brady led the Patriots to a 16-0 "perfect season".note  It fell off just as fast in the late '00s and '10s, though, likely because the Patriots had by that point become the Opposing Sports Team for every football fan west of New Haven.
  • Colin McRae's 1995 WRC championship win spurred a number of boys named after the Scotsman, among them Kenyan rally driver McRae Kimathi.
  • Lots of parents named their sons "Shaquille" in the early '90s after Shaquille O'Neal.

    Real Life — Musicians 
  • R&B singer Aaliyah caused her name to suddenly explode in popularity in the mid-'90s, along with its many variations. The name had originated in the Middle East (deriving from the Arabic `Aliya', which is, roughly, the feminine form of `Ali and means "elevated," "exalted," or "noble") but became more associated with the African American and Latino communities after the popularity of the singer. The name spiked in popularity in 2001 after her untimely death.
  • The Backstreet Boys' popularity in Mexico caused many boys around that time to be named Kevin or Brian (often spelled as "Brayan").
  • In 2000, Sonny Sandoval, the frontman of P.O.D. and a born-again Christian, gave his daughter the unusual name of "Nevaeh", which is "heaven" spelled backwards. By 2010, Nevaeh had become the 25th most popular name for baby girls in the United States, with most of this popularity coming from evangelical Christian parents. It's also occasionally been misspelled "Neveah", but that's neither here nor there.
  • Baby name databases don't seem to have any data for the name "Tevin" before 1990, but it peaks in popularity in 1992 (top 200). In between those two years, an R&B singer named Tevin Campbell had released his debut album and scored several hits off it, and his popularity resulted in many baby boys being given his uncommon first name.
  • "Britney", an alternate spelling of "Brittany", saw a spike in popularity in the early '00s thanks to Britney Spears. (The base spelling Brittany itself—an old name deriving from a region of France—and other variations on such, did not see anything similar.)
  • While "Taylor" had been falling off from its peak in the mid-'90s by then, it did get a momentary bump in 2008 thanks to Taylor Swift. The One-Mario Limit seems to have kicked in since, however, and the name has continued its decline.
  • The same thing happened to "Kanye" in 2004 thanks to Kanye West, with over five hundred baby boys given the name that year.
  • Layne Staley of Alice in Chains gave a boost to "Layne" as a boy's name in The '90s. His death from a heroin overdose in 2002 created a second boom that year, and since then it's had a comfortable baseline of popularity due to his status as rock royalty.
  • Over four hundred baby boys were named "Elvis" in 1956, and over six hundred in 1957, when the future King of Rock & Roll made his debut. A second spike happened in the late '70s after his untimely death.
  • In The Netherlands there used to be only one person named Vajèn (Vajèn van den Bosch, born 1998), whose mother had made up the name. In 2011 she participated in The Voice Kids and made it to the final round, and suddenly there were hundreds of baby girls being named Vajèn.
  • The name Kehlani (a variation of a Hawaiian name) became one of the top 1000 names in the U.S. in 2016, around the rise of the American singer of the same name.
  • The girls' name Mariah jumped from number 562 in popularity in 1989 to number 69 in 1991, the year after Mariah Carey released her debut album. Fittingly, Carey's parents were inspired by the song "They Call the Wind Maria" (pronounced Ma-rye-ah) from the 1969 film Paint Your Wagon, which was likely a factor in that name with that spelling reaching its century peak of popularity in the 1970s and the spelling with the H on the end receiving a bump in popularity of over 200 places in the same decade. The spelling with the H on the end is more traditional, as it's originally a name from the Bible.
  • Upon her international breakthrough in 2011, the English pop singer Adele saw her name jump in popularity across the US and Europe (except in her home country, oddly enough).
  • The groundbreaking success of the Tejano pop singer Selena caused her name to skyrocket in popularity in the US in the first half of the '90s. It peaked in 1995 when she was murdered by a Loony Fan, causing nearly four thousand girls to be named after her in tribute and briefly pushing the name into the top 100. In the 2010s, it came full circle when Selena Gomez, herself named after the singer, became a pop superstar and gave the name a second wind of popularity.
  • After the release of Whitney Houston's self-titled debut album in 1985, the name "Whitney" skyrocketed in popularity and became the 32nd most common girl's name in the US. It had another small bump in 1993, the year after the release of The Bodyguard.
  • Sheena Easton's breakthrough in 1980 with "9 to 5" caused the name "Sheena" to jump from obscurity to one of the 100 most popular girl's names in the US by 1984.
  • This was Double Subverted by "Miley" as a girl's name. It saw a spike in the late '00s thanks to Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus, but fell off just as quickly in the early '10s after she embraced a Hotter and Sexier image post-Disney... only to return in the late '10s as she cleaned up her image, enjoyed a Career Resurrection, and became an elder stateswoman of pop music.
  • After Tyrese Gibson released his debut album in 1998, "Tyrese" shot up the rankings of boy's names in the US, and would remain popular through the '00s.
  • For girl's names, the same thing happened when Mýa released her debut album that same year and her name similarly exploded.
  • In The '70s, the band Captain & Tennille caused a lot of parents to name their daughters "Tennille" after their female singer.
  • While the girl's name "Ashanti" had a small boost before then due to the Black Power movement, the debut of the singer Ashanti in 2002 caused a huge spike in the name's popularity that lasted for much of the '00s.

    Real Life — Political and Military Leaders 
  • Prior to the rise of pop culture, the best way to get people to name their kids after you was to conquer them. As an example, prior to 1066, nearly everyone in England had solid Old English names like Edwin, Edgar, or Athelstan. Once William the Conqueror made the aristocracy Norman French, things changed, and soon nearly everyone was called things like William, Richard, Robert, Henry, or Hugh, names of Continental Germanic (generally Frankish) origin that the Normans, who were originally Vikings (hence "Nor(se)man") but had adopted French ways, brought with them. Interestingly, Henry III created an instance of this by naming his son and heir (who had an illustrious if controversial reign) after the last king of the House of Wessex, Edward the Confessor, reviving the distinctively Anglo-Saxon name "Edward" not only for the English monarchy, but for the English people and for Europe generally (see: French "Édouard", German/Dutch "Eduard", Spanish/Portuguese "Eduardo" and "Duarte",note  and Scandinavian "Edvard").
  • If The British Royal Family has a new baby, chances are many people will name their kids after the child, as was the case with Charlotte and George.
    • Princess Diana died in 1997. That year and the next, her name suddenly shot up to the 409th and 396th most popular girl names in the UK, after having been outside of the Top 1000; by 1999, it had dropped off again.
  • The name "Victoria" had short bursts of popularity during the Queen's succession (1837), coronation (1838), marriage (1840), Diamond Jubilee (1897), and eventually her death (1901). Since then, she has had this impact on the name in the Anglosphere more broadly; before her reign, "Victoria" was a Latin name, but thanks to her it's seen as one of the most quintessentially English names out there and has been a perennial favorite.
  • In 2011, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge married Catherine "Kate" Middleton. While neither William nor Catherine's names saw any boosts (both names were perennial favorites, anyway), the spotlight put on Catherine's family caused her younger sister Philippa "Pippa" Middleton to become a socialite and writer in her own right, leading to "Pippa" becoming a popular girl's name in the UK.
  • "Meghan" saw a slight bump in 2018 thanks to Meghan Markle's marriage to Prince Harry that year.
  • While it is still far from a common name, "Kamala" saw a surge in popularity after Kamala Harris was elected the first female vice president of the United States.
  • In 1918, Italian general Armando Diaz signed the Victory Address, a short document meant to inform the population of the victory against Austria in World War I. It was shown in schools, barracks, and town halls, and many children were required to memorize it. The Address ended with the words "firmato: Diaz" (signed: Diaz), which led many to think that "firmato" ("signed") was his name. In the following years, many children were baptized with that name.
  • If the President of the United States has a name that isn't one of the old standards like "John", "Richard", "Ronald", "George", "Bill", or "Joe", it's likely that a lot of Americans will name their sons after him. After the initial spikes wear off, the continued popularity, or lack thereof, of those names also tracks closely with the popularity of those Presidents.
    • "McKinley" after the election of William McKinley in 1896. Public sympathy after his assassination kept the name popular for some time after.
    • "Theodore", "Roosevelt", "Teddy", and "Ted" after Theodore Roosevelt (who was nicknamed Teddy) ascended to the Presidency in 1901 following McKinley's assassination. As he remained popular for a while after, so did his names. "Theodore" would get a second wind in the 2010s and hit the top 10 in 2021, this time due to TR's internet-fueled reputation as a Memetic Badass and real-life Action Politician making the name a popular choice for parents who want some of his badassery to rub off on their sons.
    • "Taft" after the election of William Howard Taft in 1908. This one rapidly fell off as his administration proved so unpopular that he remains the only President to place third when running for reelection.
    • "Woodrow" and "Wilson" after the election of Woodrow Wilson in 1912. While they remained popular through the decade, conservative backlash against Wilson's economic and foreign policy during The Roaring '20s caused them to quickly fall off.
    • "Warren" and "Harding" after the election of Warren G. Harding in 1920. His corruption scandals caused the names to quickly fall off, as while he was never personally touched by them, they led many Americans to see him as a Horrible Judge of Character. Not even his early death in office redeemed the names, not least because it's been long speculated that it was actually an assassination by his jilted wife, fed up with his extramarital affairs (which spilled out after his death).
    • "Calvin" and "Coolidge" after Calvin Coolidge ascended to the Presidency in 1923 following Harding's death. While "Coolidge" was just a blip, "Calvin" remained popular thanks to Coolidge's image as a decent, steady hand at the helm during a time of economic prosperity.
    • "Herbert" and "Hoover" after the election of Herbert Hoover in 1928. The popularity of both names collapsed as The Great Depression started on his watch and he took the blame for it, with "Hoover" in particular widely used as a prefix for things related to poverty (such as "Hooverville" for a shanty town).
    • "Franklin" after the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, with "Roosevelt" also getting a renewed bump. This one remained popular well into The '40s as FDR led the country through the Depression and World War II.
    • "Truman" after Harry Truman ascended to the Presidency in 1945 following FDR's death. This one fell off in popularity in The '50s as he was dragged down by his increasingly unpopular handling of The Korean War.
    • "Lyndon" after Lyndon Johnson ascended to the Presidency in 1963 following the assassination of John F. Kennedy. As he was assailed for The Vietnam War and the social crises of the late '60s, this one quickly collapsed in popularity.
  • "Dwight" saw two peaks in popularity as a boy's name, 1945 and 1953, and remained popular for a while after. The common denominator in both was Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander who presided over the end of World War II in 1945 and was elected President of the United States in late 1952.
  • After Barack Obama became President in 2009, bringing his daughters Malia and Sasha into the public eye, the name Maliyah was the fastest growing name in popularity in 2009, and the name Sasha also jumped in popularity. Notably, this hasn't affected the popularity of Natasha, Sasha's rarely-used full first name, which has only decreased in popularity since the family came into public prominence.
  • During World War II, lots of parents named their sons "MacArthur" as Douglas MacArthur gained recognition as commander of the United States Army in the Pacific. The variant "McArthur" proved the most popular.
  • The same happened with "Pershing" in 1918 when the US entered World War I and John J. Pershing led the American Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front.

    Real Life — Miscellaneous 
  • "Carson" has two fathers for its popularity. First, the retirement of Johnny Carson from hosting The Tonight Show in 1992 caused many mothers to name their sons (and even a few daughters) Carson in his honor, with the name having a steady increase in popularity ever since. The biggest surge, however, came in the late '90s and early '00s when Carson Daly started hosting the MTV music video countdown show Total Request Live. It saw another, smaller spike in 2006, the year after Johnny Carson's death, when it permanently entered the top 100 after hanging around just outside it for a few years before that.
  • In 1992, Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, better known mononymously as simply Kennedy, started hosting Alternative Nation on MTV. By the time the show ended in 1997, "Kennedy" went from almost unheard of as a first name (and a boy's name when it was used) to one of the 200 most popular girl's names in the US. Since 2011, it's been in the top 100.
  • In Brazil, two foreign celebrities led to phonetic versions that are still popular to date, Daiana/Daiane for Diana, Princess of Wales and Maicon for Michael Jackson.
  • "Paris" saw a huge momentary spike in popularity in 2004, and a smaller but more sustained bump in the late '00s and '10s, thanks to Paris Hilton.
  • Cars:
    • While the German automaker Mercedes-Benz had been selling cars in the US since 1958, it was only in The '80s when they dethroned a malaise-era Cadillac as the premier luxury automaker in the minds of many Americans. Hence why "Mercedes" took off as a name for baby girls during that time, as the automaker gave it an aura of poshness. In a way, the name came full-circle, as Mercedes-Benz founder Emil Jellinek named the brand after his daughternote .
    • The same thing happened to "Portia", as the German sports car manufacturer Porsche also saw a sales boom in the US during that time. Amusingly, the names Portia and Porsche have no relation whatsoever, yet Portia remains a popular girl's name due to sounding like the car company.
    • For boy's names, "Bentley" took off in the late '00s almost as quickly as a Bentley Continental GT, the car that turned what had once been a small, exclusive British marque into a major player in luxury cars.
  • The Black Power movement in the '60s and '70s upended many naming conventions for African-Americans. Before, both White and Black people named their sons and daughters using more or less the same pool of "English" given names, but afterwards, there was a surge in interest in indigenous African, Egyptian, Arabic, and even French names among Black people, who saw these names as getting them back in touch with their roots and their heritage and rejecting a legacy tied to slavery. Even after the decline of Afrocentrism by the '90s, these naming conventions stuck around.

In-Universe Examples:

  • In this Nike ad, Wayne Rooney's success starts a trend to name babies "Wayne".

    Comic Books 
  • In one very heartwarming short Spider-Man story, where a pregnant woman he just saved insisted on learning his real name to name her baby in his honor. After some thought, Peter tells her it's Ben, and she happily resolves to use it. The last page shows many other new parents, all also naming their children Ben and, presuming the woman kept her promise of keeping Spider-Man's name secret, the implication is both that Peter gets this request a lot and every time he covertly honors his Uncle Ben with it.
  • Superman once raced a woman to a hospital just before she gave birth. Afterwards, he hoped the kid wouldn't get grief when the other kids learned what his middle initial "S." stood for.

    Fan Works 
  • Inverted in the Triptych Continuum: by tradition, no newborns are ever named after the Princesses, and a mother who'd had just given birth directly told Twilight that nopony would ever be given that name again.

  • Discussed in Chronicles of the Necromancer when protagonist Tris is on the run and can use his real name, as the his mother's, his, and little sister Kait's names are popular among commoners because the royals themselves were popular. This is something that Tris's evil half-brother, Jared and his late mother never got, and another point of resentment Jared feels for his younger half-brother.
  • In The Shadow Campaigns, it's mentioned that it's fairly common for commoners to name their children after recently born royals. Princess Raesinia takes advantage of this while going undercover as a schoolgirl revolutionary. Since there are literally hundreds of girls roughly her age named Raesinia, nobody ever considers that she might be that Raesinia.

    Video Games 
  • In Cookie Clicker, one of the headlines says that your cookies become so popular, your bakery's name becomes the most popular baby name.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Double Homework, since Amy is actually a princess, many girls from her country who share her birth date are named after her (including Morgan, whose real name is Amy).

    Western Animation 
  • In the Bob's Burgers episode "Tappy Tappy Tappy Tap Tap Tap", Tina is at Josh's tap show, trying to find out who she thinks sabotaged his show. She tries to interrogate Josh's understudy, Sawyer, but whenever she tries, it turns out to be the wrong Sawyer because there are actually six boys named Sawyer. According to one Sawyer, "Lost was really popular when [they] were born."