Friday, November 18, 2016

"Oy" Vey - Dated Fad, or Vintage Find?

Hello, readers!

Looking through old name data and saying names out loud, you begin to hear the changes in trends. Try saying the top ten names from each decade in order, and see what you find! This post is about one sound that's all-but-vanished from birth certificates: "oy".

The sound "oy" or "oi" is a diphthong, which means it consists of two adjacent vowels in a single syllable. While the sound shows up quite a lot in English, it's been decreasing on name records. Check out this graph showing the decline (thanks, Expert NameVoyager!)

Let's look at some historical "oy" names, then move onto today's favorites!

Past "oy" Names

In 1905, this name peaked at #44 - but it's been off the top 1000 since 1999. Today, it's attached to numerous American boxers, from Patterson to Mayweather, but has a bit of trouble standing on its own. In my opinion, it's too early for a return, but Floyd may one day rise again!

Slightly less dated, but still relatively unpopular, Lloyd's peak happened in 1918 when it reached #51. Also like Floyd, Lloyd dropped off the charts entirely in 2003. Still, its sound is fairly subdued and its namesakes are more wide-ranging. Lloyd would be a classic Welsh choice.

Though the futuristic cartoon The Jetsons premiered in 1962, character Elroy was already rather out-of-date. The name had peaked in 1922, and didn't last beyond the 1960's. Elroy has a zany, eccentric vibe, but it may not return for awhile. Slightly different Leroy is still in style, though!

This Irish variation of Mary never got as far as Molly or Maureen, but it was attached to a character in Peter Pan - Wendy Moira Angela Darling. It's been used more frequently in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and could fit in well with names like Nora and Cora today.

This name dominated charts in the 1970's and 1980's, but was out of fashion by 1995. Singer and actress La Toya Jackson is almost single-handedly responsible for this trend. LaToya is actually a diminutive of Victoria, meaning "the winner."

Present "oy" Names

While this name was more popular in the mid-century decades, it's begun to rise up the charts again. Along with its happy, upbeat sound, it was also featured as the name of a main character in Pixar's Inside Out. Like other virtue names, Joy is likely to (positively) increase! Similar-sounding Joyce may follow it up as well.

At #465 for boys and #755 for girls, Royal is a unisex moniker that joins the hierarchical name group - King, Princess, and Royalty among them. While it's sophisticated enough to age well, it still hasn't quite permeated pop culture yet - but give Royal time!

With dozens of real and fictional namesakes, Troy is one of the few names on this list that's lasted through every year of name records in the United States. It's now at the same popularity level it had in 1957, just before getting a boost from Troy Donahue.

Luxurious but accessible, familiar but unique, Royce manages to balance between multiple name categories. It means "son of the king" and fits in with Jace and Reese, but goes beyond them with noble flair. Shorter form Roy is close behind - both names are classics, but float just under major popularity lines.

This Slavic/Arabic/Persian form of Zoe could be the next hit - it can be pronounced similarly in multiple languages, it's short but refined, and it sounds feminine without feeling overly done. Only 173 baby girls were given the name last year, so it will be awhile before Zoya reaches the charts.

Other names with the sound include: Doyle, Boyd, McCoy, Loyal, Noya, and Oyindamola.

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