Spotlight on: George

When I was pregnant with my son, my 8 year old niece suggested George. While we had already picked a name, I thought to myself, That’s not a bad suggestion.

My niece is not the only one who likes George. There has been some talk in the name-world about George. In fact the idea to spotlight George this week came from two places. First there was the announcement of Rebecca Gayheart and Eric Dane’s choice of Georgia* for their daughter a few weeks ago. Secondly, Swistle Baby Names highly endorsed George to a reader as a potential brother for Charlotte.

I can easily see George becoming the next Henry, a name that had blended into the background for decades, only to emerge as being considered handsome and charming these past few years.

George was a hot commodity during the late 19th, early 20th centuries. He averaged among the top 5 boy names from the 1880s through the 1900s. He continued to average among the top 10 from the 1910s through the 1930s. It’s no wonder then, that the name is one of the few that has become a part of the U.S. cultural lexicon:

By George I think he’s got it, (which some believe is actually a misquote of By George I think she’s got it, from a screen play by who else? George Bernard Shaw). And we agree: George has got it.

The feminine variation Georgia* which peaked at 83 in 1890, is seen as a hot choice among some parents, such as Rebecca Gayheart and Eric Dane.

According to the stats, Georgia may not be headed for super-stardom, but has seen a little resurgence. Georgia hit her lowest point in the 1980s in the 500-600’s and saw a rapid rise in the 1990s and settled in the top 350s this past decade, where it may have hit a plateau.

While George still ranks higher than Georgia, he appears to be on the decline, ranking at 164 for 2010, his lowest rank ever. But don’t be surprised if things turn around for George.

For one thing, parents of the currently stylish Henry and Oliver might need another son’s name. Or expectant parents who like Henry and Oliver may fear these names are becoming overused, and could turn to George.

For another thing, he has some marvelous associations. While Martha is our nation’s first-first lady, George is our nation’s first president. And for those looking for musical inspiration, there is the late George Harrison from the Beetles. But what may have the most credibility with today’s parents is the perennially handsome and dignified George Clooney.

George is a name most parents have known all of their lives and taken for granted. But when viewed through a new lens, his manly timeless qualities make him worth a second look.

Readers: Do you feel George could be the next Henry?

*Georgia was discussed earlier this week in Feminizations with Fun Nicknames.

Photo credit.


  1. Really like your blog. I’ll be checking back and sending people to your site too. Found you on Blogelina.

  2. I think George is excellent and worthy of revival. He’s in my top five for a boy. There are so many qualities I like about him: he’s handsome, masculine, has a long history of use, feels vintage but modern, and I think any type of guy could be named George.

  3. British American says:

    George is the next Henry in our family. 🙂 We have a 4 year old Henry and his younger brother George is about to turn one. I also had Oliver on my list for Henry’s name. I’m so predictable! 😛

    I picked Henry’s name and my husband actually picked George’s name. I named our first two kids, so he figured he should get to name the third. The name George came up when we were naming Henry – somewhat as a joke, but then we started to like the name. So by the time we had George, George was my husband’s favourite boy name. It’s probably not the one I would have picked, but I love his name more and more all the time.

    I can definitely see the name turning around and heading back up the charts again. At the library yesterday I met a 3 year old George and his Mom said she knew of another George the same age as her son. We also knew of an older George – he’s maybe 9 or so now. And I do see people online who are considering Henry but don’t like that it’s heading fast up the charts. (We discarded Lily for that same reason in 2005, in favour of Rose – but I wasn’t as bothered by Henry’s rise in 2007.)

    • The way you describe how you feel about your son George’s name sounds similar to the way I feel about my son’s name, Paul. Paul was the last name on my list, a name I liked more for other babies than my own, but I grow to love Paul’s name more and more each day.

      I don’t mind seeing names like George and Paul get more popular. I’m having a Beetle’s vision suddenly.

      • British American says:

        Funny you say that, as after this post I went to read the one about how you picked your son’s name and I was going to comment on that one too, but didn’t have time. Definitely agree that Paul is a good solid choice too. I sometimes imagine myself as a teenager, when I never would have imagined having a son named George!

  4. My dad’s name was Henry. He was born in the early 40’s. When I was pregnant with my second son last year my husband suggested Henry. I like Henry well enough but my husband wanted to call my son “Hank” like everyone called my dad. My dad died when I was a little girl so I thought the suggestion was sweet but ultimately we chose Thaddeus. Another name we considered was George but it was never a serious contender. I have a friend with a little son named George. I love old fashioned names like George, Henry…and yes I liked Oliver too!


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