SPOTLIGHT ON: Ross

If Phoebe can shake its Friends image so can Ross. Phoebe is on the Freakonomics predicted top 2015 name list published in 2005. Phoebe makes sense as an up-and-coming name. Phoebe is a revival name with the predictable U-shaped historic pattern.

Phoebe peaked at #215 in 1880, disappeared from the charts (top 1000) for most of the 60’s-70’s-80’s and returned at #944 five years before Friends first aired. Friends first aired in 1994. The TV show didn’t stop Phoebe’s climb, although it may have slowed it a little. Once the show left the air in 2004, the name climbed at a gradual pace from #405 to #309 in 2010. In 2011 Phoebe went down one spot to #310.

But what about Phoebe’s buddy Ross? Until the 1990’s Ross had what I consider a favorable historic pattern, which is a steady line, never reaching the top 100, but never leaving the top 300.

The 1980’s saw a slight peak for Ross, which hit #147 in 1985. Then Ross declined through the 1980’s and most of the 1990’s. Ross rebounded slightly in 1995 and 1996, which may or may not have anything to do with the loveable neurotic Ross Geller character. After 1996 Ross declined rapidly to its lowest point ever at #934 in 2011.

For some reason, while Phoebe is a Friends name seeing great success, Ross has gone under the radar. This makes Ross a great surprise choice with a timeless edge like Kat and Max. In fact, Ross would make a great brother for one of our other timeless-edgy spotlight names, Bianca. One of our other suggested brothers for Bianca, Roscoe, can be a long form for Ross, but Ross works on its own.

Ross is yet another name with surname origins. The Scottish and English surname originated as a place-name. Ross is a region in northern Scotland. In Scotland the name fares well on new babies, ranking at #47, but has entered down-market territory. A decade ago, in 2001 and 2002, Ross was in Scotland’s top 10, ranking at #9. Ross was in Ireland’s top 100 until 2010 and England’s top 100 until 2002.

Given the popularity of English/Irish names in the U.S., Ross’s decline in recent years is puzzling, especially considering  Ross has another selling point. Ross is also a Shakespeare character in Macbeth. Shakespeare had a knack for using memorable, yet timeless, names. I’m not sure why a name with such history and style has trended down. But instead of questioning it, I would rather enjoy celebrating this name’s potential.

Unlike its twin Joss, Ross never became a gender cross-over name. If Ross does become a gender cross-over, the only surprise would be why it didn’t happen sooner considering Ross makes a potential nickname for both Rosaline and Rosalind, two other Shakespeare names.

Another strong point for Ross is that The Baby Name Wizard lists Ross among timeless, stylish choices such as:

Anna
Ari
Blair
Caroline
Celia
Chandler – Ross and Chandler were both listed as brothers for Sloane, not as brothers for each other.
Chase
Elliott
Felix
Grayson
Greer
Harrison
Helena
Johanna
Laine
Leah
Lila
Lydia
Naomi
Nina
Samuel
Simon
Shelby
Sloane
Tate
Will

This is rather impressive company. Notice how the list includes old-fashioned (e.g. Felix and Helena), modern (e.g. Chase, Sloane, and Tate), classic (e.g. Anna and Samuel), and timeless (e.g. Leah and Naomi). Ross is also included in The Baby Name Wizard as a brother for Dean, and includes brothers and sisters from mid-century, such as Tina, Dawn, Christine, Teresa, Lynn, Keith, Kent, Tad, and Troy.

Now, picture a Ross and guess how old he is.

An older Ross still seems boyish, yet not childish.

Ross is a timeless name with a youthful energy and rustic style, that will never completely go out of style. On top of being timeless, Ross can easily be classified as a “golden-mean” name, a name appealing to a range of tastes. This quality is often needed when two people with very different tastes try to agree on a name.

Ross has a bit going for it. Considering Ross is at a historic low, now is a great time for parents who like the name to use it.

Ross would make a great brother for last week’s spotlight name, Huey. Imagine brothers name Huey, Ross, and Theo – love! I would only recommend against using it as a brother for Phoebe (or Monica, Rachel, Chandler or Joey).

Readers: What do you think of Ross?

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Comments

  1. I know two guys named Ross: one is in his thirties, the other in his early teens. The Baby Name Wizard lists are always spot on; the Ross in his teens has brothers called Sam and Will.

  2. Katybug says:

    I love this name but can’t use it because it’s too closely attached to two college friends. I think it would be a fantastic choice for a little boy!

  3. I’ve only ever met one Ross, my fiance. We’re in our early 20s. I love his name, and he does too, but we won’t be passing it down to any children. As much as we love it, we want them to have their own names. That said, I’d be thrilled to hear of other parents choosing the name for their sons, so long as it doesn’t get too popular. 😉

  4. The only time I’ve really thought about Ross is when you think of names that you’ve ruled out by picking certain names for your children. Like because we have a Rose, we couldn’t have a Ross.

    The name just seems too middle aged for me personally – it must be because of ‘Friends’ because I don’t think I’ve ever met a real Ross. Hmm, I do remember a teacher called Mr Rossington – maybe that got mixed in with the image too. The name just doesn’t excite me. I do like Phoebe though.

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