Unfairly Dated Names: April

Unfairly Dated Names are a subset of Spotlight Names most people don’t consider old-enough to recycle. Most of these names peaked around 15-60 years ago and are often typecast as parent and grandparent names. But their timeless and sometimes modern attributes make them stylish stand-outs for modern children. At one point these names were ahead of the trends, and likely will be again.

Unfairly Dated Name: April

First there was May, then there was June, and then there was April? That order doesn’t make any sense. This isn’t the order according to the calendar. This is the order these months peaked as given names. April, while coming before May and June chronologically, is the most modern of the three as a given name.

May is a classic vintage name that peaked in 1880 (the earliest year data is available) at #57. May steadily declined and left the top 1000 in 1962. It has not returned yet, but its pattern suggests May is a prime revival candidate. The Mae spelling returned to the top 1000 in 2010 and has increased at a respectable pace from #982 in 2010 to #803 in 2011.

June peaked thirty-five years after May, at #39 in 1925. It was in the top 1000 from 1880 to 1982, and has since returned in a big way in 2008. June was one of the fastest rising names in 2011 climbing over 80 spots to #470.

And then April was next. April peaked almost fifty-five years after June and nearly a century after May at #23 in 1979.

April has a one-step-removed personal connection for me, as possibly the sister I never had. Had my brother been a girl, he could have been named April. He was born in April, in the late 1970’s, coinciding perfectly with the April boom.

April is a relatively modern name. Before the 1940’s few girls were named April. The name first entered the top 1000 in 1939 and hasn’t left yet. April was still more popular than June in 2011. April was at #395 compared to June at #470. But while June is dramatically trending up, April is steadily trending down.

Mainstream parents might get more excited about May/Mae or June, which have both been out of style long enough to seem fresh again. If you are looking for an edgy name, you might dismiss April as too 70s. Perhaps you prefer April’s French counterpart, Avril or more unusual months, January or September.

April is one 1970s / 1980s name I could root for. May/Mae and June’s comeback could jumpstart a resurgence in other months as given names. Eventually I can even see January and September entering the top 1000 for the first time for girls, and possibly boys too. Let’s not forget the masculine August, which never left the top 1000 and is gradually trending up, ranking at #398 in 2011.

If a calendar month trend develops, April may be among the last of that group to resurface since it peaked so recently, and so high (just missing the top 20), perhaps classifying April as a “mom name.” Regardless, I feel parents choosing April for babies born in 2012 are actually ahead, not behind the trends. A resurgence in month names could cause April to rebound in the next decade or two, sooner than other names from the 1970s.

There is another reason I feel an April born in 2012 would fit-in. There is another indirect connection between April and other fashionable names. April could be derived from the Latin “aperire” meaning to open, possibly referring to the opening of flowers. After all, “April showers bring May flowers.” Botanical names have been popular for the last decade and show no signs of slowing down. April’s connection to “spring flowers” make it an indirect botanical name.

I imagine Fawn as a good sister for April. Fawns are born in the spring. Both names have a nature feel, and a retro-hippy style. I also really like April paired with Twila, one of our astrological names. The repetitious A, I, and L in April and Twila makes the pair cohesive without matching too much. When I enter April in Nymbler up-and-coming names like Felicity, Laurel, Poppy and Prudence come up.

As is often the case, I looked to Nymbler for help coming up with brother names for April. Boy results for April are all over the map. Among Nymbler’s suggestions for boy names, there are both unusual choices like Birch and Octavius and mainstream options like Benjamin, Jack and William. The conclusion I drew from the boy results is that April is a versatile name, which can work in its favor.

The only downside I see to April is that a couple of actresses in the adult entertainment industry have chosen it as a stage name. There is adult film star April Flowers, and April March, an exotic dancer born in the 1930s. Regardless, I wouldn’t worry too much about the stage names. Since the name was reasonably popular not too long ago, chances are you know of at least one April who is not in the adult entertainment industry. If it helps, I didn’t even know who April March was until I started researching people named April for this post. I included this information to help name-hunting people make decisions with eyes wide open. When April is heard, I don’t think “adult entertainment industry” immediately comes to most people’s minds.

There are a few fictional April’s on TV, including Dr. April Kepner from Grey’s Anatomy, and April Rhodes from Glee. There is also April Green from Jericho, a show from 2006-2008 that Rob and I just discovered on Netflix. As an aside, we have watched Jericho every night and highly recommend it.

An amazing real-life combo I recently discovered is April in the middle for Cecily April Adams. She was an actress and casting director and the daughter of Don Adams, a sitcom actor from the 60s, and singer Adelaide Efantis. Before her untimely death from cancer in 2004, she was a casting director for That 70’s Show. Cecily is one of my personal top 5 favorites and I really like the Cecily April combo.

Like one of our other “unfairly dated names,” Amy, April is good for a family where the dad-to-be is in a time warp, obsessed with the 70s/80s names from his past. April is not unimaginable on a person born in the 2010s decade. No matter what decade is on the calendar, April is youthful and full of color.

Readers: What do you think of April?

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Comments

  1. This may sound really picky, but I don’t care for April. Not because I find the name dated, but because of the first syllable: ape.

  2. I like the name April, but prefer Avril. She’d make a sweet middle name alternative to Mae et al.

  3. If it’s any consolation to the above poster, Emily, I’ve only ever been called Ape by one person. It’s probably fair to say that my name is (or has) crossed over into Mom territory since I am currently expecting, however, I didn’t grow up with a ton of other Aprils and have met very few other people named April. In other words, even though April had a sharp peak, it wasn’t statistically that big when compared with Jennifer or Heather. I would love to meet a baby April. I’m currently looking for a name for my daughter that she will love as much as I love mine — easy to spell and pronounce, somewhat familiar but not incredibly popular etc.

    • That’s what I like about April too – that it’s easy to spell and pronounce. There’s a good chance my parent’s probably wouldn’t have named my brother April (had he been a girl). I think April ended up being their second girl choice, and in the end, I think they preferred Kristin, but I feel April has an advantage over Kristin in that April doesn’t have a zillion spellings like Kristin, Kristen, Krysten, etc.

    • My little girl is April. Born 2011. Love reading this article and also loving to hear a fellow April who loves her name!
      My husband is a big teenage mutant ninja turtles fan so April popped out the baby name book for me as a pretty name and for him was a cool name too. :0)

  4. Candace April says:

    April is my middle name, and I adore it! I’d love to see it become more used.

    My first name is after my grandmother, so my parents asked my grandfather to choose the middle name. He picked April after his birth month (I’m a July child), and when I was little, because of the month’s birthstone, he’d call me his ‘diamond.’

  5. April Munster says:

    I hate it. you get horrible nicknames like Ape, and so much bullying for it without it being truly individual.

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