Special Report

25 Names That Are Going Extinct

Source: H. F. Davis / Getty Images

50. Homer
> Drop in popularity: -4,119
> Avg. rank 1880-2010: 81 (462 names given in avg. year)
> Avg. rank 2011-2017: 4,200 (25 names given in avg. year)
> Year of peak popularity: 1893

The name Homer has been with us for thousands of years. The ancient Greek poet Homer, author of the “Iliad and the Odyssey,” had an enormous influence on Western civilization. The most famous contemporary Homer is the cartoon character Homer Simpson, from the television show “The Simpsons,” whose laziness and stupidity may explain why the name is on our list.

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

49. Wilbur
> Drop in popularity: -4,356
> Avg. rank 1880-2010: 95 (431 names given in avg. year)
> Avg. rank 2011-2017: 4,451 (23 names given in avg. year)
> Year of peak popularity: 1913

The name Wilbur peaked in popularity in 1913, a decade after Wilbur and Orville Wright flew the world’s first successful airplane. There have been some famous Wilburs since then, including the pig in E.B. White’s children’s book “Charlotte’s Web,” and the current U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross.

Source: Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

48. Glenda
> Drop in popularity: -4,421
> Avg. rank 1880-2010: 91 (1,007 names given in avg. year)
> Avg. rank 2011-2017: 4,512 (33 names given in avg. year)
> Year of peak popularity: 1944

The name Glenda originated in Wales and means “holy and good,” which may have inspired the variation Glinda, the Good Witch, made famous by the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz.” Perhaps the best known bearer of the name today is Glenda Jackson, the English actress and politician. Jackson has won the Academy Award for best actress twice — for “Women in Love” in 1970 and “A Touch of Class” in 1973.

Source: General Photographic Agency / Getty Images

47. Bertha
> Drop in popularity: -4,482
> Avg. rank 1880-2010: 33 (1,583 names given in avg. year)
> Avg. rank 2011-2017: 4,515 (33 names given in avg. year)
> Year of peak popularity: 1883

Bertha peaked in popularity more than a century ago. The name’s decline in popularity since then may have been accelerated by its use as a nickname for a large, ungainly machine. During World War I, a siege cannon used by the Germans was nicknamed Big Bertha. The average number of babies born each year between 1880 and 2010 named Bertha was 1,583. That annual average sank to 33 between 2011 and 2017.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

46. Dewey
> Drop in popularity: -4,589
> Avg. rank 1880-2010: 44 (274 names given in avg. year)
> Avg. rank 2011-2017: 4,633 (23 names given in avg. year)
> Year of peak popularity: 1898

Dewey is better known as a surname than a first name. The Dewey Decimal Classification, or Dewey Decimal System, named after Melvil Dewey, has been used to classify library books for more than a century. In the 1948 presidential election, Democrat Harry S. Truman won an upset victory over his Republican challenger Thomas Dewey.

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