Special Report

25 Names That Are Going Extinct

Source: Keystone / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

45. Debbie
> Drop in popularity: -4,783
> Avg. rank 1880-2010: 48 (1,549 names given in avg. year)
> Avg. rank 2011-2017: 4,831 (30 names given in avg. year)
> Year of peak popularity: 1959

Debbie is better known as a nickname than a given name, which may help explain the name’s decline in popularity. The two most famous Debbies began life with other names. Actress Debbie Reynolds was born Mary Frances Reynolds and was given the name Debbie by studio boss Jack Warner. She was one of the biggest movie stars of the 1950s. Debbie Harry, lead singer of the group Blondie, was born Angela Trimble. She was adopted and renamed Deborah Ann Harry.

Source: Robin Jones / Getty Images

44. Tracey
> Drop in popularity: -4,844
> Avg. rank 1880-2010: 73 (1,165 names given in avg. year)
> Avg. rank 2011-2017: 4,917 (29 names given in avg. year)
> Year of peak popularity: 1970

Tracey is another entry on our list better known as a surname than a first name. The name has been declining in popularity since 1970, despite becoming urban slang for an attractive and intelligent woman. This usage may have stemmed from the Katharine Hepburn character Tracy Lord in the 1940 movie “The Philadelphia Story.”

Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images

43. Dianne
> Drop in popularity: -5,073
> Avg. rank 1880-2010: 86 (989 names given in avg. year)
> Avg. rank 2011-2017: 5,159 (29 names given in avg. year)
> Year of peak popularity: 1945

It may be surprising that Dianne has been declining in popularity as there have been some strong role models with the name. Dianne Feinstein has been a U.S. senator from California since 1992, and she is rarely out of the headlines. Dianne Wiest won the Academy Award for best supporting actress twice for “Hannah and her Sisters” in 1986 and “Bullets Over Broadway” in 1994.

Source: Phil Cole / Getty Images

42. Tonya
> Drop in popularity: -5,086
> Avg. rank 1880-2010: 61 (1,501 names given in avg. year)
> Avg. rank 2011-2017: 5,147 (27 names given in avg. year)
> Year of peak popularity: 1973

The popularity of this name was likely hurt by the Tonya Harding affair. In 1994, the figure skater was banned for life from the U.S. Figure Skating Association for her involvement in an attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan. The scandal was back in the news with the release of the 2017 biopic “I, Tonya,” in which Margot Robbie plays Harding.

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

41. Wanda
> Drop in popularity: -5,098
> Avg. rank 1880-2010: 63 (2,144 names given in avg. year)
> Avg. rank 2011-2017: 5,161 (26 names given in avg. year)
> Year of peak popularity: 1933

The name Wanda originated in Poland — the country was ruled by a Princess Wanda in the eighth century — and it’s still popular there. Perhaps the most famous Wanda in the U.S. today is actress and comedian Wanda Sykes. The name Wanda has dramatically fallen out of favor. The average number of children named Wanda born each year between 1880 and 2010 was 2,144. The annual average between 2011 and 2017 was 26.

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