Special Report

25 Names That Are Going Extinct

Source: Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images

30. Marsha
> Drop in popularity: -6,079
> Avg. rank 1880-2010: 81 (1,029 names given in avg. year)
> Avg. rank 2011-2017: 6,160 (21 names given in avg. year)
> Year of peak popularity: 1950

The name Marsha derives from Mars, the Roman god of war. Despite its powerful derivation, Marsha has been declining in popularity since 1950. It’s a variation on the name Marcia, which doesn’t appear headed toward extinction.

Source: Getty Images / Getty Images

29. Jo
> Drop in popularity: -6,150
> Avg. rank 1880-2010: 67 (1,385 names given in avg. year)
> Avg. rank 2011-2017: 6,217 (24 names given in avg. year)
> Year of peak popularity: 1954

Jo can be a shortened form of many names, including Joanna and Josephine. And while it’s not often seen these days in the U.S., it remains popular in some non-English speaking countries, including Norway (Jo Nesbo) and Brazil.

Source: J. A. Hampton / Getty Images

28. Peggy
> Drop in popularity: -6,331
> Avg. rank 1880-2010: 50 (2,250 names given in avg. year)
> Avg. rank 2011-2017: 6,381 (20 names given in avg. year)
> Year of peak popularity: 1937

Peggy, a diminutive version of the name Margaret, is itself sometimes shortened to Peg. It has been declining in popularity since 1937, notwithstanding the success of the Buddy Holly song “Peggy Sue.” The song was released in 1957 and has since been covered by The Beach Boys, John Lennon, and others.

Source: George Stroud / Daily Express / Getty Images

27. Phyllis
> Drop in popularity: -6,437
> Avg. rank 1880-2010: 50 (2,460 names given in avg. year)
> Avg. rank 2011-2017: 6,487 (20 names given in avg. year)
> Year of peak popularity: 1929

The name Phyllis dates back to ancient Greece. Perhaps the best known Phyllis in recent times was Phyllis Diller, the zany comedian and actress. In the 1970s, conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly played a critical role in stopping the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Source: Evening Standard / Getty Images

26. Bob
> Drop in popularity: -7,059
> Avg. rank 1880-2010: 86 (709 names given in avg. year)
> Avg. rank 2011-2017: 7,145 (13 names given in avg. year)
> Year of peak popularity: 1934

Bob is a short form of the name Robert, which certainly doesn’t appear to be going extinct. Its appearance on our list is surprising given the many famous Bobs in popular culture, including Bob Dylan, Bob Hope, and Bob Marley.

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