No, Your Family's Name Was Not Changed At Ellis Island

There is a persistent story in a lot of American families that their last name was changed at Ellis Island, garbled by an agent who simply wrote it down incorrectly. Now, it's possible that the name really was changed at some point, but it didn't happen at Ellis Island. Here's why. » 1/07/15 9:28am 1/07/15 9:28am

Why are we still afraid of naming Superheroes?

The Flash finally made it's way to the UK yesterday, and I enjoyed the pilot quite a lot - but one thing bothered me. Why is no one calling the Flash, well 'Flash'? » 10/29/14 3:00pm 10/29/14 3:00pm

Emperor Palpatine has a new first name, and it is RIDICULOUS

Considering he's a main character in the Star Wars saga, it's pretty bizarre that Emperor Palpatine has gone over three decades with naught but a surname to his, err, name. But a new Star Wars novel coming out plans to reveal his forename for the very first time - and it's really dumb. » 10/16/14 9:00am 10/16/14 9:00am

Where Did All the Middle Initials Go? To the Intellectuals.

Phillip K. Dick. Alfred E. Neuman. Ulysses S. Grant. These are all people whose names are inseparable from their middle initials. But Bruce Feiler of The New York Times has a evidence that middle initialism is on the decline. Unless you want to be perceived as smart. In that case, middle initial away. » 7/17/14 12:41am 7/17/14 12:41am

Y'all Sucked At Naming Commander Shepard

What did you name your Commander Shepard? Wait. Let me guess. Your Shepard—assuming you went with something other than the default name—has one of the names in the image above, right? » 5/15/14 3:00pm 5/15/14 3:00pm

How Popular Will Your Name Be In The Coming Decades?

Popular names comes and go like the wind, making it next to impossible to know which ones will endure or make a comeback. A new Baby Name Predictor attempts to solve this problem by determining which names will rise and fall in popularity over the next 25 years. » 5/12/14 6:40am 5/12/14 6:40am

Why does the "mor" in Voldemort, Mordor, and Morlock sound so sinister?

Voldemort. Professor Moriarty. Doctor Moreau. Mordred. The Morlocks. Aside from being nefarious figures, these characters have something in common: the syllable "mor." Is there something that makes that particular sound come off as evil to English-fluent ears? » 3/13/14 1:20pm 3/13/14 1:20pm

An interactive map showing how baby names spread across the US

Using US census data, creator Brian Lee Yung Rowe has developed an interactive map showing how names have grown and waned in popularity in different states since the early 1900s. » 3/03/14 7:20am 3/03/14 7:20am

Visualizing the most unisex names in U.S. history

Trendy names come and go, and so too do those androgynous names that work just as well for both girls and boys. Check out this gorgeous data visualization to see how our acceptance of these gender-neutral names have changed over the course of the past 100 years. » 9/25/13 9:40am 9/25/13 9:40am

Dolphins give each other their own special “names”

Many of the traits we think of as uniquely human can be found in at least a handful of animal species, but names really are almost unheard of outside our species. The reason why I have to say "almost"? Look no further than everyone's favorite exemplar of non-human intelligence, the dolphin. » 7/28/13 2:46pm 7/28/13 2:46pm

The Most Popular Dog Breeds and Names in NYC, Mapped

Earlier this year, radio station WNYC mined the the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's dog license registration database to produce this map of dog breed popularity. Unsurprisingly, small breeds are popular in the city. Well, except Labs. Nothing stops the American obsession with Labs. » 7/05/13 8:30am 7/05/13 8:30am

So... the popularity graph for the name "Bruce" looks just like Batman

This is excellent. Last night a friend sent us this post by redditor TheIndieArmy, who observes that "the popularity graph for the name Bruce looks awfully familiar." » 2/12/13 9:40am 2/12/13 9:40am

These Character Names Should be Banned Forever

So you're writing a vampire novel filled with interesting, dynamic characters. You've worked out the plot, and come up with an unexpected yet satisfying conclusion. Now you just have to give names to the characters that have been living in your head and you think you'll call this one . . . Lucy. No! Bad! There are… » 1/22/13 12:00pm 1/22/13 12:00pm

Woman legally changes name to include 14 different Bond Girl titles

Meet Miss Pussy Galore Honey Rider Solitaire Plenty O'Toole May Day Xenia Onatopp Holly Goodhead Tiffany Case Kissy Suzuki Mary Goodnight Jinx Johnson Octopussy Domino Moneypenny. The 28-year-old woman formerly known as Emma-Louise Hodges decided that it was time to make her Bond Girl aspirations come true, and… » 10/29/12 7:30am 10/29/12 7:30am

Interactive map displays the most common surnames across London

As you walk through the streets of your city, you might orient yourself by intersection, neighborhood, or the presence of your favorite coffee shop. This interactive map of London, however, lets you view the city a different way: by concentrations of Johnsons, Bennetts, and Patels. » 9/10/12 7:30am 9/10/12 7:30am

Does your name influence the jobs you choose?

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but would Usain Bolt, by any other name, be as fast? How much do our names determine what we do in life? We've taken a look at why a disproportionate number of those of you named Baker are probably bakers. » 8/15/12 3:16pm 8/15/12 3:16pm

Hunger Games names are the hot new baby trend, but not Katniss

We've been hoping that the extraordinary popularity of The Hunger Games books and movie will mean big things for female heroes. But for some kids, the series' legacy will be far more personal; after all, they've been named after the tributes. » 4/12/12 11:40am 4/12/12 11:40am

Ten Serious Medical Problems With Cutesy Names

When naming serious diseases, or medical conditions, people try to give them a sense of gravitas. Even neutral names acquire a serious ring to them. But every now and again, otherwise sober medical professionals get cute. Here are a list of serious medical conditions that have freakishly silly names. » 6/24/11 10:00am 6/24/11 10:00am