American Names · Modern names

The Name Shasta

Shasta was a somewhat popular girls’ name in the 70s and 80s.  It entered the top 1000 in 1976, peaked in 1978, and left in 1986.  Nowadays, it’s very rare.  Last year there were only 15 baby girls with this name. 


There are any number of categories that might inspire parents to bestow this name:

  • Flowers: Shasta Daisy
  • Topographical/Outdoorsy: Mt. Shasta, California
  • Beverages: Shasta is a soda brand

Those first two categories are highly appealing to many parents.  Flower-names are perennial favorites for girls’ names, and geographic naming is trendy for both genders.  River and Sky (more often, Skye) are very popular, and it’s not too unusual to see children named after mountains either (McKinley, Everest, Afton).  Shasta would fit right in. 

Still, there remains the fact that Shasta is also a soda.  Various alcoholic beverages have been extremely popular as names in the past century (i.e. Sherry, Brandy), so beverage-status itself is not an insurmountable obstacle.  I’m not sure that carbonated drinks perform so well on the playground.  Fanta did appear in the extended SSA data around the same time that Shasta was popular, but that was apparently due to the mini-series Roots; not because parents suddenly thought colas were great names. 

Another thing to consider is that Shasta is the name of a Native American people.  There are implications to naming children after indigenous groups, especially when a a group is still alive.  Some would call it appropriation.  You may think you’re honoring that group, but you could just be insulting someone. 

What do you think of Shasta?

7 thoughts on “The Name Shasta

  1. The first time I ever came across Shasta was in C.S. Lewis’s “The Horse and his Boy”, part of the Chronicles of Narnia. I’ve never come across the name since than, so I’ve always seen it as a masculine name but I guess I can see it as a feminine name. I think I still prefer it as a male name though, or unisex at the very best.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep, that’s how I pronounced it. I’m sure you’re right about the origin. It just fondly reminds me of certain Ukrainian/ Russian words


      2. Cool! I haven’t learned any Slavic languages yet…I’ll add that to the list.

        The way I pronounce the ‘a’ in Shasta is like the ‘a’ in a certain three-letter word for “donkey.” Not sure how they pronounce it out in California. It does look like it could rhyme with “pasta.”


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