American Names

Whispering Windy

Wind captures the human imagination.  Some romanticize the sound of chimes or bristling of the leaves.  Others fear it, knowing a storm’s approach.  Most simply respect it.  

Wind turbine

Like many facets of nature, the wind has inspired baby names.  While you probably won’t encounter anyone named Wind, there are hundreds of people in the U.S. named Windy.  The vast majority of women named Windy were born in the 1960s and 1970s, when other weather-related names like Misty and Sunshine were at peak usage.  Windy‘s initial popularity came separately from a nature trend, however.  In the year she entered the top 1000, the Associations’ song “Windy” reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Parents hardly name their children Windy anymore.  According to data from the Social Security Administration, Windy hasn’t been in the top 1000 since 1980, when it was given to 153 girls.  For perspective, peak usage was in 1975, when Windy was bestowed on 310 girls.  Fast forward 40 years to 2015: last year, only 7 girls were named Windy

Other weather-names fair better.  Misty and Sunshine are both hovering around 50 uses, and Stormy was given to 124 girls last year.  Even Rainy registered 28 times.  So why isn’t Windy doing better?  That brings me to my last point – that not all Windy‘s are named for the weather.  Some of my friends with stronger Southern or Appalachian twangs seem to pronounce the name Wendy as Windy.  This suggests to me that at least some Windy‘s were named using a regional phonetic spelling.  Wendy, barely still a top 1000 name in 2015, peaked in the top 30 back in the 1970s…the same period in which Windy was the most popular.  Meanwhile, it’s important to remember that while the song sent Windy into the top 1000, Americans had already been using the name for almost 20 years. 

What do you think of the name Windy, and do you think she could make a comeback?  I think it might make a decent nickname for up-and-coming Windsor.  On the other hand, wind does invoke thoughts of tornadoes and other terrible tempests.


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