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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Name to Discuss: Sloane

In just the first 6.5 months of 2012, we've done five questions where the letter-writer has mentioned the name Sloane---either as a candidate for the upcoming baby, or as a name of a sibling. In my spreadsheet I have three more letters that include the name Sloane as a candidate.

This is in sharp contrast to last year: in ALL of 2011, only one letter mentioned the name Sloane.

It made me curious enough to go look it up at the Social Security Administration website:

(screenshot from ssa.gov)


That's the entire Top-1000 history of the name Sloane from 1879 to 2011. That is, it hasn't been in the Top 1000 AT ALL, until 2009. And since then it's made a big jump, from the high 800s to the low 500s---that's huge. In numbers, that's 310 baby girls named Sloane in 2009 (and another 147 named Sloan, for a total of 457 girls named Sloan/Sloane), and 570 baby girls named Sloane just two years later in 2011 (and another 291 named Sloan, for a total of 861 girls named Sloan/Sloane)---nearly doubled.

Here is the question: WHY? I see the appeal of the name: it's growing on me just like it's growing on everyone else (a quick check shows my "suggesting the name Sloane" rate has gone up at about the same rate as the "letters mentioning the name Sloane" rate). But why IS it?

My primary association is with pretty, relaxed, rich, cool Sloane in the 1986 movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off. When I put the name Sloane into a search engine, I was reminded that I also know of the Sloane who wrote I Was Told There'd Be Cake---which, incidentally, was published in 2008, a year before the name showed up on the charts.

So it's a surname name, which fits into current styles, and I think it has some of the rich sound of names like Ava and Lila and Sophia and Chloe. It has a preppy, rich, smooth, cool, boyish style---and yet it's used mostly for girls (87 boys named Sloane/Sloan in 2011, most without the E) so it doesn't cause much confusion or make people feel like they're using "a boy name" for a daughter.

What do you think? Is Sloane just meeting the perfect moment for it to come into style? Are there other ways the name Sloane is bringing itself to parents' minds?

40 comments:

Run, Chelle, Run! said...

I think of Grey's Anatomy - Mark Sloane is a dr ("McSteamy") and his daughter's name is Sloane (lots of jokes about Sloane Sloane.)

Anonymous said...

There's also a character called Sloan on the TV show Entourage, played by Emmanuelle Chriqui (whom I'd call very much the Mia Sara type!). The character was introduced in 2005, but had a bigger role towards the end of the show, I think.

gail said...

I had a midwife in the 80's named Sloane and she was in her 30's then.....Then, in 2001, I worked with a young woman in her early 20's named Sloane. So it's been an outlier for a while, though not making a dent on the SSA site.

I have struggled to understand its appeal. Along with Greer, it ranks as my most disliked girls' names. Cannot get past the way it rhymes with moan and groan. I apologize, though, don't want to ruin it for those who love it. Maybe it has a slick, teflon appeal for modern girls who might need to let things (world events, politics, feelings) slide off them like water off ducks?

Anonymous said...

As an Australian living in the UK (where naming styles are generally fairly comparable), I have to say I feel that this new found Sloane love is very 'North American' in my mind. I don't see it taking off anywhere else, maybe it's an accent thing?

sarah said...

I don't love it personally, but I do know 2 Sloanes born in 2011...
It is the name of the business school at MIT, where one of the baby Sloanes parents went, though I'm not sure if that's why they chose it as her name...

Anonymous said...

I think the Sloan character on Entourage has given it a boost. I slightly prefer it with an 'e' at the end but still wouldn't use it myself; I'm not a fan of the "slow" and "loan" sounds.

Bitts said...

I like it a lot, primarily for the Ferris Bueller association. Much to @gail's horror, I think Sloane and Greer would be awesome sister names!

Tara said...

I really like it, but my liking for it goes down as its popularity rises.

Anonymous said...

Crate and Barrel offers a furniture collection called Sloane that seems to have wide appeal among my friends/acquaintances. At least four women I know furnished their homes with it and I wonder if that sets it in their minds.

I was opposed to the Avery craze for a while. To me, Avery is a paper label brand. Microsoft used to have a setting to print off various Avery brand numbers.

Patricia said...

I imagine the Brits haven't forgotten the Sloane Rangers -- a commonplace term in 1980s London -- and thus are not drawn to this name.

From Wikipedia: "The term Sloane Ranger (often shortened to Sloane or less frequently Sloanie) refers to a stereotype in the UK of young, upper class or upper-middle-class women, or men, who share distinctive and common lifestyle traits. The term is a punning combination of "Sloane Square", a location in Chelsea, London famed for the wealth of residents and frequenters, and the television Westerns character The Lone Ranger... Considered typical of SRs was patriotism and traditionalism, and a belief in the values of upper class and upper middle-class culture, confidence in themselves and their given places in the world, a fondness for life in the countryside, country sports in particular, philistinism and anti-intellectualism... The typical male Sloane is satirised by the Harry Enfield character, Tim Nice-but-Dim... Although Sloanes are nowadays supposedly more widely spread and amorphous than in the past, they are still perceived to socialise in the expensive areas of west London... in particular The White Horse pub, known as the "Sloaney Pony"."

The 2010 (most recent published) official stats for baby name popularity in England/Wales indicates that only 4 girls (and fewer than 3 boys, if any) were given the name Sloane that year.

Knowing the recent history of this name and not finding the sound of it at all appealing, I would not recommend it.

The Mrs. said...

I dislike the name.
The ONLY association that comes to mind is from Alias; Arvin Sloane was the super-villan played by Ron Rifkin.
It reminds me of clones, drone, crones, and bones. Sorry to everyone who likes it!

Tommie said...

I was born in 1970 and went to school (all 13 years) with a Sloan. So to me this name isn't a new name at all, it actually feels dated. I liked my classmate well enough so the name doesn't have a negative feel for me, it's just not a name I'd have given my child.

StephLove said...

I have no new insight into why it's rising now, but I know two-- a man around 40 and a 17-year-old girl.

Anonymous said...

I thought of entourage as well. There are a lot of names from that show I see on this blog. Adrian who plays Vincent ,Sloan. A character, Ari, a character, Rhys who plays billy. And one actress name is Perrey a name that seems to fit this blog but I haven' t seen it yet.

Anonymous said...

I knew of a family with three girls -- Sloane, Greer, and Jennifer -- go figure! They're in their 30s now, but I just met a baby Sloane at the park last week. Unfortunately, I associate the name with the word "slug."

Patricia said...

HBO's new series The Newsroom has a character called Sloan Sabbith (played by Olivia Munn). Character Bio: "The network's financial news reporter, Sloan could be earning much more money as an analyst at Goldman, but her calling is economic reporting." Sloan Sabbith doesn't appear in episode 1, which I just watched, but she seems to be a bright, strong, beautiful woman -- perhaps characteristics the writer thought fit with "Sloan". On the other hand, the name of the main female character is MacKenzie McHale (alliteration again), played by English actress Emily Mortimer, with a strong English accent which doesn't seem to fit the name MacKenzie (about age 40). So maybe the writer doesn't know all that much about female names. ???

Patricia said...

Nameberry authors' "The Baby Name Bible" (2007) includes the name Sloane. "Upscale surname that would make a Ralph Laurenish choice." I find that description misleading. While the name is associated with England's upscale Sloane Rangers, it is very unlikely that any or them were *named* Sloane.

As for the surname Sloane, surnamedb.com says: "Last name: Sloane - This interesting surname is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic personal name "Slaughadhan", a diminutive of "Sluaghadh" meaning expedition, raid. The surname is widespread in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Variations in the spelling of the surname include Slowan, Slowane, Sloyan, and Sloan."

Kate said...

I know this is a little off topic, but does this mean you regularly collect and organize data from your comments as well as the letters? If so, are you planning to do some analysis at the end of the year? Also, OMG, I love it!

Patricia said...

Looking for "baby name Sloane" on Yahoo UK, I came across a discussion of "Sloany/Posh/High Society boys names" on babycentre.co.uk: none of the names discussed is actually Sloan(e). Another UK website discusses "Baby names that are considered Posh??" or "All the Sloane names ;-)." Mostly UK baby name websites use "Sloane" as an adjective interchangeable with posh.

And the Sloane Set is still around, according to this 2007 newspaper commentary: The Sloane Set: Return of the Ranger (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/the-sloane-set-return-of-the-ranger-395866.html)

No wonder Sloane is not being used as a baby name in the UK and why Sloane is most likely seen as a peculiar given name when British people hear that Americans are naming their babies Sloane.

So what kind of names do "Sloanes" prefer: "Smart boys names are British Kings. So says the Sloane Ranger handbook."

Eva.G said...

I love Sloane! I love her character on Ferris Bueller and that was my first association with her. As a kid I thought it was a peculiar name, but I love it as an adult and really want to use it on a daughter, but it doesn't work with our last name, unfortunately.

I don't know why it's had a sudden rise in popularity, but I'm in my mid twenties and hoping for Baby #1 and it really appeals to me. When I first read it on your blog earlier this year, it really jumped out at me and I thought of it as a new and exciting name. Perhaps it has that same effect on other new mothers?

Another idea that occurred to me is that 20's/30's something adults like me who grew up watching Ferris Bueller as kids and teenagers are now having their own children, and they perhaps liked the name from the movie?

Anonymous said...

I think we have Grey's Anatomy to thank for the huge popularity jump.

Of course with all the other contributing factors too.

Swistle said...

Kate- I think this is the first time I've ever done it! The name just caught my attention as it kept cropping up, and it occurred to me to try searching the archives.

Cayt said...

I'm British and my first association is Sloane Ranger, not a terribly flattering stereotype. Also, Sloane has ceased to look like a word to me because I've just read it so many times in the comments. Aargh!

Anonymous said...

I don't care for it personally. I find it awkward to say, the SLE -OAN doesn't roll of my tongue nicely. C

Cait said...

Another vote for Grey's Anatomy contributing to the rising popularity of the name... 2009 was the year that they introduced Dr. Mark Sloan's daughter named what else? Sloan. (Sloan Riley)

Ms. Key said...

My two associations with this name have been mentioned. Immediately I thought of Sloane (or Sloan, whichever spelling it is) from "Entourage". She is played by such a beautiful actress, I could see the name growing on some people if they watched the show start to end and felt connected to her character at all.

The second association was from Grey's Anatomy, and the character Mark Sloane who they call Sloane most of the time. For whatever reason, even know this association and watching Grey's weekly for YEARS.... the Entourage and feminine association came to me first, and it feels like more of a "girl name". Odd!

This isn't my naming style, but it has an appealing sound.

Laura said...

Sloane also makes me think of the "Sloane Rangers" and tabloid pictures of Princess Diana striding around London in the '80s.

Anonymous said...

I love Sloane! I know a gorgeous Sloane in her 30's and have always thought she has the best name.

Sloane said...

As a 35 year old Sloane, this rise in popularity cracks me up! I have spent my life repeating my name twice every time someone asks my name, giving an ubiquitous name like "jennifer" at restaurants to avoid blank looks from vapid hostesses named Madison or Brandi, and enduring nicknames like Sloaney Baloney or Sloaner Boner.

That said, while I hated my name as a young child, I really like it now, and receive lots of compliments on it. it also gives me a bit of notoriety in my city - " oh, YOU'RE Sloane? You're friends with so and so - I've heard so much about you!". This happens a few times a year at coffee shops, restaurants, etc. Guess those days are numbered since the name is becoming more common, though :)

Jen said...

I would pin it on Grey's Anatomy as well. I think the people at Grey's are on point with naming trends (even though the characters are really too old to have the names...Addison, Calliope, etc...). So maybe it was partially identification of a trend and pushing it to the mainstream.

Anonymous said...

I have a hard time getting past the references in the Anne of Green Gables books about the character Charlie Sloan and his "sheer Sloan-ish-ness".

Anonymous said...

I really dislike the name. It just isn't....pretty?

Meg said...

It's a Private Practice (Grey's Anatomy spin off) thing, same place all the little Addison's came from.

Annie said...

Sloane didn't enter my radar as a name until I read "I was Told There'd be Cake" soon after it was published. I liked the book, and I found the author endearing, so the name stuck in my memory. I always associate that book with the name Sloane when I hear it.

Alice said...

I think there's a general trend toward one-syllable girls' names that depart from the more "standard" Claire, Anne and Jane. This is based on nothing but my personal obsessive name site preusal, but it seems like some one-syllable names have been rediscovered in recent years -- names like Eve, Grace, Mae and Paige have become popular again. Other one-syllable names are being discovered from other places -- Maeve, for example. Sloane has that one-syllable thing going on without being, say, Ruth. As a person in Britain, I could obviously never use it, but I get its appeal!

Anonymous said...

We just names our daughter that was born in May, Sloane Elizabeth. I had heard the name on the HBO series Entourage and it fit for our family. My 6 year old insists on pronouncing it Sa-lone which confuses some people :)

Anonymous said...

We also named our daughter Sloane and love the classy, strong sound of the name. Plus, it means "female warrior" - not a bad thing at all! The name has actually been around for a while, and looks like it might have staying power... go, little Sloane, go! =)

Anonymous said...

Our 5 year old daughter is named Mary Sloane, but we call her Sloane. We named her younger sister Julia Quinn and call her Quinn. We are expecting our third child in March and I'm scrambling to find a name that compliments the older siblings names. Sloane was named for the Sloane Peterson character too (we love that movie)! We decided to name her Sloane because it was different, but not weird (if that makes sense).

Anonymous said...

it is preppy and boyish. very similar to briar, astrid, arden, blair in my mind.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is named Sloane and she was born in 2006. I named her after my grandmother's maiden name (spelled Sloan) and we decided to add the "e" since it seemed more feminine. I love the name and so does my daughter and she suits it. So that is our connotation with the name. I also like that it means "warrior" since I think those born in this times need to be warriors for the good.