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Darwin - Baby Name

Merwin, Sherwin, Elwin, Irwin... most -win names are decidedly out of fashion right now.

But what about Darwin?

After fluctuating in popularity for decades, the name Darwin managed to rank consistently among the top 400 baby names in the United States from the mid-1920s until 1960. After that period, its popularity declined -- so much so that it dropped off the list entirely for several years in the 1990s.

Since the turn of the century, though, Darwin has shown signs of a comeback. Here is how the name has fared recently:As I'm sure you know, the first name Darwin comes from the surname Darwin. In most cases, this surname was derived from the Old English given name Deorwine, meaning "dear friend." In other cases, it can be traced back to a Celtic word meaning "oak."

The most notable bearer of the surname was celebrated naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882), who first proposed the theory of natural selection and who is now widely known as the "father of evolution." Many things have been named after Charles Darwin: mountains, islands, craters, parks, colleges, towns, species, bodies of water, and, yes, even babies.

The interesting thing about the name Darwin is that, because it's so closely linked to Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution, it's hard to think of Darwin outside of this association. So it's also hard to know whether the popularity of the name corresponds more to naming trends or to attitudes about science. The the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth was in 2009, for instance, and this may have contributed to the recent resurgence of the name. Now that it's gone by, will the name drift downward again on the baby name charts? We'll have to wait and see...


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