Friday, April 9, 2010

NameVoyager Analysis: Rufus and Leroy

I really like looking up names that I assume were popular at one time, but would make some grandparents-to-be very angry if you planned to give the name to your kid today.

I'm guessing that Leroy and Rufus are more common in the South than anywhere else. The only Rufuses I'm aware of are Rufus Wainwright and Rufus Sewell, neither of whom are American.

I always pair Leroy and Rufus in my mind — I try to imagine what my parents and in-laws would say if we had twins and named them as such — and either makes a great alias for crank calls or dealing with people anonymously. The other pair of names I like are Biff and Buzz, but neither of those names ranked high enough in any decade to appear on the NameVoyager chart.

Come to think of it, there is an American Rufus I'm fond of: J. Rufus Fears, a professor at the University of Oklahoma who delivers very entertaining lectures in a twangy accent for The Teaching Company. I don't know what the J stands for, but he clearly prefers "Rufus" enough to bury his first name behind an initial.

I hope it stands for Jehosaphat!

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