You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

People are shaming the mom of a 5-year-old called Abcde, but it's a surprisingly popular name

INSIDER logoINSIDER 11/30/2018 Walter Hickey

Video provided by Inside Edition

Southwest Airlines stepped into the fraught world of innovative naming several weeks ago when a gate agent at John Wayne Airport in California was overheard mocking a 5-year-old girl named Abcde. Southwest apologized, but the saga is still ripping through social media. 

While mocking children is generally considered in poor taste, lots of people on social media aren't particularly sympathetic to the family, who chose to name their child a five-letter sequence that is also the first five letters of the alphabet.

How uncommon is the name, though? Turns out it's not even one in a million.

There are, at minimum 373 women and girls named Abcde in the United States. There are probably closer to 400

The Social Security Administration publishes an annual list of baby names. Using the database, you can find out how many babies born in a given year dating back to 1880 were given a certain. The big caveat is that numbers are only given for names that appear more than five times in a given year for a given gender.

The name Abcde first entered the federal record in 1990, when five newborn girls were given the moniker.

From 1991 to 1996, Abcde charts a single time, in 1992, when six girls were named it. That doesn't mean there were only six girls named Abcde from '91 to '96, just that in those other years there were fewer than five. That's where our "closer to 400" estimate comes from.

Then in 1997, Abcde begins its dizzying ascent. In 1997 and 1998, five babies a year were named Abcde. That jumps to 13 in 1999, and 16 Abcdes entered the world in 2001. The Bush administration is the golden age of Abcde, jumping from just a handful of Abcdes at the beginning to more than two dozen a year by the end. The high water mark for Abcde was 2009, when 32 babies were named the first five letters of the alphabet.

But the recession hit Abcde hard. Popularity began to slip in 2010, with a mere 25 Abcde babies, down to 21 babies in 2011, 11 in 2014, and six in 2017. In 2013, the Abcde who would eventually make waves after flying on Southwest Airlines entered the world along with 15 others. But the name continues to be in decline.

a man and a woman looking at the camera © Alex Wong/GettyImages

Until, perhaps, next year. Name trends are notoriously swingy. The name Wells for males jumped from 1419th to 915th between 2016 and 2017, and as far as I can tell the only difference was that it was the name of a popular bartender on "Bachelor in Paradise." Melania also saw a jump between 2016 and 2017, from the 1650th most popular girls name to 930th - right when Melania Trump became first lady. On the same token, Kylo as a name for boys crashed 245 spots in 2017, when Kylo was the bad guy in the new "Star Wars."

And in case you're wondering, Abcde seems exclusively reserved for girls. There's not a single male Abcde in the Social Security registry. We don't have evidence male Abcdes exist, and at most, fewer than five have been born in a given year.



image beaconimage beaconimage beacon