The name “Leif” has taken a sharp rise in popularity amongst expecting parents last year – just not in Iceland.
Nameberry, a website of baby names for parents who really want to put a lot of thought into how to name their children, recently compiled a “secret popularity list” of baby names. In contrast to a traditional vote, this list was based on the top names people were searching for when they were brought to the site.
Amongst the hottest names to reach this new list in 2015 was Leif, which harkens back to explorer and America-discoverer Leifur Eiríksson. However, the name doesn’t even break the top 100 male names in Iceland, Leifur’s home country.
It is uncertain how much influence the explorer’s legacy has on the name’s popularity overseas, too. According to Nameberry’s analysis of the name, its last surge in popularity – in 1970 – was due to the popularity of the singer Leif Garrett. By 1987, the name had dropped completely out of favour.
The site also notes that while Scandinavians pronounce Leif like “layf”, it is pronounced like “leaf” in North America.