Can you solve these real 'Jeopardy!' questions about baby names?

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January 14, 2020
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Can you solve these real 'Jeopardy!' questions about baby names?

Upon finding out they're pregnant, the most pressing worry for many new parents is what to name their little bundle of joy. Do you go traditional or modern? Popular or obscure? Should you pick a gender-neutral name or one that's more classically male or female? The options are seemingly endless, which can be overwhelming.

A name, after all, is a vitally important thing. Studies have shown that a person's name can influence everything from what profession we choose to who we marry, the grades we earn, where we live, and the opportunities we're given. Picking one at random simply isn't going to cut it if we want to offer our children the best possible shot at success. So soon-to-be parents ask themselves questions like these over and over until they settle on a name they can live with.

Alex Trebek, the long-time host of "Jeopardy!," can identify with these questioning parents. In 2014, when the Guinness Book of World Records recognized Trebek as the record holder for most game show episodes hosted, they announced he'd asked 416,569 questions throughout his career. In the five additional years he's been hosting, he's certainly asked several thousand more, meaning that, if nothing else, he's intimately familiar with questioning everything—including baby names.

Stacker used the J! Archive (which was last updated in December 2019) to compile a list of 15 real "Jeopardy!" questions about baby names, spanning episodes from 2003 to 2019. Can you guess which common western name is banned in Saudia Arabia? What about the popular girl names that originated in some of Shakespeare's greatest works? Or the first male name in "20,001 Names for Baby"?

Read on to learn some interesting tidbits about some of the most popular baby names from today and centuries past.

Clue #1

- Clue: For an eighth child, preferably a daughter, this name from "Antony and Cleopatra" would be fitting.
- Category: Baby names a la Shakespeare
- Value: $1,000
- Date episode aired: April 8, 2011

Answer #1

What is Octavia?

In William Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra," Octavia is Octavius Caesar's sister, Antony's wife, and Cleopatra's polar opposite. An ideal Roman woman, Octavia is portrayed as meek and submissive, attributes 19th-century English parents must have desired for their children as the name was commonly given to eighth-born children in this era.

Clue #2

- Clue: You can't name your daughter after actress Lavin or Cardellini in Saudi Arabia—this name they share is banned.
- Category: Illegal baby names
- Value: $1,200
- Date episode aired: March 7, 2019

Answer #2

What is Linda?

In 2014, Saudi Arabia released a list of 50 names new parents were banned from giving their children. The reason: the names contradicted the culture and religion of the kingdom, were foreign, or were simply deemed "inappropriate." Linda, which was the most popular name in the United States for girls in the late '40s and early '50s, was among the banned names thanks to its clearly Western origins.

Clue #3

- Clue: If you give your son this villainous four-letter name from "Othello," you're just asking for trouble.
- Category: Baby names a la Shakespeare
- Value: $600
- Date episode aired: April 8, 2011

Answer #3

What is Iago?

Iago, from Shakespeare's "Othello," is a particularly villainous nobleman, who, despite no clear motivation for his actions, deftly manipulates those around him and winds up killing his own wife, Emilia. His example is certainly not the type of precedent most parents are looking to set for their children, so you'd do well to skip this name.

Clue #4

- Clue: Among the most popular twin names for girls are these two that form a trio with Charity.
- Category: Baby names
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: July 24, 2012

Answer #4

What is Faith and Hope?

Both Faith and Hope originated as Puritan virtue names in the 17th century. While a wide variety of biblical and Hebrew names had come into popularity over a century before, following the publication of the first English-language Bible in the 1500s, Puritans sought to set their community apart and looked to other aspects of religion (like virtues) for baby name inspiration.

Clue #5

- Clue: "Hey" this four-letter masculine name meaning one who praises God—you aren't so obscure anymore.
- Category: Baby names
- Value: $1,000
- Date episode aired: July 24, 2012

Answer #5

What is Jude?

Popular since the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, Jude is a variation of the name Judas. One of the 12 disciples, many scholars believe that Jude may have actually been the brother of Christ, and he's commonly cited as the author of the Epistle of Jude.

Clue #6

- Clue: Derived from a Scottish river, this name, like Sacha Baron Cohen's wife, Ms. Fisher.
- Category: Top baby names in Britain
- Value: $600
- Date episode aired: Nov. 9, 2017

Answer #6

What is Isla?

Isla is a variant of the name Islay, which, in turn, is the name of a 46-mile river that flows through Angus and Perthshire in Scotland. The name also has ties to a pre-Celtic word which means "rapidly moving."

Clue #7

- Clue: Names that work for either a boy or a girl include Payton, Dylan, Skyler and this. Like actress Diaz.
- Category: Baby names
- Value: $200
- Date episode aired: July 24, 2012

Answer #7

What is Cameron?

Another name with Scottish origins, this unisex name is derived from a common surname in the country, which means "crooked nose." There have been a number of famous Camerons in Hollywood, including Cameron Diaz and Cameron Crowe.

Clue #8

- Clue: In Sweden you can call your kid Lego, but not this four-letter furniture store brand—too close to home, I guess.
- Category: Illegal baby names
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: March 7, 2019

Answer #8

What is Ikea?

Saudi Arabia isn't the only country with a list of banned baby names. In 1982 Sweden enacted a naming law that disallowed first names which "cause offense or can be supposed to cause discomfort for the one using it, or names which for some obvious reason are not suitable as a first name." Among the names that have been rejected in light of the law are Ikea, Elvis, and Superman.

Clue #9

- Clue: This name of Shylock's daughter was the favorite name for 1980s and '90s girls.
- Category: #1 U.S. baby names
- Value: $1,000
- Date episode aired: July 3, 2006

Answer #9

What is Jessica?

Yet another name that can trace its origins back to Shakespeare, Jessica first appeared in "The Merchant of Venice," which was published in 1596. However, it didn't gain traction as a first name until the middle of the 20th century when it rapidly grew in popularity, reaching its peak in 1987.

Clue #10

- Clue: Two presidents, #7 and #17, have had this first name that's #6 on the list.
- Category: Top 10 baby boy names of 2004
- Value: $1,000
- Date episode aired: Jan. 19, 2006

Answer #10

What is Andrew?

Derived from Greek, Andrew means "manly" or "masculine." To date, there have been two presidents who've held the moniker: Andrew Jackson (1829–1837) and Andrew Johnson (1865–1869).

Clue #11

- Clue: says this Netflix series boosted the popularity of the baby names Nancy, Dustin, Lucas, and Joyce.
- Category: Pop culture
- Value: $1,600
- Date episode aired: Nov. 5, 2019

Answer #11

What is "Stranger Things"?

A Netflix Original, "Stranger Things" has taken viewers on a nostalgic, paranormal, and thrilling journey through the '80s for three seasons. The series has certainly caused a renewed interest in the culture and style of the long-past decade, indicated in part by the renewed popularity of some of the main characters' names.

Clue #12

- Clue: This feminine name from "The Taming of the Shrew" means "white."
- Category: Shakespearean baby names
- Value: $2,000 (Daily Double)
- Date episode aired: March 14, 2017

Answer #12

What is Bianca?

A favorite name of William Shakespeare, the poet used the name in not one but two of his plays, "The Taming of the Shrew" and "Othello." Italian in origin, the name reached the height of its popularity in the United States in 1990 when it was ranked #84 for most popular girls' names.

Clue #13

- Clue: It's the first male name in "20,001 Names for Baby."
- Category: The name game
- Value: $1,000
- Date episode aired: Sept. 22, 2003

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Answer #13

What is Aaron?

First published in 1995, Carol McD. Wallace's "20,001 Names for Baby" was intended to help parents make the all-important choice for their new little bundles of joy. The first name for boys included in the book, Aaron, means "high mountain" or "exalted."

Clue #14

- Clue: It's more popular as the name of a beach on South Carolina's Grand Strand than of a baby girl.
- Category: Out-of-fashion baby names
- Value: $2,600 (Daily Double)
- Date episode aired: April 1, 2003

Answer #14

What is Myrtle?

In the early 19th century, plant and flower names were a major trend for baby girls. Myrtle, the name given to an evergreen shrub, was among these names. Today, you'd be hard-pressed to meet a new little Myrtle, as the name's popularity took a hard hit in the 1920s and has yet to recover.

Clue #15

- Clue: Gender-neutral baby names are on the rise, especially this one of Mr. Lautner or Ms. Swift.
- Category: We try to stay neutral
- Value: $200
- Date episode aired: April 29, 2016

Answer #15

What is Taylor?

According to the Huffington Post, gender-neutral baby names are a trend that's here to stay, having risen in popularity by 88% between 1985 and 2015. This may be due in part to the fact that modern parents are less inclined to pigeonhole their children into stereotypical gender roles. Taylor, which is derived from an English surname denoting those who worked as tailors for a living, is among these gender-neutral names, ranking #121 for girls and #529 for boys in 2018.

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