The millennial name shame! Retail worker Graeme believes his name is ‘cool’ despite being ‘extinct’

Previously popular names are under threat of extinction, new research shows, but the few left in existence are calling for more young people with older names as a key reminder of the UK’s history.

Graeme Currie, 34, from East Kilbride, Scotland, says his name is still ‘cool’ and believes it will make a comeback – despite it being officially extinct just two years ago.

The name Graeme was claimed to be extinct in January 2022, after research by language experts Babbel found it was not used at all in 2020 for any newborn babies. 

But the retail assistant doesn’t believe that makes it uncool – and says he is more than happy with his name. It comes as the latest naming trends for 2023 were reported, with retro names tipped to be big this year.

Graeme Currie, 34, said he wants more people to be named Graeme in the years to come

Graeme was one of seven male names labelled as extinct by Babbel in a study last year (stock image)

Graeme was one of seven male names labelled as extinct by Babbel in a study last year (stock image)

Graeme, 34, said: ‘I think more people should be named Graeme. I think it’s a kind of cool name.

‘I was noticing a lot of younger people had different names and it was like Graeme seemed to be rarer.

‘I think it’s always good to encourage the older names like Graeme, Guy and Greg.’

Graeme was one of seven male names labelled as extinct by Babbel in a study last year.

According to the research, the other six names, which have become extinct since 1994, are Horace, Iain, Leigh, Melvyn, Nigel and Royston. 

Extinct names for girls – meaning they did not appear in 2020 – include Bertha, Beverley, Carol, Carole, Doreen, Gail, Gertrude, Gillian, Glenys, Glynis, Hilary, Jeanette, Jill, Kay, Kerry, Lesley, Lindsay, Lyndsey, Lynne, Lynsey, Mandy, Maureen, Muriel and Phyllis. 

The language experts analysed the last century of records from the Office for National Statistics, comparing parents’ 2020 choices for their babies with the 100 most popular names between 1914 and 1994.

Retail assistant Graeme said his name 'sets you on a good path', adding many older names 'set you out in a certain way'

Retail assistant Graeme said his name ‘sets you on a good path’, adding many older names ‘set you out in a certain way’

Graeme said he had noticed that less babies were being given his name and that it represented a societal shift.

He said: ‘It’s getting a bit rarer these days. I think names like David are more popular.

‘To be honest, I guess society is moving on in a way. I think names are a good thing that show a part of history.

‘I wouldn’t say I’ve felt lonely, but I guess the only good side [of having an extinct name] is that you don’t get confused with other Graemes.

‘I believe the name Graeme sets you on a good path. I feel the same with a lot of older names, it sets you out in a certain way.

‘I quite like it, I think it’s actually quite a cool name – but my brother’s nickname for me is Grey Hair and I think that’s the association with Graeme.

‘Sometimes I get called Grams or Grammy, I like those nicknames, but my brother likes his name for me.

‘I think people notice my second name more, the only thing they comment on with my first name is the spelling.’

Ted Mentele, from Babbel, previously said: ‘Naming practices form the basis of all language as well as the basis of identity. 

‘The fact that the etymological roots of these names can be traced back to different languages and cultures from around the world shows how languages have impacted on each other over time. 

‘We hope that by drawing attention to the overlooked roots and intriguing meanings of these endangered names, we can give them a new lease of life for the next generation, and save them from being forgotten.’ 

Graeme’s campaign for more young people to be named after older names comes as retro names are set to become big this year.

According to Nameberry, TV programmes such as Stranger Things are to blame for a return to 80s names – which could be a good sign for saving Graeme from extinction.

On the other hand, ‘maximalism’ is also expected when it comes to names this year, standout names which have historically been main characters in writing and film.

Examples could include Amadeus, Cleopatra, Magnus, Oberon, Ophelia, Persephone, Venus, Wolfgang and Zebedee.

There are also a host of other baby names which are on the verge of extinction – many of which are also more traditional.

This included iconic starlet names like Farrah, Stacey, Kelly, Barbie. 

Meanwhile, it was last year revealed that Noah and Olivia were the most popular names for boys and girls in 2021, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Oliver dropped to second place having been the most most popular boys’ name for eight years, while Olivia topped the girls’ list for the sixth year in a row .

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also shows that Henry replaced Jack in the top 10 names for boys, while Freya, Florence and Willow replaced Isabella, Rosie and Sophia for girls.