Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sailor

sailor
Oscar de le Renta 

Sailor is a baby name with immediate imagery impact: an actual sailor on the sea, or perhaps someone in the Navy. While the word sailor as we know it today does refer to a person who sails a boat, and it has meant that in English since the 17th century, as a surname it comes from Old French sailleor, meaning "leaper, dancer," which was used as an occupational surname, and from Old German seil, meaning "rope," as an occupational name: rope maker. There is possibly a connection here between the use of ropes in sailing. It sounds summery, modern and unisex. This name is rising in popularity, from only five boys given the name in 1997 and then ten girls in 1998, in 2015 it increased to 42 boys and 234 girls, making it rank just outside the top 1000 for girls (but still rare on boys). You may have heard this name on a little one before, but perhaps Sailor isn't how that child's name was spelled. Saylor, Sayler, and Saylar have also been used, possibly because of the different recorded spellings of the surname.

Part of the reason behind Sailor's rise in popularity may have started with model Christie Brinkley bestowing it on her daughter in 1998. Then, with word names gaining in popularity in general, it took off. Much more recently it was given to Bristol Palin's daughter, Kristin Cavallari's daughter Saylor James, Liv Tyler's son Sailor Gene Gardner, and just this year to Joanna Garcia's daughter. However, use as a given name can be seen earlier than this. American boxer Charles Presser, born 1995, went by Sailor Burke in the ring, Sailor Stroud was an American major league baseball player born in 1885, English cricketer Sailor Young was born in 1876, Sailor Brown was an English footballer born in 1915, Sailor Art Thomas was a bodybuilder and wrestler born in 1924, and Sailor Roberts, born 1931, was an American poker player.

In fiction there is the anime character Sailor Moon, where the sailor theme applies to many characters, and Sailor Steve Costigan, a character created by Robert E. Howard. You can also listen to several different songs with Sailor in the title.

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