The name “Stephanie” on

One of the blogs I read regularly pointed out the site in a blog post, because it’s a nicely-designed and interesting site on baby names. They include a long definition and origin of each name, a section on famous people with that name, a long list of related alternate names, and then a funny feature – “drawbacks” for any given name (all the mean things people will call your kid). The drawbacks page is definitely the selling point that sets this apart from other baby name sites.

Here’s what says about the name Stephanie:

Meaning: Its source is Stephanos, a Greek name meaning “Crown or garland.”

In French, this name is spelled with an accent — Stéphanie.

Languages: This girl’s name is used in German, English and French.

Nicknames: Fanny, Steffi, Steffie, Stefi, Stevey, Stevie and Stepha

Alternative Spellings: Stefaney, Stefani, Stefanie, Stefany, Steffanie, Steffany, Stepfanie, Stephaine, Stephaney, Stephani, Stephannie, Stephany, Stephenie, Stephyne and Stephney

Variant Forms: Estephanie, Stepanie, Stephane, Stephine, Stephnie and Stefne

Non-English Forms: Estefana, Estefania, Stefania, Estebana, Stefanida, Étiennette, Stefana, Stepána and Stepanida

Popularity: The name Stephanie ranked 41st in popularity for females of all ages in a sample of 2000-2003 Social Security Administration statistics, 41st in popularity for females of all ages in a sample of the 1990 US Census and 10th in popularity for females of all ages in a sample of the 1994 US Census.

This name is highly rated both on the 1990 U.S. Census list and in state data recording the most popular baby names.

Narrative: According to Christian scripture, Stephen was the first martyr, and the influence of this saint accounts for the popularity of both male and female variations of his name in many Western languages.
The Bible describes Stephen as a righteous and compassionate person who refused to disguise his beliefs, even though his frankness cost him his life. (How apropo!)

He was condemned to death by stoning, and the cloaks of those commissioned to do the bloody work were held by a fellow persecutor of the Christians, Saul of Tarsus.

In time, Saul became Paul the Apostle, shaper of Christian doctrine and Christian missionary to the entire ancient world.

That last two lines – where Paul the Apostle held the cloaks of the people who stoned Stephen to death, and then went on to become the most famous Christian missionary – so interesting.

And then, here are the drawbacks (with highlights of my favorites):

Silly Steph
Stef-fanny (I got this one)
Stuffy Steffy (and this one, too.)
Step on me
Steffe Weffe Waffle Face
Stay funny
Stupid Stephanie (What? That’s not even creative.)
Stay Fine
Staphanie the Giraffanie
Steffe Weffe (I got this one, too.)
Steffie Stuff

None of these is the exact name my baby cousins used to say when they were too small to pronounce my name: “Nephne.”

Continue ReadingThe name “Stephanie” on

Hey, that’s my name!

I was perusing a 37 signals blog post from last week on some changes they made to backpack, and noticed in some of the screenshots, the designer Ryan Singer used my name in the mock-up of his new sharing information object. Hee!

This page has been shared with
This page has been shared with

Apparently, I’m sharing some documents with some folks.

2022-03-16 Update:
I should deprecate this page, shouldn’t I?
Continue ReadingHey, that’s my name!

I grew up in a middle-class suburban home

I grew up in the suburbs, first in the town of Ankeny, Iowa, outside of Des Moines, then briefly in a suburb in Canton, Ohio, and then in a nice housing development in Noblesville, Indiana. I lived in the prototypical white, middle-class neighborhood, where we walked to school (back when that was safe) and played in the street and sold pencils door-to-door for a kids club or band camp.
But I LOVE pork rinds. Is that wrong? Well, I don’t want to be right.
Also, last night at book club, we helped my friend Jen brainstorm names for her baby. For privacy’s sake, I’m not going to blog the kid’s last name, but suffice it to say that it’s three syllables and sort of Polish/eastern European, containing both a W and Z. You get the idea. Whatever she ends up naming him (I’m sure it will be a great name) we decided that his “book club name” will be “Yosemite Peregrine ____________” I can’t wait to hear what Jen’s husband has to say about that idea.
If you’re naming your baby or pet, here are some places to look for cool names:
The Social Security Adminstration’s List of Popular Baby Names
A list going back to the 1880s of what the most used baby names for any year are. You can search against the database or just see lists of the top names from each decade. Pretty cool.
Name that Goth!
The original, definitive list of Goth baby names.
Freakonomics — Baby Names
The Freakonomics guys do a great statistical analysis of how baby names spread and become popular, then fade out. If you’re searching for something unique and interesting, but not too wacky, for your kid, reading the baby names chapter of their book is a good idea. The link above is to a short Slate article on that chapter of the book.
And I realized this morning, I have a stripper/drag queen name, an alias, a mob name, and even a spell check name, but I don’t have a book club name of my own. So what should my book club name be? It should probably be vaguely literary and slightly snobbish…

Continue ReadingI grew up in a middle-class suburban home

100+ Funny British Place Names

April 26, 2013 update from Steph: Updated this page to add links to as many of the towns and streets as I could find in google maps. I originally added this list to my site on September 26, 2005, but I never verified whether the names were real places or not, until someone asked in comments. As far as I can tell, none of the thousand other sites that have this same list did either. It turned out that most of the names are of streets, rather than towns, so I updated the title of the page. If you have any names to add this list, feel free to contact me.

View Funny British Place Names in a larger map

Percy's Passage, London
Percy’s Passage, London
  1. Jeffries Passage, Surrey
  2. Prince Albert Court, Surrey
  3. Nork Rise, Surrey, United Kingdom. There is also a Nork Way, Banstead, UK and Nork Park, Banstead, United Kingdom. All in the same little area. Street and park names.
  4. Brown Willy, Cornwall – Cornwall’s highest point!
  5. Great Tosson, Northumberland
  6. Trump Street, London
  7. St. Mellons, Cardiff
  8. Percy Passage, London – This one was hard to track down – you basically have to use Google Street View because Google Maps doesn’t note this as an actually street. Do look around, because this is a cool little place. It’s a street that goes through buildings and then winds around in alleys. Londonist put together a helpful map of all of London’s Back Passages.
  9. Booty Lane, North Yorkshire
  10. Nether Wallop, Hampshire
  11. Honeypot Lane, Husbands Bosworth, Leicestershire, United Kingdom
  12. Mudchute, London – this is an London Underground Station
  13. Juggs Close, East Sussex
  14. Cockermouth Green, Newcastle – I can find a Cockermouth Road, Sunderland, United Kingdom
  15. Six Mile Bottom, Cambridgeshire
  16. Cock and Bell Lane, Suffolk – This is in Long Melford.
  17. Little Bushey Lane, Hertfordshire
  18. Titlington Mount, Northumberland – The town of Titlington exists in Northumberland.
  19. Slippery Lane, Staffordshire
  20. Hooker Road, Norwich Also, Hooker Street, Northwich, United Kingdom
  21. Cumloden Court, Dumfries and Galloway
  22. Tinkerbush Lane, Oxfordshire
  23. Ugley, Essex
  24. Pratts Bottom, Greater London
  25. Ramsbottom Lane, Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester, United Kingdom
  26. Prickwillow, Cambridgeshire
  27. Old Sodbury, Gloucestershire
  28. Upper Dicker, East Sussex
  29. Swell, Somerset
  30. Bladda Lane, Paisley, United Kingdom
  31. Snatchup, Hertfordshire
  32. Spital in the Street, Lincolnshire
  33. Shingay cum Wendy, Buckinghamshire
  34. Pump Alley, Middlesex
  35. Old Sodom Lane, Wiltshire
  36. Long Lover Lane, Halifax
  37. East Breast, Inverclyde
  38. Norfolk Broads, Dicks Mount, United Kingdom
  39. Staines, Surrey
  40. Crapstone, Devon
  41. Three Cocks, Powys
  42. Feltwell, Norfolk
  43. Pant, Shropshire
  44. Balls Cross, West Sussex
  45. Ogle Close, Merseyside
  46. Friars Entry, Oxfordshire
  47. North Piddle, Worcestershire
  48. Mincing Lane, London
  49. Bottoms Fold, Lancashire
  50. Backside Lane, Oxfordshire
  51. Winkle Street, Southampton
  52. Wham Bottom Lane, Rochdale, United Kingdom
  53. Upperthong, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
  54. Tosside, Lancashire
  55. The Furry, Cornwall
  56. Lower Swell, Gloucestershire
  57. Lickers Lane, Merseyside
  58. Honey Knob Hill, Wiltshire
  59. Boghead, Ayrshire
  60. The Bush, Buckinghamshire
  61. Hill o’Many Stanes, Scotland – This is an historic site. More than 22 rows of low slabs arranged in a slightly fan-shaped pattern, which may have been a prehistoric astronomical observatory.
  62. Grope Lane, Shropshire – there is a Gropers Lane, Ipplepen, United Kingdom
  63. Willey, Warwickshire
  64. Happy Bottom, Dorset – This one exists, but was hard to find. Google Maps didn’t show it until I found an address with a postal code on this street elsewhere, then searched the address.
  65. Feltham Close, Hampshire
  66. The Knob, Oxfordshire – not finding this. Knob Hall Lane, Southport, United Kingdom, and other Knobs exist.
  67. Menlove Avenue, Liverpool
  68. Titty Ho, Northamptonshire
  69. Crotch Cresent, Oxfordshire
  70. Blairmuckhole & Forestdyke road, Lanarkshire
  71. Pant-y-Felin Road, Swansea
  72. Beef Lane, Oxfordshire
  73. Merkins Avenue, West Dumbartonshire
  74. Pork Lane, Essex
  75. Moisty Lane, Staffordshire
  76. Wetwang, East Yorkshire
  77. Scratchy Bottom, Dorset – This exists, all though it’s hard to find on maps. The link is to the wikipedia page. The location is a valley between Durdle Door and Swyre Head in Dorset, England. Also “Durdle Door”? Wow.
  78. Swallow Passage, London – like Percy’s passage, Swallow Passage is an alley that passes under buildings, and isn’t marked by name on Google Maps. You have to use street view to find it.
  79. Lickey End, Worcestershire
  80. Bitchfield, Lincolnshire
  81. Spanker Lane, Derbyshire
  82. Rimswell, East Riding of Yorkshire
  83. Lickfold, West Sussex
  84. Dick Court, Lanarkshire
  85. Beaver Close, Surrey – there are a number of streets named “Beaver Close” throughout the UK. Must have a lot of beavers nearby.
  86. Fanny Avenue, Derbyshire
  87. Cockshoot Close, Oxfordshire
  88. Inchinnan Drive, Renfrewshire – Inching in?
  89. Fanny Hands Lane, Lincolnshire
  90. Hole of Horcum, North Yorkshire – Saltergate, Hole of Horcum
  91. Slag Lane, Merseyside
  92. Shitterton, Dorset
  93. Back Passage, London – Another one of those London alleyways that doesn’t pop up on google maps. The famous “Ye Old Cheshire Cheese Shop” is located on this passage just off of Fleet Street.
  94. Fingringhoe, Essex
  95. Muff, Northern Ireland – Northern Ireland isn’t in Britain, obviously.
  96. Sandy Balls, Hampshire
  97. Twatt, Orkney Unlike many of these, Twatt is actually a town.
  98. Bell End, Wollaston – I’m not sure why Bell End is funny. Urban Dictionary: Bell End. Nevermind, I get it.
  99. Minge Lane, Worcestershire
  100. Cocks, Cornwall – There is a Cock’s Hill, Cornwall, and a Cock’s Lake Lane, Cornwall.

There. Aren’t you happy that I’ve taken a survey of all the Cocks, Tits, Snatches, Mounds, Swells and Scratchy Bottoms in the United Kingdom so you don’t have to? List inspired by and contributed to from Rude Britain.

Other funny or unusual British towns and place names

While I was hunting down the above place names, I discovered others that were funny or interesting.

Continue Reading100+ Funny British Place Names

Popular Baby Names – Social Security Administration

I saw this link (Popular Baby Names) once, a few years ago, and have been trying to remember where it was located ever since. Turns out it was the Social Security Administration, not the U.S. Census Bureau. It’s come up in discussions a number of times, and I kept saying “there’s this link…” Well, here it is: An analysis of popular baby names based on Social Security applications, going back each year to the late 1800’s. Ah, the good old days, when Mildred was the #9 most popular girl’s name in the country, and Gertrude made it at #22. Guys, don’t laugh, Walter was #11, Clarence #18.

It’s also scary to look at the stats for the 1990’s…. with 8 different variations on the name Brittney. I hate last names as first names, especially for girls. Courtney, Brittany, Shelby, Taylor, Madison—-yuck, yuck, yuck. I’m going to name my daughter Mabel. That’ll show them.

Okay, that’s a little extreme. How about Eleanor?

Continue ReadingPopular Baby Names – Social Security Administration

Sports Teams with Funny Names

I got a bunch of questions about why I posted all these sports teams… um, because their names are funny. See? Appleknockers! That’s a real team name! Ha! Funny! Okay, maybe it’s just me. But my cousins went to a school where the team name is “The Maroons.” You can guess how some people pronounced that.

The Hoopeston Cornjerkers

The Freeport Pretzels

Butte Pirates

The Effingham Flaming Hearts

Fisher Bunnies

Kaukauna Galloping Ghosts

The Cobden Appleknockers

Appleton West Terrors vs. Appleton East Patriots

Yuma High School Criminals

Blue Hens, University of Delaware

Hickman Kewpies

Union Laguna Cotton Pickers

Lewisville Texas Fighting Farmers

Tillamook Cheesemakers


Scottsdale (Arizona) Community College Fighting Artichoke

Topeka’s Seaman High School vs. The Topeka High Trojans

Richland High School Bombers

Watersmeet High School Nimrods

William College Ephs (Purple Cows)

UCSC Banana Slugs

Poca High School Dots

Chinook High School Sugar Beeters

Winters High School Blizzards

Rhinelander High School Hodags

Virginia Tech Hokies

Washburn University Ichabods

Continue ReadingSports Teams with Funny Names

We’ll call it…

Why is it that when someone utters the phrase “We’ll call it….” when trying to introduce a new phrase or idiom, that whatever they come up with is invariably stupid? Idioms don’t come from pronouncements. They happen colloquially. In case you’re wondering, this is in reference to something specific someone said to me. Don’t worry, it wasn’t you.

Continue ReadingWe’ll call it…