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The Biggest Changes on the New SSA Baby Name List

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The Social Security Administration just released the list of top baby names for 2015. While Noah and Emma are still number one, the top 10 changed a little, with Daniel and Madison falling off to places 12 and 11, respectively, and Benjamin and Harper moving into the top 10.

More interesting changes are revealed with a look at the full list of the top 1000 names. A number of names made the list for the first time ever. For boys, Achilles, Boone, Canaan, Huxley, and Wilder are new, and under the influence of burgeoning favorites Cash, Kash, and Ashton, Kashton has now come on to the scene. New names for girls are Dalary, Heavenly, and Kensington as well as three names that have until now only been on the boys list: Ellis, Lennox, and Royal. Briar has made the list for the first time for both boys and girls. 

A few names are not completely new to the list, but have been reintroduced after long hiatuses. Bishop, Louie, and Otis haven’t made it into the top 1000 since the 1990s. And Adaline, which hasn’t made the list since 1924, entered at an impressive rank of 364. Ophelia appeared for the first time since 1958, and Zelda for the first time since 1967.

To make room for the new names, some names have to go. Traditional names like Howard, Randall, Antonia, Sonia, and Cindy no longer make the cut. And some creative spellings of more common names have also fallen off the list: Jaycob, Abbigail, Lesly, Pyper, and Konner are out. Despite the salad and smoothie craze, Kale has been declining since 2008 and this year finally left the list. Also, parents no longer have time for Patience or Temperance. For obvious reasons, Isis is out as well.

In politics, Cruz is down 34 places, but Nixon—which first appeared in the top 1000 in 2011—moved up 75 spots this year.

The biggest increases in popularity were for Kaison, which went up 251 places as a boy's name, and Ariyah, which went up 329 places as a girl's name. Other names that had big increases were Omari, Titan, Atlas, Legend, and Ford for boys, and Thea, Milani, Jessa, Zahra, and Gwen for girls. Carter has been rising for boys since 1981 and for girls since 2013, and Karter has been rising for boys since 2005 and for girls since last year.

In pop music name trends, last year we finally lost the name Britney, and this year Miley faced the same fate. And while Justin is down from 96 to 110, finally falling out of top 100, Zayn is up 189 places from 833 to 644.

In fictional character news, the spell cast by Frozen seem to be lifting: Elsa is down 201 places from last year’s peak. And though Game of Thrones remains as popular as ever, Khaleesi is down 60 places. 

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Big Questions
Where Should You Place the Apostrophe in President's Day?
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Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" infers that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the nearly 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.


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Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington/Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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language
Here's the Right Way to Pronounce Kitchenware Brand Le Creuset

If you were never quite sure how to pronounce the name of beloved French kitchenware brand Le Creuset, don't fret: For the longest time, southern chef, author, and PBS personality Vivian Howard wasn't sure either.

In this video from Le Creuset, shared by Food & Wine, Howard prepares to sear some meat in her bright orange Le Creuset pot and explains, "For the longest time I had such a crush on them but I could never verbalize it because I didn’t know how to say it and I was so afraid of sounding like a big old redneck." Listen closely as she demonstrates the official, Le Creuset-endorsed pronunciation at 0:51.

Le Creuset is known for its colorful, cast-iron cookware, which is revered by pro chefs and home cooks everywhere. The company first introduced their durable pots to the world in 1925. Especially popular are their Dutch ovens, which are thick cast-iron pots that have been around since the 18th century and are used for slow-cooking dishes like roasts, stews, and casseroles.

[h/t Food & Wine]

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