Thanks to Christy for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.
RAIDER and RANGER
As you can probably guess, the baby name Sloane started out as a surname.
It comes from the Gaelic O’Sluagháin – raider. As in pirate or marauder or football team.
But in the 1980s, Sloane took on a very different association, thanks to Lady Diana Spencer.
Right before she became the most famous woman in the world, Diana belonged to a circle of young, well-born Londoners. Their address of choice? A Chelsea neighborhood called Sloane Square. That, naturally, made them the Sloane Rangers.
The world watched as Lady Di became a princess in a fairytale wedding broadcast around the world. We all learned the term Sloanie – the rough equivalent of “preppy” in 1980s American slang.
Named for Sir Hans Sloane, an eighteenth century physician and landowner, Sloane Square remains quite stylish all these years later. Think reality series Made in Chelsea.
Of course, it’s no surprise that Sloane didn’t catch on back then. It was understood that Sloanie wasn’t exactly praise – and certainly wasn’t considered a given name.
It wasn’t much longer until Sloane transitioned to given name status.
The year was 1986. Matthew Broderick was Ferris Bueller. And Ferris? He was taking a day off.
The John Hughes classic sent Ferris on adventures across Chicago in the company of his best friend Cameron and girlfriend Sloane.
Mia Sara played the girlfriend, wearing an unforgettable white leather fringed jacket. As high school girl characters from the 1980s go, she’s memorable for being level-headed and very kind.
The movie was a box office hit. Four decades later, it remains a favorite for many.
You might expect that the name baby name Sloane would have taken off, bolstered by the combined power of Diana and Ferris. After all, Cameron got a big bump in the 80s.
That’s not what happened.
In 1980, seven girls were given the name, along with ten boys. By 1990, those numbers were 67 girls and 5 boys.
A handful of uses kept the name in the public eye, like essayist Sloane Crosley’s best-selling I Was Told There’d Be Cake.
But it would take one more pop culture push before the baby name Sloane started to climb.
FROM LONDON TO LOS ANGELES
In 2004, the world met Vincent Chase, a rising star in a fictional/but not version of Hollywood. The headliner of Entourage was, obviously, surrounded by his friends and family.
That included childhood BFF Eric, now promoted to manager. As the series progresses, we meet recurring Entourage character Sloan McQuewick, his on-again, off-again girlfriend.
That Sloan – hold the E – boosted the name. The character debuted on the HBO series in 2005. That year, the name was given to 120 girls. By 2007, that number was 217.
Long-running series Grey’s Anatomy gave us Sloan Riley, the long-lost daughter of Dr. Mark Sloan, in 2009.
The baby name Sloan also doubled in use between 2005 and 2007, going from 56 girls to 115 girls, and kept on climbing from there.
BY the NUMBERS
The baby name Sloane finally broke into the US Top 1000 in 2009, ranked at #885. Since then, it has risen steadily in use. As of 2020, the name stands at #181.
Sloan followed behind, currently ranked #663.
How high will it rise?
It’s sleek and modern, a cool and sophisticated name for a daughter. But it’s joyful, too. And just like Blair echoes classic Claire, Sloane’s success owes a little something to the time-tested Joan.
Parents who love Harper and Grace might agree on the baby name Sloane.
It’s a sister for Sutton, an alternative to Quinn.
And for now, it’s a just slightly unexpected name that feels effortlessly stylish.
What do you think of the baby name Sloane? Do you prefer it with or without the e?
This post was originally published on August 12, 2010. It was substantially revised and re-posted on May 30, 2016 and again on February 24, 2022.