Celebrity Baby Names week 2013 continues, with Cricket as our Baby Name of the Day.
Cricket has a great sound. That crisp ‘Cr’ at the top, the stylish -et girl ending.
Trouble is that she’s a bug.
Cricket comes from the French criquer – to creak, crackle. It’s an onomatopoeic choice. Like roar, the word comes from the sound.
It’s also a sport, of course. The word comes from a Middle Dutch word cricke – stick and the French criquet – piece of wood.
Back to the bug. We tend to lump grasshoppers, katydids, and crickets together as the more approachable of the insects. True crickets belong to the family Gryllidae, and with their antennae and those big jumping legs, they are insects – even if they’re pretty much harmless to humans, and their night-time chirping is a gentle reminder of summer nights.
In some cultures, the appearance of a cricket is a good omen. In others, it’s best to escort them out of your house as they can herald illness, even death. There’s a history of keeping them as pets, and even staging cricket fights. They are also edible, and you just might find them on the menu.
Disney gave us the enduring Jiminy Cricket, that wise advisor from Pinocchio, plus Cri-kee in Mulan. The 1961 Newberry Honor Book A Cricket in Times Square was about the adventures of Chester Cricket. And the children’s literary magazine Cricket launched in 1973.
Cricket is also slang for a harmonica, and Buddy Holly’s back-up band was called The Crickets. This could put Cricket in the company of Harmony, Aria and Drummer – if the musical meaning were more widely known.
Still, Cricket has more history of use than you might guess:
- 1950 was the first year at least five girls received the name.
- By 1962, she’d reached a high of 22 newborns.
- In 1982, 24 girls received the name.
- She’s retreated in recent years – to 18 Crickets in 2008 and 5 in 2012.
Credit the small screen for some of those births.
Back in 1959, Connie Stevens played Cricket, a photographer on detective series Hawaiian Eye. A pair of private investigators untangled all sorts of goings-on in Honolulu, mostly at a local hotel. Photographer Cricket was also much in demand at the hotel, and often assisted the duo as they caught the bad guys and kept the island safe for visitors. The show was on ABC through 1963.
I wanted to tie that 1982 high on The Young and the Restless. Christine Blair was a teenage model when she debuted on the show, nicknamed Cricket. She eventually became a lawyer and district attorney – and shed her nickname. Except the soap opera introduced the character in 1983 – a year after she’d peaked – so that’s not it.
And yet, most women who have answered to Cricket seem to have been named Christine. Christine was a Top 100 choice in the US from the 1940s into the 1990s, ranking in the Top 20 from 1967 to 1974. Cricket’s rise parallels Christine’s popularity.
Could she make a comeback in 2014?
Busy Philips welcomed Cricket Pearl in 2013, a little sister for Birdie Leigh. Philips’ latest addition could put Cricket on a list of daring nature names that parents are considering. And yet I think this one is more Apple than Shiloh, a name not likely to inspire many imitators.