This name was among the fastest risers in 2013, and she brings with her an entire style category.
Thanks to Elisabeth for suggesting Sadie as our Baby Name of the Day.
Name nerds know that Sadie is a short form of Sarah. But that’s a fact mostly forgotten by the rest of the world.
Credit the Normans. When they arrived in England in 1066, they brought oodles of names with them. The entire English language changed – dramatically so – and given names were no exception. Anglo-Saxon names all but disappeared, in favor of Anglo-Norman French ones.
That meant new variants, and especially new nicknames. The ‘r’ sound was often dropped: Mary became Molly, and Sarah was Sally – or Sadie.
Fast forward to 2014, and the numbers look like this:
- The Biblical Sarah, wife of Abraham and an impeccable classic, ranked #48 in 2013. Sarah has rarely left the US Top 100, and ranked in the Top Ten from 1978 through 2002.
- The trimmer Sara, preferred in Spanish and Italian, charted at a distant #154. She’s always been slightly less popular than the ‘h’ spelling.
- While both forms of Sarah are falling, Sadie skyrocketed to #50, up from #119. Odds are that she’ll surpass Sarah in popularity in the next year or two.
Sadie’s vintage style is undeniable. She was a Top 100 choice in the late nineteenth and very early twentieth centuries.
Sadie and Bessie Delany became minor celebrities thanks to the 1993 New York Times bestseller Having Our Say, a memoir of their very long lives. Ms. Delany was 103 when the book was published.
The Delany sisters were born Sarah and Elizabeth, but other notable just-Sadies might come to mind:
- Sadie Mossell Alexander was the first African American woman to earn a PhD in the US. She practiced law in Philadelphia from the 1920s into the 1980s, and was active in the civil rights movement.
- Another trailblazer was Sadie Bonnell, a female ambulance driver during the First World War.
- On a lighter note, comic strip Li’l Abner included a character called Sadie Hawkins from the 1930s through the 1970s. Miss Hawkins was the daughter of a prominent Dogpatch family, but her less-than-lovely looks threatened to leave her a spinster. Her anxious dad created Sadie Hawkins Day – a chance for girls to pursue eligible bachelors in a footrace – and it inspired the Sadie Hawkins Dance, where young women can ask young men to dance. (No wonder this name feels antique!)
- The Beatles released a single called “Sexy Sadie” in 1968. The story behind it does little to boost the name, but association with The Beatles isn’t a bad thing for any name. In 2007’s Across the Universe, the characters are named Lucy, Jude, and Sadie.
- Plenty of fictional characters have worn the name, including one on major name influencer, Grey’s Anatomy.
Adam Sandler gave the name to his firstborn, Sadie Madison, back in 2006. Christina Applegate welcomed a daughter called Sadie Grace in 2011.
Then there’s Sadie Frost, actress-turned-designer, also known as the former wife of Jude Law. Sadie has four kids: Finlay, from her prior marriage to Gary Kemp, and then Rafferty, Iris, and Rudy with Law.
All the while the name climbed, from unranked in the mid-1960s through early 1970s, to #493 in 1989, #244 in 2000, and #118 in 2010. She made headlines with her jump to #50 in 2013.
The reason behind Sadie’s big leap? Credit a Louisiana teenager. The Duck Dynasty granddaughter, Sadie Robertson, helped the name go from stylish to super-charged.
But that’s not really a surprise, is it? We’re seeing all of these spunky, retro nickname names catch on, from Sadie to other high profile picks like Hattie, Winnie, and Frankie.
Overall, Sadie is a great retro revival, a fun name that feels casual and complete. The only trouble? Plenty of others have discovered her, too!
My daughter will be arriving any day now (let’s hope!!), and I am 99% sure we will be naming her Sadie Rose. She will be a sister to Gabriel (Gabe) David. We had some other names lined up, but I just wasn’t convinced or getting the feeling that they were “it” – and I like that Sadie is derived from the more traditional Sarah. With some sass and spunk to boot 🙂 I also wasn’t sure if it would bother me that she won’t have a ‘formal’ name with a nickname, like her brother (Abby, i know how you feel about that!), but so far I am good with it. I don’t watch Duck Dynasty, but I am definitely a big fan of this name!
The Mrs. says
I had a ‘Great Aunt Sadie’ of whom often reference was made when I was a child. I never could find her in the family tree until only a few years ago, to my embarrassment, I realized that my grandmother had had an Aunt Sarah.
Her sisters were Florence, Margurite, and Golden.
My maternal grandmother’s cousin Rosie (I called her Aunt Rosie) had a mother whose name was Sadie, short for Sarah. Everyone used to call her Aunt Sadie because no one outside her immediate family knew what her real first name was. My sister and a 3rd cousin on my dad’s side are Sarah’s too, though neither of them use Sadie as a nickname.