Stormy: Baby Name of the DayStormy joins the Kardashian-Jenner reality television show family – only spelled with an ‘i’ instead of a ‘y’.

Could our celebrity-inspired Baby Name of the Day point to a new trend?

Stormy: Tempest

Let’s start with just storm. It comes from an Old English word to refer to a violent weather event – strong winds, thunder and lightning, buckets of rain. Maybe hail or even heavy snow.

But it’s referred to non-meteorological events for centuries, too. By the 1600s, you might storm the castle. We’ve only been enthusiastically talking up a storm (and so on) since the middle of the twentieth century.

We’ve had stormy seas and weather since the 1300s, and the word has been used in a figurative sense nearly as long.

Stormy: Surname

So how did this become a given name?

Like so many rarities, we have to begin at the ending. Storm was sometimes given as a surname, either to a child born in bad weather, or for someone known for his bluster.

But in the 1940s, Storm and Stormy started to appear in very small numbers in the Social Security Administration data, for boys and girls.

Perhaps credit goes to the 1935 movie Stormy, where the name was worn by a boy searching for a lost horse. The actor who played him – Noah Beery Jr. – had a long career, from Westerns in the 1930s into the 1960s to a role as James Garner’s dad on The Rockford Files in the 1970s. So maybe that was enough to put the name on parents’ radar.

Or maybe it’s thanks to Major League Baseball’s Roy “Stormy” Weatherly, who played from 1936 into 1950.

Stormy: Lena Horne

In 1933, Lena Horne recorded the enduring single “Stormy Weather.” It’s been covered countless times, a torch song for the brokenhearted.

The lyrics refer to bad weather – “it’s raining all of the time” – and to the singer’s mood. But it’s never used as a given name. There’s no bump in use as a name, either, so that doesn’t seem to explain it.

But in 1943, 20th Century Fox took inspiration from the song title and produced a major, musical motion picture by the name, with the song featured prominently.  Lena Horne performs the song, but her character’s name? Selina.

Still, the timing might explain some of the early use of Stormy.

Stormy: 60s Pop Song

In 1967, The Association scored a hit with “Windy,” a single about a girl with “stormy eyes that flash at the sound of lies.”

A year later, Classics IV released a single called “Stormy.” Once again, the weather term is clearly used as a woman’s name. The singer pleads to “bring back that sunny day.”

There’s a steady rise in the name’s use, with a handful of cover versions helping to boost the name, from 1968 onwards.

Stormy: X-Men

In 1975, comic book readers met Storm, one of the X-Men. And yup, her superpower? It’s the ability to control the weather.

She’s crazy powerful. Born Ororo Munroe, a Kenyan princess with an American father, she quickly becomes one of the X-Men’s most important characters. Halle Berry played her in the 2000 movie version; Alexandra Shipp starred as Storm in the 2016 version.

Stormy: Big in the 90s

Here’s what we know for sure. Storm ranked in the boys’ Top 1000 from 1991 through 1997. Stormy appeared in the girls’ Top 1000 during the exact same years.

What tipped both names from sometimes-heard into the mainstream, so many years after the song?

It’s a tough question to answer, because there are countless references to the word. The 1990s brought us the Geo Storm, Desert Storm, and at least one professional wrestler by the name.

Let’s look back a little farther:

  • A Rainbow Brite character answered to Stormy beginning in 1983.
  • In 1984, Stormie Jones made headlines as the first-ever recipient of a simultaneous heart and liver transplant. She was just six years old at the time of her surgery. There’s a sharp spike in girls named Stormie around 1984, and again, following her death in 1990.
  • Jem and the Holograms debuted in 1985, a cartoon about a rock band fronted by Jerrica “Jem” Benton. The Holograms’ arch-rivals? Why, The Misfits, of course, which included songwriter Stormer Phillips.
  • It’s the name of the baby in 2001 comedy Nobody’s Baby, about a clueless Skeet Ulrich trying to raise a baby he rescues.

And, of course, Misty had been a Top 100 pick in the 1970s and 80s; Dusty saw some use for both genders around the same era, while the rhyming Rusty climbed for boys; and Sunny peaked for girls in the same era.

Stormy: Stormi

So let’s say this: a mix of pop culture associations eventually pushed both masculine and feminine forms into the US Top 1000. But they were seemed like fleeting trends, not lasting additions to the lexicon of baby names.

Stormi-with-an-i saw some use over the years, but it’s always ranked behind the ‘y’ spelling. In 2016, 30 girls were named Stormi, versus 125 with the ‘y’.

Stormy: Breaking News

This name has been all over the headlines lately, thanks to the latest scandal from Washington DC. Adult film Hall of Famer (yup, that’s a thing) Stephanie Clifford is better known as Stormy Daniels, and word is that she had an affair with Donald Trump.

I suspect Kylie must have considered this when she named her daughter. Could it be why she opted for the ‘i’ spelling instead? Or did Kylie imagine the whole ugly scandal would be quickly forgotten? After all, if rumors are true, she’s had this name chosen for months.

Stormy: Everything Old is New Again …

And yet, here’s my big take-away from the name announcement.

It suggests that Kylie – and maybe her generation – are willing to consider reviving names long before conventional wisdom suggests they’re ready for a comeback.

Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo named their daughter Dusty, a name that peaked in the 1970s. He’s not quite a millennial, but she is.

And so I wonder – do Stormi and Dusty herald a new generation of early retro revivals? Could the next few years bring us baby girls named Heidi, Wendy, Tanya, Dawn, Crystal and Brandy? Will their brothers be Troy, Keith, and Brian?

Somehow I don’t hear the boys’ names making quite the same kind of comeback. But maybe – just maybe – Stormi is the start of something.

One last thought: as Kardashian baby names go, it’s actually pretty tame.

Readers, do you think Stormi and Dusty are part of a new trend? Will we hear more 70s/80s names in revival in the next few years?

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. Well, I think it’s a silly name. It predisposes people to thinking this child will be throwing temper tantrums all the time. And when she grows up, the porn associations of this name will always be lurking in the backround. There’s no way to delete such connections to a name, they are just there, and even though she will make it her own name, that still can’t erase what else the name means in popular culture. That said, reading this entry on the name Stormy from Appellation Mountain is very interesting. But the name will always sound like the parents just didn’t care enough to gift their daughter with a name that doesn’t set her up for the rest of her life to be seen in a trite way. Ponies, porn, passionate, “stormi ” feelings – well, if you’re a Kardashian, I guess you can get away with it.

    1. I debated whether to let this comment stand or not, but I do think others share your opinion. Here’s what I would say: first, no parent gives their child a name with low expectations. We may not love a particular celebrity, but it’s cruel to imply that they don’t love their children.

      On the contrary, most of us think very deliberately about names that convey the kind of person we hope our child becomes – whether we’re a 20-year old reality star or a 35-year old lawyer.

      There are some challenging associations with Stormi, and I do think the ‘i’ spelling makes it a little tougher to wear over the course of a life. But I suspect Kylie is thinking of the positives of a stormy day – which I downright love, and others do, too. And maybe she finds the sound strong, the kind of name that connotes resilience and the power of nature. If the tabloids are correct, she kept her pregnancy quiet for fear of judgement because she’s so very young. So while we might not understand the thinking, it may represent her feelings about finding her own path.

      FWIW, I’ve known plenty of women – and men – with names that are regularly dismissed as cutesy or worse. And they’ve been perfectly successful. The ones I know well enough to ask sometimes groan about their names. I know a successful exec, who has worked much of her career in a male-dominated field, and she would have rather been something less trendy that didn’t end with an ‘i.’ She’s also had a (male) boss ask if that was really her name. But you know? It hasn’t held her back. And her parents love and adore her.

      And here’s the thing: she can – at least potentially – reshape how we think about the name. Maybe she’ll grow up to use her wealth and privilege to make documentary films, or raise awareness about social injustice. Maybe the name implies something different to our ears – I’m as guilty of this as much as anyone!

      But it’s a name, not a destiny. And I believe it was given with love.

      1. I like your reply Abby. Stormy is very far from my personal style/preference. But one of the reasons I keep coming back to your blog years after all my kids have been named is because of your great attitude about names. The blog has really helped me to appreciate the beauty of names that are outside what I’d name my child and the wide variety of reasons to choose one name or another. As a result, I hope I’m becoming less quick to judge negatively when I hear a name on a real person in the real world.

        FWIW: I went to high school (class of ’98) with a wonderful girl named Stormy who was untraumatized by her name. (It was stormy the night of her birth which lead to the choice.)

  2. I went to school with girl named Stormy and a boy named Cloudy back in the 90s. I believe they even dated. I remember thinking her name was kinda trashy. I too wish she has been more poetic using a butterfly motif. So many lovely species names.

  3. I was surprised she chose this name, I was hoping she would go with Mariposa! My initial reaction was that Stormy is a bit dated, but I think she could breathe some fresh life back into it. I remember when I was naming my daughter (four years ago now!) that I was interested in names meaning ‘storm’. Her naming style seems like a mix between her sisters; word names like Kim but somewhat trendy names like Kourtney. However, I have to admit that I really don’t like the spelling…I would also be interested to know if she gave her daughter a middle name or not.

  4. Stormy/Stormi immediately made me think of an 80s horse/pony name. Objectively it’s not a bad name! But I guess having lived through the 80s I’ll always group it with the likes of Misty and Crystal. I’ll admit to having a soft spot for the name “Stormer”, who was my favourite Jem and the Holograms character.

  5. One of my favorite names, for both boy and girl, is Shea. I know this name peaked in the 80s as well and I too am a millennial. So I would say yes to your question, Abby!

  6. I think Stormy was a My Little Pony villain, too.

    There’s religious author Stormie Omartian who was an actress once upon a time.

    Thunder Rolls by Garth Brooks was a storm-based song back in the day.

    I guess it’s not too far from Tempest… not what I thought she was going to choose, but it’s always profoundly interesting to get a glimpse into the future personality or life a parent sees for their child through the names they select.

    Siblings: Destin, Roscoe, Rowdy, Rogue, Shelli, Crystal, Destiny… yeah, it’ll be fascinating.

  7. I was born in 1989, my daughter’s name is Tabitha. I do believe that it peaked in the 1980s. Do you think that would fit into your theory about younger people choosing names that are not ready for a comeback? In her preschool, she had a classmate named Jessica. I think you may have a point. I suppose I do not see names as off limits due to trends. My son’s name is Jacob, on the other end of popularity spectrum- we decided we liked it enough not to care if it was very popular. Though it started falling the year we chose it.

    1. Yes, I think so – I think there’s a real shift in the way younger parents view this issue. I’m not sure why … but I definitely hear a difference between how mid-20s parents and late-30s parents approach the issues of popularity and trends. Tabitha is a great example. It’s a gorgeous name – why would anyone avoid it? Except it peaked in the 1980s, so you’re right – plenty of families DO skip names for those reasons. Intriguing …

  8. I’m trying to like it, there aren’t many names I don’t like but to me it’s a pet name. I used to ride a horse called Storm and she lived up to her name.
    I’m almost disappointed she didn’t use Butterfly after all we’ve seen a rise in animal names like Wolf and Fox and seen names like Otter used.
    It’s pretty tame though by Kardashian standards. I wonder what she’ll name her siblings?

    1. Yes – it IS tame by Kardashian standards, isn’t it?! And I would have loved a baby Butterfly. But hey – her kid, not mine!

      And I think there’s a horse in one of the Misty of Chincoteague books named Stormy – maybe that’s why it’s got such a strong equine vibe?!

      1. You’re right! It was Stormy, Misty’s Foal. I was a huge Marguerite Henry fan as a girl. 🙂