is 'Ruth' an old person's name in the USA?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by andrew markworthy, Apr 10, 2002.

  1. andrew markworthy

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    Before anyone thinks of making comments, I should point out that my wife and mother are both called Ruth (and we are talking about two different women, before anyone starts speculating about family relationships in Worcester).

    The question of this thread arises from an episode of Friends which we've just got round to watching (I think it aired in the USA a couple of months ago). In it, 'Ruth' is treated as a name belonging only to a woman over 60. The same isn't true in the UK - it's never been a very common name, nor has it ever been very rare either. Age-related names in the UK would be names like 'Florence', 'Ethel' or (for men) 'Stanley' or 'Wilfred' (though these are now having a tiny resurgence).

    Was the loss of popularity due to Babe Ruth?
     
  2. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Hmmm... I went to HS with a Ruth ten years ago, but it was fairly uncommon then and her father was a minister. I've got a theory that names with a too-Biblical connotation have fallen out of favor in the US, especially for women, but it's just a hunch.
     
  3. KyleS

    KyleS Screenwriter

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    It is an older name but in no way is it out of style. I have known quite a few Ruth's and I never thought of it as "OLD" [​IMG]
    KyleS
     
  4. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    I've never met a Ruth under 40
     
  5. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    There are a lot of names, especially women, that seem to have been labeled "old fashioned" in recent years. They're not bad names, they're just not as common:
    Ruth, Maude, Mildred, Ernestine, Beatrice, Myrtle, Hazel, Fanny, Geraldine, Eleanor, Velma, Alma, Margaret/Maggie, Gloria, Hilda, Betty, Mabel, Marion, Martha, Gertrude, Gladys, Ethel, Francine, Enid, Joan, Betsy, Doreen, Elmira, Doris, Beverly, Marjorie/Marge, Irene, Priscilla, Prudence, Polly, Clara, Zelda, Edna, Edith, Constance, Florence, Lucille, Phyllis, Elsie, Stella, Mona, etc., etc.
    For men, some similar names might include Orville, Ezra, Ira, Alphonse, Albert, Clarence, Arthur, Malcolm (!), Merrill, Francis, Gil, Alfred, Harold, Carl, Howard, Harland.
    Men's nicknames have changed, too. Richard is no longer Dick, but usually Rich or Rick. Robert isn't Bob, but Rob. William is Will instead of Bill.
    I hope no one takes offense if your name is in the list (I included mine). These are just my vast generalizations of names that don't seem to be as commonplace as they once were. [​IMG]
     
  6. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Supporting Actor

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    For men you have left off Ashley, but I would bet it is much more popular across the pond than here in the states.

    It became popular in the 80's as a girl's name, but the oldest girl I know of is Ashley Judd who is about 34.

    I should have been named Rhett so people wouldn't be confused.

    I agree that a lot of the old biblical names are going out of favor. Ruth is a classic though and should not be lost.

    My in-laws are Myron and Edna. They worked a farm in Minnesota and if you ever wanted to hand a name on the American Gothic painting, these names would fit like a glove.
     
  7. ace peterson

    ace peterson Second Unit

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    I can see Ruthie for a little girl, but not Ruth. I don't think I've ever met a Ruth younger than 40ish either. But, don't go by what we say. No one else cares what others think. I know a kid named Dubb Nut. No lie.
     
  8. Stacie

    Stacie Stunt Coordinator

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    I know several Ruths; their ages fall across a wide range from over 50 to under 10.

    One of my closest friends from college is named Ruth. (I'm 30, by the way).

    I wouldn't say it's an incredibly popular name for younger people, but it's not unheard of.
     
  9. Gabe D

    Gabe D Cinematographer

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    I know a woman named Ruth who is about 35. She's named after her aunt who died just before she was born. She goes by her middle name, Anne, because Ruth is (sorry to say) an old lady name.
     
  10. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    Yes, it's generally an older person's name. (Helen could go on that lengthy list, also, Malcolm.)

     
  11. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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  12. Jeff Braddock

    Jeff Braddock Second Unit

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    In my experience (almost 2 years of telemarketing (I know you hate telemarketers)), Ruths were generally middle age or older. Malcom has covered most of the classics, I might just add one name for a woman...Edwina. If your names are any of the listed above, I mean no disrespect. It is just a generalization.
     
  13. andrew markworthy

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    Thanks for the input, folks. Malcolm, your list is interesting for a Brit - the names are either similarly dated over here or otherwise are pretty unusual (e.g. Vekma and Ira are not typical Brit names: I realise this will prompt several Brits to say their father/mother/sibling is called one of these names).
     
  14. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

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    I've got a good friend named Ruth, she's 24.
    My girlfriend and I are planning on naming our daughters Guinevere and Dagny when we have kids in 5 years or so. We like unusual names [​IMG]
     
  15. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Names come and go. When I was a kid I had only heard of three girls/women named Emily. Emily Post, Emily Dickenson, and a girl at school. I hear that today Emily is the most popular name for girls in the country. I think the other names mentioned above will come around again.

    Glenn
     
  16. Jason L.

    Jason L. Second Unit

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    The only Ruth that was under 40 that I have ever heard of was "Ruthie" from the MTV Show - Real World: Hawaii.

    As far as biblical names, Jacob was the #1 boys name last year - which is amazing to me.
     
  17. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    How about Evelyn?
    Anybody know an "Evelyn" under 45?? [​IMG]
     
  18. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    I met a girl at school a couple summers ago named ruth. It's not common, but I don't think it's old..

    (she was cute too :b )
     
  19. Artur Meinild

    Artur Meinild Screenwriter

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    One of my friends Tiger Python is called Ruth. Go figure.
     
  20. Stefan A

    Stefan A Second Unit

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    I have been teaching middle school for 8 years now and I don't thnk I have ever taught a Ruth. Kaitlyn and Katie are among the most popular girl names (at least 11-13 years ago when these kids were named)
     

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