Hazel is a girl's name with a history beginning in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when it became popular alongside other nature-inspired names like Myrtle and Olive. The word "hazel" is derived from an Old English word, hæsel, which refers to a brown color.
Hazel is most commonly pronounced "HAY-zl." It's traditionally spelled Hazel, though the name is infrequently spelled Haesel or Haizel.
Hazel's history as a name begins somewhere in 1880s, when botany-inspired names became trendy for both boys and girls. Previously, Hazel had been a surname, for a family who lives by hazel trees. Based on available records, 1897 was Hazel's most popular year as a given name, with nearly 10,000 babies given this name out of every 1 million born.
Before Hazel became a first name or a surname, it was the name of a tree and a light brown color. The earliest hazel appears in writing is in reference to a color in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, which was written between 1591 and 1596.
Despite a surge in popularity in the United States at the end of the 19th century, the name Hazel experienced a rapid decline shortly after the turn of the century. Hazel started to regain its popularity as a baby name in the early 2000s.
In 2004, Julia Roberts named one of her twins Hazel. This could have triggered a small uptick in babies being named Hazel in the United States.
The huge jump, however, was in 2014 – the year actors John Krasinski and Emily Blunt welcomed their first daughter, Hazel. It's also the year the movie The Fault in Our Stars, based on a novel by John Green, was released. It tells the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster, a teenager with thyroid cancer. Both of these pop culture events very likely played a role in Hazel's gain in popularity.
Hazel broke into the top 100 baby girl names on the Social Security Administration's list in 2015, and was in the top 50 by 2020.
In recent history, Hazel is a name that has primarily been given to baby girls. However, when it first became a given name, it was used for both boys and girls.
Will Hazel continue gaining popularity as a baby name? Or will it disappear again, much like it did in the last century? Only time will tell what the future has in store for this nature-inspired name.
Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman : American tennis player and founder of the Wightman Cup who won 45 U.S. titles
Hazel Scott : Musician, actress, and host of The Hazel Scott Show, which made her the first Black woman to host her own television show
Hazel Schmoll : American botanist famous for the many firsts she accomplished as a woman in botany
Hazel O'Connor : Actress and singer from Britain
Hazel Hutchins : Children's author known for her award-winning book, Tess
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Hazel Walker : National Women´s Basketball Hall of Fame
Hazel Blears : British politician
Hazel Carby : writer
Hazel Edwards : writer
Hazel Finck : artist
Hazel Harvey : writer
Hazel Henderson : writer
Hazel Holt : writer
Hazel Hutchins : children's author
Hazel Leach : jazz musician