Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his November 22nd column, he looks at the history of the name Scarlett.
Scarlett is an English surname derived from the Old French “escarlate,” “scarlet-colored cloth,” designating one who sold expensive fabrics. Will Scarlet has been one of Robin Hood’s Merry Men since the ballad “A Gest of Robin Hood” was written around 1450. In modern times, he’s usually portrayed as Robin’s youngest outlaw.
In the 1850 United States census, there were 252 people with the last name Scarlett. In the 19th century, a few boys received Scarlett as a first name. The first famous female Scarlett is Scarlett O’Hara, heroine of Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel, “Gone With the Wind,” and the 1939 film based on it. In the novel, her full name is Katie Scarlett O’Hara, after her paternal grandmother, but everyone except her father calls her “Scarlett.”
Scarlett’s real boom began along with Scarlett Johansson’s career around 2002. The 8,343 born in 2019 ranked it 24th, its highest ever.