Historical trends from the past have the name Basil down as exclusively male . . . but present day says otherwise. According to BabyCenter.com, as of 1999, Basil is a perfectly viable girl name that may in fact be gathering steam at this very moment. Almost 20 years ago, it
hit the ground running when it first registered as a potential girl name at #6249 on the list. It currently sits at #4716 so while it clearly has a ways to go before being considered trendy, it is up 274 notches from last year.
Derived from the word “basileus” which means “king” or “regal”, the name has both royal as well as religious undertones. It was the name of two Byzantine emperors and St. Basil the Great was a 4th-century bishop who is also credited as one of the founders of the Christian church.
Basil was once considered a name reserved for the British elite thanks to actor Basil Rathbone’s (1892-1967) portrayal of the character Sherlock Holmes. It hit its high at #328 in 1904 and remained consistently popular within the U.S. until the 1970s.