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Looking for that ideal name for a new child or pet? Don't like your current name and fancy something a little bit different? Look no further than the Random Name Generator!
How does it work? By analyising the frequency of pairs of letters in 1,219 male and 4,275 female names (taken from the 1990 US Census) it is possible to generate completely new male or female sounding names. Sometimes you may get a name which does already exist, but there should be plenty there that don't.
A word of note, some of the names may seen to be the wrong gender. This is due to two things: only the seeding information is gender specific (so throwing in a bit of randomness makes it perfectly possible to come up with something "wrong") and that the names were taken from the US census and they have a lot of male names which would be considered female in other languages (for example, "Beverly" in the UK is generally considered a female name, but not so in the USA).
You can refresh the page for 20 new names, change the gender or, if you fancy, you can enter a couple of letters to influence how the generated names start.
Since the 29th July 2007, this site has generated 8,283,690 random names.
If you're really interested in how this works, then it is all to do with Markov chains which deal with the probabilities of pairs of letters appearing after other pairs of letters. Using this to generate words or sentences is sometimes known as "Dissociated Press".