Hi Jennifer,

First of all, I adore your site! I have no children but I have a supreme passion for names. I was watching the new Grease: Live event and was struck by the name Kenickie. I guess when I saw Grease as a child I never really thought about names. Anyway, I was wondering if you had any information on the name Kenickie as I couldn’t find it anywhere on the site. I think it is an interesting name that I have never heard used before, or since Grease.

Thanks so much,

Hi Cassie,

I have a supreme passion for names, too! Thank you for your kind words. The character name Kenickie from the musical Grease was the character’s surname and was based on the Polish surname, Kenicke. The show’s creators, Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, most likely changed the spelling of the character’s name to be phonetic.

I suspect they chose the name because it rhymed with the word “hickey” as he boasts in the show, “A hickie from Kenickie is like a Hallmark card, when you only care enough to send the very best!” Kenickie is also a name that sounded tough and “street” with its double hard consonants.

P.S. There is a band named Kenickie from the 90’s, which probably got its name from the Grease character.

Thanks for writing!

Jeff Conaway as Kenickie and John Travolta as Danny in Grease, 1978
Jeff Conaway as Kenickie and John Travolta as Danny in Grease, 1978

Jennifer Moss (she/her) is the founder of BabyNames.com, author of The Baby Names Workbook, and Producer of The Baby Names Podcast. Jennifer is widely regarded as the leading expert on popular baby name trends and the naming process, serving as the authoritative source on the subject for national and international media.

Jennifer entered the tech arena in the 80s as a software developer and database architect, and became a pioneer in the Internet industry. In addition to operating BabyNames.com, Jennifer owns a web development agency in central California.