The Start of Sylar

sylar, character, heroes, baby name,
Quinto as Sylar

The futuristic-sounding name Sylar debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 2006:

  • 2010: 76 baby boys named Sylar
  • 2009: 91 baby boys named Sylar [peak]
  • 2008: 47 baby boys named Sylar
  • 2007: 38 baby boys named Sylar
  • 2006: 9 baby boys named Sylar [debut]
  • 2005: unlisted

(A smattering of baby girls have been named Sylar as well.)

What put this name on the onomastic map?

Sylar, the primary antagonist of the TV show Heroes (2006-2010). Played by Zachary Quinto, Sylar was a super-human serial killer with a strong desire to feel special and admired. So, he hunted down other people with super-human powers, killed them, and absorbed their abilities.

Sylar’s birth name was Gabriel Gray, and he was originally a watchmaker. Upon giving up his old way of life, he adopted an alter-ego and renamed himself Sylar, taken from a (fictitious) brand of watches. Here’s how one author described the name change:

In Sylar’s mind, Gabriel Gray [had] become “a name.” Unlike an anonymous watchmaker, who — despite the implications of his job title — does not really make watches, but in fact only repairs broken watches brought in by equally anonymous customers, Sylar [took] his name and thus his identity from an origin that [implied] both a certain level of activity and creativity — in that the brand really [did] produce watches — and [constituted] a brand thus signifying fame and achievement.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Sylar? (Do you like it more or less than the similar name Skylar?)

Sources:

  • Caeners, Torsten. “”You’re Broken. I Can Fix You”: Negotiating Concepts of U.S. Ideology.” Investigating Heroes: Essays on Truth, Justice and Quality TV, ed. by David Simmons, McFarland & Company, 2012, pp. 130-143.
  • Sylar – Wikipedia

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