How popular is the baby name Gib in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Gib and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Gib.
Looking for a pair of cat names?
During the last centuries of the Medieval era, the most common cat names were Gib (hard G) and Tib.
Typically, Gib was used for male cats and Tib for female cats.
Gib is a diminutive of the name Gilbert. Tib is either a play on Gib or a short form of Tibert, as in Tibert the Cat, a feline character found in Reynard the Fox stories.
Geoffrey Chaucer mentions a cat named Gibbe in his The Romaunt of the Rose, written in the late 1300s.
The play Gammer Gurton’s Needle, written during the 1550s, features a (female) cat named Gib:
My nee’le, alas! Ich lost it, Hodge, what time Ich me up-hasted
To save the milk set up for thee, which Gib our cat hath wasted.
The name Gib was so ubiquitous that male cats were called Gib-cats. We might still be using that term today if not for “The Life and Adventures of a Cat” (1760), a popular tale that featured a cat named Tom. Tom inspired the term Tom-cat, which eventually replaced Gib-cat.
I discovered this very early case of a male name becoming a female name while reading about medieval English pet names that end with -ot and -et (e.g. Cissot for Cecilia, Ibbot for Isabella):
But the girl-name that made most mark was originally a boy’s name, Theobald. Tibbe was the nick form, and Tibbot the pet name. Very speedily it became the property of the female sex, such entries as Tibot Fitz-piers ending in favour of Tibota Foliot. After the year 1300 Tib, or Tibet, is invariably feminine.
Girl-cats were commonly named Tib during this period. (Boy-cats were called Gib.)
Tib reminds me of Toby, another male nickname used for girls. Toby, short for Tobias, was more popular as a girl name than as a boy name in the U.S. for most of the early 20th century (1910s-1940s).
Source: Bardsley, Charles Wareing Endell. Curiosities of Puritan Nomenclature. London: Chatto & Windus, 1897.