How popular is the baby name Tobias in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Tobias and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Tobias.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Tobias

Number of Babies Named Tobias

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Tobias

Early Case of Boy Name “Stolen” by Girls

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.


Unique, Strong Boy Name Needed

A reader named Kristy is expecting her first baby, a little boy, in mid-May. Kristy writes:

[W]e are now on the hunt for a baby’s name that is unique – it has to be paired with Johnston,* after all – but not so unique that it is unpronounceable! Also, being a romantic traditionalist, I am not interested in any “fad” or trendy names (i.e. No names in the current top 100 or even rapidly rising through the ranks). I am looking for a good, strong, perhaps “classic” name that will withstand the test of time without being shared with millions of others. (My husband and I both had to share our first names with many classmates growing up! I would like to avoid that plight for our child.)

*The surname isn’t Johnston, but it’s close.

My husband’s current favorite is Felix Milo. While I really like the name Felix – it’s unique and full of character, while being classic enough that there are a few notable Felix-es throughout history – it lacks the “romantic luster” that I somehow have my heart set on…

My current favorite is Zedekiah. It’s from Hebrew meaning “Jehovah/God is just”. I just love the way it sounds and that it’s Hebrew-based. He could go by nicknames of Zed, Z, Kiah, or even Zeke. Zedekiah Michael sounds lovely to me…

We also both like the name Raphael, but are really struggling with a good nickname (Rafi?) and a fitting middle name, for that matter…

They’d also like to include some family names, “but it’s been tough to get the names to mesh quite right.” Here are the family names they’re considering:

Michael Douglas
Terry Milo
Douglas Edward (see below)
Clarence Moore (he went by “Bud”)
Woodward Jay (he went by “Tom”)
Lester Raymond
Otis Clifford

Note that Edward is already taken by another grandchild, Tom’s my brother’s name, and the name “Douglas” sounds terribly dismal to me… which leaves us with a rather questionable lot… (but family’s family ;-))

Michael Douglas? :)

I really like the current shortlist. Zedekiah, Felix, Raphael…names with a lot of personality. Very cool.

I think I’d shorten Raphael to Raph, à la the Ninja Turtles. Just seems like the most logical nickname option to me.

As far as name suggestions go, the first to come to mind was Zephaniah, which is a lot like Zedekiah but has an internal ph like Raphael. Here are some other ideas:

Abraham
Alister
Arthur
Auberon
Balthazar
Damian
Evander
Fabian
Gideon
Giles
Hadrian
Hezekiah
Horatio
Ignatius
Lazarus
Lucian
Malachi
Marius
Maximilian
Nigel
Percival
Simon
Sinclair
Solomon
Sylvester
Thaddeus
Theodore
Timon
Tobias
Vincent

It’s not easy to choose a middle without a first already in place, but, of all the family names, I’m partial to Michael. You can pair Michael with nearly any first name and it will sound good. It’s like the boy-name equivalent of Marie.

Which of the above names do you like best? What other names would you suggest to Kristy?

Baby Name Needed for 6th Baby

A reader named Juliet writes:

My husband Ralph and I have five children, and I am four months pregnant with our sixth.

We’ve always had a difficult time choosing names, but Ralph and I have always found names that we’ve both loved early on in the pregnancy (agreeing on the name was another story).

This time around, however, it seems like there are no names out there that either of us even like. Can you help us?

Our kids are:
Felix Lysander
Olive Matilda
Maeve Tallulah
Susannah Blair (she goes by Sunny)
Edward Atticus (we call him Ned)

We’re looking for names that are quirky, light, vintage-y, and that will age well and go with my other children’s.

Wow, a lot of great names there! (In fact, Juliet’s large, well-named family reminded me of Cora’s large, well-named family from a few years ago.)

For #6, here are some boy names that came to mind:

Alastair
Alfred
Arthur
Baxter
Bennett
Calvin
Clarence
Declan
George
Henry
Hugo
Lawrence
Louis
Lucian
Nigel
Nolan
Thaddeus
Thomas
Tobias
Vincent
Winston

And some girl names:

Alice
Bethany
Camilla
Cecily
Charlotte
Cora
Davina
Della
Dorothy
Harriet
Helen
Katherine
Lillian
Lydia
Penelope
Phoebe
Priscilla
Prudence
Tabitha
Willa
Victoria

I focused on first letters that aren’t already in use, only because everyone else seems to have a unique first initial. Not sure if this is something that matters to Juliet or not, though.

Which of the above do you like best with Felix, Olive, Maeve, Susannah and Edward? What other names would you suggest?

Update: It’s a boy! Scroll down or click here to learn what his name is.

Baby Name Needed – Boy Name for Brother of Channing and Deacon

A reader named Heath is expecting his third child, a boy, and would like some name suggestions. Here’s what he says:

I’m Heath, wife is Aspen, daughter is Channing and son is Deacon so we’re looking for a name that most kids won’t have but also want something that isn’t feminine, will get him picked on or doesn’t sound like we are trying too hard.

Here are some of the names they’ve been considering:

My favorite is Justice but that has no chance with my wife. She likes Ridge but I quickly vetoed that. Her favorite is Easton but I was looking for something more. Some others that we have thought about is Beckett, Kingston or Tate but again I’m not overly thrilled.

Many of the names above come from surnames, so that’s what I focused on as I brainstormed:

Baron
Bridger
Brogan
Corbin
Dax
Edison
Evander
Ezra
Felix
Finn
Fletcher
Franklin
Fulton
Garrison
Graham
Griffin
Grover
Hawthorn
Jasper
Lachlan
Lawson
Lennon
Marlow
Maxwell
Nash
Nigel
Owen
Paxton
Pierce
Quincy
Ramsey
Roscoe
Royce
Sawyer
Stone
Thaddeus
Thatcher
Tavish
Tobias
Trent
Vaughn
Walker
Winston
Zane

Which of the above do you like best with Channing and Deacon? What other names would you suggest to Heath?

Baby Name Needed – Boy Name for Lucy’s Brother

A reader named Kate, who has a daughter named Lucy, is expecting a baby boy and would like some name suggestions. Here’s what she says:

We want what a lot of people probably want – timeless, classic, slightly vintage and old fashioned, an ‘accepted’ name in the sense it’s known, but hopefully he is not one of three kids in class to have it.

So far, Kate and her husband like five names: William, Henry, Oliver, Duncan and Charles (nn Charlie). (She also likes the girl names Abigail, Alice, Clara and Hope.)

The baby’s middle name will be Hawkins, and his surname will begin with the letter t.

Here are some names that came to mind:

Abraham
Adam
Alfred (Alfie)
Arthur
Blake
Clarence
Clark
Claude
Clement
Conrad
Dominic
Douglas
Eugene
Felix
Frank
Frederick
George
Giles
Gordon
Graham
Gregory
Harvey
Howard
Hugh
Malcolm
Maxwell
Miles/Milo
Mitchell
Otis
Patrick
Paul
Philip
Quentin
Roman
Sebastian
Simon/Simeon
Stephen
Sylvester
Theodore
Thomas
Timothy
Tobias
Vincent
Walter

I stayed away from the current top 50 (and names that looked like they might be headed that way soon).

Which of the names above to you like best for Lucy’s brother? What other name suggestions can you come up with for Kate?

Baby Name Needed – Name that Fits with Paulina

A reader named Kathleen writes:

What are some baby names that are rather uncommon, but easy to pronounce/spell that would fit with my first daughter’s name, Paulina Sophie? I work in a school so I have too many name associations to think straight! Thanks. (I am of Irish/French descent.)

My first question to Kathleen would be: Where did the name Paulina come from? If there’s some sort of significance behind the name, that’s what I’d focus on. If it’s the name of a grandmother, for instance, I would look to other grandparent names (or family names) for baby #2.

In terms of style alone, though, here are some female names that I think work well:

Camille
Daniela
Dorothy
Felicia
Helena
Josephine
Liliana
Louisa
Lydia
Mariana
Mariel
Marina
Miranda
Marion
Meredith
Miriam
Rosemary
Tatiana
Veronica
Virginia

And some male names:

Augustus
Benedict
Evander
Everett
Felix
Frederick
Gregory
Graham
Jonas
Julius
Lawrence
Leonard
Marcus
Marius
Matthias
Roman
Simon
Theodore
Tobias
Victor

None of the above currently rank among the top 100 baby names in the U.S.

What other suggestions would you offer Kathleen?

Don’t Commit to a Name Pattern Until You Read These 3 Tips

Humans love patterns. Just look last year’s list of popular twin names:

Jacob & Joshua
Daniel & David
Jayden & Jordan
Ethan & Evan
Taylor & Tyler
Gabriella & Isabella
Isaac & Isaiah
Madison & Morgan
Elijah & Isaiah
Ella & Emma

Eight pairs start with the same letter. Seven have the same rhythm. Another seven end with the same letter (and many of these nearly rhyme).

For twins and other multiples, sticking with a name pattern is easy. You know the number of children and their genders ahead of time.

But what if you want a name pattern for an entire sibling set? That can make things tricky. You don’t know how many children you’ll have, or what their genders will be. You also don’t know how your tastes may change over time.

If you’re thinking about a name pattern to cover all of your kids, here are three pieces of advice to consider before you begin:

Don’t lock yourself into something limiting.
Let’s say you like flowers. You have a daughter and you name her Lily. You have another daughter and name her Rose. Then another, Jasmine. And then a fourth, but…you don’t like any other flower names. Iris? Too old. Poppy? Too young. Zinnia? Too weird. Amaryllis will never be spelled correctly. And Daisy is the golden retriever down the street.

Or, let’s say you have a son named Alexander. Then you have another boy, and you decide to name him Xavier so they both have that X in common. Then baby #3–a little girl–comes along. Well, you can’t do Alexis–that’s too close to Alexander. You won’t go near Maxine because you fear maxi pad jokes. Roxanne reminds you too much of that song. Xena reminds you too much of that show. And Beatrix makes you think of rabbits.

When you play chess, you have to think ahead several moves. Look at sibling name patterns the same way. Think ahead as many kids as possible. If you can think of 10 or more usable names that fit the pattern, it’s probably a safe pattern. If you can’t, the pattern may be too limiting to be sustainable.

Consider the pros and cons of visibility.
Have you heard of the Duggars? They have nearly 20 kids, and all of those kids have a J-name. This type of name pattern is one of the easiest to spot. (Especially in large families.)

But name patterns don’t have to be obvious. Let’s say your children will have a whole bunch of aunts and uncles you’d like to honor with baby names. You make a list of their names and simply pick from this list as you have children. In this case, the pattern (aunt and uncle names) is so subtle that it’s basically a family secret.

Here are some example name patterns, ranging from blatant to barely there:

Very conspicuous: First letters (Lou, Leah, Len, Lila)
Rhyme (Aiden, Hayden, Kaeden, Graydon)
Like-sounds (Meredith, Heath, Edith, Griffith)
Theme (Indigo, Scarlet, Tawny, Cyan)
Kinda conspicuous: Alphabetical (Alfred, Bea, Chester, Diana)
Rhythm (Augustus, Miranda, Dakota, Lorenzo)
Source (Juliet, Yorick, Orlando, Cordelia)
Origin (Duncan, Angus, Una, Lachlan)
Inconspicuous: Number of letters (Jason, Frank, Kelly, Alexa)
Spread-out alphabetical (Brian, Elaine, Laura, Paul)
Letter in common (Abigail, Sebastian, Tobias, Isabella)
Chain [last letters into first letters] (Michael, Lauren, Nora, Andrew)

How can you test the visibility of a particular pattern? Make a list of names that fit the pattern. Pick two at random and give them to a friend. Ask that friend what the two names have in common. Did she get it on the first try? Was she unable to guess at all? That should give you a good idea about where the pattern would fall on the spectrum.

Avoid sets of names that have an endpoint.
Your first son is Luke. The next is Sky. The next is Walker. And then…surprise! Son #4. Now what–Anakin? Darth? Chewbacca?

If you start off with a discrete set of names, the universe will laugh at you and you will either:

  • not have enough kids, or
  • have too many kids

to match the number of names in the set. Murphy’s Law in action. So don’t tempt fate–stick with an open-ended theme that could end at two names or continue to ten.

What other suggestions would you give to parents considering name patterns?

Source: SSA