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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Todd

Number of Babies Named Todd

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Todd

How Do You Like Your Name, Matthew?

Today’s name interview is with Matthew, a 26-year-old from the U.S.

How did he get his name?

My mom saw a TV show in the 1980s called “You Again?” featuring a character named Matthew.

What does he like most about his name?

It’s easy to spell and pronounce. It usually doesn’t get messed up or misunderstood.

What does he like least about his name?

Popularity! Top 10 for years, several in each class. What a pain. I had to use my last initial in many classes. Boring. I wish my parents had picked something less common.

(He’s right — Matthew was one of the top 5 baby boy names in the U.S. from 1981 all the way until 2006.)

Also sound. Math, ew! Sounds like someone hates math. Matt sounds like mat. –at, it’s like the first thing you learn in English. Cat sat on mat. My middle name [Todd] isn’t much better, so I can’t use that. Toad, toddler, etc.

I’ve wanted to change my name for years, to something much rarer. I might still do it at some point.

Finally, would he recommend that his name be given to babies today?

I’d recommend STRONGLY against using a top-10 name.

Thanks, Matthew!

[Would you like to tell me about your name?]

Name Quotes for the Weekend #18

bruno mars name quote

From an MTV interview with Bruno Mars, birth name Peter Gene Hernandez:

TWU: Bruno Mars is a world away from your name, so where did that come from?

Bruno Mars: My father and my mother. There was a wrestler in their day called Bruno San Martino and he was a very heavy-set wrestler and I guess when I was a kid I was a real chubby, chunky kid. Everyone calls me Bruno; they don’t ever call me Peter, that was just my government name.

From an article by Conor Grennan called 8 Rules for Naming Your Future Child:

As for me, I was named Conor in 1974 (the Irish spelling of that name, with one ‘n’) by my Irish father and worldly mother, at a time when that name didn’t exist as a first name. I got the same question every day: Is Conor your first name or your last name? And one memorable day in Kindergarten I came home crying, furious at my father because the other kids had made fun of my unusual name.

So my father, the Irish poet Eamon Grennan, told me the story of the first Conor — Conor mac Nessa, the legendary Irish king. He told me how Conor was born the same day as Christ himself, how he became king when he was just 7 years old (“That’s in two years, lad!”) and how he became the greatest ruler in the history of Ulster.

I still hated my name. But those stories, that meaning, made it a little easier to bear. It told me that my parents weren’t just punishing me. It told me that they knew what they were doing. That they had been purposeful in their choice. That they had named me — the goofy, red-haired, ill-mannered, walking-temper-tantrum of a boy — after a King.

From an Indiana University press release called Copycats pave the way to problem-solving success:

People were more likely to imitate popular choices, particularly those choices that are on the upswing, a dynamic Goldstone and his IU colleague Todd Gureckis had documented earlier in an observational study of baby names in 130 years of U.S. Social Security records. People likewise choose names that have “positive momentum” in their popularity. For baby names, over 130 years, the United States has shifted from a society in which decreases in popularity in one year are likely to be followed by increases in popularity in the next year (and vice versa) to one in which increases are likely to be followed by increases, and decreases by decreases.

From an 2005 interview with Portia de Rossi in The Advocate:

Advocate: When did you become Portia?

Portia: When I was 15, I changed it legally. In retrospect, I think it was largely due to my struggle about being gay. Everything just didn’t fit, and I was trying to find things I could identify myself with, and it started with my name.

I picked Portia because I was a Shakespeare fan [Portia is the character in The Merchant of Venice who famously declaims, “The quality of mercy is not strain’d / It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven.”]. De Rossi because I was Australian and I thought that an exotic Italian name would somehow suit me more than Amanda Rogers. When you live in Australia, Europe is so far away and so fascinating, so stylish and cultured and sophisticated.

From an essay on “outrageous baby names” by Kiri Blakeley:

As for my own story, family lore has it that my mom wanted to name me Kama Sutra, after the famous Indian sex positions book. Was my mother under the effects of some kind of drug after she pushed me out of her loins and chose this name? I have no idea. I just thank the nurses who supposedly said “no” and took me out of the room until she came up with something slightly more suitable. And I ended up with a weird one anyway.

From the book Christian Names in Local and Family History by George Redmonds:

Other regional concentrations worth noting are Edith in Dorset, Felice and Petronille in Staffordshire and Amice in Leicestershire, but a close examination of the evidence reveals significant small ‘clusters’ right down the list. Typical of these are Goda (East Anglia), Godelena (Kent) and Osanne, the last of these found only in Spalding in Lincolnshire. It derives from ‘Hosanna’, a Hebrew word used as an appeal to God for deliverance, which was adopted into Christian worship as a more general expression of praise. We are familiar with it through the Bible and it occurs as ‘osanne’ in Chaucer’s Tale of the Man of Lawe: ‘Mary I mene, doghter to Seint Anne, Bifore whos child aungeles singe oscanne’. Less well known is its use as a baptismal name from the twelfth century, possibly to commemorate a birth on Palm Sunday. The earliest examples have been noted in Dorset and Herefordshire and it occurred often enough to serve as a by-name. Typical of these are ‘Reginaldus filius Osanna’, in the pipe roll of 1180, and Richard Osan of Shelley in 1277.

From How (Not) To Name Your Baby by Samantha Cappuccino-Williams:

On a related note, if you’re going to be “that guy” and give your kid an effed up name, don’t also be the guy who refuses to share the name because you’re afraid of negative commentary or feedback. As soon as someone tells me they’re not sharing baby names, I assume the name they picked sucks or will scare people–and they know it. When you pick a name for your kid–good or bad–own it. Don’t be a puss about it. If someone begins to pooh-pooh your name, cut them off. Who cares if the biggest moron in their high school was Skippy, or the biggest douche was Biff? That’s their experience, not yours. Who cares if your coworkers think Maroon Marmalade is a terrible name as long as you love it. Most people know better than to slam your baby name anyway. Everyone is so damn sensitive nowadays. But on the bright side of the unwanted commentary, someone might actually have a helpful tidbit about your name that you should know before legally assigning it to your child. Like, “Adam Samuel Samsonite? Soooo…his initials will be ASS?” Oh hell no. Thanks for pointing that out, Friend.

Want more? Here’s the Name Quotes category.

Name Quotes for the Weekend #16

paloma picasso quote: "proud that name means peace"

From “A Fashionable Life: Paloma Picasso” in Harper’s Bazaar:

She produces two major [jewelry] collections a year [for Tiffany’s New York]. This year, to celebrate her 30th anniversary, she has already launched three new collections: Marrakesh (including the openwork bracelets), Hammered Circles, and Paloma’s Dove, which features, most appropriately, a dove pendant.

Having been named by her father in honor of the dove he drew that became the symbol of the World Peace Conference in 1949, Paloma went through a process for designing the latter that wasn’t easy. She did about 200 drawings. “I didn’t want it to look like a Pablo Picasso dove,” she explains. “One looked like a Braque, and I thought, ‘No! Can’t have that!'” She did finally settle on a perfect version. “One looked like an angel. I’ve always been proud that my name stands for peace, and I thought, The angel of peace; that’s my combination,” she says. “A dove that will protect you.”

From an ESPN article about NFL kicker Ryan Succop:

One of the very last entries under Ryan Succop’s biography in the Kansas City Chiefs’ media guide, under the section marked “Personal,” is the pronunciation of his last name.

“Full name: Ryan Barrow Succop (pronounced SUCK-UP)”

It’s a name that could lend itself to snickers, punchy headlines or flat-out ridicule, assuming he ever missed a kick. But the truth is that Succop is banging the football through the uprights with record-setting dependability.

From a review of the French film What’s in a Name? by Inkoo Kang of The Village Voice:

The premise of parents attacking each other for their taste in baby names sounds yawningly self-indulgent, even downright stupid. Yet the French chamber dramedy What’s in a Name is frequently delightful, full of ribald humor and compelling, intelligent debate. (One joke about fetal alcohol syndrome is a standout, while another comparing coming out as gay to confessing to dog murder somehow avoids offensiveness.)

Last sentence of Inkoo Kang’s twitter bio: “What you really need/want to know: it’s pronounced in-goo.”

From an NPR article about McSweeney’s:

[The new anthology] begins with McSweeney’s’ mock letters section, easily its goofiest offering. Typical to the section is a letter from one Tom O’Donnell:

Dear McSweeney’s,

I have a common name. According to some estimates, nearly 40 percent of men are named “Tom O’Donnell.” … In the time it took me to write this sentence, chances are you named at least one of your children “Tom O’Donnell.”

This would all be fine if it were still Bible times, but today it’s a problem. Why? Because it’s basically impossible to Google myself.

Tom O’Donnell hopes, in his increasingly demented letter, that McSweeney’s will hold a contest, or a poll, or perhaps a tournament to find him a new name.

I’ve narrowed down my list of potential replacements to the following … :

Vladislav Fukuyama-Gomez: I love names that combine several different ethnicities, because they’re used in movies to tell you it’s the future.

Dennis Pulley: I can think of no better way to honor my great-grandfather’s memory than by taking the name of the man he killed.

QUIZNOS Presents Todd DeMoss: Sure, it’s a mouthful — but so is the delicious Chipotle Prime Rib sandwich, only available at QUIZNOS.

From an essay on Dennis, the “most menacing baby name,” in the Santa Cruz Sentinel:

Normally, I’m not big on the idea that a baby’s name has any bearing whatsoever on his/her personality later in life — though I have noticed that anybody named Jack or Willie seems to have been born cool.

But the evidence suggests that Dennis is dangerous.

Dennis is charismatic, but he’s a rebel. He’s never a meek conformist who goes along to get along. He is often a big jerk, but not always. He can be a weirdo, a cynic, a lacerating wit, an obsessive nut job. But chances are, he’ll be what we say in polite company, “a strong personality.” Dennis can’t be characterized as any one thing, and that’s exactly the point. He’s doesn’t just march to a different drummer. He is the different drummer.

From a blog post by Celeste of The Reluctant Mom’s Blog:

I have always disliked my name – Celeste – I still really dislike it.

The main reason that it is probably a less than ideal name for me is that I have a lisp. Do you know how hard it is to say Celeste when you have a lisp?

It comes out “Tha-leth-t” and pretty much as spit on the listeners top lip. My spit on their lip.

This would usually require people to say “sorry, what was your name again?”

I would get more nervous and my lisp would be more pronounced. To make matters all the more tragic, I could not pronounce “r” or “s” until I was in Sub B/Grade 2.

Eventually I would be too defeated to repeat my name, just started going “yes, close enough…” and then let them call me Nancy or what ever.


On one occasion the person misheard me and called me “Chester” – so far that has been my favourite incorrect name.

I didn’t correct them – I wanted to be their ‘Chester.”

From “Racism And Meritocracy” by Eric Ries at Techcrunch:

I previously described on my blog one simple change I made to the hiring process at my last company. I asked all of our recruiters to give me all resumes of prospective employees with their name, gender, place of origin, and age blacked out. This simple change shocked me, because I found myself interviewing different-looking candidates — even though I was 100% convinced that I was not being biased in my resume selection process. If you’re screening resumes, or evaluating applicants to a startup school, I challenge you to adopt this procedure immediately, and report on the results.

From a Telegraph article about skier Bode Miller:

The legal saga of America’s most successful downhill male skier, two glamorous blondes and a bicoastal custody battle over a baby boy with two names has taken a fresh turn in a New York courtroom.

Bode Miller, the Olympic gold medallist, arrived for the hearing holding his nine-month-old son. But there he was required to hand the boy back — for now at least — to his ex-girlfriend Sara McKenna, a former Marine.


It was little wonder that the infant seemed confused as he was passed between parents who cannot even agree on his name: Ms McKenna calls him Samuel and Mr Miller prefers Nathaniel.

From a Metro interview with Benedict Cumberbatch:

What’s the story behind your fantastic name? There’s a sort of debate about that. Cumberbatch could be Welsh for a small valley dweller. The ‘cum’ in Cumberbatch is hill. I need to look into it. Benedict means blessed. My parents liked the sound of the name and felt slightly blessed because they’d been trying for a child for a very long time. I’m not Catholic, so it’s not that. They liked the idea of Benedict and Ben, the fact that it can be contracted. I think Toby was their second choice.

From a post about long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad at Having a Word:

Nyad sounds like naiad – naiads in Greek mythology were water nymphs or spirits. That’s cute, I thought. Then I noticed that naiad is an anagram of her first name – Diana. *Cue dramatic chords* So, could this just be coincidence or is something else in play?

There is a notion – called nominative determinism – that a person’s name can somehow influence the type of work or activities they do, and maybe even their character.

The idea is an ancient one but the term nominative determinism was coined in the 1990s in the Feedback column of the popular science magazine New Scientist (one of the examples cited was an article on incontinence that had been published in the British Journal of Urology by J W Splatt & D Weedon.)

Related to nominative determinism: The Name Letter Effect.

For previous quote posts, check out the name quotes category.

When Did Baby Name Stealing Begin?

when did baby name stealing begin?

A few months ago, UK parenting site Netmums polled more than 6,000 parents. One interesting thing they discovered was that 5% of those parents had reconsidered using a baby name they liked because it had been “stolen” by someone else.

That stat got me wondering: When did this whole “name stealing” thing, well, become a thing?

I thought pop culture might provide some insight, so I set out to find the earliest pop culture mention of baby name stealing that I could. This wouldn’t necessarily answer my question, but it would at least give me a feel for when the concept started going mainstream.

The earliest pop culture reference I’ve found so far? A Sex and the City episode called “The Baby Shower,” which first aired in August of 1998.

The show’s four main characters (Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda) are at a baby shower for a woman named Laney, a childhood friend. At one point, Charlotte learns that Laney has “stolen” her secret baby name. Here’s the dialogue:

Charlotte: Stop it! You are not gonna clean up at your own shower.

Woman: Yeah, relax, cause once little Todd or Shayla comes around you’ll never stop cleaning up.

Charlotte: Shayla? Did you say Shayla?

Woman: It’s so unique, isn’t it?

Charlotte: It’s so my name.

Woman: I thought your name was Charlotte.

Charlotte: No, it’s not my name, it’s my name! My secret baby name that I made up when I was 11 years old for my daughter when I had her. I told you, don’t tell me you don’t remember.

Laney: No, I’m sorry, I- I really don’t.

Narrator/Carrie: A complete lie. She remembered. We all remembered. Charlotte had made us all swear never to use it.

Laney: Anyway, I think my husband heard it somewhere else.

Charlotte: Really, where? Because I didn’t tell him.

Laney: I can’t believe you’re freaking out over a name.

Woman: I mean, you’re not even pregnant.

Charlotte: That’s not the point!

Samantha: What’s going on?

Charlotte: She stole my baby name.

Samantha: You b*tch. Let’s go.

Here’s a clip of the scene, if you’d like to watch.

So mid-1998 is the earliest I’ve got so far. Can you think of any earlier pop culture mentions of baby name stealing?


Baby Name Needed – Boy Name for Carol & Todd

A reader named Carol is expecting her first child next month. Here’s what she writes:

We are having our first child, a boy, in February. We’ve decided his middle name will be Philip, after my Dad.

With the middle and last names already being kind of wordy and long (Philip Underhill) I’m leaning towards a simple first name. I like Kyle probably the best so far. Cole is nice and simple. Or Carter, Carson, Owen, Nathan, Nolan, Gavin.

I don’t want a name too weird, or too common. Something in between.

Any other names to suggest? Thanks for your help :)

In her email, Carol mentioned that she’s active and outdoorsy, and that she and her husband Todd love “anything to do with nature – and getting out there and enjoying it.” Her site, Tarol’s Webpage, features sections on backpacking, fire lookouts, even bear encounters (!). She works for the U.S. Forest Service (and she notes: “No, we aren’t going to name our boy Forest, lol”).

I like all of the names on the shortlist, especially the one-syllable options (Kyle, Cole). In fact, I think Carol’s favorite is my favorite as well.

Carol mentioned she wanted something not “too weird, or too common.” None of the current favorites are weird, but I did want to point out that a couple (Nathan, Gavin) are pretty popular right now, and others (Owen, Carter) could be headed that way:

Name 2008 2009 2010
Nathan 13,214 babies 12,077 babies 11,269 babies
ranked 21st ranked 26th ranked 27th
Gavin 11,727 babies 10,710 babies 9,551 babies
ranked 30th ranked 33rd ranked 37th
Owen 7,788 babies 8,115 babies 8,136 babies
ranked 58th ranked 51st ranked 47th
Carter 7,051 babies 8,157 babies 8,101 babies
ranked 65th ranked 50th ranked 48th
Carson 5,121 babies 4,981 babies 5,064 babies
ranked 89th ranked 86th ranked 80th
Cole 5,378 babies 5,258 babies 4,562 babies
ranked 85th ranked 82nd ranked 89th
Nolan 3,147 babies 3,427 babies 3,666 babies
ranked 131st ranked 122nd ranked 104th
Kyle 4,688 babies 4,157 babies 3,539 babies
ranked 97th ranked 100th ranked 107th

I don’t want to dissuade anyone from using the names Nathan and Gavin — on the contrary, I like both very much — but I didn’t want the names’ current popularity to come as a surprise later on.

As far as suggestions go, I wrote up a long list and then boiled it down to these five favorites:

Chase (rank: 66th)
This was the very first name that came to mind. It’s simple and youthful, and it just sounds active. Which is what I imagine the son of two nature-lovers will turn out to be. :)

Lance (rank: 445th)
I like this one for the same reasons I like Chase, and I also like the consonance of the L’s in “Lance Philip Underhill.”

Sawyer (rank: 173rd)
Again, a youthful feel, thanks no doubt to Tom Sawyer. Plus, surname-names are stylish right now.

Reed (380th) or Reid (291st)
A simple name with an outdoorsy association, though the fact that there are two popular spellings could cause confusion.

Nash (rank: 612th)
A bit quirky, but it’s simple and strong-sounding, and its etymology connects it to nature (it originally denoted someone who lived near “an ash” [tree]).

Some runners-up: Glenn, Jack, Keith, Kevin, Max, Tate, Roscoe, Wyatt.

Which of the names above are your favorites for Carol and Todd’s firstborn son? What other names would you suggest?

Parents Prefer Popular Names. Ho-hum.

According to psychologists Todd Gureckis and Robert Goldstone, parents in the U.S. like baby names that are currently popular and baby names that are becoming popular.

They claim that, while parents have long been drawn to names that are already topping the charts, this bias toward names that are merely on their way up is something new.

“How You Named Your Child: Understanding the Relationship Between Individual Decision Making and Collective Outcomes” was just published in Topics in Cognitive Science. You can download it from NYU’s computation + cognition lab.

Source: U.S. parents like baby names that aren’t overused

Baby Name Needed – Middle Name for Andrew

A reader named Jaime is expecting a baby boy this May:

We’re a Hispanic family that like a strong name like Andrew […] but we’re having trouble with a middle name. Andrew is long already so we want something short for a middle name.

The baby’s last name will be Cruz.

I’m not sure what style of name Jaime is looking for, but here are some short names (of various styles) that I think sound good between Andrew and Cruz:


Do you have any other middle name suggestions for Jaime?

Edit, 6/04: The baby has arrived! Scroll down to the final comment to find out what his name is…