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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Tom


Posts that Mention the Name Tom

Name Quotes 89: Shelley, Kelly, Bill

Dram EP

From an Uproxx article about DRAM’s most recent EP:

Virginian rap crooner DRAM returned last night with the release of his new, three-song EP, That’s A Girl’s Name. Produced and co-written by Josh Abraham and Oligee, the EP’s title refers to DRAM’S real name, Shelley Massenburg-Smith, which means “that’s a girl’s name” is probably a phrase he heard quite a bit growing up.

(“DRAM” is an acronym for “Does Real Ass Music.” DRAM’s goldendoodle also has an interesting name: Idnit [vid] — “as in, idnit so cute.”)

DRAM with his dog, Idnit

From an Us Magazine article about Matthew McConaughey’s new book Greenlights:

The Texas native also revealed that when he was born his father wasn’t there. Instead, he explained that James “called my mom and said, ‘Only thing I have to say is if it’s a boy, don’t name him Kelly.’”

From a New York Times article about the marriage of Sugar Good, a Dunkin’ Donuts manager, to one of her drive-through customers:

A year would go by before she gathered the courage to pass him her sprinkle-bedecked business card with his breakfast in September 2018. But when she did, it came as a relief to both. The man, John Thompson, a recently retired Marine working as a car salesman in Oklahoma City, had been wondering how he was going to figure out what her real name was.

“When I started going through the drive-through, I noticed she would smile with her eyes, and I thought, maybe if I read the receipt I can see what her name is,” he said. “But it said ‘Sugar No. 7.'” He figured Sugar must have been a reference to how he likes his coffee. With the card, which listed her cellphone number at the bottom, she cleared up the mystery — as well as her own case of the blues.

(I discovered this one via Nancy Friedman — thank you!)

From a Harper’s Bazaar article about genderless beauty brands:

“As a culture, we are realizing that gender is no longer a fixed concept,” says Sam Cheow, senior vice president of corporate innovation and product development at the Estée Lauder Companies, which owns brands like M.A.C, Tom Ford Beauty, Le Labo, and Frédéric Malle . . . Cheow points to evidence that the needle is moving forward: the growing backlash surrounding gender-reveal parties; a rise in gender-neutral baby names (for example, in 2018, 51 percent of “Charlies” were female); and the arrival of Q, the world’s first genderless voice assistant.

From a Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources blog post entitled “The Tiffany Problem“:

Wait, what? No way there’s a Tiffany in this book! Not when there are other women running around with convincing names like Blanchefleur, Isolde, and Ermentrude.

[…]

[T]he Tiffany Problem describes the tension between historical fact and the average, everyday person’s idea of history. So even though authors may research carefully and want to include historically accurate information in their book—like a medieval character named Tiffany—a popular audience likely won’t buy it.

From a piece in Blue Ridge Outdoors about not wanting a trail name:

I remember a guy named Bill. His view on trail names mirrored mine. He didn’t have one, didn’t want one. He was thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, not seeking a new identity. As he walked the white-blazed path, he simply introduced himself as “Bill”.

The most-often stated reply to him was, “What’s your trail name?”

His standard answer, “I don’t have a trail name. My name is just Bill.”

He became “Just Bill.”

From a Pitchfork interview with The Good Place actress D’Arcy Carden:

I put an apostrophe in my name that wasn’t there before, like Smashing Pumpkins bassist D’Arcy Wretzky, because of how influential this band was to me. D’Arcy was just the epitome of cool to me. In 1993, I was really into alternative and grunge music, and whereas the Nirvanas and the Pearl Jams felt so masculine, there was something sweeter and lighter about Smashing Pumpkins. The fact that they had a girl in their band was huge for me and my friends. I learned the guitar part to “Today,” and it made me feel like such a badass. It was like, “Wow, I can play guitar!” But, of course, anybody can play the beginning of “Today.”

(Name Quotes #73 mentioned another Good Place actress…)

From an amNewYork article about Broadway actress Tovah Feldshuh (born Terri Sue Feldshuh in 1952):

What ever happened to Terri Sue Feldshuh?

“I fell in love with a Christian boy, Michael Fairchild, who didn’t want to kiss a Terri Sue. He said: ‘Terri Sue doesn’t fit you at all. What’s that other name of yours? Tovah? Now that’s a name!'”

(Her stage name was initially “Terri Fairchild,” according to Wikipedia.)

“Tattletales” Baby Names

scoey, baby name, 1970s, television
Scoey & Claire on Tattletales in Aug. 1974

So far we’ve looked at baby names associated with the game shows What’s My Line?, Card Sharks, and Press Your Luck, so today let’s check out names given a boost by Tattletales, which originally aired from 1974 to 1978.

Tattletales featured three celebrity couples competing against each another for a full week, which is notable. The couples were split up, and either the men or the women were asked a question — often a provocative one — while their partners were offstage. The partners were then brought in via TV camera and asked the same question. Each couple’s objective was to come up with as many matching answers as possible.

As one source put it: “Famous celebrities revealing their intimate secrets on national television made Tattletales a success.” And with all those people watching, it’s not surprising that the show had an influence on baby names…

Dareth
Dareth Rich and her husband, actor Anthony Newley, were on 10 episodes in 1975, starting in May. The name Dareth debuted in the baby data the same year.

Chevi
Chevi Colton and her husband, actor Joe Silver, were on 5 episodes in November of 1975. The name Chevi debuted in the data the same year.

Scoey
Actor Scoey (SKOH-ee) Mitchell and his wife Claire Thomas were on the show dozens of times, including 15 episodes in 1974, starting in June. Mitchell had been appearing elsewhere on TV since the late ’60s, but the name Scoey didn’t debut in the data until 1974. (One source noted that “Scoey” was short for “Roscoe.”)

Bernnadette
Actress BernNadette Stanis and her then-husband Tom Fauntleroy were on 5 episodes in November of 1975 (the week before Chevi, in fact). Stanis had been playing the role of Thelma on Good Times since early 1974, but the name Bernnadette didn’t debut in the data until 1976.

I also think there are connections between the appearances of Altovise Davis (wife of singer Sammy Davis Jr.), Nalani Kele (wife of comedian Shecky Greene), Reiko Douglas (wife of comedy writer Jack Douglas), and Tiana Alexandra (wife of screenwriter Stirling Silliphant) and the respective rises in usage of Altovise, Nalani, Reiko, and Tiana in the mid-’70s.

Speaking of rises…

The show was rebooted in the early ’80s, and it looks like one of those ’80s contestants triggered that steep rise in usage of the name Jere in 1982:

  • 1984: 18 baby girls named Jere
  • 1983: 33 baby girls named Jere
  • 1982: 66 baby girls named Jere [peak]
  • 1981: 6 baby girls named Jere
  • 1980: 8 baby girls named Jere

In February of 1982, actress Jerelyn “Jere” Fields appeared on Tattletales with actor/comedian Jimmie Walker (who’d played Thelma’s brother J.J. on Good Times). They weren’t romantically involved — just paired up for the show — but their appearance together sparked rumors that they were dating.

…So which game show should I tackle next? Suggestions welcome!

Source: Baber, David. Television Game Show Hosts. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2008.

Name Quotes 77: Shyra, Jordan, Haroon

Time for this month’s batch of name-related quotes!

From the 2008 novel The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (which is narrated by character Katniss Everdeen):

The girl with the arrows, Glimmer I hear someone call her — ugh, the names the people in District 1 give their children are so ridiculous — anyway, Glimmer scales the tree until the branches begin to crack under her feet and then has the good sense to stop.

From Darius Rucker’s Instagram:

“My daughter Dani with the guy she was named after, Dan Marino.”

From an Economist article about baby names in France:

As Catholicism’s hold has eased, American pop culture has stepped in, filling classrooms with Kevins, Jordans and Dylans. Such names, says the study, have become a class marker. They are also popular in regions which support Marine Le Pen, the populist defender of French cultural tradition. Her campaign for the upcoming European elections is headed by a 23-year-old called Jordan.

In a country that bans ethnic or religious census data, names can also serve as a proxy. The number of baby boys named Mohamed has grown sixfold since 1960. The persistence of such names, say some on the nationalist fringe, reflects an integration problem. Ms. Le Pen has argued that naturalised French citizens should adopt a name more adapted to national culture. Hapsatou Sy, a French presenter, understandably quit a TV show after a commentator told her that her name was “an insult to France”, and that her mother should have named her Corinne.

From an article in The Herald (Scottish newspaper) about the changing tastes in baby names:

But now researchers have found that picking a distinctive monicker is becoming harder and harder with greater media access, improved global communications and rising immigration increasing people’s exposure to different names and also ensuring they become common more quickly.

[…]

“The speed with which modern name choices fall in and out of favour reflects their increased exposure and people’s ongoing desire for distinctiveness.”

From a Public Domain Review post about a 19th-century Siamese Prince called George Washington:

Prince George Washington was really Prince Wichaichan, the son of the Second King of Siam [Pinklao, younger brother of Mongkut]. […] Wichaichan’s unusual nickname was the result of his father’s commitment to “modernize” Siam by studying and deliberately emulating Western culture. […] Pinklao wished to communicate that he was a progressive person who was drawn to modern American culture, while never abandoning his fundamental commitment to Siam’s absolute monarchy.

(The post also noted that Anna Leonowens, in her memoir The English Governess at the Siamese Court — the inspiration behind The King and I, which made a star out of Yul Brynner — claimed the prince’s nickname was given to him by an American missionary.)

From a Swarajyamag.com article about Sanskrit names being given incorrect definitions online (found via Abby):

These websites not only misguide with wrong meanings but also feature “Sanskrit names” that are not from Sanskrit at all.

‘Haroon’ is one such name. Websites, including the popular Prokerala.com that ranks among the top 8,000 in the world, tells us it means ‘hope’ in Sanskrit. However, ‘Haroon’ is an Arabic name. Hugely popular among Muslims, it was also the name of one of the Khalifas (Caliphs).

[…]

Similarly, these websites also erroneously trace modern names such as Kian, Rehan and Miran to Sanskrit.

From the book Becoming Something: The Story of Canada Lee (2004) by Mona Z. Smith:

Canada Lee was born in New York City on March 3, 1907, and christened with the mellifluous if somewhat daunting name of Leonard Lionel Cornelius Canegata.

[…]

The first time the leather-lunged [fight announcer Joe] Humphries got ready to introduce Lee, he looked down at his notes and saw a peculiar name: “Canegata, Lee.” Flummoxed by those alien syllables, Humphries tossed away the card with a snort and introduced the young fighter as “Canada Lee.”

Everybody liked the transmogrification, including Lee, and it stuck.

From a Summit Daily article about the history of the town of Dillon, Colorado:

Dillon…was not named after a prospector named Tom Dillon who got lost in the woods, as has been a common oral tradition. Rather, the town was named after Sidney Dillon, a powerful railroad executive who became president of the Union Pacific railroad four months before the town was established. The entire point of naming the town Dillon was to somehow appeal to Sidney Dillon’s vanity and persuade him to build a railroad through the town.

But as it turned out, the railroad didn’t wind up going through Dillon or winding along the Snake River. Instead, it went through Tenmile Canyon and the town of Frisco — also named to flatter a railroad company, the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Co., in a bid to get them to build their next line through town.

From a Livemint.com post about the new generation of female names in Bollywood:

Kaira, Shyra, Akira, Kia, Tia, Sia. Shanaya. These are Bollywood’s cool new names, broadly classified into the “ya” or “ra” nomenclature. The Poojas, Nishas, Anjalis and Nehas of the 1990s are déclassé. These new names carry an unmistakable aspiration to be global.They are unrooted to place, community or any kind of identity except class. They are almost never longer than three syllables and easy to pronounce. They float on coolness and lightness. An ex-colleague memorably christened them “First-World Yoga Names—FWYN”.

For more name-related quotes, check out the name quotes category.

Names in the News: Snow, Gopay, Henderson

Some recent and not-so-recent baby names from the news…

Abhinandan: Multiple babies born in India in March of 2019 were named Abhinandan following the release of mustachioed IAF wing-commander Abhinandan Varthaman from Pakistan. (India Times)

(And, on March 4th, Pizza Hut India offered free pizza to anyone named Abhinandan.)

Audrey Claire: A baby girl born Pennsylvania in April of 2019 was named Audrey Claire after Philadelphia restaurant Audrey Claire. (The Inquirer)

Brady: A baby girl born in New Hampshire in February of 2019 (on Superbowl Sunday) was named Margaret Carter Brady, second middle name in honor of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. (WMUR)

Camden and Maxwell: Twin baby girls born in North Dakota in February of 2019 were named Isla Camden and Eloise Maxwell — middle names in honor of their late brothers, Camden and Maxwell, who’d died in a car accident a year earlier. (Today)

Danielle: A baby girl born in Blackpool, England, in mid-2018 was named Danielle after nurse Danielle McLardie, who had cared for the mother during a pregnancy-induced bout of sepsis. (BBC, via Clare’s Name News)

Desai: A baby boy born in Oklahoma in January of 2019 was named Desai after obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Sneha Desai, who delivered the baby. (KXII)

Gopay: A baby boy born in Indonesia in February of 2019 was named Gopay after Go-Pay, an Indonesian e-payment platform. The parents received Go-Pay credit from the parent company, Go-Jek, as a gift. (Coconuts Jakarta)

Henderson: A baby boy born in England in February of 2019 was named Henderson, nickname Hendo, “after Sheffield’s famous Henderson’s Relish!” (The Star)

Logan: A baby girl born in Saskatchewan in June of 2018 was named Logan Humble in honor of Logan Boulet, who was killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, which the baby’s mother had witnessed. (CBC)

Margaret: A baby girl born in Nairobi, Kenya, in March of 2019 — just after her mother had started a 2km “pregnancy walk” hosted by the Beyond Zero campaign — was named Margaret after First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, founder of the campaign. (Evewoman)

Miraj: A baby boy born in Rajasthan, India, in February of 2019 — minutes after IAF fighter jets carried out the Balakot airstrike — was named Miraj after the jets: Dassault Mirage 2000s. (Mumbai Mirror)

And, finally, a pair of pop-culture influenced names that made headlines:

Mazikeen and Amenadiel

The baby name Mazikeen debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 2016.

Several Neil Gaiman characters (e.g., Coraline, Yvaine) have influenced baby names in the past, so here are several more that are influencing baby names right now.

These names come courtesy of the TV show Lucifer (2016-), which was loosely based on Gaiman’s comic book series The Sandman (1989-1996).

The premise of the show is that the main character, Lucifer (played by Tom Ellis), bored with Hell, has decided to move to Los Angeles and open a night club called “Lux.” (The Latin word lux, meaning “light,” comes directly from Lucifer’s name, meaning “light bearer.”)

In 2017, the baby name Lucifer saw its highest-ever usage so far — a fact that would no doubt alarm a large number of Americans.

Lucifer’s right-hand man is a lady: Mazikeen “Maze” Smith (played by Lesley-Ann Brandt). She’s a demon who followed Lucifer to Earth as his sworn protector. At the start of the series, she worked as a bartender at Lux.

The baby name Mazikeen debuted in the data in 2016, and Maze debuted for girls specifically the next year.

Lucifer’s eldest brother is Amenadiel (played by D. B. Woodside). He’s an archangel (still in God’s good graces) who has a contentious relationship with Lucifer, who he encourages to return to Hell.

The baby name Amenadiel debuted in the data in 2017.

MazikeenMazeAmenadiel
201727 girls15 boys &
9 girls [debut]
9 boys [debut]
2016
7 girls [debut]11 boys.
2015.14 boys.

Though Mazikeen and Amenadiel both sound biblical, neither one is found in the Bible. Mazikeen is based on the Hebrew word mazzikim, meaning “harmful spirits.” Amenadiel’s explanation has eluded me so far, but, like many Hebrew names, it ends with -el, which refers to “God.”

What are your thoughts on these two new names? How about on the rising usage of Lucifer?

Sources: List of Lucifer characters – Wikipedia, Jewish Concepts: Demons & Demonology

P.S. Also on TV right now is American Gods (2017-), based on the Neil Gaiman book of the same name. I thought the show might give the name Shadow a big boost, but so far this isn’t the case.