Where did the baby name Broderick come from in 1950?

The character Willie Stark (played by Broderick Crawford) in the movie "All the King's Men" (1950).
Broderick Crawford as Willie Stark

The first name Roderick has been in use for centuries, but the similar name Broderick is relatively new. It debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1950:

  • 1952: 25 baby boys named Broderick
  • 1951: 25 baby boys named Broderick
  • 1950: 30 baby boys named Broderick [debut]
  • 1949: unlisted
  • 1948: unlisted

Where did it come from?

Veteran actor Broderick Crawford. His portrayal of corrupt politician Willie Stark in the drama All the King’s Men, released nationally in early 1950, turned him into a star overnight. He won the Best Actor award at both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes that year.

The movie was based on the best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren. The story was inspired by the rise and fall of notorious Louisiana politician Huey P. Long.

Crawford’s birth name was William Broderick Crawford; Broderick was his mother’s maiden name. There are two possible etymologies for the surname Broderick:

  • The Gaelic surname Ó Bruadair, meaning “descendant of Bruadar.” The origin of Bruadar is either Norse or Irish — sources disagree.
  • The Welsh surname ap Rhydderch, meaning “son of Rhydderch.” The definition of Rhydderch is “reddish brown.”

Do you like the name Broderick? Do you like it more or less than Roderick?

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