The unusual name Heder has appeared in the U.S. baby name data just once so far:
- 2006: unlisted
- 2005: unlisted
- 2004: 8 baby boys named Heder [debut]
- 2003: unlisted
- 2002: unlisted
What put it there?
My guess is actor Jon Heder (pronounced HEE-der), who played the title character in the unexpectedly successful independent film Napoleon Dynamite (2004) — a quirky comedy about a socially awkward teenager in rural Idaho.
Jon was asked about his surname during an interview a few years after Napoleon Dynamite came out. Here’s part of his response:
It doesn’t mean anything. My grandparents changed it when they arrived in America. They were Swedish. My last name used to be Olafsen. Close to oaf. I guess, I don’t know. I was the son of Olaf, the town idiot. They just thought Heder sounded cool. And I agree. It’s easy. And it’s cooler.
And it actually does have a definition: the Swedish word heder means “honor, dignity.”
What do you think of Heder as a baby name?
Sources: Napoleon Dynamite – Wikipedia, Shia LaBeouf and Jon Heder Compete for Waves in Surf’s Up, Heder – Wiktionary
P.S. Usage of the baby name Pedro — as in “Vote for Pedro” — saw an uptick in 2004 as well, but it’s hard to say if this was caused by the movie.