How popular is the baby name Theodore 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 Theodore.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Theodore


Posts that Mention the Name Theodore

Name quotes #110: Marné, Wulfstan, Brandon

quotation marks

Time for another batch of name quotes!

From the book A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C. S. Lewis (2013) by Devin Brown:

Although born and baptized as Clive [Staples Lewis], Lewis soon took a disliking to the name his parents had given him. Sometime around the age of four, he marched up to his mother and, pointing at himself, declared that he was now to be known as “Jacksie.” This name, later shortened to Jacks and then to just Jack, became the only name he would answer to. In his book Jack’s Life, Douglas Gresham, Lewis’s stepson, provides the following background on why Lewis chose this name: ‘It was actually because of a small dog that he was fond of that he picked the name Jacksie, which was what the dog was called. It was run over (probably by a horse and cart as there were almost no cars in the time and place where he was a child), and Jack, as he later became known just took the name for himself.’

From a lecture on writing sci-fi and fantasy [vid] given by author Brandon Sanderson, an aside [at 36:05] about the name Brandon:

When I grew up in Nebraska, I was the only Brandon, like, in my school. It was a really original, interesting name. I’m like, ‘My parents came up with this great, original, interesting name.’ And then I moved to Utah to go to BYU and there were five in my freshman dorm. And then I realized: It’s a Mormon name! Who would have thought? It’s not in any of the scriptures but it totally is a Mormon name. There’s a ton. Brandon Flowers, right? Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson. There’s a lot of Brandons out there with an LDS background. Who knew?

[Brandon Flowers is the lead singer of The Killers, while Brandon Mull — like Sanderson — writes fantasy. Brandon Sanderson is behind the debuts of the baby names Kaladin and Sylphrena, btw.]

Speaking of Mormon names…from a recent Deseret News article about Utah’s unusual baby names by Meg Walter:

Heather Marné Williams-Young is named after Marné Whitaker Tuttle. According to legend, Marné Whitaker Tuttle’s mother named her Marne (with no accent) after the French town on the frontlines of World War I, thinking Marne, which rhymes with barn, was a beautiful name.

But Marné disagreed, so she added the acute accent over the e, and pronounced it “Mar-nay.” “There is nothing more Utah to me than women of a certain generation trying make their names more French by putting accents places they shouldn’t be,” Williams-Young says.

[Marné Tuttle (1920-2014), the wife of LDS church leader A(lbert) Theodore Tuttle, served as “temple matron” in the Provo Utah Temple in the early 1980s. During that time, Heather’s mother worked as a Temple employee. Both Heather’s mother and Heather’s mother’s roommate ended up giving their future daughters the middle name Marné.]

“There are a handful of us around Utah County who were all named after the same woman with the made-up name,” Williams-Young says. “I feel such a kinship with them.”

[One of Marné Tuttle’s own daughters, Clarissa, was also given Marné as a middle.]

From a 2015 article in History Today about Anglo-Saxon personal names by James Chetwood:

While it is hard to tell exactly how important the meaning of name elements were, it seems likely that people were aware, to some extent, that names carried some kind of meaning. Indeed, one of the most famous, or infamous, Anglo-Saxons is most often known to us today as Ethelred the Unready, the king who lost his kingdom to Cnut. However, the name Ethelred signified ‘noble counsel’. So, when his contemporaries labelled him Æðelræd Unræd they were not calling him ‘unready’, but using the meaning of his name to mock his lack of good counsel. Similarly, when Archbishop Wulfstan entitled his homily to the English people ‘Sermon of the Wolf to the English’, he was clearly doing so in the knowledge that the first part of his name did not just sound like, but signified, ‘wolf’. Surely it cannot be coincidence that ‘rich’, ‘strong’ and ‘beautiful’ were used in names, where ‘poor’, ‘weak’ and ‘ugly’ were not.

A feature of this naming system was flexibility. There was a finite number of elements, but they could be combined in a multitude of ways. This meant that, in essence, a name was created for, rather than given to, each person. So, while elements could be repeated to emphasize parentage and family links, there was very little repetition of full names and it would be unlikely that any two people within a community or family would have the same name.

From a recent article about baseball player Zebulon Vermillion in the New York Post:

Zebulon Vermillion, as he has to explain to just about everyone he meets, was born in Vail, Colo., not too far from the Rocky Mountains and a summit known as Pikes Peak. His parents, the outdoorsy type, read that the apex was named after Zebulon Pike, and it stuck with them.

Vermillion’s last name is Nordic and middle name — Cassis — French, after a fishing port in Southern France. His mother, who is trilingual, loves the city.

From the book Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire (2022) by Brad Stone, on the process of naming Amazon’s Alexa:

Bezos said he wanted the wake word to sound “mellifluous” and opined that his mother’s name, Jacklyn, was “too harsh.” His own quickly discarded suggestions included “Finch,” the title of a fantasy detective novel by Jeff VanderMeer; “Friday,” after the personal assistant in the novel Robinson Crusoe; and “Samantha,” the witch who could twinkle her nose and accomplish any task on the TV show Bewitched.

For more quotes about names, check out the name quotes category.

Popular and unique baby names in Alberta (Canada), 2021

alberta

Last year, the Canadian province of Alberta welcomed roughly 50,000 babies — almost 26,000 boys and over 24,000 girls.

What were the most popular names among these 2021 babies? Olivia and Noah.

Here are the top-10 lists by gender:

Girl Names

  1. Olivia, 210 baby girls
  2. Charlotte, 166
  3. Ava, 165
  4. Emma, 163
  5. Amelia, 160
  6. Sophia, 137
  7. Isla, 135
  8. Abigail, 120
  9. Evelyn and Chloe, 119 each (tie)
  10. Aria, 112

Boy Names

  1. Noah, 274 baby boys
  2. Jack, 219
  3. Oliver, 208
  4. Liam, 197
  5. Theodore, 191
  6. William, 174
  7. Ethan, 162
  8. Levi, 148
  9. Benjamin, 147
  10. Henry, 146

In the girls’ top 10, Evelyn, Chloe and Aria replaced Emily and Lily. (Three replace two because of the tie for 9th place.)

In the boys’ top 10, Ethan and Henry replaced Lucas and Owen. (Maverick, which has been rising steadily over the last few years, reached 13th in 2021 and could potentially enter the top 10 in 2022.)

Rare baby names that were bestowed just once in Alberta last year include…

Unique Girl NamesUnique Boy Names
Anangokaa, Arendelle, Bluejay, Chickadee, Chokecherry, Dafflin, Eberle, Finvola, Guillemette, Hemley, Izna, Jisu, Khizra, Lunafreya, Maximina, Nicêhis, Oromia, Pernilla, Queniva, Roux-Zelle, Shimmer, Skadi, Thylane, Ulyana, Valhalla, Winlinna, Xyrille, Yuzuki, ZitraAtrium, Brome, Calvince, Donlathee, Eberle, Fidelcastro, Gambit, Heimdallr, Itthipat, Jaiku, Kihêw, Kikinaw, Lefty, Makisig, Malësor, Nashford, Orca, Peanut, Qamber, Raistlin, Strive, Te-Ahumairangi, Totem, Universe, Valvatorez, Waseskwan, Xef, Yosiah, Zevry

Some explanations and/or potential influences for a few of the above:

  • Anangokaa means “there are (many) stars” in Ojibwe.
  • Arendelle is the name of a kingdom in the movie Frozen.
  • Brome refers to various types of grass in the genus Bromus.
  • Eberle — given to one girl and one boy last year — could refer to hockey player Jordan Eberle, who played with the Edmonton Oilers during the 2010s.
  • Fidel Castro was the revolutionary/statesman who led the island nation of Cuba for nearly five decades.
  • Gambit (besides being a word) is an X-Men character.
  • Heimdallr (besides being a Norse god) is a Marvel character.
  • Kikinaw means “our house/home” in Cree.
  • Kihêw means “eagle” in Cree.
  • Lunafreya is a character from the video game Final Fantasy XV.
  • Makisig means “elegant” or “gallant” in Tagalog.
  • Malësor means “highlander” in Albanian.
  • Nicêhis means “my little heart” or “my dear heart” in Cree.
  • Raistlin is a Dragonlance character.
  • Skadi (besides being a giantess in Norse mythology) is a character in the TV series Vikings.
  • Te Ahumairangi is the name of a hill in Wellington, New Zealand.
  • Valvatorez is a character from the video game Disgaea 4.
  • Waseskwan means “the sky is clearing (after a storm)” in Cree.

One other name that stood out to me is Bauer, given to 7 baby boys and 1 baby girl in 2021. I was paying close attention to the hockey playoffs this year, and I couldn’t help but notice “Bauer” everywhere — on sticks, on gloves, on helmets, etc. It makes me wonder how many of the baby Bauers out there (both in Canada and in the U.S.) have been named — either intentionally or inadvertently — after the ice hockey equipment brand.

Finally, here are the 2020 rankings for Alberta, if you’d like to compare.

Sources: Alberta’s Top Baby Names, Olivia and Noah most popular baby names in 2021, Olivia, Noah continue reign as most popular Alberta baby names, The Ojibwe People’s Dictionary, Online Cree Dictionary, Wiktionary

Popular and unique baby names in Iowa, 2020

Iowa

I’m a little late on this one, considering that we looked at the 2021 state-by-state baby name data last week, but better late than never. :)

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, the most popular baby names in the state in 2020 were Olivia and Oliver.

Here are Iowa’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2020:

Girl Names

  1. Olivia, 171 baby girls
  2. Charlotte, 141
  3. Evelyn, 137
  4. Emma, 119
  5. Ava, 116
  6. Amelia, 115
  7. Harper, 113
  8. Sophia, 106
  9. Hazel, 101
  10. Eleanor, 96

Boy Names

  1. Oliver, 208 baby boys
  2. Liam, 183
  3. Theodore, 169
  4. Henry, 163
  5. William, 156
  6. Noah, 127
  7. Owen, 126
  8. Wyatt, 119
  9. Jack, 117
  10. Maverick, 112

In the girls’ top 10, Sophia, Hazel, and Eleanor replaced Avery, Nora, and Violet.

In the boys’ top 10, Theodore and Wyatt replaced Lincoln and Jackson. (Notably, Theodore jumped from 12th in 2019 up to 3rd in 2020.)

Over 2,800 boy names and over 3,600 girl names were bestowed just once in Iowa in 2020. The state says that unique names are trendy — in fact, “some Iowa counties…regularly reach 100% uniqueness, meaning there are no babies given the same name in a single year.”

Here’s a selection Iowa’s unique baby names from 2020:

Unique Girl NamesUnique Boy Names
Alula, Brindle, Clorrenty, Dilnaaz, Ellaydrea, Fidelity, Glariel, Hepperli, Imariana, Jacklington, Kissimee, Lalotai, Malofo, Nellatreen, Offranel, Peninnah, Qianna, Rufusline, Sunrae, Tenebris, Ugbaad, Vatsana, Winji, Xyphora, Yliemani, ZenleyAeio, Bazzi, Colique, Drummer, Ezzeldeen, Faltaous, Groseille, Htoo, Invictus, J-Heart, Kalikimaka, Luxender, Mlondani, Noakley, Owendan, Prexy, Qorvyn, Ramazani, Smoltz, Tuxley, Unison, Vaxston, Wirachai, Yolotli, Zantoro

Thoughts on some of the above…

  • Kissimee – close to Kissimmee, the name of both a city and a river in Florida.
  • Tenebris – a form of the Latin word tenebra, meaning “darkness, shadow, gloom.”
  • Groseille – French for “redcurrant.”
  • Htoo – Burmese for “gold.” (Almost 10,000 refugees from Myanmar live in Iowa.)
  • Kalikimaka – Hawaiian for “Christmas.”
  • Vaxston – given the fact that Covid-19 dominated the headlines in 2020, I can’t help but wonder if this one wasn’t influenced by the word vaccine. (A baby in the Philippines was named “Vaccine” in 2020, incidentally.)
  • Yolotli – Nahuatl for “heart.”

Finally, in 2019, the top two names in Iowa were Charlotte and Oliver.

Sources: Top Baby Names – Iowa Public Health Tracking Portal, Baby Names Uniqueness – Iowa Public Health Tracking Portal

Popular baby names in New South Wales (Australia), 2021

new south wales

According to the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, the most popular baby names in the Australian state last year were Amelia and Oliver.

Here are New South Wales’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Amelia
  2. Olivia
  3. Charlotte
  4. Isla
  5. Ava
  6. Mia
  7. Grace
  8. Chloe
  9. Ella
  10. Matilda

Boy Names

  1. Oliver
  2. Noah
  3. Jack
  4. Henry
  5. William
  6. Leo
  7. Lucas
  8. Theodore
  9. Levi
  10. Thomas

In the boys’ top 10, Theodore and Levi replaced Liam and Elijah.

In the girls’ top 10, Ella and Matilda replaced Sophia and Zoe. (“[I]t’s good to see Matilda waltzing up the charts,” quipped NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman.)

In 2020, the top names were also Amelia and Oliver.

Sources: Popular Baby Names | NSW Government, Matilda waltzes into the list of top baby names

Top lengths of baby names in the United States, 2021

Which lengths were the most and least popular for U.S. baby names in 2021?

Top length for girl names: 6 letters

For baby girls, the most-used length was 6 letters, followed by 5 and 7.

Graph of length popularity for U.S. baby girl names, 2021

The most popular girl names per length were…

  • 2 letters (over 200 baby girls): Bo, Jo, Zo, An, Vy, Io
  • 3 letters (over 58,300): Ava, Mia, Zoe, Ivy, Eva, Ada
  • 4 letters (over 223,800): Emma, Luna, Ella, Aria, Mila, Nora
  • 5 letters (over 348,000): Sofia, Avery, Emily, Chloe, Layla, Hazel
  • 6 letters (over 466,100): Olivia, Amelia, Sophia, Evelyn, Harper, Camila
  • 7 letters (over 307,900): Eleanor, Abigail, Madison, Addison, Lillian, Paisley
  • 8 letters (over 142,000): Isabella, Scarlett, Penelope, Victoria, Brooklyn, Savannah
  • 9 letters (over 71,800): Charlotte, Elizabeth, Valentina, Josephine, Gabriella
  • 10 letters (over 8,000): Evangeline, Alexandria, Alessandra, Jacqueline
  • 11 letters (over 300): Christianna, Ameliagrace, Anavictoria
  • 12 letters (under 100)
  • 13 letters (over 100)
  • 14 letters (under 100)
  • 15 letters (none)

Top length for boy names: 6 letters

For baby boys, the most-used length was also 6 letters, followed by 5 and 4.

Graph of length popularity for U.S. baby boy names, 2021

The most popular girl names per length were…

  • 2 letters (over 1,800 baby boys): Bo, Ty, Om, Aj, Cy, Oz
  • 3 letters (over 49,200): Leo, Eli, Kai, Ian, Ace, Max
  • 4 letters (over 288,800): Liam, Noah, Jack, Levi, Owen, John
  • 5 letters (over 453,200): James, Lucas, Henry, Mateo, Mason, Ethan
  • 6 letters (over 511,800): Oliver, Elijah, Daniel, Samuel, Joseph, Julian
  • 7 letters (over 269,000): William, Jackson, Michael, Grayson, Matthew, Gabriel
  • 8 letters (over 106,100): Benjamin, Theodore, Maverick, Santiago, Jonathan, Jeremiah
  • 9 letters (over 42,000): Alexander, Sebastian, Christian, Nathaniel, Alejandro
  • 10 letters (over 3,700): Maximilian, Alessandro, Kristopher, Montgomery
  • 11 letters (over 7,800): Christopher, Maximiliano, Constantine
  • 12 letters (over 200)
  • 13 letters (over 100)
  • 14 letters (under 100)
  • 15 letters (under 100)