Thomas has been one of the most commonly used classic baby names in both England and the U.S. over time, and is still given to almost 7,000 American boys each year. From the original apostle and several saints, through Thomas Jefferson, Edison, Pynchon, Hanks and Cruise, Thomas is simple, straightforward and strong. And it offers more definition than names like John and James -- all that a parent with timeless taste could want. As a bonus, kids will identify with Thomas the Tank Engine.
Thomas came about because there were too many apostles named Judas; Jesus renamed one Thomas (meaning "twin") to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot and the Judas also known as Thaddeus. At first, it was used only for priests. Sir Thomas Aquinas and Thomas a Becket are two of many towering Thomases.
Thomas ranked among the U.S. Top 10 baby names pretty much through the 1960s; right now, it is still Number 6 in England and Number 7 in Australia.
Thomas has some noteworthy foreign versions: the multicultural Tomas, the Italian Tomasso, the Portuguese Tomaz and the Scottish nickname Tam. In Paris these days, Tom is a popular name used on its own.
Jack Black and Dennis Quaid both have sons named Thomas.
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