Category: baby name Theo
The Theo family of names is moving on up, en masse.
The pater familias, Theodore, progressed thirty places this year on the Social Security list, rose 115% on Nameberry searches and was the only boy’s name to register more than once on our latest Quarterly Report, plus it’s been the choice of several celebrities, including Dallas Bryce Howard, Natascha McElhone and Ali Larter.
It’s a name with so much to recommend it—as one of the classic names that has a lot more personality than many others, being serious but with a sense of humor, and boasting a choice of great nicknames.
In this country, Theodore’s history is very much tied to our youngest president ever, the ebullient, energetic, charismatic Theodore Roosevelt (who was a Theodore, Junior), the U.S. Chief Executive from 1901 to 1905. It was in that period that the name hit its highest peak, reaching Number 30 in 1904, then staying in the Top 100 until 1944. One thing that didn’t catch on, though, was his childhood nickname of Teedie.
What with the movie Ted, starring an outrageously potty-mouthed teddy bear, becoming a box office sensation, and celebs giving their baby boys the actual first or middle name of Bear, this seems like a perfect time to think about Teddy and other fictional bear names for possible inspiration.
So, though you might not want to name your son Paddington, Fozzie, Corduroy, Smokey, Yogi, Bobo or Baloo, here are some ursine character names you might want to consider if you’re into the idea of animal names.
Ted, Teddy, Theodore—These ultimate bear name cluster was inspired by a Theodore Roosevelt hunting trip incident that became the subject of a political cartoon which in turn inspired the making of a little stuffed bear cub toy dubbed “Teddy’s Bear”–which soon ignited a national craze. The name Theodore is currently experiencing a resurgence—it’s now at Number 231, partially sparked by love for the nickname Theo, which itself entered the Top 1000 in 2010 and is a Nameberry fave. Not so many Teds or Teddys these days, though. In addition, of course, many Edwards—as in Edward Kennedy, have also been known as Teddy.
Winnie, Winifred, Winston—Winnie the Pooh, second only to teddy as an ursine icon, was created by A. A. Milne in 1926, and named after a stuffed teddy owned by his son Christopher Robin. The boy had taken the name from a bear that he often saw at the London zoo called Winnipeg, nn Winnie. In real life most Winnies are more often formally Winston (as in Churchill) or Winifred—both of which are starting to be used again. Maybe Winnie could be the next Hattie.
When I looked at the boys’ names just below the Top 1000, I was surprised that I was less surprised than I was when I surveyed the girls’ selections. There are a handful of attractive, stylish names here that I would have sworn were among the Top 1000 — most notably Theo, Gus, Finnian, and Dashiell — but many more that simply feel in tune with their more popular brothers.
As with the girls’ names, I’ve starred those I think are headed for greater popularity. But the more important point is that, if you’re searching for a name that is fashionable yet not epidemic, any of these would be perfect choices.
All of these names were given to at least 100 boys but fewer than 200 boys last year. For the complete boys’ master list, with actual numbers for all names, go here.
- 1002. Edison* (that’s the great inventor and worthy namesake in the picture)
- 1005. Ulysses
- 1025. Simeon
- 1028. Taj
- 1029. Thaddeus
- 1035. Theo* (shocked!)