"gift of God"

Theodore Origin and Meaning

The name Theodore is a boy's name of Greek origin meaning "gift of God".

As unlikely as it may seem, Theodore is a hot new hit name, vaulting into the Top 10 in 2021 for the first time ever and rising three more points last year to rank at Number 7.

Friendly nickname Theo may be responsible for some of that, though there are plenty of baby boys given Theo as their full name too. Add their numbers together along with those for Mateo and Teo, and they hands-down become the Number 1 boys' name.

Theodore and Mateo are far from interchangeable names, for sure, and some Theodores are called Teddy....or Theodore. But we predict an overwhelming number of little boys called Theo or Teo on American playgrounds over the coming years.

Theodore is a derivative of the Latin Theodorus, a variation of the Greek name Theodōros. The components are from the Greek words theos, meaning "God," and dōron, meaning "gift," giving Theodore the meaning "God-given" or "gift of God." Names with similar origins include Theodora, Dorothy, and Dorothea.

When Theodore Roosevelt took office in 1901, the name Theodore was in the Top 40 boy names, with Teds and Teddys everywhere. After some damaging stereotypes—the chubby Chipmunk Theodore and Beaver Cleaver's real name—Theodore went into a decline, from which it has definitely made a recovery, thanks in part to the popular and likable nickname Theo.

Theodore has been the choice of several celebrities, including Ivanka Trump, Bryce Dallas Howard, Natascha McElhone, and Ali Larter, not to mention being the fictional son of Christian and Ana in Fifty Shades of Grey.

The name has a distinguished history. In addition to being presidential, it was borne by novelist Dreiser, poet Roethke, and French painter Gericault, and it was the first name (spelled Theodor) of Dr. Seuss.

Among the well-known Teds, baseball's Williams and musician Nugent were born Theodore, but Ted Turner was christened Robert, and Ted Kennedy and Ted Danson were originally Edward.

The beloved character Laurie in Little Women was named Theodore Laurence.

# 7 in the US

Theodore Rank in US Top 1000

# 3 on Nameberry

Theodore Rank in Nameberry Top 1000

Theodore Popularity

Famous People Named Theodore

  • Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt Jr26th U.S. president
  • Theodore "Ted" Roosevelt IIIU.S. politician and general; son of President Teddy Roosevelt
  • Theodore Samuel "Ted" WilliamsAmerican baseball player
  • Theodore Fulton "Ted" StevensU.S. Senator from Alaska
  • Theodore "Ted" Strickland; U.S. politician; 68th governor of Ohio
  • Theodore Tillman "Ted" Shackelford IIIAmerican actor
  • Theodore DeReese "Teddy" PendergrassAmerican R&B/soul singer and songwriter
  • Theodore Raymond "T. R." KnightAmerican actor
  • Theodore Herman Albert DreiserAmerican novelist
  • Theodore MaimanAmerican inventor of the laser
  • Theodore William Richardswinner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry
  • Theodore Schultzwinner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
  • Theodore "Teddy" BridgewaterAmerican NFL football player
  • John Theodore "Teddy" Geiger IIAmerican transgender female singer,songwriter and music producer
  • Theodore Kelly (b. 2000)son of actress Natascha McElhone
  • Theodore Norman Howard Gabel (b. 2007)son of Bryce Dallas Howard and Seth Gabel
  • Theodore Hayes MacArthur (b. 2010)son of actress Ali Larter
  • Theodore Ignatius Fitzpatrick (b. 2013)son of musician Michael Sean 'Fitz' Fitzpatrick and actress Kaylee Anne DeFer
  • Theodore Vigo Sullivan Gillies (b. 2015)son of actors Rachael Leigh Cook & Daniel Gillies
  • Theodore James Kushner (b. 2016)son of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner; grandson of US President Donald Trump
  • Theodore Kubrick de RavinBilitch (b. 2018), son of actress Emilie de Ravin

Theodore in Pop Culture

  • Theodore Aloysius "Theo" Huxtablecharacter on "The Cosby Show"
  • Theodorechipmunk in the Alvin and the Chipmunks series
  • Theodore "Beaver" Cleavermain character on TV's "Leave it to Beaver"
  • Theodore "Theo" Kojakcharacter on TV's "Kojak"
  • Theodore "Teddy" Duchampa main character in film "Stand By Me" and novella "The Body" by Stephen King
  • Theodore "Ted" Wongcharacter from the YouTube series Video Game High School
  • Theodore "T Dog" Douglascharacter on TV's "The Walking Dead"
  • Theodore "TJ" Detweilercharacterin animated series "Recess"
  • Theodore "Teddy" AltmanHulkling in Young Avengers comics
  • Theodore "Laurie" Laurencecharacter in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women
  • "Theodore Boone" series by John Grisham and its main character
  • Theodore Evelyn "Ted" Mosbycharacter on TV's "How I Met Your Mother"
  • Theodore "Theo" Nottcharacter in the "Harry Potter" series
  • Theodore Raymond GreyChristian and Ana's son in the Fifty Shades of Grey
  • Theodore "Theo" main character in Donna Tartt's "The Goldfinch"
  • Theodore "Teddy" Floodcharacter on TV's "Westworld"
  • Theodore Finchcharacter in Jennifer Niven's All The Bright Places
  • Theodore "TBag" Bagwell, character in TV's "Prison Break"
  • Theodore Lindsey Templeton Jr. (Boss Baby)main character on “The Boss Baby”

Theodore in Nameberry Blog Posts