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Gender: Male Meaning of Holden: "hollow valley" Origin of Holden: English Holden's Popularity in 2017: #242

The name Holden is a boy's name of English origin meaning "hollow valley". Holden is ranked #242 on our popularity charts and is often added to lists like Literary Names for Boys and discussed in our forums with posts like "Switcher Machine".

From the experts:

Holden is a classic case of a name that jumped out of a book and onto birth certificates--though it took quite a while. Parents who loved J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye are flocking to the name of its hero, Holden Caulfield -- not coincidentally in tune with the Hudson-Hayden-Colton field of names. (Trivia note: Salinger supposedly came up with the name while looking at a movie poster promoting a film starring William Holden and Joan Caulfield, though other sources say he was named after Salinger's friend Holden Bowler.) Another impetus was provided by a soap opera character introduced in 1985.

Among the celebs who have chosen Holden are Brendan Fraser and Mira Sorvino.

In Australia, only a car-lover would choose this name, which is inextricably linked with the car-brand.

Find other names based on Holden using our baby name generator.

Famous People Named Holden

Holden Bowler, American athlete, singer and businessman
Holden Furber, American historian
Holden Chester Richardson, U.S. Navy aviator
Holden Álvaro Roberto, Angolan activist and politician
(Herbert) Holden Thorp, American chemist
Holden John Seguso (b. 1988), son of tennis players Robert and Carling Bassett Seguso
Holden Richard Schroder (b. 1992), son of actor Rick Schroder
Holden John Dorough (b. 2003), son of singer Howie Dorough of the Backstreet Boys
Holden Fletcher Fraser (b. 2004), son of actor Brendan Fraser
Holden Paul Terry Backus (b. 2009), son of actors Mira Sorvino and Christopher Backus
Holden Everett Ladwig (b. 2009), son of pair skater Mark Ladwig
Holden Robert Jahangiri (b. 2013), son of actress Kate Levering and businessman Reza Jahangiri
Jack Holden Marsden (b. 2001), son of actor James Marsden
Finnigan Holden McCormack (b. 2002), son of actor Eric McCormack and Janet Holden

Pop Culture References for the name Holden

Holden Caulfield, main character in J.D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye"
Holden, character in James Patterson's Maximum Ride
Holden McNeil, character in "Chasing Amy"
Holden Snyder, character on American soap opera "As the World Turns"
Holden Strauss, character in the TV series "Pretty Little Liars"
Holden Spence, from the movie "Everyone Says I Love You"
Holden Maxwell, main male character in Kristen Ashley's The Gamble
Holden Messenger, character in Kiera Cass's "The Heir"
Holden Dippledorf, character in DisneyChannel's "Liv and Maddie"
Holden Matthews, character on Freeform's "Beyond"
Holden Carver, main character in the DC/Wildstorm Sleeper comics
Holden, Australian automaker
Thomas "Holden" Worther, character in the movie "The Good Girl"
Holden Radcliffe, character in the Marvel TV series "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."
Holden, character in American Horror Story season 5
Holden Ford, character in the Netflix series "Mindhunter"


Tora Says:


I think this name sounds clean and handsome 😊 Probably wouldn't use it myself though.

Francoamericano Says:


so cute and cool

NameLover 11 Says:


This name is so cute!! I used to hate it but now...I ADORE IT!!!

clairels Says:


Group this with Atticus in the "I haven't read a book since high school" category.

rena par Says:


How about holden for girl's name?

LaurenDH Says:


I never had to read Catcher in the Rye, so all I can think of is the talented Brian Holden of Team Starkid fame.

Fluffykitten101 Says:


There's always Olly!

Fluffykitten101 Says:


I'd NEVER thought I would say this but I love Holden on a girl just as much as I do for a boy, if not marginally more.

pabunker Says:



OConnor Says:


reminds me of judge holden too!

lissrose30 Says:


I want to like this name because it seems really cool.

kertheshe Says:


Struggle for nickname is real.

headintheclouds Says:


Sound- and look-wise, Holden is quite appealing as a surname name, and is one of the ones I reasonably like. But there's something about it that makes me unable to picture it on anyone older than a little boy (like over eight years old), or an angsty Holden-Caulfield teenager. If you'd choose this name for the literary reference, there are infinitely better and less cliched literary namesakes out there, in my opinion!

Alsace Says:


I definitely think of Catcher in the Rye but I also can't help but think of Judge Holden from Blood Meridian. For that reason I could never use this name. Granted that book isn't as popular as Catcher in the Rye, so most people probably won't have that association.

clairels Says:


Upvote times a million.

gmdx Says:


People use this just for the literary reference are goddam phonies!

nadjajay Says:


I could not stand Holden in Catcher in the Rye buuuuut I do absolutely love this name!!! Which makes me feel like I'm at a crossroads. lol.

Hallie Says:


my mom loves this name but I don't really care for it

flowercait Says:


This is what I always think of, don't get the appeal of this name

clairels Says:


She didn't "miss the message." She got the message just fine; she just didn't like it. It's called having an opinion.

JazzieJonez Says:


Obviously you really missed the whole message of the novel if all you can think of is that Holden Caulfield is a horrible character. And maybe if you really feel that way about a name, I bet people will steer away from child too

mckaylalove Says:



chibiyui Says:


By all means, name your son after one of the most annoying, whining, immature brats in American literature. Please tell me how you think Catcher in the Rye was just so deep and really stuck with you and you wanted your child to be a part of that.

Please do. It will help me steer my child away from yours on the playground.

indiefendi2 Says:


I like punny names.

PoppyOrangey Says:


She's holden her baby Holden...

Guest Says:


All Holdens are crazy. Holden Caulfield and any Holden on television/film.

Nicole4383 Says:


I like this name except that there's not really a good nickname for it.

sashapizzarova Says:


Of course people naturally associate this with that angsty antihero Holden Caulfield and generally everyone has read or will read The Catcher in the Rye at some point but the name is still cool and handsome! Hudson can be an alternative if you don't want the "holding" sound.

Addie88 Says:


I really like this name. It is a classier, more legitimate alternative to a lot of invented -den suffix names today. Yes, there's Catcher in the Rye (which I have read), but not everybody would automatically think of that. And hey, to be associated with a literary character is a heck of a lot better than to be associated with a celebrity.

Addie88 Says:


I think it would be less odd for you to use the name, actually. Plenty of people use it simply for the Catcher in the Rye reference, which is superficial and predictable.

Anaxandra Says:


The Catcher in the Rye

Theodora_Phoenix Says:


Actually, I don't even know what book it's from.

raevynstar Says:


This is actually a good name, I don't mind the holding association, but I've never read the book (everyone knows which one), so I think it would be odd for me to use the name.

Theodora_Phoenix Says:


Bad. Sounds too much like the word "holding". Where are you? I'm in the nursery Holden the baby.