Baby Name Thomas: A Salute to Poor Tom Turkey

Not only is old Tom Turkey again making his annual  holiday sacrifice, but the poor guy has also had to bear the shame of seeing his name slide down the popularity list, now being out of the Top 50 for probably the first time ever in this country.  Multiple Thomases arrived on the Mayflower, it was a favorite of the Colonists, and remained in or near the Top 10 boys’ names in America until 1966.

Now, in order to build back his self-esteem, and show what a proud heritage any baby Thomas would share, here are a few of the historical attributes of Tom.

BIBLICAL: The name Thomas, which in Aramaic means twin, wass first given to one of the Apostles, who was originally named Judas, in order to distinguish him from Jude and Judas Iscariot.  The expression Doubting Thomas arises from the fact that he refused to believe in Christ’s Resurrection until he had touched His wounds.

SAINTS: The expression every Tom, Dick and Harry is said to have been a result of the spread of the name in England due to people’s reverence for St. Thomas of Canterbury and the martyred Archbishop Thomas à Becket.  Also there were Sir Thomas More, Henry VIII’s Chancellor, a scholar and wit, and St. Thomas Aquinas, the 13th century Sicilian friar, considered the greatest thinker of the Middle Ages.

PRESIDENT: Thomas Jefferson, (Thomas) Woodrow Wilson

KIDDIE STUFF: Along with Jack, Tom and Tommy are the most popular boys in the nursery rhyme world, as in Tom, Tom, the Piper’s Son, Little Tommy Tucker, Little Tommy Tittlemouse.  Other notable young Toms: Tom Swift, Tom Sawyer, Tom Corbett, Space Cadet; Tom Mix and Thomas the Tank Engine (and Train).

CULTURAL ICONS: Writers Thomas Hardy, Thomas Mann, T.S. (Thomas Stearns) Eliot, Thomas Wolfe, Tom Wolfe, Tom Stoppard; painters Thomas Gainsborough,Thomas Hart Benton, Thomas Eakins; inventor Thomas Edison—and lots of politicians, sports figures and entertainers, including two of the top-ranking male stars of recent years—Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise.


And now, it’s Tom Turkey time for us—so…..

Warmest wishes from Linda and Pam to all you nameberryites for a



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14 Responses to “Baby Name Thomas: A Salute to Poor Tom Turkey”

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Nephele Says:

November 26th, 2009 at 8:56 am

Happy Thanksgiving to you, also, Pam & Linda!

Katie Says:

November 26th, 2009 at 10:43 am

Happy Thanksgiving!

km903 Says:

November 26th, 2009 at 11:25 am

Let’s not forget that Tommy used to work on the docks. Union’s been on strike. He’s down on his luck, it’s tough… so tough.

Then there’s Tommy, can you hear me? Can you feel me near you?

Lucy Says:

November 26th, 2009 at 2:14 pm

I love Thomas, just not the nicknames Tom and Tommy. Happy Thanksgiving, Pam and Linda!

linda Says:

November 26th, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Thanks, everybody!!

susan Says:

November 26th, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Happy Thanksgiving, Pam and Linda! I love the name Thomas. It is one of my top five boys’ names: (in no particular order with the exception of Peter which is first) Peter, Philip, Thomas, Lionel, and Theodore.

RachelShay Says:

November 27th, 2009 at 2:00 am

I like Thomas, it’s very handsome.

I only like Thom as a nickname though– it doesn’t make sense to drop the H (imo) since you don’t hear it anyway. It’s very attractive.

Kristine Says:

November 27th, 2009 at 8:47 pm

As Tom is Voldemort’s real name, I don’t like it! I always think of him first when I hear that name.

anne Says:

November 28th, 2009 at 11:30 am

I love the name Thomas, but I was delighted to see that someone besides me also loves Peter! It is my middle-school-aged son’s name, and we have yet to meet another child who shares his name. To me, it has everything – strong, simple, classic but not overused, with lots of wonderful literary associations (and for us, family associations as well). Like Thomas, it’s a name I’m surprised isn’t used more frequently, but maybe that’s a good thing for “our” Peter – at least around here, it’s unique!

robynkit Says:

November 29th, 2009 at 11:20 am

Thanks for talking about this “off the radar” name. Thomas is one of those classic names that was probably over used and has fallen out of favor today (like Peter) but I think it will make a reappearance like “Jack” did.

My only son is named Philip Thomas, age 21, and I would not have chosen Thomas for a mn but my husband wanted to honor his grandfather. I like the name now because it isn’t over used! And the biblical Thomas is a good example to follow, actually, not a bad one.

phoebesmom Says:

November 30th, 2009 at 2:32 am

Love Tom! Its my number one boys name! Sounds like a mischievous little boy and a strong grown-up man.

stephanie_elizabeth Says:

November 30th, 2009 at 3:18 pm

I recently helped out in a first grade classroom and there was a little boy in that class named Thomas. I liked that, especially in a class with a Peyton, a Colten, and a Kolton. It was used in full. He wasn’t called Tom or Tommy, which is fine b/c I like the full version better.

Karen Says:

December 28th, 2009 at 11:15 pm

My son’s name is Thomas Edward and we call him Thomas or Tad. I’m surprised by how few other boys named Thomas, Tom, or Tommy we meet. But one of my daughters has a name that is even more surprising in its rarity – Mary. When we named her the nurse at the hospital said “Wow, there’s a name you hardly ever hear!” and she was right. I actually love the way these formerly overly common traditional names have become kind of unique in a world of trendy, celebrity inspired names.

William Sysak Says:

September 14th, 2010 at 7:05 am

I love you Tom Cruise. i hope i can see you my love take care of your self okay. I really like you !

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