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Names from Current Kids’ TV Shows

August 6, 2015 Josh

By Josh Murray

As a writer and teacher, I experience summer very differently than the rest of the year. My time becomes much less structured, and I am able to spend more time at home with my son. Lately, while we watch various children’s television shows together, I’ve started to notice that some of the programs have characters with names that wouldn’t be out of place in twenty-first century naming considerations. Here are three shows that have some interesting options, from the classics to the more daring:

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

If you’re not familiar with this show, it’s a contemporary spinoff of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. The plot follows the children of some of the popular characters of the original show, with the action focused on the son of Daniel Striped Tiger.

Daniel: This classic, biblical name has been in the U.S. Top 20 since 1952 and has never been outside the Top 100. Daniel won’t exactly be a surprising choice, but its long history of use and tradition make it strong and feasible.

Margaret: In the show, Margaret is Daniel’s little sister. While still ranked at number 169, this name is actually down from its frequent spot in the Top 100 during the last century. Over the last few years, however, it has begun another slow rise.

Katerina: This name had its heyday in the 1990s, when it appeared in the Top 1000 ten times between 1992 and 2003. While this character’s name might not be on many name lists these days, her mother’s name, Henrietta, might be a more appealing option with the –etta ending.

Elaina: Currently at the height of its popularity at Number 281, Elaina will most likely continue to climb. It fits in with other popular El– names, such as Ellie, Ella, and Eliana.

Wednesday: This day name is worn by a boy on the show, just like his brother Tuesday. In reality, the names swing the other way: in 2014, there were 37 girls in the U.S. named Wednesday and 21 girls named Tuesday; there were no recorded births for boys.

O: With the current popularity of O-names, O the Owl’s name cuts the superfluous syllables and letters by utilizing just the initial. Though probably not substantial enough to stand on its own, this might be a great nickname for any number of formal names.

Odd Squad

Speaking of O, this television series about a secret agency of kids features characters who all have names beginning with this letter.

Olive: Little Miss Sunshine put this name on my personal radar back in 2006. With Olivia sitting near the top of the rankings charts, Olive would be a strong alternative.

Otto: This name ranked as high as Number 101 in 1902, after which it entered a steady decline. Experiencing a renaissance of popularity, Otto reentered the U.S. Top 1000 in 2011 and has quickly climbed to Number 627. Expect it to continue this ascent.

Oscar: This name has always ranked on the U.S. popularity lists, remaining in the Top 200 since 1974. Despite this consistency, it still feels fresh and on-trend.

Oren: Here’s a name that feels more popular than it is. Only 96 boys were named Oren in the United States last year, but this compact name that begins with O and ends in –en has the traits to push it into the spotlight in the years to come.

Ophelia: A fairly common “guilty pleasure” name, Ophelia harkens back to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Though it has been outside of the Top 1000 since 1958, Ophelia remains a favorite with many name enthusiasts.

Along the way, even more characters have been introduced, with names such as Orchid, Octavia, Oksana, Oakley, Olaf, and Ori.

Thomas & Friends

I’ll end this post with a consideration of the UK series that has been encouraging a childhood obsession with trains for years.

Thomas: Sometimes the common, traditional names maintain their popularity for a reason. Thomas has never been outside of the Top 100, and it only left the Top 50 for the first time in 2006.

Henry: Though this name has never been out of favor, it is still experiencing some renewed interest, rising in the rankings in 2014 for the eleventh year in a row. Nicknames Hank and Harry also provide the name with extra longevity.

Gordon: This name underwent a long decline from its peak in 1935 until it finally fell off the Top 1000 in 2009. Its brief hiatus ended last year when it reentered the popularity list at Number 935. If the 100-year rule applies here, it might be ready for a public reevaluation soon.

Samson: With other biblical boy names such as Ezra, Josiah, and Asher on the rise, Samson could easily be in the next wave. Currently at Number 628, it’s the highest it’s ever been.

Percy: Out of favor and off the Social Security list since 1988, Percy may suffer from its perceived feminine sound, even though it has never charted as a girls’ name. What would it take to bring Percy back into the viable baby name mix?

 Daisy: Floral names are gaining traction, which is exemplified through current Number 27 name Lily. The flowery Daisy feels vintage and fresh at the same time, and at Number 180 it isn’t overly popular.

What do you think of these names? Are there any other kids’ shows with name potential?

About the author

Josh

Josh Murray has a PhD in English and is a college instructor of writing and literature. In whatever free time he can find, he researches names and naming trends. He and his wife have a son and a daughter. You can find his (infrequently updated) naming microblog on Twitter: @readyNameFIRE.

View all of Josh's articles

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