Terrific T-Names: The Nameberry 9, from Tansy to Thatcher

This week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel points out the large proportion of names in the news that start with the letter ‘T’.

Why is it that certain letters have their day in the sun? Even before reality television gave us the Duggar and Kardashian clans, J and K had been having their moment. Lately, H is on the rise, thanks to Hannah and Harper and Henry. Now Huxley, Henley, and Hattie are poised to follow.

Other letters seem to hang in limbo. We haven’t heard much from T lately. Classics like Thomas and Timothy hibernate, while James and Henry take center stage. Names that should have caught on remain relatively underused. Tamsin, Tilda, Tennyson, Tenley, Tate, Trixie, Tess – lots of possibilities have never gotten quite as much attention as you might expect.

But this week could change things, as two sets of celebrity parents embraced the letter T. This week’s nine newsiest names are all tremendously terrific T options.

TheodoraRobbie Williams promised that he and wife Ayda Field wouldn’t choose an outlandish appellation for their daughter, and the pop singer kept his word. Instead, the couple went with an ancient choice, worn by empresses and saints. And yet Theodora fits right in with Isabella and Alexandra, and offers plenty of nickname possibilities.

Thora – It just so happens that Theodora is on my personal shortlist for a second daughter, and this is my favorite short form. It’s not traditional – Thora is a separate name, with Old Norse roots – but if Cordelia can be Cora, why couldn’t Theodora answer to Thora?

Teddy – The WilliamsField family is going with the nickname Teddy for their daughter. It prompted a few headlines about crazy celebrity baby names, but that’s not quite fair. It’s already been worn by Kim Raver’s character on small screen name factory Grey’s Anatomy. Besides, boyish nicknames for girls are nothing new, and the occasional girl answering to Teddy doesn’t change the fact that it remains a great nickname for Theodore and Edward.

Tucker – The other big celebrity birth announcement of the week was Melissa Joan Hart’s third son. She and musician Mark Wilkerson are the parents of Mason Walter, Braydon Hart, called Brady, and Tucker McFadden. The couple is so on-trend with their older boys’ names. Does this mean Tucker is the new Tyler? Or are his rhyming possibilities too extreme?

Turner – If not Tucker, then how about Turner? He’s free of Tucker’s baggage, but has the same great surname style. Plus, he brings to mind heroic Will Turner, of Pirates of the Caribbean fame. The swashbuckling movie franchise certainly helped Jack. Turner has hovered on the edge of the US Top 1000 for more than a decade.

ThatcherJust as Tucker’s arrival was announced, that sharp-eyed spotter of real world birth announcements, Names for Real, turned up Thatcher Levi. Like Tucker and Turner, it’s an occupational surname with great style. Depending on your frame of reference, Thatcher is either the UK’s Iron Lady, and a nod to 1980s politics, or another big screen reference – the late Heath Ledger played peasant-turned-jousting-champion in A Knight’s Tale.

Tressa – The same post at For Real Baby Names welcomed Tressa Marie. I first heard Tressa in Elea’s guest post about Cornish baby names. Tressa means third. She has more bite than Tessa alone, and feels less expected than the enduring Theresa.

TillaryDo you find yourself shopping and name-spotting at the same time? Tillary has popped up in the J. Crew catalog and the West Elm showroom. It’s a street name in Brooklyn, in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge. She’s an update on Hillary, a creative way to get to Tilly, and a sister for Bellamy.

TansyUpswing Baby Names asked us to weigh in on our favorite underused botanical name. The humble tansy isn’t the showiest of blooms, but she’s a pretty plant, a cousin for Daisy. Zinnia and Camellia are ahead in the poll, but my vote goes to Tansy.

Do you like any T names? And what nickname would you suggest for Theodora?

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34 Responses to “Terrific T-Names: The Nameberry 9, from Tansy to Thatcher”

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iheartnames Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 12:24 am

T names are fantastic! I personally love Tristan, Tarquin, Trevor, Trey, Taryn, Tatum, Tanith, Talia, Tamsin, and Thais. I’ve also always had a soft spot for Tori & Thea… which is what I’d recommend as possible nicknames for Theodora.

Poppy528 Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 1:18 am

Fave T names for girls: Tova, Tansy, Tamsin, True & Truth, Tula, Thisbe, and the super cute Tilly … I almost like Tulsa as a name, Tully sounds sweet, and Dallas works so can this?

And for boys: Tolliver (Tolly!), Thornton, Tavish, Tibault, and Theodore.

Sugarfoot Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 3:22 am

My favorite underused T names:


ellieberry Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 3:24 am

Tobin, Tristan, Thaddeus, Thijs, Tobias, Thayer, Tiernan, Theroux, Teague, Thurston

Tate, Toby, Teagan, Torin, Tatum, Trillian

Tabitha, Tatiana, Thomasina, Talila, Tristana, Thora, Tallulah, Tindra, Theone, Toula

Samantha-Bianca Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 4:26 am

Thisbe is a great name in theory, but to me it just sounds like you’re introducingvthem in poor English… “This be Katherine “….

samjaymc Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 4:28 am

T names aren’t really my avourite – though I Love Thomas (family name) and Taylor (for a girl)

Abby Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 5:00 am

Thessaly is a great suggestion! And oh, I love Trillian, Tiernan, Tanith, Thisbe, and so many of these ideas.

And Tori for Theodora is perfect, too.

maggiemary Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 5:38 am

Dora and Dory are my favorite nicknames for Theodora.

T names I like are Tobias, Timothy and Theodore for boys, and Thessaly, Theodosia and Tabitha for girls.

Although not my usual style, I’ve always liked the name Thatcher, but as my name is Margaret I could never use it for any future son!!

thetxbelle Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 6:45 am

Between the current naming trends that Theodora fits in, Robbie Williams use of it thus making it more familiar and the witch Theodora in the upcoming film “Oz: The Great and Powerful”, I think the name is going to take off and enter the top 1000 again.

sydnergy Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 6:46 am

i love t names! 3 of my friends have t babies
Talys (respelling of thalis)

sydnergy Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 7:04 am

oh i forgot t baby number 4
Timber (f)

Yeshi Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 7:52 am

For the longest time my favorite boy name was Tobias (Animorphs, ftw!), and I loved the idea of a little boy named Toby running around. :3

TMcL15 Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 8:23 am

I am partial to unusual T names as I am Tressely. I have yet to meet another Tressely but I would love to see parents start using it for their babies. The closest I have met is a girl with the first name Tressa and middle name Leigh. I also love Tucker, Travis, Thomas and Tilly. Great post!

Jennai Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 9:24 am

Favorite T-Names:


littlebrownpony Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 9:53 am

GOD, I love Thora. Gorgeous.

I also love Truman for a boy, Thayer for a girl, or Tate for either!

maple_blythe Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 9:54 am

Love Thora!

Tullia has to be my favourite under-used T-name though. Fits right in to current sounds, but the most famous namesake is Cicero’s beloved daughter, who seems to have had a bit of a mind of her own. Cicero’s nickname for her was Tulliola. Bit much for me, but it’s such a cool thing to see evidence of a dad’s love for his daughter in letters written more than two millennia back.

rosamonte Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 10:50 am

I love Teodora, with Tea (Tay-a) as a nickname. And my favorite t-name for a boy is Tadeo, although I would want to find a nice nickname for it and I don’t like Tad or Taddy.

upswingbabynames Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 11:05 am

I know a little Tobias, and it real life the name is still unexpected yet fits in. I will always have a soft spot for Thaddeus (I almost wrote “hot spot”). It is usually in my top 5 boy names.

Worchazer Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Oh, props to Robbie for Teddy! I have a good female friend in Australia of that name, and apparently it has been used in her family as a female given name (not nn) for generations. No doubt it started as Theodora, but still.

I used to work for a Tina who, on her last day with the company, revealed that she was actually Thomasina. What a name!

I do like many of the names other contributors are coming up with, and my German friend Claudia has a son called Tobias. Toby (or Tobby) is also a nickname in my family and a name I’m seeing rising in use for females. (Hawaiian author Toby Neal is just one of several with the name). It could also fit in with Cody, Hobie, Koby, Romie, and even Corey or Corrie.

Thuja Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Two boys’ names not yet mentioned: Thane and Tarn

Cinnamon1410 Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 2:26 pm

I love the name Thaila!:)

alzora Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Thora is an awesome idea. Have to pass that by my husband. My favorite T names are:


My husband likes Trevor for a boy.

I love the above poster’s suggestion of Timber.

Poppy528 Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 6:33 pm

I forgot to mention that I’m basically obsessed with the name Tallulah!

vaness1 Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Now that I think about it, there are a lot of T names (particularly for girls) that I really like, and have had them on my list for years, but generally they don’t make my top 5 (or even 10). My favorites are Tatum, Tessa/Tess, Tallulah, Teagan, Thalia for girls, and I do like
Tucker and Turner for boys. I also have a bit of a soft spot for Timothy !

Abby Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 7:00 pm

So many great additions – @Poppy528, I agree about Tallulah!

@Thuja – I love Thane.

@Maple_Blythe – The story behind Tullia is great, and the sound is appealing, too.

A Thomasina masquerading as a Tina? GREAT story!

davisellu Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 8:12 pm

I love lots of the T names too. One more unisex sounding one that I’d love to see someone use is Tallis. Another sentimental favorite– Tupelo.

WaltzingMoreThanMatilda Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 8:12 pm

I love the name the Williamses chose – it’s so dignified, yet Teddy is so super-cute.

I feel obliged to offer two Australian choices – Tanami, for either sex, and Tasman, for a boy.

I do love Toby and Tess though.

Eos82898 Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Thalassa is one of my favorite girls’ names! I also like Tristan a lot. Both have made my list for possible future little dog/cat/frog/toad/chicken/goat/pig names seeing as I’m not having kids. I love names and animals!

IndianRuby Says:

September 24th, 2012 at 10:39 pm

As far as T names go, there aren’t a great deal that I love, but I do have a soft spot for Tulip. I also quite like Tatiana, Thea and Thora. Thora and Thea would be my nn of choice for a Theodora I think.

GrecianErn Says:

September 25th, 2012 at 10:20 am

Tallis (nn Tally) was the lead male character in Jude Devereaux’s time-travel romance novel “Remembrance.” I love the name, but it’s not for us.

My favorite “T” names:
Tobias (nn Toby)
Thatcher (but the nn Thatch could be so hard in high school that it’s unusable.)

Tildie, Tilly, Tilda – all as nn for Matilda (a great-great aunt that I have been hearing stories about my whole life, she went by Tilly.)
Theodora (my sister’s fave, and I would love a little niece named Teddy.)

imperioustigerlily Says:

September 25th, 2012 at 1:26 pm

I absolutely love Tillary from this list. It’s a surname from my family tree, but I never thought of it as being a first name. It’s really cool.

katybug Says:

September 26th, 2012 at 10:23 pm

I love, love, love Thora for Theodora! Gorgeous. Thora is one of my “I wish I was cool enough to use” names. If I had a little Katherine I would want to call her Tressa–she’d be the third one in the family.

redtulips Says:

October 1st, 2012 at 10:10 pm

I believe I was ahead of the crowd on this one. I named my teddy bear Tennyson when I was 4 or so. Isn’t it obvious I have always loved names?

liviajoan Says:

April 13th, 2013 at 1:52 am

My Graphic Design teacher at the college has a daughter named Tansy.

I think Tamsin and Tressa would be really cool together, since they have to do with numbers, in a way.

I’ve always loved Thatcher. It also reminds me of Thackery.

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