Would you name your child after a TV character?
If you said yes, you are not the only one.
Every year, thousands of children are named after TV characters, and for those of you out there asking, “Who would do that?”, don’t be so quick to look down your nose at the concept.
For soon-to-be parents, there are so many names to choose from that the decision can get a little overwhelming, and the pressure to get it right comes from family and friends, coworkers, acquaintances, just about everywhere.
The truth is, you will never make everyone happy when you choose a name for your child so you might as well choose something you and your partner love, and if your inspiration is a character on TV, then so be it.
And know that you’re not alone.
Take the Game of Thrones trend.
Arya wasn’t even breaking the top 1000 baby names a decade ago, but fast forward through eight seasons and you’ll find it ranking in at 119th in the U.S.
Why choose Arya? Why not?
The character survived incredible odds, always stood up for herself, and didn’t know the meaning of the word, quit.
Plus, it’s just darn pretty. It’s three syllables packed into four letters. It’s easy to spell and pronounce, so if it resonates with you, go for it!
However, no matter how successful the series, not every character name will see that kind of a bump.
For example, only 29 girls were named Sansa, 58 boys were given Tyrion, and no matter how handsome, Jaime actually went down in ranking during the running of the show instead of up.
But naming your child after a character can also have its pitfalls.
Take the 560 babies who were named Khaleesi or the 163 named Daenerys last year.
Those parents may have cringed a little harder than the rest of us when the character suddenly took on the moniker of Mad Queen and burned people alive in Kings Landing during Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5.
It might be smarter to wait until a series ends before choosing a character’s name, especially one that only exists in a made-up language like Dothraki because there’s no way you can pull off, “Oh no, we didn’t name her after that Khaleesi,” when you are inevitably asked about the name.
But Game of Thrones isn’t the only TV inspiration for names. A quick survey of fellow TV Fanatic writers and TV fans has uncovered enthusiasm for several TV character names.
Sometimes a TV show can put a different spin on a name.
Take Chandler Bing from Friends.
Chandler is a name of French origin meaning candle maker. Before the 1990s the name hadn't cracked the Top 500. People weren't exactly clamoring to name their children Chandler.
But by 1999, with Friends being one of the nation's most beloved sitcoms and Chandler Bing making us laugh with his sarcastic, self-deprecating wit each week, the name ran up the charts to #151.
Let's switch gears from the unusual Chandler to an over looked name like Donna.
The name Donna first broke the Top 100 in 1926 and reached peak popularity in the 1950s and 1960s. Around the time of The Donna Reed Show, it cracked the Top 5!
With keeping with the theme of that show, the meaning of Donna in Italian is “woman,” “lady,” or “lady-like.”
But put it in the context of Doctor Who’s Donna Noble, who didn’t think she was important until she ended up being the most important woman in the universe, and the name takes on a whole new significance.
Or let's take a look at Stiles from Teen Wolf?
Stiles was originally a British surname and just before Teen Wolf premiered in 2011, the name Stiles as a first name wasn’t even breaking the Top 10,000!
But by 2016, the year before the series conclusion, Stiles had risen thousands of places to #2,252.
Was it due to fans of the fiercely loyal character with a talent for solving mysteries?
Some names even swap genders over time and TV shows.
Take the name Addison for instance.
In 1985, Addison was ranked #1,235 amongst boys names in the U.S. A year after Moonlighting’s David Addison hit TV screens, the name jumped over 700 spots to #514.
Fast forward to the 2004 and Addison was in the Top 200 girls names. Then, possibly thanks to Grey’s Anatomy’s Addison Montgomery, the name rose to #11 on the top girls' list.
Just as TV can affect baby names, popular baby names can affect TV.
Let’s take the name Olivia. It’s Latin in origin, means “olive tree” and seems to have that perfect balance of both strength and femininity.
It’s a name that ranks #2 in the U.S., #1 in the U.K. and is popular throughout the world. So perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that so many popular TV characters share that moniker.
Heck if you throw in Olivia Walton, from The Waltons and Olivia the fashionable dressed pig from the British children’s animated series, you’d be hard-pressed not to find an Olivia on TV that inspires you.
In theory, every TV show may have inspired someone’s baby name, either the one they chose for their child or the one they have on their list.
What do you think, TV Fanatics?
Is there a TV character out there after whom you’d name your child?
Have you already named your baby after your favorite character? Or would you never, ever name your child after someone you saw on TV, or at least ever admit to it?
Hit up those comments and let us know if you’re into TV inspired baby names!
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.