Traits: Powerful and traditional in Britain; independent and folksy in the US.
Here's a bit of royal trivia: English kings named Henry were actually called Harry (see modern-day Prince Harry, son of Princess Diana and Prince Charles). Long embraced by monarchs, including the first eight kings of England, Henry means "home ruler" or "rules his household." The regal name is also popular with Hollywood royalty and rock stars. Among the celebrities who have chosen the name for their sons: Meryl Streep, Viggo Mortensen, Julia Roberts, Heidi Klum and Seal, Rachel Weisz and Darren Aronofsky, Jack White, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Colin Farrell, and Minnie Driver.
Other famous Henry's include naturalist and philosopher Henry David Thoreau, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, automaker Henry Ford, and novelist Henry James. Besides Harry, other handles and nicknames for Henry include Hank and Hal. The feminine forms of Henry include Henrietta and Harriet.
Brought to England by the Normans, the name Oliver has origins in the French name Olivier and dates back to the time of Charlemagne. (One of Charlemagne's paladins, or warriers, was named Olivier.) Oliver has peaceful associations, thought to be derived from the Latin olivarius meaning "olive tree" but sometimes attributed to Olaf, or the Old Norse name Oleifr.
The list of famous Americans with the name Oliver include poet and physician Oliver Wendell Holmes, Oliver Hardy from the comedic duo Laurel & Hardy, and film director Oliver North. Other famous Olivers include Oliver Twist from Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist, and the movie Oliver! and political leader and Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell.
Calvin was originally an English first name given in honor of John Calvin, the 16th century Protestant reformer and theologian. Consider him a rebel with a Calve. In his native Middle French, the father of Calvinism was known as Jean Cauvin, a derivation of the French Chauve rooted in the Latin Calvus, meaning "bald."
The name's All-American associations include Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States, fashion designer Calvin Klein, baseball player Cal Ripken, Jr., and the cleverly written comic strip Calvin & Hobbes. Rapper Snoop Dogg's real name is Calvin Broadus. Other names that begin with Cal include Caleb and Calvert.
Traits: Tough but tender, righteousness, boyish enthusiasm.
A boy named Theodore may answer to "Theo" or "Teo" but also can be called the endearing Ted or Teddy. Derived from Theodorus, Theodore means "gift of God" and peaked in popularity during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, whose adventurous, colorful, straight-talking, and sharp-shooting approach endeared him to millions and resulted in his becoming the namesake for a new toy: the Teddy Bear.
Famous American namesakes include Dr. Seuss author Theodore Geisel, novelist Theodore Dreiser, and Leave it to Beaver character, Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver. International forms of Theodore include Fyodor and Teodoro.
Dashiell Hammett, mystery writer and author of The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man, was the creator of such memorable characters as Sam Spade, and Nick and Nora Charles. Hammett's first name was actually Samuel. Dashiell was his mother's maiden name; she had belonged to a prominent family in Maryland who had Anglicized the French name, De Chiel. Many of Hammett's movies were made into movies, which lends the name a mysterious and cinematic flair.
Among celebrity babies, Dashiell is the epitome of literary cool. Cate Blanchett and husband Andrew Upton named their oldest son Dashiell John. Novelist Helen Fielding has a son Dashiell, while actress Nicole Sullivan gave her son a variation of the name, Dashel, in homage to Hammett, too.
English novelist Fanny Burney invented this French surname for the dashing hero of her 1778 novel, Evelina: Lord Orville. Other Orvilles in history: pioneering pilot Orville Wright, who together with his brother Wilbur, found flying fame as the Wright Brothers; businessman and agronomist Orville Redenbacher, who made his fortune in popcorn. Redenbacher's work ethic? "Do one thing and do it better than anyone." Or try these other Or- names: Orlando, the Italian form of Roland; Orson, which means "little bear or bear cub."
A sweet and charming alternative to William, this Old English surname and female Medieval name, combines wil, meaning "will or desire" with burh, a "fortress" and has been assigned meanings from "fortified" to "resolute."
Most beloved namesakes? The humble, loyal pig in E.B. White's childhood classic, Charlotte's Web, and aviation pioneer Wilbur Wright. Other names to try: Wilfred which means "desires peace," Wilhelm, the German form of William, Willem, the Dutch variation of William, and Willard.
The last time the Latin form of the Greek Linos made the Top 1000 was in 1940, and that was at #954! In Greek mythology, Linus was the name of the musician who taught music to Hercules. Chemist Linus Pauling won two Noble Prizes, one for chemistry and one for peace. The second Pope (after Peter) was named Linus, as was a certain adorable, blanket-toting boy in the comic strip, Peanuts. Linus Roache is an actor on the TV series Law & Order, and Ben Linus is a mysterious character on the TV series, Lost.
A gladiator of a name that's remained strong in the rankings for nearly a decade, Maximus is Latin in origin and means, "the greatest." This unabashedly positive meaning also extends to Max, Maxim, Maximilian, and Maximo.
Thanks to Maximus Decimus Meridius, the fictional hero played by Russell Crowe in the hit movie Gladiator, the name Maximus leapt from #850 to #311 in the rankings between 2000 and 2001, and currently dominates at #258 today.
Will Ferrell put this name back on the map when he named his third son, Axel. Axel means "father of peace" in German and is a variation of the name Absalom in Scandinavian. At #272, Axel has made steady progress in the last 20 years, making its way from #954 in 1989. The name is popular in video games. Rocker Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses was born William Bruce Rose and later legally changed his name. In addition to Axl, Axel may be spelled Axle, Axil, or Axill.
Hugo is a variation of Hugh that means "bright mind or spirit" and "thinker." French novelist Victor Hugo penned The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables. The Hugo Awards are given annually for outstanding works of science fiction and fantasy, and named in honor of Hugo Gernsback, a writer and magazine publisher who founded the first science fiction magazine, Amazing Stories, in 1926.