After spotlighting some surprisingly ordinary names, such as Susanna, Martha, and George, and doing a post featuring “white bread” names, it’s time to go with old-fashioned and bold again in the same vein as Ferdinand. It is also time to revisit the much neglected boys.
Thaddeus is like the suitor who makes a lukewarm impression on Match.com because his profile picture isn’t conventionally cute. Maybe he has an unusual feature, like an off-center pointy nose, or maybe he has cow licks.
But since he seems nice, the girl will agree to one obligatory date with low expectations. After that she finds herself hooked, as she discovers his hidden magnetism and talents. She can’t believe she almost dismissed him since in an off-beat way, he is really rather handsome. Suddenly the other girl who rejected him for the prom is envious. His eyes are intelligent and captivating. And cow licks can be adorable!
Thaddeus didn’t impress me right away. He seemed like so much of a name. Frankly, he left me a little overwhelmed. And I love to push the name envelope.
My first encounter with Thaddeus was when I discovered Thaddeus McCotter, a representative from Michigan who had a brief presidential bid in 2011. Thaddeus was also the name of a character, an autistic boy, in an episode of The Dead Zone.
While this name has never been extremely popular, it peaked at 309 in 1918. It only exited top 1000 territory twice since 1880; once in 1895 and again in 2009. (The variation Thaddaeus has never been in the top 1000.) Overall, while Thaddeus’ popularity has ebbed and flowed, he hasn’t seen any dramatic ascents or descents in the rankings. This is a good thing for anyone who wants a different name, but wants to avoid any name likely to go from fresh to stale in a short 5 year period.
As I often do when discovering a new name, I looked up Thaddeus in The Baby Name Wizard. If I remember The Baby Name Wizard’s description, I know I have found a name that will eventually stick with me. The Baby Name Wizard describes Thaddeus as the perfect name if, “your tastes run fanciful, but you don’t want your son to resent you for it.”
And while Thaddeus might seem fanciful, he manages to seem masculine too. Thaddeus can be a politician, a musician, a doctor or a side-show performer. He can sit on either side of the political aisle. In his spare time he can be a hunter or a chess player. As the idea of Thaddeus begins to sink in, his boldness, intelligence, and style begins to resonate. I might have found my latest name crush!
Thaddeus is also among a group of names, the us-enders, that I feel are on the cusp of being discovered. Of that group, I feel he is one of the most usable. He doesn’t give off the supercharged-testosterone vibe of Titus, and he doesn’t seem as pretentious and arrogant as Leviticus.
He strikes the right balance of toughness and refinement, despite the length. And like a lot of long unusual names, he has a couple of short versions: Thad and Tad.
For those who want to temper Thaddeus’ unusualness with a bit of familiarity, there is also Ted, but many may assume Ted is short for Theodore. Nevertheless, for those who like Ted, but don’t like Theodore, and still want a long version, Thaddeus may be a viable alternative.
For those looking for an obscure Biblical name, Thaddeus fits that requirement.
Thaddeus has been mentioned in the book of Matthew as one of the twelve apostles. If Thaddeus was one of the apostles, then why is he obscure? Because in later books of the New Testament, Thaddeus had been replaced by Jude, which happens to be a fashionable name for boys at the moment.
While Thaddeus and Jude are believed to be different names for the same man, the two names seem very different in style. For those who like Jude, Thaddeus may seem a bit much. Thaddeus is not a good match for parents who like Celtic-Modern style names like Colin and Declan or Western inspired names like Hunter and Wyatt.
One downside to Thaddeus is finding an appropriate sibling match. I have a friend who named his son Thatcher. While Thatcher has grown on me, I would have loved to see him and his wife name their son Thaddeus. Yet, in my book, having a son named Thatcher rules out Thaddeus for a second son. The beginning sounds are too similar, while the styles clash completely.
Thatcher and Thaddeus as brothers leaves the same impression as a lady wearing a heavy wool, over-sized, cowl neck sweater with thin, flowing, shiny silk pants. I would never recommend appearing in public that way, even if both pieces are fuchsia. Especially if both pieces are fuchsia.
Initially I planned to research some possible siblings for Thaddeus, but one of the series planned for Upswing Baby Names is a series on Name Games. Finding siblings for Thaddeus may just be our first Name Game Challenge.
Feel free to add sibling suggestions in the comments, since anyone who comments is still eligible to take part in the Name Games later.
In the meantime, what are your feelings on Thaddeus? Is Thaddeus usable? Can you picture Thaddeus or one of its short forms on a baby or a grown man?
Disclaimer: This post contains one or more links to at least one of our sponsors. If you click on these links and make a purchase through one of our sponsors, we will get a commission.