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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Baby Name to Consider: Patton

Rayne writes:
After seeing the movie Young Adult starring Patton Oswalt, I wonder why the name Patton isn't going gangbusters for little boys. It starts with the letter P and ends -on which seems current and it's extremely masculine. It's a last name as first name, like Parker. It seems like parents of boys that like Peyton might use Patton for a less unisex name. What do you think?

The associations that come to my mind:

1. War/military, because of General Patton.

2. Patton Oswalt.

3. Sounds like the word "patent."

4. Sounds like "pattin'".

When I was checking online to make sure I was remembering right about General Patton (history has always been my worst subject), I found an entire page dedicated to various Pattons, so there are likely to be lots of other associations---a good thing, since it often means the associations are diluted and don't overwhelm the name.

I see it was used for 45 boys and 5 girls in 2010. That's up a bit for boys since 2009, when it was used for 32 boys and 5 girls. In fact, let's look at a longer stretch. Each year will be followed by the number of male babies given the name, then the number of female babies (the Social Security database contains information only if the name is used for at least 5 babies of that sex that year):

2010: 45 males, 5 females
2009: 32 males, 5 females
2008: 28 males, 7 females
2007: 27 males, 7 females
2006: 28 males, fewer than 5 females
2005: 37 males, fewer than 5 females
2004: 20 males, 6 females
2003: 31 males, fewer than 5 females
2002: 16 males, 5 females
2001: 24 males, fewer than 5 females
2000: 15 males, fewer than 5 females
1999: 17 males, fewer than 5 females
1998: 14 males, fewer than 5 females
1997: 15 males, fewer than 5 females

So it looks like it is gradually getting more popular for boys and for girls, but so gradually and at such a low rate of use, it barely shows up.

Let's have a poll over to the right [poll closed; see results below] to see what everyone thinks of it; and in the comments section we can discuss what we do/don't like about it, and maybe speculate about why it isn't more widely used.

Poll results for "What do you think of the name Patton?" (359 votes total):

I love it! I'd want to use it! - 15 votes (4%)
I like it! I'd want to consider it! - 55 votes (15%)
I like it for someone else's baby - 135 votes (38%)
No particular opinion - 43 votes (12%)
Slight dislike - 91 votes (25%)
Strong dislike - 20 votes (6%)


Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

I have DEFINITELY considered this name, seriously, for my future hypothetical child. Mainly because it is the surname of my husband's best man, whom we both ADORE.

I have never encountered a child with this name, but I think it would work just great with all those other surname-names floating around.

Barb said...

I actually know a little Patton!

Anonymous said...

We did discuss this name for one of our sons. My husband is a huge WWII history buff and he had huge reservations about the name-Patton was a great strategist, but he was controversial, had a reputation for being a trouble maker and was a bit um...eccentric. Perhaps the name just needs some more historical distance before it really takes off.

Anonymous said...

Patton is a family name; we discussed it for a first name, but didn't like the possible nickname of "Pat". I also was a little iffy on the military connotations--but I love the sound, and it had special meaning because of the family link. We settled on it as a middle name for our second son.

e said...

I know two little boys named Patton. Love the name!!

Brittany said...

I agree with all the associations that Swistle came up with, and I still really like the name. I like the way it looks and sounds, it seems very much like a name, and it's not un-heard of but still very fresh. I think it's a great option.

plantingoaks said...

Hmmm, I wouldn't necessarily say it's undeniably masculine. My first thought on seeing the title was to consider whether it was a girl's or boy's name. I decided that the similarity to Peyton made me think girl. (though honestly, I'm too much of an nfl fan to think of anyone but Manning in association with Peyton, so I may be mis-calibrated in this area)

Otherwise, I do like the name. I think my first association was 'patent' as in, 'patent leather', again, I was on a female track. Seeing it on a boy, I would immediately picture him in a WWII helmet.

Joanne said...

I have kind of a guttural T, so I say it more like PATT-un, and it sounds funny to me. Otherwise I like it, I wonder if it will pick up now that we've talked about it, ha!

Rayne of Terror said...

To me Patton is very masculine because of General Patton. I'm by no means a WWII buff, but I got my undergrad degree in American history, so my take might be skewed.

I agree that Pat is a tired nickname. All the young Patricks I know go by their full names.