For some reason, my husband has become completely enamored of the name Thames and wants to use if for our next son. I looked up pronunciation and the Thames River in England (and thus the British pronunciation) is "temz". But the Thames River in Connecticut (and thus the American pronunciation) is said to be "thaymz or taymz".
My questions: 1) how do you / how does your average N. American reader pronounce Thames when read and spoken?; and 2) is "Thames" a name that is too off-the-wall to consider as a first name?
Oh, interesting! I immediately pronounced it "temz" in my mind---but if I saw it as a child's name, I'd wouldn't assume that was the way it was pronounced. I wasn't familiar with the Thames River in Connecticut, but I still would have wondered if Thames as a name might be pronounced to rhyme with James, with a soft TH sound; I'm not sure if the river in Connecticut is well-known enough to affect the U.S. pronunciation. I'd also wonder if it might be a creative spelling of Thomas. Or I'd wonder if it might be thay-mus, to rhyme with Seamus/Shamus. I'd be very uncertain, and would feel uncomfortable even taking a stab at it.
According to the Social Security Administration, the name is unused or nearly unused in the United States: Thames is not in the data base, which means it was used for fewer than 5 boy or 5 girl babies in 2011.
My own opinion is that it would be a hassle to carry that name in the United States, with more confusion over spelling and pronunciation than would be worth it. I think, however, that it would make a terrific and distinctive middle name.
What does everyone else think? Let's have a poll over to the right. [Poll closed; see results below.]
And in the comments section, say how you would have thought Thames was pronounced if you encountered it as a child's name.