Boy Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Arthur

  • Gender:
  • Boy
  • Origin:
  • Celtic, English
  • Number of syllables:
  • 2
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 323
Simple meaning:
Strong as a bear

Characteristics of Arthur

  • Freedom-loving
  • Adventurous
  • Adaptable
  • Intellectual
  • Easygoing
  • Progressive
  • Sensual

Etymology & Historical Origin - Arthur

Arthur is a name derived from the Celtic people most famously borne by King Arthur, king of the Britons who presided over the Knights of the Roundtable, upon which many early medieval legendary tales of chivalry and valor are based (see literary references below). The etymology of the name is not completely certain, although it’s believed to come from the Celtic word “artos” meaning ‘bear’ combined with “úr” meaning ‘fresh, pure’ suggesting that Arthur signified a person ‘pure or strong as a bear’. Due to the immense popularity of the Arthurian legends throughout Europe in the later Middle Ages, the name came into general use. By 19th century England, Arthur exploded with success thanks in part to Arthur being immortalized by poet Lord Alfred Tennyson in his work “Idylls of the King” (published between 1856 and 1885) and the famous Anglo-Irish soldier and statesman, Arthur Wellesley, who famously defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo (1815). Arthur is still a Top 100 favorite in England and Wales, but more interestingly than that, it’s ranked #15 in France (2009) and #6 in Belgium (2008).

Popularity of the Name Arthur

Arthur has always been a favorite American masculine name; that is, until the 21st century. But first let’s back track to the 19th century when legendary Arthur was in all his glory. The United States government first began tracking naming trends in 1880. In that year, Arthur was the 14th most popular boy’s name. At the turn of the 20th century (in 1900) Arthur was ranked at position #15. Only names like William, John, James, Robert and Edward had him beat. As the decades progressed into the 1900s, Arthur would always maintain a spot on the Top 100 (up until 1969). The 1970s marked the beginning of the end for this traditional, old-fashioned Celtic name. As we’ve crossed the threshold into the 21st century, Arthur is now passé and only mildly used. There are certain names like John, William and James who have held up against the test of time into today’s oh-so-modern naming fashions. But names like George, Walter and Arthur have retreated to the shadows. We agree that Arthur is old-fashioned and arguably out-dated, but that is precisely part of his enduring charm. Arthur is now a name for the contrarian parents who pay homage to tradition and history over fleeting fashions of the day. It’s a regal name loaded with valor, romance, chivalry and days of yore. We take our hats off to the parents of today willing to buck the trends and pick this ‘bear’ of a name for their little boys.
Popularity of the Boy Name Arthur
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Arthur

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Arthur

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Arthur

    Arthur “Boo” Radley (To Kill A Mockingbird) Arthur “Boo” Radley is a shadowy but ultimately endearing character in Harper Lee’s 1960 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, upon which the equally beloved film of 1962 was based. As the neighborhood recluse, “Boo” gives the children a wonderful palette upon which to project their fears and fantasies. Tall tales abound, and initiation rites involve running up to his house and banging on the door. In reality, “Boo” is a lonely man who stores little gifts for the Finch children in a tree knothole. As the unsavory events of the Robinson trial unfold, the children begin to understand why someone would opt for loneliness in favor of avoiding the hatred and prejudice displayed by the townspeople. At the denouement of the novel , Arthur Radley is the “super-hero” who is drawn out of his seclusion by that very intolerance, in an effort to save the innocent children. Arthur Radley, the simple-minded but heroic young man, risks his own life to save Jem and Scout. In the movie, a young Robert Duvall played his first screen role brilliantly.

    Arthur Dimmesdale (The Scarlet Letter) Arthur Dimmesdale is a main character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous 1850 novel, The Scarlet Letter. He is a Puritan reverend who just happens to have fathered the illegitimate child of Hester Prynne, and uses up most of his energy, spiritual and otherwise, in hiding this inconvenient truth. Hester, of course, due to the obvious nature of female biology, has no such solution at hand. Not to worry, however, for Arthur Dimmesdale is absolutely miserable throughout the book, as well he should be. While Hester raises her child alone, spurned by the community and forced to wear the red letter “A” for adultery, Arthur becomes more and more revered by his flock, who see his self-abnegation as a proper attitude for their reverend to take. To be fair, it is Hester who refuses to allow the townspeople the truth, but Arthur goes along with it, to his ultimate destruction. Physically weakened and mentally anguished by years of hypocrisy, Arthur finally confesses just before dying. We would excoriate him for grabbing heaven on his deathbed, but we do have to admit, his whole life has been excruciating. Perhaps he has earned that redemption, after all.

    Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli (Happy Days) “The Fonz” is arguably the most popular character in the 1970/80s comedy series, Happy Days, set in 1950s middle-class Milwaukee. As played by the young Henry Winkler, he was the embodiment of “cool” – an irreverent, sarcastic, leather-jacketed, motorcycle riding high school dropout popular with the ladies. In addition to that, he espouses racial equality, rights for those with disabilities, and higher education. With his typical thumbs-up “Ay” exclamation, he has moved into a permanent place in popular culture, as evidenced by his status as TV Guide’s ranking of him as number 4 of the “50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time”.

    Arthur Shelby (Uncle Tom’s Cabin) Arthur Shelby is a minor but pivotal character in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 classic, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It is his action upon which the novel turns. Arthur Shelby is a kindhearted Kentucky farmer who, needing funds, decides to sell two of his slaves, the eponymous Uncle Tom and Harry, the son of Mrs. Shelby’s maid, Eliza. Both Mrs. Shelby and her son, George, are very upset, but the decision is made. Eliza escapes with her son by night, and Uncle Tom is sold “upriver”. The heartrending results of Arthur Shelby’s action unfold chapter by chapter in Ms. Stowe’s sentimental novel, with varying outcomes for various characters. In the end, George Shelby, having arrived to buy Uncle Tom out of the rapacious ownership of Simon Legree, finds he is too late; Uncle Tom is dead. Returning home, George frees all the farm’s slaves. And we proceed to the Civil War.

    King Arthur (Celtic Mythology) King Arthur is the monarch of British legend, the defender of the country against invading Anglo-Saxons in the sixth century. As he has come down to us through myth, King Arthur is a nobleman, a good and generous ruler, who gathers the finest knights to his service (The Knights of the Round Table), reigns over the idyllic kingdom of Camelot with his beautiful queen, Guinevere, and strives to find the Holy Grail for the good of mankind. First committed to written narration by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the 12th century, the Arthurian legends were perpetrated with “Le Morte d’Arthur” by Thomas Malory and the works of Cretien de Troyes in the 15th century. Following a lapse in popularity, Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King” revived public interest in the 1800s, and it has hardly abated since. Whatever the legitimacy of its historical claims, the legend of Arthur continues to entrance with its romantic fascination, generation after generation.

  • Popular Songs on Arthur

    Popular Songs on Arthur

    Arthur - an album by The Kinks

    Arthur - a song by Badfinger

    Arthur McBride - a song by Bob Dylan

    Arthur’s Car - a song by Ides of Space

    Arthur’s Theme - a song by Christoper Cross

    Uncle Arthur - a song by David Bowie

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Arthur

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Arthur

    Arthur the Chimpanzee Series (Lillian Hoban) - These books are part of the “I Can read” series. Characters include his sister Violet, his baby-sitter, and friends: Norman, Mabel, Wilma, his teacher Ms. Wilson, and his principal Mr. Adams. His parents have been mentioned but are never seen in any stories. Books include: Arthur's Honey Bear; Arthur's Pen Pal; Arthur's Loose Tooth; Arthur's Prize Reader; Arthur's Camp-Out; Arthur's Funny Money; Arthur's Christmas Cookies; Arthur's Halloween Costume; Arthur's Great Big Valentine; Arthur's Back-to-School Day; and Arthur's Birthday Party. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Arthur's Nose (Marc Brown) - First published in 1979, this is a 25th Anniversary Edition of Marc Brown’s first “Arthur” book, Arthur's Nose. Arthur fans old and new can see how their favorite aardvark and his friends have developed over the twenty-five years since this first Arthur Adventure was published. The all-new scrapbook pages are full of fun facts and a letter from the author on how Arthur began. Photos from Marc Brown's personal archives reveal how the characters and events from the Arthur books are based on the author's family, friends, and experiences. This is one Arthur Adventure readers won't want to miss! Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Arthur’s Adventures Series (Marc Brown) - These books were published between 1979 and 2011. It all began with “Arthur's Nose” and followed by (in order of publication) Arthur's Valentine; Arthur and the True Francine; Arthur Goes to Camp; Arthur's Halloween; Arthur's April Fool; Arthur's Thanksgiving; Arthur's Christmas; Arthur's Tooth; Arthur's Teacher Trouble; Arthur's Baby; Arthur's Birthday; Arthur's Pet Business; Arthur Meets the President; Arthur Babysits; Arthur's Family Vacation; Arthur's New Puppy; Arthur's First Sleepover; Arthur's Chicken Pox; Arthur's TV Trouble; Arthur Writes a Story; Arthur's Reading Race; Arthur's Computer Disaster; Arthur Lost and Found; Arthur's Underwear; Arthur's Teacher Moves In; Arthur's Perfect Christmas; Arthur, It's Only Rock 'n' Roll; Arthur Jumps into Fall; and finally, Arthur Turns Green. But that’s not all. There are scores of Arthur books beyond the above recommended list. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    The Story of King Arthur & His Knights (Howard Pyle) - From the sword in the stone and the founding of Camelot to the famed Round Table and the Lake of Enchantment, the legend of King Arthur will never lose its magic. Though simpler, this version includes all the wonderful stories—such as King Arthur’s winning of Guenievere and Merlin’s tragic downfall at the hands of the evil Vivien. Recommended for ages 7-10.

  • Famous People Named Arthur

    Famous People Named Arthur

    Famous People Named Arthur - King Arthur (Celtic mythology); Arthur I, Duke of Brittany (English royalty); Arthur Wellesley (Duke of Wellington; defeated Napoleon at Waterloo); Arthur, Prince of Wales (brother of King Henry VIII); Arthur Conan Doyle (author); Arthur Ashe (tennis player); Sir Arthur Charles Clarke (sci-fi author); Arthur “Art” Garfunkel (singer/songwriter); Arthur Miller (playwright); Arthur Rimbaud (French poet); Arthur “Art” Linkletter (TV personality); Arthur Lee (musician); Arthur Guinness (Irish beer brewer); Arthur Frommer (travel guide publisher); Arthur “Art” Carney (actor); Arthur Balfour (former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom); Arthur Farrel (hockey player); Arthur Wirtz (hockey player); Arthur Godfrey (old radio/TV personality)

  • Children of Famous People Named Arthur

    Children of Famous People Named Arthur

    Famous People Who Named Their Son Arthur - Selma Blair (actress); Groucho Marx (comedian)

Personality of the Boy Name Arthur

The number Five personality loves the excitement of life and can easily adapt to all situations. As natural adventurers, these personalities thrive on the new and unexpected and prefer to be in constant motion. It makes them feel alive. They'll stir up some action if there's not enough around, and as inherent risk-takers they enjoy pushing the envelope. Naturally rebellious, the Five personality has no fear and never resists change.  Traveling and new experiences feed their souls. Fives are very social and attract friends with ease. People love to be around the Five fun-loving and exciting energy.  This is also a lucky number in numerology (like the Threes), so fortune seems to shine on them, helped along by their own optimism and good-nature. Fives have a quick wit, a cerebral mind, and are generally very persuasive. 

Variations of the Baby Name - Arthur

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