Boy Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Holden

  • Gender:
  • Boy
  • Origin:
  • English
  • Number of syllables:
  • 2
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 287
Simple meaning:
Shepherd; Holder of land

Characteristics of Holden

  • Dependable
  • Solid
  • Practical
  • Hard-working
  • Industrious
  • Studious
  • Conservative

Etymology & Historical Origin - Holden

The name Holden is most likely the transferred use of an old English surname, derived from an occupational name. The Olde English word “heald” means ‘to guard’ (which would later translate to “hold” in Middle English). It usually described a person who watched over animals, particularly a shepherd. By Middle English, the term “holder” indicated a person who held land during the feudal system of medieval England. As a forename, Holden was brought into the American consciousness by the author J.D. Salinger in his 1951 novel, The Catcher in the Rye.

Popularity of the Name Holden

The name Holden first appeared on the U.S. popularity charts in 1987, over thirty years after the publication of The Catcher in the Rye. Therefore, it is safe to assume that the name was not entirely influenced by this memorable character. Rather, it is our belief that the name Holden came onto the American scene in response to the growing popularity of and interest in soap opera names in the late 1980s. As The World Turns featured a rebellious farmhand named Holden Snyder starting in late 1985. As the character’s popularity grew, the name finally appeared on the American popularity charts in 1987. Holden also saw a little push in popularity in 1997 (the year “Chasing Amy” was released wherein Ben Affleck’s character is named Holden) and again in 2002 (when “The Good Girl” hit the big screen with Jake Gyllenhaal also playing a character named Holden). Along with the growing popularity of using surnames as forenames, it’s not a surprise that Holden continues on an upward trend on the charts. Still, it’s nearly impossible to hear the name Holden without instantly associating it with Holden Caulfield, the poster boy of teenage rebellion against “phonies”. We wondered why Salinger chose Holden as the first name for his protagonist. Perhaps it has something to do with the teenager “holding on” to innocence and youth. Holden is a strong name. It’s neither dull nor overused. Some might think it clichéd given its clear connection to the American “coming of age” literary masterpiece. For some of us, The Catcher in the Rye and Holden Caulfield himself “shepherded” us through some really tough times in adolescence. What better tribute than to bestow his name onto our sons?
Popularity of the Boy Name Holden
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Holden

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Holden

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Holden

    Holden Caulfield (The Catcher in the Rye) Holden Caulfield is one of the most iconic protagonists of modern literature. Since his appearance in J. D. Salinger’s classic 1951 novel, The Catcher in the Rye, multiple generations have taken him to their hearts. His funny, sarcastic riffs on everything that is “phony” never fail to satisfy. Yes, we know he’s disturbed and alienated, lonely, depressed, angry and losing his grip on reality as he careens along. But – he is loving and kind and loyal; he is confused and torn. He has reason to grieve, reason to be suspicious. And always, he is so damn funny! He skewers (fairly or unfairly) almost everyone around him for being a pervert, or a jerk, or insincere, or “crumby”, and we cannot help but laugh at his self-absorbed, off-kilter put-downs. At the same time, we are rooting for him, hoping that the grounding power of his love for his sister and his dead brother will anchor him and point him in a direction that does not have self-loathing as its guideposts. Above all, we hope for Holden a future that doesn’t necessarily contain the martinis and golf games that he so disdains, but that does provide him with the opportunity and the courage to be more than a “catcher in the rye”.

  • Popular Songs on Holden

    Popular Songs on Holden

    Holden Oversoul - a song by Widespread Panic

    Who Wrote Holden Caulfield? - a song by Green Day

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Holden

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Holden

    Holden - We cannot find any children’s books featuring a character with the first name Holden.

  • Famous People Named Holden

    Famous People Named Holden

    Famous People Named Holden - We cannot find any celebrities or significantly famous people with the first name Holden.

  • Children of Famous People Named Holden

    Children of Famous People Named Holden

    Famous People Who Named Their Son Holden - Brendan Fraser (actor); Dennis Miller (comic/political commentator); Rick Schroder (actor)

  • Historic Figures

    Holden - Boy Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Holden - We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Holden.

Personality of the Boy Name Holden

The number Four personality is marked by stability and discipline. This is the personality that follows the rules and is conservative by nature.  They have an earth-bound energy that prefers to build things methodically on top of firm foundations; they don't cut corners. Fours take their time and don't like to be hurried. But the outcome of their endeavors is likely to result in some strong and useful structure, which makes them great engineers and inventors. Fours are anything but frivolous or controversial. This is a trustworthy, straight-forward personality that embodies dedication and organization. They are the backbone and anchor in their relationships, careers and communities. They are tidy, punctual, and full of integrity. Hard-work comes naturally to a Four and they are immensely reliable. This is the personality you can always count on.

Variations of the Baby Name - Holden

  • No Variations Found.
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