Boy Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Otto

  • Gender:
  • Boy
  • Origin:
  • German
  • Number of syllables:
  • 2
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 696
AH-toe; or AW-toe (German)
Simple meaning:
Prosperity, wealth, fortune

Characteristics of Otto

  • Mystical
  • Wise
  • Eccentric
  • Intuitive
  • Imaginative
  • Philosophical
  • Solitary

Etymology & Historical Origin - Otto

Otto was originally a pet form for any of the ancient Germanic names beginning with the element “od, ot” meaning “wealth, prosperity” (it shares the same Germanic root etymology with the Olde English element “ēad” also meaning “prosperity, riches” which gave birth to English names like Edward, Edgar and Edwin). Otto is actually an early medieval variation on ancient names such as Odo or Oden and was borne by the founder of the Holy Roman Empire in the 10th century, Otto the Great. To put into perspective just how old this name is, Otto the Great had brothers named Thancmar and Hedwig (names which obviously didn’t survive into modern times). Four different Holy Roman Emperors claimed the name Otto between the 10th and 13th centuries, but it really all began with Otto the Great who marked the beginning of the German monarchy. At this point in European history, the Carolingian kings had lost their power. The Carolingian Dynasty had been founded by Charlemagne in the 8th century and controlled much of Western and Central Europe (the first great empire following the collapse of the Roman Empire three centuries earlier). By the 10th century the Carolingians had become ineffective at holding back Germanic, Slavic and Hungarian tribes pushing at their borders. This offered an opportunity for Otto to carry out the work begun by his father Henry the Fowler, Duke of Saxony and appointed first King of the medieval German state. Otto inherited this lofty position and deftly set about unifying the various German tribes, gaining control of the Roman Catholic Church and subduing the political power of the aristocracy through strategic marriages and appointments. His son and grandson (Otto II and Otto III) were not as “great” as Otto I but the Ottonian period (as these three successive reigns are often referred to) formed the beginning of a German national identity. Another illustrious and pivotal figure in German history is Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) who used his considerable power as Prime Minister of Prussia to lead the unification of the modern German states through a series of wars (first with Denmark, followed by the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian Wars). Considered a pragmatic nationalist yet diplomatic genius, von Bismarck would eventually be named Chancellor of the newly defined united Germany. Another important Otto was Otto Frank (1889-1980), the father of Anne Frank. Otto is one of those quintessential German masculine names (others that come to mind: Karl, Ludwig, Franz, Claus, Johann, Leopold, Sigmund and Wolfgang). Today the name Otto is most commonly used in Finland but it’s also a Top 100 choice in Sweden. It appears to have fallen out of fashion in Germany, though.

Popularity of the Name Otto

Otto’s success as a popular boy’s name in the 19th century up through the early part of the 20th century can be traced to the large population growth of German-Americans happening at the time. The 100 years between 1820 and 1920 saw the largest influx of German immigration, but most of this occurred between 1840 and 1880 following the European Revolts of 1848. These German immigrants were known as the “Forty-Eighters” and represented the liberal middle-classes of various German states who had unsuccessfully sought more freedom from the autocratic political system under which they were subjected. So by the end of the 1800s, Germans represented a healthy portion of the overall U.S. population and were therefore in a position to influence the naming charts in America. In 1880 (which is the first year we have comprehensive available data on name popularity), Otto was the 63rd most commonly used baby boy’s name nationwide. Pretty impressive! The name fell off the Top 100 list right around the turn of the 20th century and continued its slow and steady decline in usage for the next several decades. Perhaps as German-American immigrants began to assimilate they began to leave their ethnically-flavored names behind. Otto completely retreated into the shadows in 1975 when the name disappeared from the Top 1000 list – hardly on anyone’s radar for over 25 years. The name just recently reemerged on the Top 1000 in 2011 but is still ranked very low and rarely used. We wonder if the character "Big Otto" Delaney on FX’s popular TV drama “Sons of Anarchy” has any impact on renewed interest in this name. German in spirit, Otto is a strong, confident and no-nonsense name – no sissies allowed, please.
Popularity of the Boy Name Otto
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Otto

  • Popular Songs on Otto

    Popular Songs on Otto

    Otto - a song by The Replacements

    Otto Titsling - a song by Bette Midler

    Otto Wood the Bandit - a song by Doc Watson

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Otto

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Otto

    Bob and Otto (Robert O. Bruel) - Bob and Otto do best-friend kinds of things together--eating leaves, digging, playing--until the day Bob decides to climb a tree, simply because . . . he has to. When the two meet again, Otto is still the same dirt-loving earthworm, but Bob has done the unthinkable: grown wings. Friendship overcomes all else in this sweet and funny story, because no matter what happens, ". . . friends are important." Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Otto Grows Down (Michael Sussman) - What would it be like if time went backwards? One unlucky little boy is about to find out! Otto has just one birthday wish: that his new baby sister Anna had never been born. And it comes true when the days suddenly start moving in reverse. But now, instead of growing up, Otto’s growing DOWN. He’s getting younger every minute and in danger of disappearing entirely. Can he turn things around before it’s too late—for Anna and himself? Brilliant illustrations by the fabulous Scott Magoon capture all the fun of this whimsical tale. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Otto Learns about His Medicine: A Story about Medication for Children with ADHD (Matthew R. Galvin) - Aimed at younger children with ADHD, this extraordinarily popular book tells the story of a little car whose motor goes too fast. Try as he might, Otto just can't seem to stay on track, and this keeps getting h im into trouble at home and at school. Finally, Otto finds a special mechanic who helps him by prescribing the right medication. This cute, lively picture book teaches young children how and why their medication can help them with their hyperactivity. Recommended for ages 6-9.

    Otto of the Silver Hand (Howard Pyle) - Born into a robber baron's household in medieval Germany, young Otto is caught in the middle of a violent blood feud. Captured in battle and severely tortured, the brave lad nevertheless grows up to be a gentle and loving person, standing above other men and looked up to by all. 55 dynamic illustrations. Recommended for ages 10-14.

    Otto Runs For President (Rosemary Wells) - A hilarious and satisfying election story from renowned author-illustrator Rosemary Wells. It's election time at Barkadelphia School, and popular kids Tiffany and Charles are already in the running. Unfortunately, they care a bit more about winning than they do about their voters. Before long, little Otto throws his hat in the ring; he doesn't have a flashy campaign, but he does have a big heart and a great idea -- he polls the students and asks them what THEY want for the school. When the ballots are finally counted, Otto wins by a landslide -- but he learns that while it's hard work running for president, it's even harder work BEING president. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Otto the Book Bear (Katie Cleminson) - Otto lives in a book and is happiest when his story is being read. Otto is no ordinary storybook character: when no one is looking, he comes to life! Otto loves to walk off of his book’s pages, but when his book is taken away while Otto is off exploring, the book bear sets off on a grand adventure to find a new home.'s an awfully big world for such a small bear and Otto misses his warm book. Will Otto ever find the perfect home? With sweet, timeless illustrations and a story that will have young readers watching their bookshelves in hopes of spotting wandering book creatures, this charming story is sure to delight book lovers everywhere. Recommended for ages 3-6.

    Otto the Cat: A Picture Reader with 24 Flash Cards (Gail Herman) - Color rebus artwork, a simple vocabulary, and cut-out flash cards combine in an easy-to-read tale about a cat who becomes upset when a slobbery dog moves in and takes over everything, from his water dish to his favorite chair. Recommended for ages 3-6.

    Otto the Otter (Ian J. Mehr) - Otto has a strange problem for an otter – he’s scared of swimming! Teased for his fear, Otto is saddened but fortunately befriends Fergie, a frog who loves to help otters learn to swim. Not surprisingly, with a little encouragement Otto finds he’s a natural swimmer, and quickly puts his newfound skills to great use. Children everywhere will recognize facets of themselves in Otto, whether the pain from verbal cruelty, to the pangs of loneliness, to the comfort of good friends, to the joy of discovery of hidden talent. Following Otto’s journey will tug at your heart and leave you cheering for his success! Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Otto's ABCs (Kathryn Bradford, Kathleen Bradley & Leah Deyneka) - Learn the ABC's by following beloved mascot, Otto, across the Syracuse University campus in this delightful adventure. Vibrant illustrations by renowned artist, Michael Borkowski, lead new readers from A to Z with charm and whimsy. Perfect for Syracuse University fans of all ages! With Otto as your guide, learning the alphabet is as easy as A, B, C! Recommended for ages 3-6.

    Otto's Orange Day (Jay Lynch) - When Otto the cat meets a magical genie, he knows just what to wish for: he makes the whole world orange! At first, this new, bright world seems like a lot of fun, but when his mom serves orange spinach for lunch, Otto realizes that his favorite color isn’t the best color for everything. Fixing this mixed-up world won’t be easy, though, because Otto already used up his only wish. To save the day, Otto will need his family’s help, some quick thinking, and…a pizza? Two master cartoonists collaborate to bring all the fun and magic comics can offer to early readers. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Otto: The boy who loved cars (Kara LaReau) - Otto loves cars more than anything else in the world. He plays with cars, he dreams about cars… he even eats cars (his favorite cereal is Wheelies). But that all changes when he awakes one morning to find that he has somehow turned into a car. Otto soon realizes that there is a downside to actually becoming his favorite thing. While the rest of his friends get to play and draw, Otto can only honk and sputter. Will Otto ever be able to switch gears and go back to being a boy? Recommended for ages 3-6.

  • Famous People Named Otto

    Famous People Named Otto

    Famous People Named Otto - Otto the Great (King of the Germans and first Holy Roman Emperor); Otto II-IV (Holy Roman Emperors); Otto of Greece (King of Greece); Otto of Bavaria (King of Bavaria); Otto von Bismarck (Chancellor of Germany); Otto Preminger (theatre/film director); Otto Frank (father of Anne Frank); Otto Graham (football player); Otto Freundlich (artist/sculptor); Otto Klemperer (German conductor/composer)

  • Children of Famous People Named Otto

    Children of Famous People Named Otto

    Famous People Who Named Their Son Otto - We cannot find any celebrities or famous people who have named their child Otto.

  • Historic Figures

    Otto - Boy Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Otto Heinrich Frank (12 May 1889 - 19 Aug 1980) - Otto Frank is the father of the famous Anne Frank of the heartbreaking diary, and the only one of the four Franks who survived the Holocaust. German-born, Otto Frank had served in the German army in World War I; he and his wife were raising their two young daughters in Germany. In the mid-thirties, as Nazism’s persecution of Jews was on the rise, Otto decided to take his little family to Amsterdam; there he opened a small business with the ownership in the name of non-Jewish associates. He also attempted on more than one occasion to obtain visas so he and his family could emigrate out of the country, preferably to the United States. We all know how that turned out. After two years in hiding with his family and assorted others to whom they extended their generosity, the Franks and the others in hiding were betrayed, taken prisoner and ultimately sent to Auschwitz. After the war, Otto Frank returned to Amsterdam and collected the diary from the ransacked hiding place. He spent the rest of his life overseeing its publication (with some controversial bits of editing), seeing to the production of stage plays and movies, and establishing the Anne Frank Foundation. He married a fellow Holocaust survivor, had more children and lived to the ripe old age of 90, but surely a large part of Otto Frank had already died in 1945.

Personality of the Boy Name Otto

The number Seven personality is deeply mystical and highly in tune with their spirituality. They operate on a different wavelength than the average joe. Spending time alone comes easily to Sevens, as it gives them time to contemplate philosophical, religious and spiritual ideas in an effort to find "real truth".  Sevens are wise, but often exude mystery as if they are tapped into something the rest of us don't understand. They love the outdoors and are fed by nature. Sevens are constantly seeking to understand human nature, our place in the universe, and the mystery of life in general. This makes them quite artistic and poetic, but they are also keen observers with high intellect - so they are equally scientific-minded. Sevens are charitable and care deeply about the human condition.

Variations of the Baby Name - Otto

  • No Variations Found.
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