Mason: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on January 3, 2013

Kourtney Kardashian 32 carries  22 month old  Mason Disick back to their hotel in Manhattan Kourtney Kardashian with Mason via babble.com

Even if you aren’t keeping up with the Kardashians, you probably know a little tyke or two by this stylish name.

Our Baby Name of the Day is Mason.

Mason has always ranked in the US Top 1000, but he was fairly obscure for years.   Back in 1972, he ranked a chilly #699.  By 1982 he landed at #468, and Mason definitely gained momentum in the 1980s, and he continued climbing into 1990s.  Mason had reached #89 in 1997, and showed promise.  Still, it was hard to imagine that he’d leap to #2 by 2011.

Or was it?

Mason picks up on two trends, and also has a sound that’s appealed to parents for two generations.

First, he’s a humble workingman with an artisan edge.  A mason is a stoneworker, an occupation around since the dawn of civilization.  Someone had to engineer the pyramids, and certainly by the time Christians built soaring cathedrals in Medieval Europe, masons were much in demand.  The word comes from masson - an Old French word with debated roots, though some trace it back to the Latin machina.

As a surname, it’s one of many occupational choices, just like Baker or Butcher or Thatcher or Cook.  Some wear better, but many were popular in 2012.  They manage to feel somewhere between preppy and homespun, and feel like honest and unusual names for a boy.  Think of Carter and Hunter and Sawyer and Spencer.

Second, he’s a two-syllable, ends-in-n choice that feels modern.  Mason shares sounds with Jayden and company.  Jason was a hit in the 1970s, and Mason follows logically on his heels, too.

There doesn’t seem to be a single explanation for Mason’s rise.  Perry Mason was a television staple from 1957 to 1966.  In 1970, The Grateful Dead recorded “Mason’s Children,” but that was never enough of a standard to make a splash.  Actress Marsha Mason had a long career, earning two Best Actress Oscar nominations in the 1970s.  Young actor Mason Gamble played Dennis the Menace in 1993′s big screen adaptation.  The NBA’s Anthony Mason was at the top of his game in the 1990s when the name was headed for the Top 100.

Could it be the S.E. Hinton novel Tex?  Published in 1979, it was adapted as a movie starring Matt Dillon in 1982.  Dillon played Tex, the younger brother to the responsible Mason.  Hinton’s books were a sensation, and the kids who grew up reading them have made Mason a hit.

But Mason seems to have attracted attention on his own merits.  Today, he’s just plain everywhere.  Two television werewolves answer to Mason: one from The Wizards of Waverly Place and a second from The Vampire Diaries.

Celebrities have embraced the name, too.  Since the mid-1990s, Mason has been the choice for:

  • Cuba Gooding, Jr.
  • Laura San Giacomo
  • Kelsey Grammar named his daughter named Mason Olivia
  • Melissa Joan Hart
  • Ne-Yo

But it is Mason Dash Disick, son of Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick who garners most of the media attention.  The reality show clan is a fixture in the tabloids, and Mason is often in the spotlight.  While it was already on the rise, Mason climbed from #34 to #12, and then #2.

Overall, it is easy to see the appeal of Mason.  His sound is upbeat and friendly.  You can see him on a child or a grown man, a banker or a builder.  But that’s just the catch – we have seen the appeal, and you’re likely to hear him on every different kind of boy over the next few decades.  Mason is great, but he’s no longer surprising.

Photo credit: Kourtney Kardashian with Mason via babble.com

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie January 3, 2013 at 11:10 PM

Mason has been a top #10 name in my community the entire time I’ve lived here. I still like Mason, but it’s too popular here.

*** I was thinking all that the Da Vinci Code and the National Treasures movies had something to do with the popularity of Mason. I’ve never paid much attention to either film, other than knowing both movies had something to do with Freemasons. However, the mentioned a rise in the 1980′s sent me digging around on IMDB and I found the character Mason Capwell on the soap Santa Barbara. http://capridge.com/mason.htm
So it’s another Kayla… it just had a slower rise to the top. ;)

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appellationmountain January 4, 2013 at 3:28 AM

Oooh … thank you! Great find on Santa Barbara. Mason sounds like a soap name, doesn’t he?

I thought about the Masons connection … I don’t know. Does it help or hurt? I guess it isn’t hurting …

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Poppy528 January 3, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Is it weird that I prefer Maison? I am aware this means house… but still I like it.

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karen January 3, 2013 at 12:51 PM

I first heard Mason as Mason Capwell on Santa Barbara, the soap opera, back in the mid-80s. Lane Davies was so great in that role – that was my teens, I wonder if other women my age heard the name then?

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SkyeRhyly January 3, 2013 at 4:20 AM

I’m already bored by Mason, maybe because Jason is just so 70s and still very popular, so Mason doesn’t seem like “wow, that’s such a different name”. Maybe in the 2020′s it’ll be Kason or something like that.
My biggest annoyance is that I can see Mason hogging the #1 spot for a very long time, which I definitely don’t enjoy. We’ve only just got rid of Jacob after 13 years, hopefully Mason’s stay won’t be as long.

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