baby name BeckettThe baby name Beckett combines modern style with serious literary roots.

Thanks to September for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.


Beckett debuted in the US Top 1000 in 2006 at #753.

It fit right in with established names like Garrett, as well as fast-rising newcomers, including Benett, Everett, Emmett, and the similar Wyatt and Elliot/Elliott.

It terms of stylish surnames, the baby name Beckett just plain fit.


When it comes to meaning, Beckett is most often a place name.

It’s found on the map in England, where “beck” refers to a stream. Or possibly, it comes from a phrase meaning “bee” and “cottage.”

Or perhaps it’s not a place name at all. In Middle English, beke meant beak. The French word was bec. It’s possible that Beckett referred to someone with a prominent nose.

It’s been around for ages, though, and other origins and meanings are possible.


The notables bearers of the surname Beckett really color the name’s image.

First up: Archbishop Thomas à Becket, who served in the twelfth century under King Henry II of England. Incidentally, in his lifetime, he was plain old Thomas Becket. The ‘à’ was added centuries later.

In any case, Becket went toe-to-toe with the king over the rights of the monarch to exercise authority over the church. After much drama, they had reached a compromise, and Becket returned from exile in France.

But just as they patched things up, Becket set Henry II off again. And the king muttered something like this: Will no one rid us of this pesky priest?

The king’s loyal followers took it as an order, and off they went to kill the archbishop.

Within two years, Thomas had been canonized, adding him to a long list of saints named Thomas.


Fast-forward to the twentieth century and there’s Nobel Prize-winning author Samuel Beckett, a native of Dublin, Ireland, famous for his play Waiting for Godot.

Along with Edward Albee, Tom Stoppard, Eugene Ionesco, Jean Genet, and a number of others, Beckett’s works are usually considered “Theater of the Absurd” – plays where the characters fail to find meaning or reach a defined goal. They’re not exactly bedtime stories.

But it does lend the baby name Beckett quite a bit of literary cachet. The writer was a major force in twentieth century literature. Beyond his accomplishments on the page, he also earned the recognition of the French government for his work in the resistance during World War II, with a Croix de Guerre. The award recognizes bravery in combat.


On a far lighter note, over the last few decades, pop culture has made the baby name Beckett familiar through frequent use as a first and last name.

  • The hero of time travel series Quantum Leap was Sam Beckett. The series debuted in 1989 and ran through 1993.
  • Singer Beck scored his first hit in the 1990s.
  • Lord Cutler Beckett is a villain in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. He last appeared in 2007.
  • Crime drama Castle gave us Detective Kate Beckett, often referred to by her surname only. It ran from 2009 to 2016.
  • In 2018, Solo: A Star Wars Story, we meet a young Han Solo and his reluctant mentor, Tobias Beckett, played by Woody Harrelson.
  • Artemis Fowl has a little brother named Beckett in the book series, though he didn’t appear in the movie.


Overall, the baby name Beckett benefits from its most famous bearers. It sounds principled, intelligent, creative, and bold. And while it’s undeniably stylish now, with the -ett ending, it sounds like a name that will stand the test of time.

Since debuting in the US Top 1000 in 2006, the has climbed to #215 as of 2019. That’s still relatively uncommon. If you’re after something modern, but with roots; familiar, but slightly unexpected, then the baby name Beckett could be exactly right.

Would you consider the baby name Beckett for a son?

First published on December 2, 2011, this post was revised substantially republished on October 28, 2020.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. My fiance and I are expecting and really love the name Beckett. It has never been in the top 100 of first names in the US. We also envision him playing basketball like his father and making posters that say “Beckett Makes Buckets” we don’t view bucket as a negative in this family.

  2. Does not sound at all like a bucket! Beckett is a cute different name for a boy, I personally love it,

  3. My son is a “Beckett” (currently 8-year-old) and likes his name. He gets a lot of compliments on it when he meets someone new. My husband and I chose it because it’s not very common (which I like) but still sounds traditional (which my husband likes). Only a very few insensitive adults have called him “bucket” in his lifetime (what kind of an adult makes fun of a kid’s name to his face?). As far as kids go, playground smack talk hasn’t gone in that direction yet. But if we are talking about nicknames, just about every name could birth a nickname. I feel for my husband who inherited the family name “Hoyle” — sounds like hole so you can imagine what his childhood was like. 🙂

  4. I have a 3 year old Beckett who I think wears his name perfectly. I had never met a Beckett until about two or three years before he was born. I taught a little blond boy at a Montessori school and absolutely loved him and his unique name. I knew I wanted to use it someday. It seems appropriate that my guy is a towhead too.=)

  5. We named our son Beckett in November. I know of 3 other people that named their son, as we found when ppl asked his name. We weren’t trying to be trendy or unique, just really liked the name. I am surprised by some of the responses here, as we have gotten overwhelmingly positive response. Only negative was more of hesitation from my husband’s more traditional parents. His mom recently admitted that it fits him, her boyfriend said he loves it (he’s 75). One person told my husband we made it up, haha. Some call him Beck, which is fine by us.

  6. So I rather like Beckett. Not one that I’d use, but it sounds handsomely boyish to me and it doesn’t bother me really that it’s a last-name. (Sometimes that would bother me.) Totally doesn’t make me think of buckets – mainly makes me think of the guy who played Sam Beckett, though I couldn’t remember which character of his was associated with Beckett.

  7. I’m honestly surprised by all the Beckett-hate! And the thoughts of buckets. Then again, I’m one who can’t be bothered by the Violet-violent and Charlotte-harlot associations, either. Why is it that ends-in-t names seem to have these associations for people?

    1. I’m not bothered by the violent/harlot thing with Violet and Charlotte at all, so I can’t speak for anyone else on that, but I think part of the reason Beckett is so reminiscent of buckets for me is that it’s a surname name not traditionally used as a first name. Violet and Charlotte have hundreds of years’ worth of associations on actual people, and the only person I know with the last name Beckett is the medieval Thomas (well, obviously I don’t actually KNOW him ;)).

      1. That is a really good point, Rosy. Charlotte and Violet certainly have more first name use. But, to me, Beckett doesn’t even sound like “bucket,” at all! I do get the Thomas Becket and Samuel Beckett connections, though…

  8. One of Maria’s classmates has a baby sibling named Beckett. They have a surname like “Floyd” and little Becket’s mom told me people are frequently flipping the names around.. as if “Floyd” was a typical baby name. If Beckett gets any closer to the top100, they probably won’t have this problem anymore.

    I prefer Albee 😉 , but I could warm up to Beckett.

  9. I know of a little girl (born in 2007) and little boy named Beckett (born in 2006). Are there any stats on Beckett for girls?

    1. There were 21 girls named Beckett in 2010 – I haven’t looked back, but I’m guessing there have never been more. The possibility of using Becky as a nickname makes her feel like Emerson or Ellison or Elliot, I think … and yet, she isn’t catching on in big numbers – yet.