The baby name Meadow sounds very peace and love. But it got its big boost from a hit series about organized crime.
Thanks to Danielle for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.
TRACT OF LAND
Like so many twenty-first century favorites, the baby name Meadow started out as a noun.
It comes from an Old English word referring to a tract of land, a pasture or a field. They’re often a mix of grass and wildflowers. So while not every meadow is picturesque, we tend to think of them as quite pretty. Plenty of attractive landscape paintings and photographs depict meadows from all over the world.
BY the NUMBERS
No surprise, then, than the baby name Meadow – just like other nature names – occasionally surfaces in the US popularity data over the years.
Six girls were named Meadow way back in 1914.
Others – male and female – appear in US Census records across the decades. Meadow and Meadows are sometimes heard as surnames, which may have influenced the name’s use.
But it remained rare. In 1969, another six girls were given the baby name Meadow. Of course, 1969 was the summer of Woodstock, and the following years saw plenty of hippie influence in naming. Autumn, Chance, and Ebony were all fast-rising names in the era that share a little something in common with Meadow.
The baby name Meadow, though, didn’t catch on.
In fact, it fell almost entirely out of use during the 1980s.
In 1998, even as plenty of other noun names caught on, just 17 girls were named Meadow.
And then, in 1999 that number was 38. By the year 2000, 134 girls received the baby name Meadow.
MEADOW MARIANGELA SOPRANO
The world met Meadow Mariangela Soprano in 1999, a member of the family at the heart of The Sopranos.
Fictional mobster-in-therapy Tony Soprano and wife Carmela are the parents to Meadow and Anthony Jr – AJ.
A high school student when the series began, Meadow Soprano was wealthy, indulged, and a little out-of-control early seasons. She clearly knew all about the family business. In fact, one of her boyfriends met an untimely fate thanks to his involvement in all things criminal.
Eventually, Meadow turned things around. By the series’ end, she was headed for law school.
Along the way, The Sopranos became a massive cultural phenomenon. Back then, most hit series still aired on network television, and HBO was new to the space. But it racked up 111 Emmy nominations, including 21 wins, over its six seasons. In 2004, it became the first cable series to win the Primetime Emmy for an Outstanding Drama Series.
It also pushed the baby name Meadow into the US Top 1000.
Incidentally, the show never explains why Tony and Carmela chose the name. It nods to New Jersey. The Meadowlands refers to wetlands in the northeastern part of the state … as well as the large sports complex located there. Maybe it’s meant to show Tony’s softer side. It’s also said that series creator David Chase once met a waitress named Meadow and just plain like the name.
No matter what helped put the baby name Meadow in the spotlight, parents responded.
By the time The Sopranos ended in 2007, Meadow had reached #766.
While it briefly fell, the name reversed course and now ranks #476 as of 2020.
After all, two trends meet in this name.
We’re naming our children River and Lily and Skye. It’s the golden age of nature names.
And girl names ending with o are hot, too, from Margot to Cleo to Harlow.
It’s almost the perfect substitute for Top 100 favorite Willow.
GENTLE and MODERN
The baby name Meadow succeeds by blending a gentle, even pastoral energy with the modern o-ending sound.
If you’re after a girl’s name that feels substantial but new, Meadow might be the perfect choice.
What do you think of the baby name Meadow?
First published on July 8, 2010, this post was revised and re-posted on September 1, 2021.
Dee L. Owens says
My daughter is named Meadow Elsie. We call her meme. I did get her name from the Soprano’s. I loved her name and character on the show. Meadow was a strong , smart, gorgeous young woman. Which is what my Meadow has grown up too be. She will be 21 next week .
Thanks for sharing that, Dee! It’s a great name + I’m so glad it is serving your daughter well!
My daughter is almost 15 and loves that she’s the only Meadow in her school. She thanks us every now and then for giving her a beautiful, uncommon name. A few have raised their eyebrows over the years, but more have commented on how lovely it is.
My daughter is Meadow Victoria Grace and her nickname is Rosie (meadows have flowers, roses are flowers, plus i just really liked the name Rose but felt it was boring). I know its a loose association but I love her name and nickname. I’ve never seen the Sopranos, I was just nature inspired when I named her. I figured meadows are places filled with life, calm, beauty, and color-all things I hope my daughter encompasses. I hate the hippie association and in fact of been told the name was in use during the Victorian era, which seems very fitting to me. Although Meadow is a nature word name, it has a clear distinction from ‘hippie’ names in my opinion.
Love your daughter’s name – and what a clever nickname!
Cortney d ecuir says
I had my daughtet 11-6-2016 n her name is Meadow Ryan
I named my feral kitten, Meadow, because it’s a great outdoorsy name for a kitten born outdoors. The kitten also has the earthy coat color of gray and tan, and she has beautiful brown eyes. Meadow is a very cute and playful name. Love it!
Meg, my cat is also called Meadow, chosen because she’s overgrown with fur, and is part Maine Coon, so we thought she might actually end up overgrown in size.
I named my daughter Meadow Jane in 1995, long before the Sopranos. A mother could not ask for a more delightful, intelligent, and beautiful daughter. She Loves her name 🙂
My daughter was born in may 2009 and I named her meadow I got the idea from the sopranos and fell in love with the name
I named my first child Meadow in January this year – Meadow Kate… I LOVE the name – a Meadow is beautiful and so is my princess – it just suits her! Although, we Love the show The Sopranos and picked the name before we even had kids!
Meadow Kate is a great combination!
This name grew on me ever since the sopranos. I also like the nickname Med that she wore. I think it is just different enough without becoming ‘weird’.
My daughter is called Meadows it was my grandmothers name and if she were alive today she woukd have been 101 so the name has been around along time (ps no hippies in the family 🙂
I think its two far out from Poppy, Lily, Violet, Willow and the like still. There’s hippyish and then theres la la land over the rainbow 🙂
I so fall under the selected audience. Lily, River, Skye, Piper & Willow are all names that I’d seriously consider . ( If I’ve liked a name a lot for 5 years, I put it on my ‘realistic possibilities’ list and these fulfill the criteria). While I do like the sound and it flows beautifully off the tongue, since it has such a soft and melodic sound/vibe (to my ears), it isn’t for me. Maybe as a middle name? I do like it a lot, but it isn’t for me.It’d be brilliant on someone Else’s kid.
Regarding the Sopranos, I never watched that show and it’s been over for years. By the time I have kids (if I have them when I want to), then that show would be over for probably over a decade. I think for a lot of people, they know OF a show, but they don’t really know the characters. Example, I know of Cheers, but I couldn’t name a character to save my life
Meadow does remind me of the Sopranos. That was the first time I considered the name. I thought it was clunky. It grew on me a little, but I still don’t love it. Still, the picture in my mind when I hear Meadow is quite lovely. I will throw out a couple alternative nicknames though… Mea (like Mia), Doe, and for those who dig the boy-nn-on-a-girl vibe: Mo and Ed/Eddie.
Hmmm…my mum always used to refer to cow dung as ‘meadow muffins’…i.e’ “don’t step on any meadow muffins when you go out into the field!”.
So because of that, the name is completely spoiled for me!! I don’t know if that’s a common phrase or just something my mum came up with.
Thanks for featuring, by the way! I love learning more about names I like!
I don’t associate it with the Sopranos because I’ve never watched it. I do have a big thing for nature names, and I love the imagery of Meadow. It’s a very appealing name to me and I’ve liked it ever since I first heard it.
Charlotte Vera says
I suppose if I was really desperate to pay tribute to my maiden name — a clunky German appellation that my dad says translates to “thick meadow” — I might consider Meadow in a middle spot. However, since I have many wonderful people in my life well-deserving namesakes, I think I’ll give Meadow and her hippie vibes a miss.
I think it seems pretty fluffy, a better name for a pet rabbit than a person.
It’s not a bad name and if I can separate the name from it’s hippie vibe, I kind of like the idea of Meadow. However, in my accent it sounds like an acronym for a HMO or a pharmaceutical.
“My Med-O co-pay is outrageous!”
Funny trivia. The character on the sopranos had a different name until my sister auditioned for it. She didn’t get the part but apparently her name did. 🙂
I heard somewhere that “The Fast and the Furious” actor Paul Walker named his daughter Meadow… My opinion of his acting aside, at least his daughter has a pretty name.
I do wonder if she took daddy’s surname… hmm…
The Wikipedia article on Paul Walker gives his daughter’s name as Meadow Rain!
That’s bizarre- someone my sister works with has a daughter named Meadow Rain. She also has a son, Oak Oliver (I guess they really like nature)
I love Meadow too. I’d never use it, but I think its such a cool name. Despite the Soprano’s association.
Forgot to check the notify box. Don’t mind me.
I have never seen a single episode of The Sopranos. I don’t know why, but I kind of love Meadow.