baby name CameronCount the baby name Cameron among our modern staples – an upbeat choice that feels increasingly traditional.

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


Back in the day, surnames sometimes came from nicknames. Nicknames might refer to a physical trait, like a brown-haired Brown. In Gaelic, cam means crooked and sròn means nose.

Chances are that the first Camerons had taken a right hook to the schnoz.

Other origins are possible, but regardless, it became a common Scottish surname.

And because we’ve been using last names as firsts for ages, the baby name Cameron hugs the fringes of the US Top 1000 from the late nineteenth century onward.


A Scottish clan answers to Cameron. There’s even a plaid.

In the British army, a regiment known as the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders served from 1794 into the 1960s.

Legend tells that the clan traces its roots to the year 500 or so. That’s when a Danish prince came to help restore King Fergus II of Scotland to his rightful throne. The prince’s crooked nose inspired the name of his descendants, who remain in Scotland all these centuries later.

Historical evidence is lacking, but the story persists.


The baby name Cameron feels distinctively Scottish. But chances are that it owes much of its popularity to the American West.

In the 1940s, actor Cameron Mitchell began appearing in a series of successful movies. He wouldn’t become a star until the 1960s, when he played Buck Cannon on television Western High Chaparral in the 1960s.

The numbers line up with the star’s rise.


But it was the 1980s that took the baby name Cameron from occasional use to mainstream favorite.

Credit goes to:

  • Rolling Stone journalist turned screenwriter Cameron Crowe. His undercover reporting about high school life became the iconic Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
  • Director James Cameron struck it big in 1984 with The Terminator. It would become the first in a long string of hits.
  • In 1985, child star Kirk graduated from guest roles to center stage as Mike Seaver in Growing Pains.
  • Just a year later, 1986’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off became a mega-hit. Ferris explored Chicago with his girlfriend Sloane Peterson and best friend Cameron Frye. The trio tooled around in a vintage Ferrari belonging to Frye’s dad.

The one-two punch of Growing Pains and Ferris Bueller rocketed this rising name into the US Top 100 by 1987.


But the baby name Cameron didn’t just rise for boys. It caught on for girls, too. It debuted in the US Top 1000 for our daughters in 1980, just as it was gaining serious momentum for our sons.

Then came Cameron Diaz, one of the biggest stars of the 1990s. By the end of the decade, the baby name Cameron ranked in the Top 200 for girls.

Actor Camryn Manheim on The Practice pointed to a potential spelling that might seem more feminine. K spellings caught on, too.

But while the baby name Cameron has remained a rock solid favorite favorite for boys, in the Top 100 since 1987, it seems to be slowly fading for girls.


Famous figures with the name abound. Athletes like Cam Newton and politicians like former British PM David Cameron come to mind.

And we do like a great Cam name. Think Camden, Camilo, and Kamari for boys; Camila, Camille, Camilla, and Kamiyah for girls.

Add it up, and the baby name Cameron feels like a true modern staple. It’s upbeat and modern, but the first generation of Camerons is growing up, proving that the name wears well on an adult as well as a child.

If you’re after a modern name with a traditional feel, the baby name Cameron could be the one for you.

What do you think of the baby name Cameron?

First published on October 27, 2016, this post was revised substantially and re-published on July 6, 2021.

baby name Cameron

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. I just find Cameron so endearing. As family surname a hundred years back in my family, its already worn by a few family members so its not on my personal list, but its one of those names that I think I could picture on anyone.

  2. I would use Cameron for a boy in a heartbeat if only it didn’t class with my surname 🙁 I don’t think a nickname friendlier than Cam exists; what a strong, dashing name!