Thanks to Maia for suggesting David as our Baby Name of the Day.
In Hebrew, David means beloved. Some suggest that David started out as a term of affection, something like sweetheart, though that feels like a guess.
He’s also a towering name, the second king of Israel. King David ruled ten centuries BC, and even if your Biblical knowledge is nil, you know his story. In the Old Testament, small but faithful David defeated the giant Goliath, taking down the powerful warrior with a slingshot.
- Welsh-born bishop Dewydd or Dewi served around the sixth century, founding monasteries and churches. He’s considered the patron saint of Wales, and – trivia point – the patron saint of vegetarians.
- Armenia counts David of Sasun among their national heroes. An epic poem tells of Armenia’s attempt to resist Arab rule, and his leadership. The story was passed down by word of mouth until the 1870s, when an Armenian bishop wrote it down.
- It’s been the name of two kings of Scotland, the first in the 1100s, and the second in the 1200s. Nine kings of Georgia have also answered to the name.
- Influential philosopher David Hume worked in the eighteenth century.
- Missionary David Livingstone explored much of Africa, likely the first European to venture into many parts of the continent, in the nineteenth century.
- Charles Dickens gave the name to the main character in his 1850 novel, David Copperfield, inspired in part by his own life.
- Speaking of Copperfield, the famous magician was born David Kotkin.
- Frontiersman Davy Crockett was known as King of the Wild Frontier, and in real life, died at the Alamo during the Texas Revolution.
- Born Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David, and referred to by his family by his seventh! name – he reigned briefly as King Edward VIII of England. The reluctant monarch created a scandal when he abdicated the throne to marry American Wallis Simpson.
That’s just a fraction of the famous bearers of the name. I know at least a dozen – certainly more men called Dave than John. Dr. Seuss poked fun at Dave’s everywhereness with this poem: Mrs. McCave had twenty-three sons and she named them all Dave … The Kids in the Hall sang about “The Daves I Know.”
The six-sided Star of David is a widely-known symbol of Judaism. While it has ancient roots, it became common after the 1500s, though it is tough to pin down a date.
David is undeniably a classic name for a son. He’s never left the US Top 50, and he ranked in the Top Ten from 1936 through 1992, peaking at #1 in 1960. Travel to Spain, Hungary, Croatia, Austria, and Israel and you’re likely to meet a little David.
Jennifer Hudson and JK Rowling both gave the name to their sons. In 2006, Madonna and Guy Ritchie adopted son David from Malawi.
If you’re looking to update David, surname names Dawson and Davis are possibilities, as is underused feminine form Davina.