Call Hayes a cousin for Aidan, the heir to Brooks.
Celebrity Baby Name Week 2018 begins with Jessica Alba’s new son inspiring our Baby Name of the Day.
This name doesn’t feel as obviously Irish as Liam or Ryan, but it claims Gaelic roots. It’s part of the Aodh family, just like Aidan, and shares its meaning: fiery.
It’s the same The Hebrew Chaya, meaning life, could also lead to the surname.
The name can also refer to an enclosure or a hedge. Norman knight William de la Haye or William de Haya founded the Scottish Clan Hay. I’m not sure if his surname comes from the Middle English word or the French one, but they were similar. Places with the name abound.
Hayes: Surname Name
For generations, Hayes existed mainly as a surname. There’s nineteenth US president Rutherford B., elected in 1877.
It’s pretty common, heard on athletes and actors, companies and fictional characters. Moonlighting’s Maddie and The West Wing’s Ainsley come to mind.
1902 Olympic gold medal-winning marathon runner Johnny is another notable; so is legendary Ohio State football coach Woody.
Actor Helen Hayes racked up Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards over her long career, as well as a Presidential Medal of Freedom. A Broadway theater also bears her name.
Hayes: On the Rise
Like any surname, it’s been used sparingly as a given name, too. Into the early 1930s, it sometimes cracked the US Top 1000.
But lately, it’s gone mainstream. What explains the change?
Hayes: On Trend
Surname names appeal to parents because they’re relatively distinctive as given names, but easy to say and spell, too.
Hayes succeeds for that reason, but for many others, too:
- The name may not be as famous as Kennedy, Reagan, or Carter, but we still recognize it.
- Besides Aidan – and Aiden and Jayden – there’s Hayden, leading even more directly to the name.
- Boys’ names ending with ‘s’ are having a moment, from Brooks to Miles to even classic James.
- We do like that long ‘a’ sound. Don’t believe me? Just ask Ava, Mason, or or Jake.
Hayes: By the Numbers
After eight decades’ absence, Hayes returned to the US Top 1000 in 2009. That’s the same year Kevin Costner used it for a son, a brother for Cayden.
The name appeared in the title of a 2015 indie flick. There’s actor Hayes MacArthur, currently starring with Rashida Jones in Angie Tribeca on TBS.
In the short-lived 2016 series Conviction, Hayley Atwell played Hayes Morrison. Bones also had a recurring (male) character by the name.
Jessica Alba and Cash Warren chose it for their third child, a brother for Haven and Honor. The youngest Alba-Warren arrived on December 31, 2017. And sportscaster Jim Edmonds welcomed twin sons named Hart and Hayes in June of 2018.
Along the way, the name continued to climb in use, from under 100 births in 2004 to over 500 by 2014, and 760 in 2017 – enough to put Hayes just outside of the US Top 400.
For now, the name still feels fresh and novel. It’s a preppy, polished choice with a little bit of an edge.
With names like Miles and Brooks in favor, it seems like we’ll continue to hear more of this upbeat, buttoned-down choice.
What do you think of Hayes? Will it continue to climb?
First published on April 2, 2014, this post was substantially revised and re-posted on December 3, 2018.