Emmett is strong and sincere, an old school name that feels fresh and interesting today.
Thanks to Jess for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.
Emmett: Ermintrude’s Cousin
Some sources connect Emmett to the same Hebrew roots as Emmanuel, but this name is really a cousin to Emma.
Emma ultimately comes from ermen – universal. It was long used in names like Ermintrude and is also the source of Irma.
Emma, of course, came from France to England with the Normans. Emma of Normandy married Aethelred the Unready, and became Queen of England in 1002.
Emmett developed as an affectionate nickname for Emma. The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources lists Emot, Emmot, and several other spellings. The surname developed from all of those -ot and -et forms.
Emmett: One T or Two?
Both spellings have been around for years.
In terms of pure numbers, the ‘tt’ spelling has consistently been more popular. It’s one used by famous clown Kelly, outlaw Dalton, and Doc, from the Back to the Future movies. Emmett remains significantly more popular today, too. It was given to more than 2,600 newborns in 2014, versus just 218 newborn Emmetts.
Emmett: Smith and Otter
Parents today probably think of a few figures:
- Football great Emmitt Smith – yup, it’s spelled with an i. The three-time Super Bowl champ went on to win the third season of Dancing With the Stars. He’s also memorable for a series of Visa commercials focusing on identity theft, with dozens of unlikely types declaring “I am Emmitt Smith.”
- You might also think of Jim Henson’s 1977 Gift of the Magi-esque Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas. It’s all about a young otter who does the right thing in tough circumstances and celebrates a happy ending just in time for the holidays. (Confession: it’s also one of my all-time favorite Christmas specials.)
- It’s also the given name of Elle Woods’ principled and thoughtful beau in the Legally Blonde movies.
- More recently, it’s the name of one of Edward Cullen’s vampire brothers in the Twilight series. The vamp is the physically strongest of the Cullen clan, and the actor who played him – Kellan Lutz – went on to appear on screen as Hercules.
Kids in 2016 will have a completely different association for this name: Emmet Brickowski, the hero of The LEGO Movie. The 2014 blockbuster will get a sequel in 2018. Emmet is an everyman character who has a series of unlikely adventures and saves the day – predictable, maybe, but still charming.
Emmett: By the Numbers
After years of sparing use, Emmett has followed other surname names into the spotlight. Along with Elliott, Elliot, Beckett, Bennett, and Everett, it’s among the most popular of the -t ending choices for boys today. In fact, Emmett’s rank of #156 makes it the most popular of the cluster of names.
While some parents hesitate to use baby names from Twilight, Emmett rose sharply in use after the first movie was released in 2008. Likewise, The LEGO Movie boosted the single-t spelling of this name. With another LEGO flick in the works, and the ongoing popularity of ends with -t surname names for boys, Emmett feels unstoppable.
Would you spell this name with one t or two?
This post was originally published on June 25, 2008. It was substantially revised and re-posted on Monday, April 26, 2016.