Say today’s Name of the Day, and two things immediately come to mind: Paul Frank’s ubiquitous cartoon monkey, and the orange smoothie sold at a shopping mall near you.

But there’s much more to this noble moniker, and we’re indebted to Emmy Jo for suggesting Julius as our Name of the Day.

Less shallow types will, of course, recognize Julius as the family name of a long line of Ancient Roman notables, including Julius Caesar. There have also been a trio of popes called Julius, the last serving in the 16th century and at least one Saint Julius. Since Caesar made his way into his very own Shakespearean work, there’s a literary angle to this name, too.

While the meaning is usually given as “downy-bearded,” from a Greek term, others argue that the name is related to Jupiter. Regardless, it’s an ancient name with some Julius has some serious history.

He’s never been out of the Top 1000 in the US – in fact, the name has almost always been in the Top 500. Today it stands at #302.

In fact, the related name Julian has rarely been out of the Top 300, and today stands at #66. We’re fond of Julian, and the French form Julien, which currently ranks #589. But it must be said that Julius is the most fashion-forward choice. The equally Gallic Jules, as in the wildly imaginative author Verne, seems like it’s been thoroughly borrowed as a feminine nickname for Julia, and so difficult to wear for an American-born boy.

Julius fits in with starbabies Phinneaus and Ignatius. And yet, he’s terribly accessible, too, since we’re all familiar with versions of the name. Plus, while some ends-in-s names might strike some parents as too soft for a son, with a role model like Caesar, that’s a tough case to argue.

As for the monkey and the smoothie? Paul Frank sells millions of dollars in merchandise each year emblazoned with the simple sketch of monkey Julius. If there’s an inspiration for the name, the artist hasn’t mentioned it widely – or perhaps he’s simple never been asked. But you can easily put your baby Julius in a Julius tee, then head over to the mall for an Orange Julius – named in honor of LA orange-juice stand entrepreneur Julius Freed.

For parents seeking a current choice that is familiar but less frequently heard, Julius is one to consider.

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. The only JU name that I like is Juno and no matter how interesting a history, Julius has forever been ruined by Malema for me. It’s almost like a curse word when I hear the two together. On top of that, I’ve always highly disliked Julian.In another life, maybe I would have liked Julius as I like the Roman/Grecian/Epic type histories.

  2. Groucho Marx was born Julius Henry Marx (Oct 1890), Harpo was actually Adolph (born in Nov. 1888), Chico was Leonard (Mar. 1887), Zeppo was actually Herbert (Feb. 1901) & Gummo was Milton (Oct. 1882). IMDb is awesome for stuff like this! Because of him (Groucho/Julius), I have an abiding fondness for Lydia (but could never use it).

  3. Groucho Marx started out life as a Julius?! How fabulous! Yup, that makes the name even cooler.

    Katharine, I *love* Atticus. And my brother insists that his firstborn son will be Leonidus. The well of -us names is deep … and after all these decades of Jason, Justin, Aiden, Jordan and so on (and on and on), I’m kind of lovin’ it. Ask me in 2015, though, when Jadenus has caught on, and I might have a very different opinion.

    Unfortunately, my husband’s last name starts with an “S” – sadly, no -us names for us. 🙁

  4. Oh Katharine! I’d use Tiberius in a heartbeat, my other half is a HUGE Star Trek Geek. He wanted one of our boys to be James Tiberius. He ended up Simon Ambrose after two of he uncles/great uncles but that’s another story entirely. I so want to use Tiberius if the last one’s a boy, just for him!

  5. Uninhibited by the cultural associations mentioned in the first paragraph I find Julius a bit of a random choice! That said, it has a rather hip Roman Emperor vibe to it, not to mention the funky -us ending which seems to be in with the ultra cool croud these days (Think: Aurelius, Atticus, Cassius, Augustus as well as the aforemetioned Phinneaus and Ignatius).

    …Tiberius, Amadeus, Thelonius or Quintus anyone??!!!

  6. I actually met a four year old boy named Jules recently. His mother was German, so I’m thinking that this name flies better in Europe than here in the US. I found it refreshing but I think I agree with you . . . Julius definitely gives off a more masculine vibe.

  7. I adore Julius! If I hadn’t already used Josephine, I’d consider Julius. If for no other reason than it was the real name of my hero: Grouch Marx. Of course I adore almost every -us ending name I’ve ever come across. I find them so masculine and handsome., Julius is no exception, rather he stands near the top of the list for me (only Augustus stands higher). Funnily enough, Josephine has one of those paul Franks “Julius” monkeys on a tee. Maybe it’s a sign from the gods? 😉

    Julius is wicked cool.