Boys can be Earl and Duke, Rex and Roy. So why not this regal appellation?
Thanks to Sassy for suggesting Taj as Name of the Day.
Taj means crown, but odds are you’re thinking architecture. And the Taj Mahal is, indeed, one of the world’s architectural marvels.
It’s also a tomb.
The Taj Mahal was built back in the seventeenth century as the final resting place for Mumtaz Mahal, the favorite wife of Emperor Shah Jahan of the Mughal Empire. Should you find yourself in Agra, India, it’s a must-see.
Shah Jahan never referred to the structure as the Taj Mahal. Instead, court records simply refer to the project as the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal. The royal bride was born Arjumand Banu; Mumtaz Mahal was the name she took during her marriage. It gets a little fuzzy here – Taj may simply be a short form of Mumtaz, but the usual translation is “Crown of the Palace.”
So Taj appears in baby name guides with the definition crown, making him slightly less obvious than naming your son Rex or King, but only slightly.
While you might not know a Taj, he’s not a true rarity. Instead, he’s ranked in the US Top 1000 for boys twice – in 1976, he debuted at #994, then vanished. In 1998, he dipped in again, ranking #956.
Ever since Mumtaz Mahal inspired a legendary project, the name has been worn by girls as well as boys:
- There’s model/activist Taj Anwar – born Tajik;
- WNBA star Taj McWilliams-Franklin is Detroit Shock’s #44.
But most bearers of the name are boys, including:
- Australian surfer Taj Burrows – who riffs on his name with videos called Montaj and Sabotaj;
- American freestyle BMX rider Taj Mihelich;
- Fictional character Taj Coppin from the Aussie drama Neighbours;
- The Mowry family of actors – Sister, Sister twins Tia and Tamera are most famous – also includes brother Tavior and Tahj.
Before you dismiss Taj as a noveau pick without history or roots, there are at least two historic uses of the name, too:
- In the tenth century, Taj al-Daula ruled part of what is now Iran;
- A nineteenth/early twentieth century politician, Taj al-Din al-Hasani was the former Prime Minister of Syria.
So there’s a case to be made for Taj as an authentic heritage choice for families of Middle Eastern descent.
Or maybe calling your son Taj is closer to naming him Lexus or Killian. The Taj Hotels are luxury resorts, headquarters in Mumbai, India. (Let’s not even imagine that Trump’s Taj Mahal resort and casino might inspire parents.) And a popular Indian lager is known as Taj Mahal beer.
Overall, Taj is brief, but complete. He could make a logical little brother to Kai. And while he can’t be considered classic, his roots are real. If you’re looking for an exotic, cross-cultural name that is surprisingly easy to spell and pronounce, Taj might be one to consider.