Wyatt: Baby Name of the Day

English: Wyatt Earp with his mother Virginia A...

This post was originally published on May 10, 2008.  It was substantially revised and re-posted on October 20, 2014.

American parents are wild ’bout today’s choice for their sons, and now a high-profile celebrity couple has given the name to a daughter.

Our Baby Name of the Day is Wyatt.

Wyatt has galloped up the popularity charts, less aggressive than Cannon or Blaze, but with a healthy dose of Wild West appeal.

It’s the cowboy angle that boosted Wyatt.  Back in 1993, Wyatt ranked a lukewarm #375, up slightly from obscurity in the middle part of the century, but still not quite stylish.

Then came December 1993’s Tombstone, featuring Kurt Russell as lawman Wyatt Earp.  Just six months later, Kevin Costner played the title role in Wyatt Earp.  

Interest in all things western were high.  Young Guns had been a smash hit in 1988, and every actor from Tom Cruise to Billy Crystal went West in one fashion or another.

Wyatt’s advantages were many:

  • The most famous Wyatt is considered heroic.
  • It’s a wearable name, not a nickname, like Doc.
  • Wyatt remains distinctive – unlike, Billy, Henry, or Tom, the given names of Earp’s contemporaries.

And so the name rose to #197 in 1994, entered the Top 100 in 2004, and stood at #41 as of 2013.

Earp was behind Wyatt’s earlier rise, too.  Back in the 1950s, during the age of Gunsmoke, ABC introduced The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp.  It was a big hit, and boosted use of the name – though never higher than the 400s.

So where did the real-life Earp get his name?  His father, Nicholas Earp, had served in the Mexican-American War under Captain Wyatt Berry Stapp.  That’s a very young Earp with his mother, Virgina, in the picture above.

Wyatt also has history as a surname, from the Germanic give name Wigheard.  The wig means war – think of Hedwig – while the heard is strong or hardy – think of Richard.  It’s also been written as Wyot and Gyot, and was sometimes connected to William, and even more often to Guy, as a diminutive form.

Add it up, and no wonder that we’ve seen Wyatt on high profile birth announcements:

  • Not only did Kurt Russell and Kevin Costner both play the legendary lawman, but they both gave the name to sons.  In 1986, Russell welcomed Wyatt.  In 2007, Costner named his son Caden Wyatt.
  • Sheryl Crow’s son Wyatt Steven arrived in 2007.
  • NASCAR’s Elliott Sadler named his son Wyatt Herman Fritz in 2010.
  • Kristin Cavallari has a Jaxon Wyatt, born in 2014.

And now there’s Wyatt Isabelle, daughter of Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis.  She’s not even the first.  Sometime-reality star Rachel Uchitel welcomed Wyatt Lily in 2012, and named her Manhattan children’s boutique after her daughter.

That’s a lot of noise about girl Wyatts, but never fear.  With nearly 8,500 boys given the name in 2013 alone, this is clearly a case of the rare girl Wyatt, a sister for Ryan Marie or Logan Elizabeth.  It’s not a sign that those well-established choices for boys will be ceded to the girls.

If you’re more comfortable in cowboy boots than wingtips, Wyatt remains a popular choice that might be just right for your child.

What do you think of Wyatt?  Will this name continue to be popular for boys in the US?

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9 Comments

This seems so classically cowboy to me… which in turn, reads AMERICAN. It has the same effect as Maverick.

Love that you found a childhood picture of Earp and his mom, Abby. Nice touch!

Wyatt has recently made our top five list. We’re toying with Wyatt Lawrence. But yes, one of the many reasons we love this W name is the cowboy connotation. My grandpa reminded me of John Wayne, and his Louis L’Amour collection was immense, so that made me pretty happy. For me, the double T combined with the letter W gives it a wily and intelligent feel.