With a warm welcome to my newest neighbor, Torin is our Baby Name of the Day.
Every source agrees: Torin is an Irish name, and means chief.
Usually an Irish name comes with layers of related names and surname forms, but Torin is surprisingly spare on detail. Some suggest it’s related to the Norse Thorfinn or Torfinn. But that would change the meaning, since they come from Thor – as in the god, whose name means thunder.
Is this an error?
Maybe not. The Irish Dictionary Online offers one translation of “chief” that feels close to the mark: Tiarna. Tiarna seems to translate best as Lord, but that still tracks.
The Irish word for thunder is toirneach, and while I’m losing some of the threads, it looks possible – though far from confirmed – that there could be a link between toirneach and Tiarna.
Camelot gives us a Knight of the Round Table known as Sir Tor, a prince raised as a shepherd who becomes one of the first to join King Arthur’s team.
Torin is a name that rules, but is far more subtle than recent favorites like Royal and Reign.
The name has seen some sparing use over the years.
- English actor Torin Thatcher served in World War II, then had a long career in film and television, usually playing a villain. He appeared in many a famous film, including “Mutiny on the Bounty,” and regularly appeared on stage, too. Later in life, he appeared in a first season episode of the original Star Trek series – it’s famous as the first time the Prime Directive is mentioned.
- A 1995 video game called Torin’s Passage introduced us to a farmboy from the planet Strata, on a quest to defeat the evil sorceress Lycentia.
- Actor Toran Caudell appeared on 7th Heaven and other television series in the 1990s.
- American cross country skier Torin Koos has competed in three Olympics.
None of those figures are household names, but it’s enough to see some use of Torin over the years.
Torin: By the Numbers
Torin has quietly caught on. There have been more than five boys given the name every year since 1956, and a slow, steady increase in use.
By 2014, there were 165 newborn boys named Torin, along with ten girls.
As for alternate spellings:
- Toran saw some use in the 1990s, probably thanks to the actor. But it’s always been rare, and there were just seven newborn boys called Toran in 2013 and twelve in 2014.
- Toryn was given to 28 boys in 2014, as well as 17 girls.
Another interesting thing: despite the success of Tori and Lauren, this name seems solidly established for boys.
Torin really succeeds because of his sound. We’re wild about two-syllable, ends-in-n names for boys. Even as Aidan and company fade, we’re busy inventing new possibilities, like the -axtons and the -aytons. But there’s no need to create names from scratch. There are plenty of possibilities that fit the trend, and have intriguing backstories, too.
While Torin’s origins are elusive, there’s plenty to like about this name: a strong meaning, a connection to Arthurian legend, and a sound that is perfectly on trend for 2015.
Do you think two-syllable, ends-in-n names for boys will continue to be popular? Or are you ready for a new sound?