Finding a unique, meaningful name for your child can be tough. You could try hipster or foreign names if you want to avoid the mainstream variety. Or you could go more traditional and find a Biblical name.
However, there’s another source to tap into before you make your final decision: literature. With thousands of books to choose from, there’s no shortage of interesting character names to peruse.
At MooseRoots, we did the work for you and found 25 of the most popular literary names in the U.S., using data from the Social Security Administration. Names are ranked by their 2014 popularity.
See what literary characters make the list:
Literary Character: Winnie Foster, “Tuck Everlasting”
U.S. Rank: 1,417
Frequently used as a nickname for Winifred, Winnie has also gained popularity as a stand-alone name. Following the popular novel’s release, the name may have also received a boost from the two film adaptations.
Literary Character: Jean “Scout” Finch, “To Kill a Mockingbird”
U.S. Rank: 1,188
Scout is growing in popularity as both a girl’s and boy’s name, although the name is more common for girls. The 2015 release of Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman” may further boost the name’s usage.
Literary Character: Ophelia, “Hamlet”
U.S. Rank: 1,120
As a girl’s name, Ophelia is trending way up in the U.S. This is somewhat surprising given the character’s tragic fate.
Literary Character: Ramona Quimby, Beverly Cleary novels
U.S. Rank: 1,089
The rambunctious and imaginative Ramona Quimby is one the central characters in Beverly Cleary’s popular young adult and children’s books.
Literary Character: Jean Valjean, “Les Misérables”
U.S. Rank: 1,063
Although trending down, the boy’s name Jean is still more popular than the girl’s name. Not even Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of the character could boost its popularity.
Literary Character: Ford Prefect, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”
U.S. Rank: 883
Ford Prefect serves as the reader’s guide to the universe throughout Douglas Adams’ satirical space novel. In the past decade, the name Ford has dramatically increased in popularity.
Literary Character: Ariadne Oliver, Agatha Christie novels
U.S. Rank: 801
Ariadne’s literary origins go back to classical mythology, but the name was perhaps made most famous by the recurring character in Agatha Christie’s detective novels. Ariadne has appeared in nine Christie novels.
Literary Character: Alma Mereminski, “The History of Love”
U.S. Rank: 680
Although Alma may be more recognized as one of protagonists of Nicole Krauss’ “The History of Love,” the name was also used in Tennessee Williams’ play “Summer and Smoke.”
Literary Character: Pearl, “The Scarlet Letter”
U.S. Rank: 628
As the illegitimate daughter of Hester Prynne, Pearl is a symbolic character in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter.” The name is trending up in the U.S.
Literary Character: Matilda Wormwood, “Matilda”
U.S. Rank: 583
From Augustus Gloop to Agatha Trunchbull, the stories of Roald Dahl have no shortage of unique names to choose from. Unlike some of Dahl’s more outlandish names, Matilda has gained traction in the U.S.
Literary Character: Augustus Waters, “The Fault in Our Stars”
U.S. Rank: 544
Meaning “great” or “magnificent,” Augustus saw an increase in popularity after the release of John Green’s novel in 2012. Will the 2014 film adaptation also boost the name’s rank?
Literary Character: Dorian Gray, “The Picture of Dorian Gray”
U.S. Rank: 535
Despite the dark story that inspired it, Dorian is still a moderately common name for males. The name’s popularity peaked in 2000 and has gradually been trending down since.
Literary Character: Jay Gatsby, “The Great Gatsby”
U.S. Rank: 372
Although still in the top 400 male U.S. baby names, Jay has slowly been losing popularity over the last several decades.
Literary Character: Atticus Finch, “To Kill a Mockingbird”
U.S. Rank: 370
If you’re hoping your son becomes an honorable lawyer, consider naming him Atticus. Interestingly, the character of Atticus Finch was based on Harper Lee’s own father, Amasa Coleman Lee.
Literary Character: Romeo Montague, “Romeo and Juliet”
U.S. Rank: 341
Made famous from Shakespeare’s tragic play, Romeo also experienced a surge in popularity after David and Victoria Beckham gave the name to their second son.
Literary Character: Rhett Butler, “Gone With the Wind”
U.S. Rank: 338
Already an iconic character, Rhett gained further prominence after Clark Gable’s portrayal of him in the 1939 film.
Literary Character: Holden Caulfield, “The Catcher in the Rye”
U.S. Rank: 292
The name Holden didn’t immediately become popular after the release of “The Catcher in the Rye” in 1951. In the last decade, however, the name has become more commonplace.
Literary Character: Juliet Capulet, “Romeo and Juliet”
U.S. Rank: 258
Shakespeare has no shortage of interesting names to choose from. Although Juliette is slightly more common, the Shakespearean version is still a trendy girl’s name in the U.S.
Literary Character: Huckleberry Finn, “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”
U.S. Rank: 234
The first of two Mark Twain characters on this list, Huck Finn is certainly one of the most iconic characters in American literature. Finn is gaining popularity as a first name.
Literary Character: Daisy Buchanan, “The Great Gatsby”
U.S. Rank: 180
Even with the release of the 2013 “Great Gatsby” film, the name Daisy has generally been trending down in the U.S. over the last decade.
Literary Character: Tom Sawyer, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”
U.S. Rank: 110
As a first name, Sawyer has dramatically grown in popularity. Mark Twain may have based the fictional character’s name on a heroic fireman he met in San Francisco, California.
Literary Character: Hazel Lancaster, “The Fault in Our Stars”
U.S. Rank: 107
John Green’s novel has sold more than 10.7 million copies and has no doubt contributed to the rising popularity of the name Hazel.
Literary Character: Bella Swan, “Twilight Series”
U.S. Rank: 70
One of the most recent literary characters on this list, Bella Swan was the protagonist of the popular “Twilight” novels.
Literary Character: Landon Carter, “A Walk to Remember”
U.S. Rank: 43
Landon is one of Nicholas Sparks’ most famous characters. The name increased in popularity after the release of the 1999 novel and the 2002 film.
Literary Character: Scarlett O’Hara, “Gone With the Wind”
U.S. Rank: 30
Nearly 6,000 newborns were named Scarlett in 2014. Interestingly, the name is more popular than its ever been—an impressive testament to the classic 1936 novel.
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