The Taylor trend: Tracking the transition from tailor to the top 10
You might recognize Taylor as a name that carries a sense of modern professionalism and unisex appeal. It’s a name that has been comfortably worn by both boys and girls, showing a versatility that reflects the changing nature of names.
As you explore this name for your future family member, you’ll find out about its occupational origins, its ascent to popularity, and why it might just be the perfect fit for your family.
The history and origin of the baby name Taylor
The name Taylor is of Norman origin, and was introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. In this context, “Norman” refers to the people from Normandy, a region in France, who invaded and settled in England after the Norman Conquest led by William the Conqueror in 1066.
Their influence profoundly shaped the English language, culture, and social hierarchy, including the introduction of a distinct set of surnames that were often occupational.
Originating from the Old French “tailleur,” meaning “cutter of cloth” or “tailor,” the name was borne by skilled craftspeople adept at making, altering, or fitting clothing to one’s body shape — a highly-respected occupation.
The earliest recorded instance of the surname appears in the 1182 Pipe Rolls of Hampshire (ancient annual records of the audits of the sheriffs’ accounts in Hampshire, England) which identifies a “William le Taillur.”
Over the centuries, as occupational surnames were anglicized, “tailleur” transitioned to Taylor, with this spelling becoming standardized by the 16th century.
In the 1800s, Taylor began to shift from a surname to a given name, reflecting a broader trend of adopting English surnames as first names. Influenced initially by aristocratic naming customs, this practice spread across social classes, and became more widespread in the United States during the 20th century.
Pronunciation and basic details
Taylor is pronounced “TAY-lər,” with two syllables, the emphasis on the first. It rhymes with sailor, nailing that rhythmic quality that can be so pleasant to the ear. It’s often pronounced clearly in English-speaking countries, with little variation.
Popularity trends for this baby name
Girls named Taylor
The name Taylor, for girls, has seen a remarkable trajectory in popularity over the years. It began its climb in the 1980s, breaking into the top 1000 in 1979 at rank 969. It steadily gained favor throughout the 1980s and experienced a sharp rise in the 1990s, entering the top 10 in 1999 and peaking at rank 6 from 1995 to 1997.
Its popularity remained high in the early 2000s, consistently holding a place within the top 20. However, in the past two decades, Taylor has gradually moved down the ranks, sitting at 217 in 2022. Despite this decline, it remains a popular and well-liked name for girls, still holding a strong position well within the top 300 names.
Boys named Taylor
For boys, the name Taylor experienced distinctive ebbs and flows in popularity, according to US baby name data. The name enjoyed moderate popularity in the early 20th century, hovering around the 300s and 400s in rank. As the decades progressed, the desire for the given name Taylor’s for males saw a general upswing, breaking into the top 100 around the late 1990s.
The peak of its popularity came in the mid-90s, with the name reaching as high as rank 51 in 1993. However, since the turn of the millennium, Taylor has experienced a gradual decline in popularity as a first name for boys. From its position at 136 in the year 2000, it has seen a diminishing trend, dropping to a rank of 621 by the year 2022.
This decrease suggests a shift in parental preferences or societal trends, potentially moving towards more traditional male names or exploring newer, less common options. Despite this downward trend, Taylor remains a recognizable and well-liked name for boys, maintaining a presence within the top 1000 names consistently over the years.
Pop culture: Famous faces and characters named Taylor
Celebrities with the name Taylor
- Taylor Swift: An influential singer-songwriter known for her narrative songwriting and multiple Grammy wins.
- Taylor Lautner: Actor famous for his role as Jacob Black in the “Twilight” series.
- Taylor Hawkins: The late drummer for the rock band Foo Fighters, known for his dynamic stage presence and musical talent.
- Taylor Momsen: An American musician and actress, best known as the lead singer of the rock band The Pretty Reckless, and for her role as Jenny Humphrey on the hit TV series “Gossip Girl.”
- Taylor Schilling: Actress best known for her leading role in the Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black.”
Taylor in entertainment & beyond
- Taylor Townsend: Character from “The O.C.” known for her quick wit and ambitious nature.
- Taylor McKessie: Smart and determined character from Disney’s “High School Musical.”
- Taylor Hebert: Protagonist of the web serial “Worm,” a dark and complex character with a loyal fanbase.
Taylor as a last name
The surname Taylor has been carried by many notable individuals across various fields. Here’s a list of some famous Taylors:
- Andy Taylor: Guitarist for the new wave band Duran Duran, and later the rock band Power Station.
- Brook Taylor: An English mathematician who is best known for Taylor’s theorem and the Taylor series.
- Corey Taylor: Lead vocalist and lyricist of the bands Slipknot and Stone Sour.
- Elizabeth Taylor: Legendary British-American actress famous for her acting prowess and glamorous lifestyle.
- James Taylor: Grammy Award-winning American singer-songwriter and guitarist known for his folk and soft rock hits.
- Jeremy Taylor: A clergyman in the Church of England who achieved fame as an author during the rule of Oliver Cromwell.
- John Taylor: Bassist for the influential new wave band Duran Duran, recognized for his innovative bass lines that helped define the group’s sound.
- Mildred D. Taylor: An African-American author known for her works exploring the struggles faced by Black families in the Deep South.
- Roger Taylor: Drummer of the iconic rock band Queen, known for his distinctive sound and songwriting.
- Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: An English composer and conductor, whose music gained considerable popularity in the early 20th century.
- Sean Taylor: A former professional American football player who was a free safety for the Washington Redskins of the NFL.
- Zachary Taylor: The 12th President of the United States, who served from 1849 until his death in 1850.
Nicknames, variations, and adaptations
Common nicknames for Taylor
Some might shorten Taylor to Tay, TayTay, Tally, Tilly or even Ty — all of which can give the name a casual and friendly feel.
Other ways to spell or pronounce this name
Creative spellings include Tayler, Tailer, Tailor, Taylour, Tayla, Teyla and more all reflect a modern trend of personalized name variants.
Foreign versions and adaptations in other languages
In non-English-speaking countries, Taylor is often used in its original form, as it’s easy to pronounce and recognized globally.
Masculine or feminine variations
While Taylor started as a predominantly masculine name, it has become widely accepted as a feminine name over the years, truly embodying a unisex choice.
Is Taylor a good baby name for your family?
Choosing the name Taylor for your child offers a blend of contemporary style and traditional roots. It’s a name that could suit a variety of personalities and professions, and its unisex nature makes it adaptable. As a bonus, it’s easy to spell and pronounce, which reduces the likelihood of spelling or pronunciation mistakes.
If you want a name that is both contemporary and timeless, Taylor can be a wonderful choice. It goes well with a wide range of middle and last names, and it might work well with both traditional and contemporary sibling names.
Take into account the way your last name flows with it, the possibility of nicknames, and how it complements the names of any other kids you have now or may have in the future.
History of the name Taylor, from the 1920s
Historical authorities have pointed out the fact that there are even more persons by the name of Taylor than the common occupation would warrant.
When that is the case, it is usually to be found that this the name has “absorbed,” as they say, some early name of similar sound.
In this case, it has been discovered that two surnames once fairly usual — Teler and Teller, meaning weaver — have become changed to Taylor in present usage.
Thus weavers and tailors alike had descendants who became Taylors, and some of the early Tylers, descended from one who had been a tiler, eventually also became Taylors.
It is interesting that in the Middle Ages, when names were forming, there were other words to indicate the tailor’s trade — and these were Seamer, Shapster and Parmenter. The French equivalent of Taylor is Tailleur and Letailleur, and the German is Schneider, often simplified to Snyder in this country.
The occupational name of Taylor possesses peculiar distinction in this country as the name of one of our Presidents. Needless to say, those who first took it as a surname did so because of their trade.
One of interesting members of the family in this country is James Taylor, who has the peculiar distinction of having been great-grandfather of two Presidents — James Madison and Zachary Taylor. He was the son of James Taylor, the elder who came from Carlisle, England, and settled in Virginia in 1682.
Besides being a Presidential name, Taylor is the name of one of that justly-honored group of men, the Signers of the Declaration of Independence.
This was George Taylor, who was born in Ireland in 1716. He studied medicine and then ran away from home for some reason or other. George Taylor settled in Pennsylvania, and was there chosen to substitute for one of the delegates who refused to sign.