Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Adam

The name Adam hardly needs an introduction. In the Bible, it’s the name of the very first man God created (Genesis 2). Adam was formed out of “the dust from the ground” and brought to life when God breathed His spirit into him. The Hebrew word “adamah” means “ground, earth, soil”, fittingly since dust/dirt was the essential ingredient of God’s creation. And we thought being created from a rib was bad; how’d you like to be made of dirt? We’d rather be made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails! Ah, but we digress. Adam is also the generic term for “mankind” as told in Genesis 5:2. The first human being Adam has also supplied us with a few idioms; for instance, to “not know someone from Adam” (meaning to not know him at all); “Adam’s ale” (water); and, our personal favorite, “Adam’s apple” (the bulge in men’s throats representing where the forbidden apple got stuck). Although we josh, Adam is probably one of the coolest names around. It’s the first masculine given name EVER; and not only that, it was given by God Himself. What if God had decided to name Adam Jayden or Dwayne or something tragic like that? According to the Bible, here are the first 20 baby boy names in the history of mankind: Adam, Cain, Abel, Enoch, Irad, Mehujael, Methusael, Lamech, Jabal, Jubal, Tubalcain, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch (again), Methuselah, Lamech (again) and, finally, Noah. Only seven of these 20 names are in any kind of familiar circulation in the United States. Can you guess which ones? We will say this: Adam and Noah are both Top 100 favorites, and we can see why. There’s a certain timelessness to Adam which will always secure his place on our list. Other nations agree. Here’s where Adam is currently a Top 100 favorite (in rough order of popularity): Hungary, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Belgium, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Scotland, Catalonia, France, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, England, Australia, Norway, the United States, Croatia and Slovenia. This one totally transcends ethnic borders all over the Western World.

All About the Baby Name – Adam

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME ADAM

The number one personality is a leader - strong and competitive. They are willing to initiate action and take risks. One personalities work hard toward their endeavors and have the ability to apply their creative and innovative thinking skills with strong determination. They believe in their ability to succeed and are too stubborn to be hindered by obstacles. Ones meet obstacles head-on with such mental vigor and energy that you better step aside. They resent taking orders, so don't try telling them what to do either. This is an intensely active personality, but they are also known as starters rather than finishers. They have a propensity to become bored and will move quickly to the next project if not properly challenged.  They are the ones to think up and put into action new and brilliant ideas, but they are not the ones to stick around and manage them. This personality has an enthusiastic and pioneering spirit. They are distinctly original.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME ADAM

We can say with some certainly that Adam has been around and in circulation since the days of colonization. However, we only have naming trend data that dates back to 1880. Adam entered the 20th century with solid usage; however, the name did not hit America’s Top 100 list until 1970. The name achieved its peak popularity in 1983 and 1984 when Adam was the 18th most commonly bestowed baby boy’s name in the nation. It still remains a Top 100 favorite but it appears to be slipping ever so slightly. With a name like Adam, though, it doesn’t seem to matter. There will never be a sense of trendiness or contemporary fashion associated with this age-old name of simple dignity.

Quick Facts

ON ADAM

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

82

PRONUNCIATION:

A-dәm

SIMPLE MEANING:

Man, earth, ground

Characteristics

OF ADAM

Independent

Individualistic

Ambitious

Strong-willed

Inventive

Successful

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Adam

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME ADAM

Adam Bede is George Eliot’s first novel, published in 1859, written under the pen name used by Mary Ann Evans. The protagonist, Adam Bede, is almost too good to be true. He is an upright, moral and popular young carpenter, who is in love with the vain and shallow Hetty Sorrel. She, of course, loves the dashing squire, Arthur Donnitthorne, and conducts a clandestine affair with him, resulting in her pregnancy and his (albeit unknowing) abandonment. Young Bede appears to have his eyes permanently closed, believing Hetty to be repentant of even thinking of Donnitthorne, not knowing quite how far the affair has gone beyond thinking, and he still wishes to marry her. Such falls from grace as Hetty’s may not go unpunished, of course, so after killing her infant daughter and trying unsuccessfully to summon up the courage to commit suicide, Hetty is arrested, tried and condemned to death. Enter the pious and lovely Dinah Morris, a cousin of Hetty’s and a kind of lay preacher. She persuades Hetty to repent; Captain Donnitthorne returns and learns her fate and her sentence is commuted. What could possibly complete this pretty, tidy picture? Why of course – good Adam marries good Dinah who retires from the ministry circuit and they live happily ever after with their children, conceived within wedlock.

Paradise Lost is widely considered to be one of the most important and beautiful works in English literature. Written by the blind poet John Milton and published in 1667, it purports to tell the story of the conflict between God and Satan and the fall of Man, embodied in the creations of Adam and Eve as personified in the Christian biblical tradition. As drawn by Milton, Adam is, while certainly larger than life, very much of life. Set against the celestially overbearing figures of Good and Evil, God and Satan, Adam and Eve are touchingly, well, human. They live in the Garden of Earthly Delights and presumably have everything they could possibly want, including a personal relationship with God. They are warned against only one thing: eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Naturally, setting a standard for us lowly humans for millennia to come, they eat the apple and suffer the consequences. It is in this action of disobedience, however, where Adam shows himself to be a truly good Man. While Eve succumbs to the temptations of the Devil who preys upon her vanity, Adam joins her in sin simply because she is the Woman he loves. Many lessons to be learned here (perhaps not all of which Milton would approve).

In this beautiful poem by William Butler Yeats, published in his 1904 collection, In The Seven Woods, the poet touchingly decries the sin of the First Man which resulted in the curse of the separation of pleasure and labor being imposed upon mankind. Henceforward from that sin, nothing, no poem, could be brought to fruition except through toil and torture. “A line will take us hours maybe; Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought, Our stitching and unstitching has been naught”. No thing of beauty is without its laborious origin, no love without its wearying, disheartening let-down. This is Adam’s Curse, and yet we labor on.

Popular Songs

ON ADAM

Adam and Eve
a song by Paul Anka

The fall of Adam
a song for Marilyn Manson

Song for Adam
a song by Jackson Browne

Adam's Song
a song by Blink 182

Adam's Apple
a song by Aerosmith

Adam Raised a Cain
a song by Bruce Springsteen

Adam Lives in Theory
a song by Lauryn Hill

Adam in Chains
a song by Billy Idol

Adam at the Window
a song by Mary Black

Famous People

NAMED ADAM

Adam Ant (singer)
Adam Baldwin (actor)
Adam Beach (actor)
Adam Brody (actor)
Adam Carolla (TV personality)
Adam Clayton (musician)
Adam Curry (original MTV VJ)
Adam Duritz (musician)
Adam Goldberg (actor)
Adam Green (musician)
Adam Horovitz (musician)
Adam Jones (guitarist)
Adam Lambert (singer)
Adam Levine (musician)
Adam Sandler (actor/comic)
Adam West (actor)
Adam Yauch (musician)
Adam Smith (economist)

Children of Famous People

NAMED ADAM

We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Adam

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME ADAM

We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Adam