Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Gordon

Gordon is the transferred use of a surname into a masculine personal name, and one with both Scottish and Anglo-Norman origins.  From the Scottish perspective, the surname comes from the Old Gaelic elements “gor” meaning “spacious, large” and “dun” meaning "fort" which would have described a “large fortress”-like settlement (an example of a surname created from a place name – i.e., where a man hailed from originally – as a form of identification).  The alternate meaning originated with the Norman-French, from a place name in France, likely derived from “Gordus” – an ancient Gallo-Roman masculine name probably from the Latin “gurgitem” meaning “weir” (a low dam or barrier built across a river usually for the purpose of trapping fish). This word is also believed to be connected to the Anglo-French “gorge” meaning a “stream of water.”  In both cases, the surnames Gordon, Gorden, Gordun and Gourdon were taken from place names. Usage of Gordon as a forename is largely owned to a British military leader, Charles George Gordon (1833-1885), who was killed while suppressing a Muslim revolt in the Sudan (back at home, Gordon was hailed as a Christian hero who died for his country).

All About the Baby Name – Gordon

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME GORDON

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 GORDON

Usage of the name Gordon dates back to the 19th century in the United States (which is as far back as we have available data) and was actually quite popular by the turn of the 20th century.  The name’s heyday was mostly enjoyed during the 19-teens, 20s and 30s when Gordon was a consistent Top 100 favorite (1935 was his best year ever at #70 on the charts).   From there the name slowly dropped from fashionable usage and by the 1970s, his descent became more pronounced.  2008 marks the last year we find old Gordon on America’s Top 1000 list – which basically means he’s off the radar. To put this in perspective, only 188 baby boys were called Gordon in 2013 putting this name on par with the likes of Howard and Sheldon.  Ok, so maybe Gordon is a little crusty, but this name is definitely dignified and very British-sounding (Gordon, Simon, Nigel – they sound like they should be brothers running around the English countryside).  

Quick Facts

ON GORDON

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

French

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

N/A

PRONUNCIATION:

GOR-dən

SIMPLE MEANING:

Large fort (or weir)

Characteristics

OF GORDON

Independent

Individualistic

Ambitious

Strong-willed

Inventive

Successful

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Gordon

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME GORDON

Gordon Lachance is the narrator and central character in Stephen King’s 1982 novella, The Body, and its 1986 film adaptation, Stand By Me. Gordon is a small town twelve-year-old boy in 1960 who embarks upon a life-changing adventure with his buddies. He and his friends are all products of – at best – indifferent parents – at worst – abusive ones. Hearing their older brothers talk about finding the dead body of a missing boy, the “gang” sets out to find the body themselves. The ensuing journey results in a harrowing rite of passage to the beginnings of maturity and initiation into adulthood. Gordon is the one among them with the sensitive side; it is he who looks back on the events many years later and relates them. Gordon is every bit the insecure pre-adolescent boy that they are, however, there is something in his soul that also allows him to see the beauty of a foraging doe in the early morning light. It is that shard of his soul that proves to be his salvation and allows him to rise above his sordid surroundings, while his poor companions fall victim to them.

Popular Songs

ON GORDON

Peggy Gordon
a song by The Clancy Brothers

Famous People

NAMED GORDON

Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner (aka "Sting" musician)
Gordon Lightfoot (American folk singer)
Gordon Ramsay (famous chef)
Gordon Parks (African-American photographer)
James Gordon Brown (PM of Britian)
Gordon B. Hinckley (Mormon religious leader)
Gordon Strachan (Scottish football manager)
Gordon Campbell (Canadian politician)
Gordon Jenkins (music composer)
Gordon R. Dickson (sci-fi author)
Gordon Beckham (baseball player)

Children of Famous People

NAMED GORDON

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME GORDON

Lord Byron was a leading English poet and a leader of the Romantic Movement, some of whose most famous narrative works were “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage” and “Don Juan”. He was also a social activist, calling upon Parliament to honor the claims of the Luddites, the revolutionary group who opposed the mechanization of labor. Almost as well known for his personal life as for his poetry, Byron was the subject of much gossip and rumor, from the scandal that he had an affair and fathered a daughter with his half-sister, to the numerous other illicit romantic liaisons he instigated in his short life, both with men and women, to his personal excesses and debts. Club-footed from birth, Byron was exceedingly self-conscious of his defect, while being very vain about his good looks and his height (5’11”). It is said that he wore curlers in his hair at night, that he was a strict vegetarian who occasionally ate red meat and then purged. He was aware of his notoriety and seemed to revel in being the living epitome of the “Byronic hero”. His wife coined the term “Byromania”, referring to all the public attention that he got – as the precursor of today’s super celebrities. Lord Byron fathered at least two daughters, one by his short lived marriage to Annabella Milbanke Byron, another as the result of an affair, and possibly a third, the daughter his half-sister gave birth to. When his marriage ended, Byron spent the last eight years of his life abroad, where a somewhat more forgiving societal rule prevailed. In 1824, while preparing to join the Greek uprising against Ottoman rule, he contracted a fever, was subjected to bloodletting, and finally died in Greece, where he is revered as a national hero. It took somewhat longer for such status to attach to him in his homeland, but in 1969, a mere 145 years after his death, a memorial to George Gordon, Lord Byron, was finally placed in Westminster Abbey. Oh, those impulsive Brits!

Lord Byron was a leading English poet and a leader of the Romantic Movement, some of whose most famous narrative works were “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage” and “Don Juan”. He was also a social activist, calling upon Parliament to honor the claims of the Luddites, the revolutionary group who opposed the mechanization of labor. Almost as well known for his personal life as for his poetry, Byron was the subject of much gossip and rumor, from the scandal that he had an affair and fathered a daughter with his half-sister, to the numerous other illicit romantic liaisons he instigated in his short life, both with men and women, to his personal excesses and debts. Club-footed from birth, Byron was exceedingly self-conscious of his defect, while being very vain about his good looks and his height (5’11”). It is said that he wore curlers in his hair at night, that he was a strict vegetarian who occasionally ate red meat and then purged. He was aware of his notoriety and seemed to revel in being the living epitome of the “Byronic hero”. His wife coined the term “Byromania”, referring to all the public attention that he got – as the precursor of today’s super celebrities. Lord Byron fathered at least two daughters, one by his short lived marriage to Annabella Milbanke Byron, another as the result of an affair, and possibly a third, the daughter his half-sister gave birth to. When his marriage ended, Byron spent the last eight years of his life abroad, where a somewhat more forgiving societal rule prevailed. In 1824, while preparing to join the Greek uprising against Ottoman rule, he contracted a fever, was subjected to bloodletting, and finally died in Greece, where he is revered as a national hero. It took somewhat longer for such status to attach to him in his homeland, but in 1969, a mere 145 years after his death, a memorial to George Gordon, Lord Byron, was finally placed in Westminster Abbey. Oh, those impulsive Brits!

Born into the slums of Brooklyn in 1905 as the only daughter of Robert and Sarah Bow, Clara had a harsh upbringing. Sarah was mentally ill resulting from a head injury she sustained as a teenager from a fall and Clara spent much of her childhood taking care of her mother. Her father was often absent and barely supported the family. Perhaps it was this very abject early life that would provide Clara with her acting talent later known for its wide range of emotions. It was as if she could “live inside” any role given to her. The famous director Victor Fleming once compared Clara Bow to a Stradivarius violin: "Touch her and she responded with genius." The turning point of her success came in 1927 when she starred in the silent film “It”, a Cinderella story which would forever stamp Clara with the sobriquet “The It Girl.” She became the biggest female box office draw during the years between 1927 and 1930 and a leading sex symbol of the times. Clara Bow acted in over 50 films spanning from the silent era into the “talkies” but she ended her Hollywood career at the young age of 28. Hollywood and her immense fame never really appealed to Clara Bow. She would go onto marry Rex Bell and retire as a Nevada rancher raising her two sons.

Born into the slums of Brooklyn in 1905 as the only daughter of Robert and Sarah Bow, Clara had a harsh upbringing. Sarah was mentally ill resulting from a head injury she sustained as a teenager from a fall and Clara spent much of her childhood taking care of her mother. Her father was often absent and barely supported the family. Perhaps it was this very abject early life that would provide Clara with her acting talent later known for its wide range of emotions. It was as if she could “live inside” any role given to her. The famous director Victor Fleming once compared Clara Bow to a Stradivarius violin: "Touch her and she responded with genius." The turning point of her success came in 1927 when she starred in the silent film “It”, a Cinderella story which would forever stamp Clara with the sobriquet “The It Girl.” She became the biggest female box office draw during the years between 1927 and 1930 and a leading sex symbol of the times. Clara Bow acted in over 50 films spanning from the silent era into the “talkies” but she ended her Hollywood career at the young age of 28. Hollywood and her immense fame never really appealed to Clara Bow. She would go onto marry Rex Bell and retire as a Nevada rancher raising her two sons.

Born into the slums of Brooklyn in 1905 as the only daughter of Robert and Sarah Bow, Clara had a harsh upbringing. Sarah was mentally ill resulting from a head injury she sustained as a teenager from a fall and Clara spent much of her childhood taking care of her mother. Her father was often absent and barely supported the family. Perhaps it was this very abject early life that would provide Clara with her acting talent later known for its wide range of emotions. It was as if she could “live inside” any role given to her. The famous director Victor Fleming once compared Clara Bow to a Stradivarius violin: "Touch her and she responded with genius." The turning point of her success came in 1927 when she starred in the silent film “It”, a Cinderella story which would forever stamp Clara with the sobriquet “The It Girl.” She became the biggest female box office draw during the years between 1927 and 1930 and a leading sex symbol of the times. Clara Bow acted in over 50 films spanning from the silent era into the “talkies” but she ended her Hollywood career at the young age of 28. Hollywood and her immense fame never really appealed to Clara Bow. She would go onto marry Rex Bell and retire as a Nevada rancher raising her two sons.