Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Sawyer

The name Sawyer is the quintessential American boy’s name. The etymology is clear: it comes from a beloved American literary character created by Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) called Tom Sawyer. Sawyer became symbolic of this ever-mischief-making, harmlessly naughty, and adventurous little boy. It seems that the word “tomfoolery” should have been created for him (although it wasn’t). In America, the usage of Sawyer as a forename most likely comes from Twain’s enduring character. However, Sawyer also originated as a surname from an occupational name in England. In Middle English the word “saghe” means "one who saws wood" and men with such occupations became known as "sawyers" during medieval times when the process of preparing timber was a critical and indispensible skill, extremely important and highly respected. The earliest recording of this surname in England appeared in the 13th century as “Sayhere.”

All About the Baby Name – Sawyer

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME SAWYER

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 SAWYER

Sawyer first appeared on the U.S. popularity charts in the year 1991, even though the character Tom Sawyer predates that by over 100 years. The name’s appearance on the charts probably followed the growing trend in America that uses surnames as given names. What better name than Sawyer? This is a name that has “little boy” written all over it. When we hear the name Sawyer, we just can’t help smiling to ourselves. The name achieved moderate levels of usage quickly after appearing on the charts, but it suddenly enjoyed a significant push from 2005-2006. No coincidence there; the popular TV drama, Lost, debuted at the end of 2004 and featured a character named James “Sawyer” Ford. Ruggedly handsome, wickedly sarcastic, and generally narcissistic, Sawyer became a fan favorite which is reflected on the naming charts.

Quick Facts

ON SAWYER

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

American

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

120

PRONUNCIATION:

SOY-er

SIMPLE MEANING:

who saws wood; mischievous little boy (via Tom Sawyer)

Characteristics

OF SAWYER

Independent

Individualistic

Ambitious

Strong-willed

Inventive

Successful

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Sawyer

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME SAWYER

Speaking of Mark Twain, Becky Thatcher is his creation out of the pages of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, published in 1876. She is the daughter of the wealthy Judge Thatcher, quite the little aristocrat in Tom’s eyes, and he falls in love with her at first sight. She is an enchanting little girl with long blonde hair and definite opinions. Tom wins her heart for good when he takes the blame for a misdeed of her making, and sustains a whipping for it. Becky Thatcher’s character was based upon a real little girl Samuel Clemens attended school with in Hannibal, Missouri – Laura Hawkins. (When the humorist became famous, at least twenty-five women claimed to have been the model for Becky, but Mr. Clemens named Miss Hawkins.)

Tom Sawyer is the young hero of Mark Twain’s 1876 classic, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and one of the most beloved characters in American literature. Rosy-cheeked, barefoot and mischievous, he embodies boyhood in another time, another place. He inspires nostalgia in us for an era we never knew; he makes us feel as if we did. His adventures include the famous fence whitewashing, the escape from McDougal’s cave, his courtship of Becky Thatcher, the appearance at his own “funeral”, the murder in the cemetery and the escape and demise of Injun Joe. More important than the episodic tales of his derring-do, however, is the evolution of a young boy into a young man in the making. We can see that he will be the type of young man who will honor the moral code being taught by Aunt Polly, and who at the same time will maintain a lively questioning mind about the veracity of some of society’s operating standards. The next most important thing about Tom Sawyer is that he introduces us to Huck Finn.

Joe Harper is Tom Sawyer’s “bosom friend” in Mark Twain’s 1876 classic, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Joe is a typical young boy of the rural South of the 1840s. He and Tom share a united goal: to have adventures, and they are mighty successful at it. Feeling underappreciated and chore-ridden, the boys run away (with Huck Finn) to become pirates on a nearby island. Their illegal fun consists of swimming, rafting, fishing, and exploring. With their grief-stricken families preparing for their funerals, Joe and the boys return home to great rejoicing. Joe Harper’s family background appears to be a little more conventional than Tom’s (and certainly than Huck’s!), and Joe eventually fades into the background of the tale, as Huck takes a more active role. Twain acknowledged that Joe Harper was based upon a schoolroom friend of his, John Briggs, and he is affectionately given the moniker “Terror of the Seas” by a fond Twain.

Popular Songs

ON SAWYER

Tom Sawyer
a song by Rush

Famous People

NAMED SAWYER

Sawyer Sweeten (child actor)
Sawyer Sweeten (child actor)

Children of Famous People

NAMED SAWYER

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME SAWYER

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