Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Tommy

Tommy is an English diminutive of Thomas. Thomas comes from the New Testament, borne by one of Jesus’ 12 apostles, and one to whom Christ appeared after his resurrection. “Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came…But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.’” [John 20:24]. Eight days later Jesus appeared directly to Thomas himself; this time, Thomas believed. However, he was henceforth referred to as “Doubting Thomas” since he had to be convinced of Jesus’ resurrection. Who can blame the guy? It was this “doubting” quality that humanized the Biblical character and popularized the name in Christendom. Thomas comes from the Greek “Didymus” (from the Aramaic Ta’oma) which means “twin” (so as a diminutive form, Tommy means “little twin”). Thomas was mainly used by priests until Western Europeans were exposed to it during the Crusades in the Middle Ages. By the 12th century, Thomas was quite popular throughout England, in part, popularized by the English martyr Thomas Becket, an archbishop of Canterbury who was killed on the church altar during a service. The name has remained a perennial favorite among English-speaking nations and is also quite popular in France. The youthful, casual Tommy (as an independently given name) is used mainly in the United States.

All About the Baby Name – Tommy

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME TOMMY

The number Five personality loves the excitement of life and can easily adapt to all situations. As natural adventurers, these personalities thrive on the new and unexpected and prefer to be in constant motion. It makes them feel alive. They'll stir up some action if there's not enough around, and as inherent risk-takers they enjoy pushing the envelope. Naturally rebellious, the Five personality has no fear and never resists change.  Traveling and new experiences feed their souls. Fives are very social and attract friends with ease. People love to be around the Five fun-loving and exciting energy.  This is also a lucky number in numerology (like the Threes), so fortune seems to shine on them, helped along by their own optimism and good-nature. Fives have a quick wit, a cerebral mind, and are generally very persuasive. 

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME TOMMY

We were surprised to learn that Tommy dates back to the late 1800s on the American charts. The name feels too nicknamey to be given independently, but we were wrong. Of course Tommy has never been as popular as Thomas; it has managed to survive independently on the charts. In fact, Tommy was even a Top 100 favorite in America for the 20 years between 1934 and 1954. The name’s successful usage was probably owed to Tommy Dorsey, the hugely popular composer and bandleader (and jazz trombonist) from the Big Band era of music (1930s to 50s). Since the 1960s, though, Tommy has been on a downwards trajectory and is now used with only the lightest of moderation. We also associate the name with The Who’s groundbreaking rock opera simply titled “Tommy” (1969) about a “deaf, dumb and blind” kid who assumes a Messiah-type role among his many followers and disciples. We also recall a 1995 road comedy “Tommy Boy” about a dim-witted but well-intentioned heir to an auto parts empire. Tommy is just one of those quintessential “little boy” names. It’s extremely youthful and colloquial to be given as a legal first name, yet many parents prefer these super laid-back and informal pet forms of names. There are a lot of them on the American male naming charts: Eddie, Jimmy, Billy, Willie, Ronnie, Frankie, Danny, Kenny, and Johnny. Even Sonny is on the list. But there’s something about Tommy that feels the most youthful and sweet. If you want to toughen up this name a bit, we suggest you use “Lee” for a middle name (referring to Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe or Tommy Lee Jones the rough-and-tumble American actor).

Quick Facts

ON TOMMY

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

661

PRONUNCIATION:

TAHM-ee

SIMPLE MEANING:

Little twin

Characteristics

OF TOMMY

Freedom-loving

Adventurous

Adaptable

Intellectual

Easygoing

Progressive

Sensual

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Tommy

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME TOMMY

Tommy Settergren is a character in Swedish author Astrid Lindgren’s popular children’s series, Pippi Longstocking, begun in 1945, which have enjoyed numerous translations to other languages and media. The stories center on nine-year-old Pippi, she of the red-headed-sticking-out braids. She is an independent and mischievous little girl who possesses superhuman powers, and who uses her wits to cause havoc among the condescending adults she finds around her. Tommy is one of her best friends, along with his sister Annika; together the three children embark upon extraordinary adventures, which make Mrs. Settergren nervous. She does not wholly approve of Pippi (indeed, many parents do not), but her children adore her. Tommy, in fact, who is almost impossibly well-mannered, formally educated and sheltered (all of which things Pippi is decidedly not), needs a good dose of Pippi-ness, and he gets it. In the end, even Mrs. Settergren is won over, because Pippi is that noblest of creatures – a good friend.

Popular Songs

ON TOMMY

The Ballad of Tommy and Marla
a song by Rugburns

Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out
a song by The Replacements

Tommy the Cat
a song by Primus

Tommy Gun
a song by The Clash

Tommy Brown
a song by Sonny James

Tommy Can You Hear Me?
a song by The Who

Tommy Boy
a song by Snoop Dogg

Tommy
a rock opera by The Who

Tommy's Holiday Camp
a song by The Who

Famous People

NAMED TOMMY

Tommy Lee Jones (actor)
Tommy Lee (musician/born Thomas Lee Bass)
Tommy Hilfiger (fashion designer, born Thomas Hilfiger)
Tommy Dorsey (jazz musician/bandleader, born Thomas Dorsey)
Thomas "Tommy" Gambino (notorious mobster)
Tommy Lloyd (basketball coach for Gonzaga University)
Tommy Mercer (wrestler)
Tommy Robredo (Spanish tennis player)
Tommy Shaw (guitarist)
Tommy Steele (early British rock star, born Thomas Hicks)

Children of Famous People

NAMED TOMMY

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME TOMMY

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