Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Turner

Turner is the transferred use of a very common Old English surname with three possible etymologies. The most common derivation is that of an occupation; in this case from the Anglo-Norman word “torner” describing a person who made small objects of wood, metal, stone or other materials which would be crafted on a lathe – a machine requiring the turning of a handle (hence the name). Another occupation, someone who would have officiated a tournament of some kind, would have come from the Old French word “tornei”. Lastly, Turner is sometimes considered the transferred use of a nickname from the Middle English “turnen” meaning “to turn, rotate” plus “hare” to describe a nimble and fast runner. The surname was first recorded as “Turnur” in the late 12th century and remains one of the most ubiquitous English surnames. Not surprisingly there were some Turners on the “Mayflower” which arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620; Turner is a common surname in America as well. As a forename, Turner is used primarily in the U.S. As a surname-turned-first-name Turner could be considered gender-neutral although it’s mainly used on baby boys.

All About the Baby Name – Turner

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME TURNER

Romance is the hallmark of the Six personality. They exude nurturing, loving, and caring energy. Sixes are in love with the idea of love in its idealized form - and with their magnetic personalities, they easily draw people toward them. Like the number Two personality, they seek balance and harmony in their life and the world at large. They are conscientious and service-oriented, and a champion for the underdog. These personalities naturally attract money and are usually surrounded by lovely material objects - but their human relationships are always primary. They thrive in giving back to others rather than being motivated by their own desires. This is when they achieve great things. Sixes are natural teachers, ministers and counselors.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME TURNER

Turner’s usage as a legally given first name dates back to the 19th century. In the first part of the 20th century Turner saw comparatively low success rates but the fact he was even on there at all surprised us. Eventually the name petered out and fell out of circulation. His hiatus from the charts would last for roughly 70 years; then Turner returned in the mid-1990s. Obviously the heightened American trend that favors surnames as first names helped to restore Turner to the charts; however, this one is not a top pick when you consider all the available surnames out there. In fact, Turner is barely hanging on to the charts at this point still. Perhaps Turner is too Anglo-Saxon bland for most parents; or already too common as a last name (it’s the 49th most common surname in the U.S.). But, hey, so is Parker and Carter and both of those are quite popular as first names today.

Quick Facts

ON TURNER

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

886

PRONUNCIATION:

TUR-ner

SIMPLE MEANING:

Lathe worker; Tournament official; or Fast runner

Characteristics

OF TURNER

Humanitarian

Community-minded

Family-oriented

Loving

Affectionate

Compassionate

Sensitive

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Turner

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME TURNER

We cannot find any significant literary characters by the name of Turner

Popular Songs

ON TURNER

We cannot find any popular or well-known songs with the name of Turner


Famous People

NAMED TURNER

Turner Barber (baseball player)
Turner Stevenson (hockey player)
Turner Ward (baseball player)

Children of Famous People

NAMED TURNER

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME TURNER

Born Julia Jean Turner in Idaho in 1921, Lana Turner’s mother was only 16 and her father was a poor minor. Having hit hard times, the small family moved to San Francisco where her father was robbed and murdered leaving a craps game with his winnings stuffed in his sock. Mother and daughter soon relocated to Los Angeles where they struggled against poverty. Hollywood lore tells us that the beautiful teenager was “discovered” drinking a Coke at a Sunset Boulevard café by the publisher of “The Hollywood Reporter”. Struck by her fresh face and gorgeous figure, he referred her to Zeppo Marx (brother of Groucho) and the young starlet was immediately signed by MGM. She attracted attention at the young age of sixteen in the 1937 film “They Won’t Forget” after which she earned the nickname “The Sweater Girl” (apparently much to her chagrin). She would go onto play the beautiful, young ingénue for the next several years before establishing herself as a leading lady. Lana Turner is most known for such films as: “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” (1941) as one of the original horror film scream queens; “The Postman Always Rings Twice” (1946) as the femme fatale; and for her talented performances in “Peyton Place” (1957) and “Imitation of Life” (1959). Perhaps overshadowing a long and illustrious career in Hollywood was an unfortunate 1958 scandal involving Lana’s daughter Cheryl Crane who stabbed to death Lana’s gangster boyfriend Johnny Stompanato apparently in self-defense (later ruled justifiable homicide). Lana Turner’s rise to Hollywood fame is one of the true Cinderella stories of her day.