Names of the Week: Sawyer and Sunday

Icon of my childhood, the teletubbie sun, from

Both Sawyer and Sunday are names which are growing on me, so it seems apt to cover them collectively for this weekend’s edition of Names of the Week. There’s also another link which connects them, as, whilst we’re covering Sawyer as a male name, it should be noted that there’s been use for him on the female side of things. Same could be said for Sunday, since I flicked through a Metro paper a few months ago to come face to face with a male Sunday. He may just be an unique anomaly, however.

Either way, let’s not get bogged down with any sorts of maths just yet. Say the name Sawyer, and most people will reply or respond Tom. The character Tom Sawyer first appeared in 1876 and was the work of Mark Twain. He’s a classic character, sitting alongside the likes of Jo March, Huckleberry Finn, Jane Eyre and Harry Potter. This market of names is an interesting place to spot unusual new names, but also to kickstart a new naming trend.

The name itself started out life as an occupational surname for those who sawed wood, and he sits nicely amongst the currently popular -er names here in England&Wales right now [2010], which are a mixture of maintstain favourites and surnames: Oliver; Alexander; Tyler; Dexter; Christopher; Peter; Jasper; Xavier; Spencer; Kacper; Fraser.

But, back to the gender dispute, as I can think of three occasions when a celeb has named their child Sawyer, and two of those children are female:

  • Sawyer Jane (Sara Gilbert. sib:Levi Hank)
  • Sawyer Lucia (Diane Farr. sib: Beckett Mancuso and Coco Trinity)
  • Sawyer Steven (Erica Hill. sib:Weston Robert)

What does this indicate for the future? I guess it depends where you live, since this name could trundle the same path as Riley, Taylor or even ‘do an Ashley’, because whilst Sawyer has ranked for the lads, the name hasn’t ranked on the female list at all in the past eight years in England&Wales:

  2003 2004 2005 2006
Rank n/a n/a 3208 1545
Births n/a n/a 4 12
  2007 2008 2009 2010
Rank 1361 1511 1649 1483
Births 16 14 13 16

Right now, the name appears to have stalled somewhat of late, although he has picked up for the 2010 data. I do find it fascinating that not even 3 girls were named Sawyer last year, which is the amount of births needed for a name to be assigned a rank in the data. Of course, in the States, Sawyer ranks at #173 for the lads, and at #784 for the girls, so it’s a name to watch in the coming years.

As for Sunday, according to most strands of Christian tradition, Sunday is the Sabbath Day, which we should keep holy as the Ten Commandments require. Not that many do nowadays. According to a recent BBC News report, there are more people attending Church in China than in the whole of Europe. I’ll admit, I’m one of those shameful people who never go to Church, but I do abstain on principle rather than laziness (my former parish priest was bullied out of the priesthood*). Does this mean Sunday is only limited to the religious? It’s a fine line to walk. She’s no Mohammed or Trinity, since using Sunday doesn’t immediately identify a religion, but could be used to anyway.

Whilst Sunday has fared better than Sawyer in the female arena, she still hasn’t made much of an impact as she’s only ranked in two non-consecutive years out of the last eight years:

  2003 2004 2005 2006
Rank n/a n/a n/a n/a
Births n/a n/a n/a n/a
  2007 2008 2009 2010
Rank 4294 n/a 5556 n/a
Births 4 n/a 3 n/a

It is surprising to note that Nicole Kidman’s daughter, Sunday, came along in mid-2008 so she wasn’t responsible for the sudden peak of popularity in 2007.

The origins of Sunday are quite simple, since it literally means sun’s day, which corresponds with many other Germanic languages words for it, such as the German word sonntag.

I actually quite like the name Sunday, since she shortens down to one of my favourite nicknames: Sunny. I think that can help her appeal somewhat, and does a Poppy/Sunday sibset not sound even slightly plausible? Both are cutesy word names, and indeed would be fitting names for twins born on Remembrance Sunday. It’s a thought to consider.

Categories: Names of the Week, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Names of the Week: Sawyer and Sunday

  1. Yup, two good ‘uns there, Lou. Worth adding that all the English/German days of the week are translations of the (Pagan) Roman ones, which were named after the heavenly bodies — the Sun, Moon, and visible stars and planets — in about the 2nd C.


  2. I like both these names – and – although obviously open to interpretation – to me, Sawyer is a boy’s name, and Sunday isn’t overtly religious or Christian (unless the middle name is Mass or something!!!)

    Even Nicole Kidman, who is a Catholic, didn’t choose Sunday for religious reasons, but because it was their favourite day of the week.


  3. Awkward Turtle

    My preferred route to Sunny is Susannah, like one of my great aunts (it makes more sense with the South African pronounciation). I do like Sunday as a quirkier middle name though.


  4. Sunday is really growing on me, too! It’s just so pretty, and I love Sun as a nickname. And Sawyer on a girl is interesting.


  5. Pingback: Something Special about S « Mer de Noms

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