l-r: Penny, Leonard and Sheldon, from

I’ve only recently started watching hit sitcom The Big Band Theory, and only really after a friend cornered me and had me watch an episode.

Two of the main characters of the show are best friends Sheldon and Leonard, who happen to live together. They are collectively named after a man named Sheldon Leonard: a man best known for his work in American film and tv.

The name Sheldon originates as a surname, and he comes from Old English meaning valley with steep sides. It also happens to be a pretty common place name. However, despite being a common place name in Britain, it’s not a common name in itself and especially not for babes born today as he ranked at #1600 in 2011, being only given to 14 boys.

Rather curiously, Nameberry also lists Sheldon as a female name.

As for Leonard, it may come across as a rather dowdy name, popularly used for the elder generation. Whether or not we’ll see a sudden resurgence in the name Leonard, following the rather remarkable success story of Stanley (#80 and rising in England&Wales in 2011), remains to be seen, but he is a fine name.

He currently ranks at #361, being outranked by Leonardo at #215.

As for the meaning of the name, he comes from Germanic origins and means brave lion.

Categories: Name Profile | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Sheldon&Leonard

  1. I have a strange fondness for the name Leonard, but not surprised he’s outranked by Leonardo. I have trouble thinking of Sheldon as anything but a surname – but, as with Jackson, Jagger, Archer et al, if I knew 20 kids called Sheldon it would be a different story.

    I’ve been reading a lot of Nameberry entries lately, and can’t believe how many names are counted as unisex! And yet often names that actually are unisex, or even masculine, like Darragh, you’re told to only use the name for girls. Odd.


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