Cool Name of the Week: Matilda

For my daughters’ birthdays, we tend to give “experiences” instead of tangible gifts—special events that suit their passions at the moment. In the past, that’s meant a trip to the zoo and a carriage ride through the park, tickets to the ballet or to see Ringo Starr in concert (which meant that my daughter scored the jackpot of having her first rock concert be a rare reunion of the two remaining Beatles). Each year, my husband and I switch off on the planning, and only one of us goes—so each girl gets some special one-on-one time. This is my year to make the plans, and I already know that we’re hitting the brand new Broadway show Matilda when I head out with my oldest. She adored the book and the movie, and from the great buzz the musical is getting (it’s already had a wildly popular run in London), I’m sure she’ll be thrilled that we’re going to see it.

But I’m wondering if the musical will finally help bring this old-fashioned name back into prominence. Matilda is a strong German name that means battle mighty, and currently is in the top 800 baby names for girls. It was a top 100 baby name back in the 1880s, but declined until it bottomed out near the top 1000 baby names here in the U.S. until recently, when late actor Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams chose it for their daughter. (It’s an ultra popular name in Heath’s native Australia, and it’s also a top 50 name in England.)

But it’s a name that I’ve noticed a few times in my daughters’ school circles (in fact, my daughter’s talent show partner bears the name). Matilda comes with some cute nicknames—Mattie, Tillie and Tilda are the most common.

I’d love to see it paired with a short and sweet middle name—June, Maeve, or Jade.

What do you think of the name Matilda? Do you love the Roald Dahl classic?

Photo: Pregnant woman via Ronald Summers/

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  1. by Lisa

    On March 12, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Nope – not a fan. I was an elementary teacher, so I’ve definitely read the book, but did not like it.

  2. by langela

    On March 12, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Sorry I think the name is awful. To old….

  3. by Heidi

    On March 12, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    I love the name Matilda! I think it is cute and not old-lady sounding at all. I like that it is easy to spell and lends itself to cute nicknames.

  4. by Jane

    On March 12, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    it is a stupid name who ever names there baby this should be shot the poor kid would go through life getting made fun of