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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Baby Name to Consider: Hooper

Bea writes:
I have been mulling over the name Hooper for the last little while and wondering if it is a name people would consider.  It has so many things that are trending for it right now.  It is a surname, which is ever popular right now.  It also comes from the big book of medieval professions and matches names like Tanner and Cooper.  It has also got the "er" ending.  It has so many things going for it, but could it really catch on?  I have a feeling that "Hooper Pooper" would taunt the child too much to make anyone consider it.  I can't decide if I like it or if I would even consider it for one my own boys.  What do you think?

I was very surprised to go to the Social Security Administration data base and not find the name Hooper AT ALL in the 2011 stats. (Names are only in the data base if they're given to at least 5 girls or at least 5 boys, so this means Hooper was used 0-4 times.) Cooper, for comparison, was given to 5,140 new baby boys and 106 new baby girls in 2011.

In 2010, there were 5 new baby boys named Hooper. In 2009, it's not in the data base. In 2008, there were 6 new baby boys named Hooper. Why so low?

I could see people being turned away by the Hooper/pooper rhyme---but the name Cooper has the exact same issue and is nevertheless fairly common: #82 in 2011.

Could it be that Hooper has too strong an association hoops? Or with Hoosiers? But it seems like those could just as easily be positive as negative, and Cooper has a similar association with chicken coops.

Or is it that it sounds too much like the word whoop? Maybe it's Cooper's strong leading consonant sound that makes it more useable.

My primary association with Hooper is Mr. Hooper's store on Sesame Street. For me, it's a strong positive association.

Let's have a poll over to the right to see what everyone else thinks. [Poll closed; see results below.]

Poll results for "What do you think of the name Hooper?" (423 votes total):

I love it! I'd want to use it! - 3 votes (1%)
I like it! I'd want to consider it! - 16 votes (4%)
I like it for someone else's baby - 82 votes (19%)
No particular opinion - 28 votes (7%)
Slight dislike - 150 votes (35%)
Strong dislike - 144 votes (34%)


StephLove said...

It reminds me of that annoying little rodent with glasses who used to be featured in the in-between show segments during PBS kids' shows. His name was Hooper, an homage to Mr. Hooper, no doubt. (Now Mr. Hooper I liked.)

Anonymous said...

I don't know why it doesn't sit well with me...I don't really like the sound, but then again I'm not a fan of Cooper either. Hooper makes me think of hoovers and whooping cough.

Anonymous said...

I had a Dr. Seuss book as a kid that I instantly thought of: Unfortunately, Hooper is sort of the "loser" in that story...

Jessica said...

Hooper just sounds too much like a noun (plus -er) name to me. I realize coop is a noun, too, but it's used far less than hoop, allowing the name to gain traction. Whereas the association with hoops is very strong.

Suzanne said...

I immediately thought of Mr. Hooper's store from Sesame Street. It is a positive connection - I love Sesame Street! - but it's too strong a connection for me to think of the name as a name. Like other things I really like - Christmas, Vacation, Cabernet - but could never use as a name. Although I'm sure if you asked someone in 1845 if they ever thought of "Cooper" as a first name they would have laughed at you too.

Lashley said...

It does make me think of hoops. I had to look it up but a hooper is a hoop maker, whereas I know that a cooper is a barrel maker, so maybe that creates a little more distance between the profession and the surname/name? To me, it just sounds like a word for someone who plays basketball, though.

Also, I think because Cooper is a more common surname than Hooper (#64 vs #936 on the 2000 census), it just resonates more strongly as a name, first or last, for me.

Diane said...

I do think it gets used as a name: for dogs. That might be why it's not much of a kid's name YET.

Maybe in a few years it will start getting used on more children. Maybe not.

I have such a strong dog-name association with it that I have a hard time hearing it as a person name right now.

Anonymous said...

I am not a fan of any "ooper" name.

Amy said...

I also was strongly reminded of the Hooper Humperdink, Not Him! book. It's essentially a children's name book, alphabetical, listing all of the people invited to a party and Hooper Humperdink is not invited. So that is a negative from me.

Lena Phillips said...

I live near a city named Hooper but everyone from here pronounces it kind of like "huh-per" (there are a lot of country folk here). Anyway, it's a negative association for me simply because the people here botch the name and make it sound so twangy. I can't stand it. It's hard for me to picture it on a person, but it is almost the same as Cooper and Cooper doesn't bother me. I wonder why that is?

Kristen said...

Lena, I have the same association (My husband is from Hooper, Utah). There's a definite art to saying the town name right, and it's definitely hard to picture on a person

liz said...

Mark me down as another Mr. Hooper from Sesame Street fan.

Ms. Key said...

This felt so familiar to me, I was surprised it isn't used... I was thinking, wasn't there a TV show with a Mr. Hooper. However, then I remembered that I was thinking of "Hanging with Mr. Cooper", lol.

I think because of Cooper, it seems familiar. I am not personally a fan of this name, but I'm not one considering the name Cooper for a future child either so personal preference of course.

Eva.G said...

I like it! It seems so familiar and natural and I'm not sure why anyone would strongly dislike it, as it already feels like a name!

When I was 12, I met a boy named Cooper who would now be in his late 20's (his parents were ahead of the times!). After that, Cooper was one of my favorite boy names until I was probably 18. So I'm partial to the similar sound of Hooper.

christy said...

I think Lashley nailed it, hooper isn't a very common surname (probably why everyone jumps to sesame street - the only person we know with the name) so instead of thinking 'name' we think 'hoop maker'

Anonymous said...

Hooper is a family name for me (a surname that was turned into a first name in the 1800s, and has been used in each generation since). Like previous commenter's town, it is pronounced huh-per--almost like "hupper" (although we tend to just use the "hoop-er" pronunciation because everyone else does). My husband loves Cooper, so I am very partial to using Hooper as a boy's name. I think I'd put it with a very traditional middle name, and tend to call him the double name to make it more traditional (and prevent the Hooper Pooper comments).