Spotlight on: Jude

Laura recently asked for a spotlight on the name Jude, one of my favorites and I know a lot of you love it, too.

I had a sense that Jude is one of those “new” Catholicky Catholic names, in that it wasn’t used too much until recently, and I looked it up on the SSA site and lo, I was right:



Pretty crazy popularity chart, right? Like, what’s the spike between 1955 (#954) and 1957 (#799), especially since it didn’t even make the top 1000 in 1956? Why did it decrease so much from 1977 to 1978? Why the huge jump from 1999 to 2000? I’m not going to research all that — I might be at the computer all day! — but I suspect the 1999-2000 jump is likely due to actor Jude Law, and the Beatles’ Hey Jude was released in 1968, which corresponds to a jump up. Thomas Hardy also wrote the novel Jude the Obscure in 1895, and a movie of it was released in 1996. (Did anyone see it? It’s completely unfamiliar to me.)

But for us, as I wrote here, Jude is the apostle Jude Thaddeus, the saint of desperate situations and impossible causes, hospitals, and hospital workers (all of which fits right in with the related but also separate association of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which was a direct result of a prayer to St. Jude by Danny Thomas). gives this snippet about St. Jude:

Son of Cleophas, who died a martyr, and Mary who stood at the foot of the Cross, and who annointed Christ’s body after death. Brother of Saint James the Lesser. Nephew of Mary and Joseph; blood relative of Jesus Christ, and reported to look a lot like him. May have been a fisherman. Apostle.

Wrote the canonical Epistle named for him. Preached in Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia with Saint Simon. Healer. Exorcist. Could exorcise pagan idols, which caused the demons to flee and the statues to crumble.”

(Kind of sounds like he’s the perfect guy to turn to right now, no? Impossible causes and desperate situations … preached in Syria … exorcist …)

I hadn’t remembered that he was the brother of James — kind of cool for a family with a James to consider using Jude for another boy. I kind of love that it’s at a real peak of popularity right now too, because I feel like it’s one of those names that might have been considered … soft … for a boy not too long ago, but there are a decent amount of little boy Judes right now, so I think it’s a good time for Jude.

I really like the Baby Name Wizard entry for it too, saying it has “a pioneer style and a strong religious heritage that gives it impressive gravity. It also has a simple sound that keeps it unpretentious. The one other choice with that that same style combo is Luke, which has been a steady hit for decades. Jude is a less common alternative that is finally realizing its breakout potential.” I like that: Jude is the Luke less traveled.

A small mention should be given to the fact that Jude has some usage among girls. Martha Stewart’s granddaughter is Jude, one of Bridget Jones’ inner circle (female) is Jude, and it’s not uncommon as a nickname for Judith, though Judith is at an all time low, hovering right near the 1000 mark. Jude as a given name for girls isn’t even on the charts, so it’s a very small consideration. I would imagine that parents of boy Judes would want to avoid the possibility of it turning into Judy, but I don’t think Judy would be a huge deal, since itself is not common for girls these days anyway.

Jude can also be used as a nickname for Julian — I’ve seen it done so, and I suspect it’s because the Hey Jude song was originally Hey Jules, written for Julian Lennon when his parents split up.

What do you all think of Jude? Would you name your son Jude, or have you? Do the little Judes you know like their name? If you love the saint and would love to name a boy after him, do you prefer Jude or Thaddeus?


51 thoughts on “Spotlight on: Jude

  1. Thank you for doing the spotlight! Saint Jude is so great. I’ve always thought it would be cool to use Thaddeus as a middle name for a son with the first name Jude. Either that or I’d pair Jude with Simon in honor of St. Simon whom he preached with and who shares a feast day with St. Jude. Or of course my Jude Anthony idea that I mentioned on here before – lost cause and lost things.

    We’ve pretty well narrowed it down to Peter and Jude if this little one is a boy. Not only is one of our boys named James but his patron is James the Less so the connection would be cool. (Of course we also have an Andrew so it looks like we’ll be duplicating at least one of the sets of apostolic brothers). My big question with Jude is whether it would be confusing to have a Jude if his big brother, Andrew, ends up going by Drew.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Interesting re: Drew and Jude! I’ll have to think on that … my gut reaction is that it’s no big deal — I’d hate to lose out on a name I like because of a “maybe such-and-such will happen” … but it is something to consider …

      I still love Jude Anthony, so handsome!


    • I have such a soft spot for the name Peter, I wanted to name our second son that SO dearly, but my husband HATES the name so he got it as a middle name. I’m still sad sometimes…I love it so. So I’m voting for Peter. Lol! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I only know one Jude and she is a middle aged (Catholic) woman. Perhaps her name is actually Judith though? I’ve always thought of Jude as a boy’s name though and thought it odd on a girl/woman.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Our little boy is Jude, and funnily enough, I keep calling him Luke (my little brother’s name) so cleraly, the connexion is there in my brain! Currently thinking about good brother names for our Jude (brother due any day!) James is too one-sidedly English though (I’m French, husband British) so we’ll keep thinking!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love the name Jude!! Not sure I would use it but I do love suggesting it to other people to use! My cousin just had a baby named Julian and is thinking of maybe calling him Jude!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like the “patron of impossible cases” aspect and it is our local parish but i don’t think I’d ever use it as a first name. Possibly as a middle!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We have a 5 year old Jude! When we named him, we liked it for many reasons, among them was that it was a name that was familiar but you likely had never met someone with that name. Since then, though, there has definitely been a bit of a bump in the Catholic world with Jude- at one point, there were 4 Judes in our homeschool group, all under 5 or so. Interestingly, we used to get a lot of comments from strangers about how we must be big Beatles fans, but those have dwindled over time. I did feel like we ruled out any other Beatles-y names, though– I’d never use Eleanor in a sib set with Jude– but I was fine with that. In terms of potential brother names, we’ve tossed around James, Edmund, Basil, Anthony, Crispin, and Patrick. We’ll see!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I would be extremely surprised if I heard of anyone naming their baby after “Jude the Obscure”! It’s a very dark novel and the title character is a skeezeball. Oops, I mean “antihero.” But aside from that I really like the name! Probably could never get the husband on board though.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I love both Jude and Thaddeus. Although with a “Jules” already, I don’t think we can use Jude anymore.

    Speaking of impossible causes, maybe St. Jude can help us out, though. Our little one was only measuring 5 weeks at our 7-week ultrasound. I am
    So desperate, I am pretty much asking the entire world for prayers. I didn’t know all these details about St. Jude until today although he has been good to my family.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. hahaha…skeezeball! 🙂
    hmmm…Luke less travelled…fun thought! I think Jude is a strong name while at the same time implying a bond…much like a Family nickname…maybe that feeling is born of Hey Jude…just sounds like it indicates a closeness of relationship…fine name!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. My most recent pregnancy ended in miscarriage at 12 weeks, and we named the baby Jude since we found out about the baby’s death on St. Jude’s feast day. I’ve always loved the name. My husband wasn’t sure if it was gender neutral enough (we always pick a fairly gender neutral name for a miscarried baby), but I pointed out (as you did, too) that Jude could be a nickname for Judith, so he was okay with it.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I posted a comment in another recent post mentioning Jude. It is a current name I love and would use – though when I actually was naming babies (last one 16 years ago) and hadn’t even considered it. For it being as uncommon as it was in the past, I have quite a few in my family. My godfather/uncle is Jude (born 1928) and his son/my cousin is Jude (born 1964) though he went by middle name. I have another cousin (born 1975) named Thaddeus Jude – so the double whammy name but reversed. He went by TJ.

    I like the one syllable with a hard ending. (I also like Jake/Jacob which I have, and Luke which I couldn’t use, so it fits my personal preferences).

    And I would love a spotlight on Judith as well. I have a cousin Judith – same family as the Uncle Jude and cousin Jude – isn’t that funny. They obviously liked the name. I recently came across a little Judith, born this summer. First time I have heard that name used in decades.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. […] Kerri and skimac both recently asked for a spotlight on Judith, which surprised me at first, and then as I thought about it I got a little excited about it — I’m a big fan of underused or undiscovered biblical names, and while Judith is certainly not undiscovered, I feel like these days it’s definitely underused. […]


  13. My husband and I named our first son Jude Thaddeus after the apostle, but also after my husband’s grandfather, Thaddeus. My husband’s middle name is Thad, so we felt this was a way for our boy to be named after his dad too. We love it and call him Juderbug for fun.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. This is obviously an old post but I wanted to see what you wrote about Jude! Our 11 mo old is Jude, and he has a big brother Luke! Funny 😉 We always liked the uncommon but Catholic aspect of both names (although theyve obviously jumped in popularity!), plus my MILs name is Judith, so we are honoring her too. Except she goes by Judy and now we are calling him Jude-y sooo I need to nip that in the bud before it sticks!! Lol also – long story – I was in labor when we checked the saint of the day and found it was Br Conrad, a German priest who had been in charge of a tiny miraculous shrine (Our Lady of Altoetting) that we had visited as a family! His original middle name was to be Michael but I knew Conrad was “picked” for us 🙂 Thought you would find that interesting! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  15. My youngest son’s name is Thaddeus Jude! He is five. I am loving this website! I wish it was around when I was naming my children. All three of mine have saint first and middle names.

    Liked by 1 person

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