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Tatum Name Meaning (Origin, Popularity & Nicknames)

Learn about the name Tatum, including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Tatum Overview

  • Meaning: Tatum means “Tata’s homestead,” along with “cheerful” or “joyful.” It can mean “full of spirit” and is composed of the Old English “tæt,” meaning “tight,” and “ham,” meaning “home,” for a “tightly enclosed homestead.”
  • Gender: Tatum is a unisex name mostly used for girls.
  • Origin: Tatum comes from the Old English “tatenum,” meaning “cheerful.” It originated in 11th-century England in Tatham, Lancashire, or Tatton, Cheshire, in England.
  • Pronunciation: Tatum is pronounced “TAEY-Tuhm” in English.
  • Popularity: Tatum is not currently ranked in the top 1,000 but peaked in the U.S. at 329th for girls in 2013. Since 2010, Tatum’s popularity has declined and is even rarer for U.S. boys.
  • Nicknames: Tate, Tay, Taytay, Taytee, T-T.
  • Variations: Taitam, Taitem, Taitum, Tatam, Tatem, Tatim, Tatom, Tatumn, Tatym, Taytum.
  • Namesakes: Tatum Keshwar, Miss South Africa 2008. Tatum O’Neal, American Oscar-winning actress for “Paper Moon” (1973).

What Does Tatum Mean?

Tatum is a unisex name of English origin that means “Tata’s homestead.” It also means “cheerful” or “joyful” when taken from the English town of Tatham. Tatum can mean “full of spirit,” yet it may refer to a compound, fort, or castle. It’s made up of the Old English “tæt,” meaning “tight,” and “ham,” meaning “home,” which indicates a “tightly enclosed homestead.”

What Is the Origin of the Name Tatum?

Tatum comes from the Old English “tatenum,” meaning “cheerful.” It relates to a place name called Tatham in Lancashire, England. It could also describe Tatton in Cheshire, meaning “Tate’s homestead.” Tate dates back to the 11th-century and became an English surname based on the Old English name Tata.

Tatum is considered gender-neutral but has become more common for girls in English-speaking countries, mainly due to actress Tatum O’Neal.

How Popular Is the Name Tatum?

Tatum has rarely ranked as a top 1,000 name for U.S. girls since the 1960s. It’s still not currently ranked in the top 1,000. Tatum did climb to the top 1,000 in the 1990s and peaked in 2013 at 329th for girls in the U.S. Since 2010, Tatum’s popularity has declined and is even rarer for U.S. boys. It ranked 418th in 2018 but recently ranked 1,216th for U.S. girls.

How Do I Pronounce Tatum?

Tatum is pronounced “TAEY-Tuhm” in English.

Is Tatum a Boy or Girl Name?

Tatum is a unisex name and surname but is more associated with girls.

Variations of Tatum

Not one, but all variations of Tatum have English origins:

  • Taitam (English)
  • Taitem (English)
  • Taitum (English)
  • Tatam (English)
  • Tatem (English)
  • Tatim (English)
  • Tatom (English)
  • Tatumn (English)
  • Tatym (English)
  • Taytum (English)

Nicknames for Tatum

There are a few adorable short forms of Tatum worth considering:

  • Tate
  • Tay
  • Taytay
  • Taytee
  • T-T
  • Taytee

Similar Names to Tatum

These names all have some of the classic elegance of Tatum:

Middle Names for Tatum

Tatum looks amazing next to any of these middle names:

Sibling Names for Tatum

Find the ideal name for Tatum’s little brother or sister here:

Famous People Named Tatum

When it comes to famous people named Tatum, they are rare but still impressive:

  • Tatum Bell: American football player for the Denver Broncos.
  • Tatum Bethune: American football player for the San Francisco 49ers.
  • Tatum Gressette: American football coach at the Citadel.

Tatum in Popular Culture

There is only one known example of Tatum used in pop culture:

  • Tatum Riley: Character appearing in the original “Scream” (1996).

Tatum FAQs

Tatum deserves another look with some additional facts and figures:

What Is a Tatum?

In addition to being a unique given name for girls, a tatum also appears in music. It’s been called “the smallest time interval between successive notes in a rhythmic phrase” or “the fastest pulse present in a piece of music.” A tatum appears in Western music notes with sixteenth, twenty-fourth, or thirty-second intervals.

Where Is the Name Tate From?

Tate is not only one of a few nicknames for Tatum but also relates to Tatum in terms of meaning. As a surname, Tate has English origins and is linked to the town of Tatham in Lancashire. It’s associated with the Old Norse “teitr,” meaning “bright,” “glad,” and “cheerful,” one of the meanings of Tatum.

Where Did Tatum O’Neal Get Her Name?

American actress Tatum O’Neal is probably the most famous Tatum and partly responsible for its popularity in the 1970s through 1990s. In her autobiographical book, “A Paper Life,” Tatum O’Neal explains where her famous name came from.

Despite rumors that she was named after her paternal grandmother, Tatum O’Neal got her name because of jazz pianist Art Tatum.

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About the Author

Maryana Vestic

Maryana Vestic is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and food photographer with a background in entertainment Business Affairs. She studied film at NYU, Irish Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin, and has an MFA in Creative Writing Nonfiction from The New School. She loves cooking, baking, hiking, and horror films, as well as running a local baking business in Brooklyn with her boyfriend.