TikToker reveals surprising origin of the name Madison

Sorry, Madisons! A viral TikTok has revealed the surprising origin of the popular girl’s name — and it traces back to a Disney movie, of all places.

TikTok user @jakie62 explained in a recent post that before 1984, virtually no girls were named Madison — it was mostly just known as a last name at the time.

However, the 1984 film rom-com Splash, starring Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah, unwittingly launched the name into popularity.

In the film, which was released by Walt Disney Studios’ label Touchstone Pictures, a mermaid girl rescues a young boy from drowning and returns to land to find him 20 years later while posing as a normal woman.

Hannah, who plays said mermaid-woman, tracks down her now-adult love interest, played by Hanks, in New York City. She learns to speak by watching television, but still can’t say her mermaid name out loud because it’s “hard to say in English.”

So, she and Hanks start brainstorming names that she could go by, when the pair walks past New York’s Madison Avenue.

“Madison! I like Madison!” the mermaid says.

“Well, Madison’s not a name,” Hanks’ character laughs.

Eventually, he agrees to the unconventional name, and the mermaid goes by Madison for the rest of the film.

It seems that parents in the 1980s and ’90s liked the moniker as well, because by 2001, 18 years after Splash was released, Madison was ranked the second most popular name for girls in the United States — an unprecedented 550,000 percent increase in usage, according to Behindthename.com.

TikTok users — including a handful of Madisons — were shocked by the name’s strange and recent origin story.

“Ok I knew I was named after this movie but I didn’t realize EVERY Madison is named after this movie,” wrote one Madison.

“pov: you’re a madison scrolling through a sea of madisons,” added another.

“I cant believe Tom Hanks invented Madison,” said a non-Madison.

“Funny enough, my mom, inspired by the same movie, named me not Madison but the worse option; Daryl. After Daryl Hannah,” wrote one Daryl.

Earlier this year, the Disney+ version of Splash made quite a splash on social media when a Twitter user discovered some questionably edited scenes in the film.

If you enjoyed this story, check out the Wendy Williams Masked Singer performance that became a meme.

More from In The Know:

These are the 15 most-disliked videos on YouTube

Shoppers predict these cute Converse sneakers will go viral on TikTok

TikTok trend has users sending risky texts — but they’re just song lyrics

Subscribe to our daily newsletter to stay In The Know

Listen to the latest episode of our pop culture podcast, We Should Talk: