Test Your Presidential Name IQ
Every president was once a baby that someone had to name. Do certain names lend themselves to leadership? Will some names never be “in” again? Is “presidential” a quality you seek in a name? Learn more about trends and trivia in presidents’ names with this fun quiz.
Question 1 of 15
What has been the most common first name among American presidents?
James has been the most common presidential first name (Madison, Monroe, Polk, Buchanan, Garfield, Carter). William and John are both runners up with four presidents to bear the name, and George comes in third with three.
Question 2 of 15
Which presidential surname is not in the top 25 most popular names (for boys or girls) in 2007?
McKinley doesn't even make the top 100 for either sex. (Maybe it's time to start a new trend; the 25th president would be honored.) Madison is the number five name for girls; Tyler is number 21 for boys; Taylor is number 24 for girls.
Question 3 of 15
Who was the first president to have a surname originating outside the British Isles (in other words, not English, Welsh, Scottish, or Irish)?
Martin Van Buren
The forebearers and name of Martin Van Buren (president 1837-1841) were Dutch, and though he grew up speaking Dutch as a first language, he was the first president to be born an American citizen. Eisenhower, though a German name, came much later (serving 1953-1961). Polk and Nixon are both old British names.
Question 4 of 15
What does the S in Harry S. Truman stand for?
Nothing at all
The S in Harry S. Truman doesn't stand for anything, it's just an S. Adds a nice rhythm though, doesn't it? Grammatical sticklers say it shouldn't have a period after it because it's not short for something, but Truman himself typically threw in the dot when he signed his name.
Question 5 of 15
Which of these was never the first name of a US president?
There was Benjamin Harrison, Calvin Coolidge, and Zachary Taylor, but there hasn't been a US president named Michael—yet.
Question 6 of 15
Which president did not change (or have changed for him) the name given him at birth?
Franklin Pierce was born and died with the same name. Bill Clinton was first named William Jefferson Blythe III, for his father who died just before he was born. Clinton was the name of his stepfather. Gerald Ford was first named Leslie Lynch King, Jr., after his father. His mother left his abusive father within weeks of his birth. When he was two and a half, she remarried and began calling her child Gerald Rudolph Ford after her new husband. He didn't legally change his name until he was 22. Ulysses S. Grant was born Hiram Ulysses Grant, but the congressman writing his recommendation for the US Military Academy at West Point mistakenly called him Ulysses Simpson Grant, somehow inserting Grant's mother's maiden name. The Academy would only accept students with the names recommended by congressmen, and so he got the new patriotic initials of U.S. (It can be hard to change a name but clearly it doesn't keep one from success!)
Question 7 of 15
Which president's nickname was The Great Communicator?
|Franklin Delano Roosevelt|
Ronald Reagan was known as The Great Communicator. Lincoln was The Great Emancipator. Wilson was sometimes called The Professor. And Roosevelt was The New Dealer.
Question 8 of 15
Which president was the first to use his familiar nickname in an official capacity?
|William (Bill) Clinton|
|Thomas (Tom) Jefferson|
|Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt|
James (Jimmy) Carter
James Earl Carter officially used the name President Jimmy Carter. While Jefferson and Roosevelt are affectionately and familiarly called Tom and Teddy, respectively, neither used the short form of their names in any official capacity. Bill Clinton did, but he held office 20 years after Carter.
Question 9 of 15
Which president did not commonly go by his initials?
|Lyndon Baines Johnson|
|John Fitzgerald Kennedy|
William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison might have gone on to be called by his initials if he hadn't fallen ill and died only 31 days into his presidency. FDR, JFK, and LBJ have all been three-letter presidents.
|Franklin Delano Roosevelt|
Question 10 of 15
Which presidential nickname was not from the 20th century?
Old Hickory was Andrew Jackson's nickname. He was president from 1829 to 1837. The rest are 20th century guys: William Howard Taft (Big Bill), Richard Nixon (Tricky Dick), and Bill Clinton (Slick Willy).
Question 11 of 15
There have been two separate presidents for each of the following last names. Which presidents with the same name were unrelated?
Andrew Johnson (17th president) and Lyndon Johnson (36th president) were unrelated. John Adams (second president) was the father of John Quincy Adams (sixth president). William Henry Harrison (ninth president) was the grandfather of Benjamin Harrison (23rd president). George Herbert Walker Bush (41st president) was the father of George Walker Bush (43rd president). You got part credit if you answered Roosevelt as Theodore (26th president) and Franklin (32nd president) were only distantly related—fifth cousins. However, for more trivia than you really need, according to FunTrivia.com, Franklin's wife Eleanor was TR's niece; President Martin Van Buren was a third cousin twice removed to TR; and President Zachary Taylor was a fourth cousin thrice removed to FDR. And, according to Wikipedia, FDR's grandmother's first cousin was married to President James Monroe. Phew!
Question 12 of 15
Which famous first lady’s name is in the top 10 names for girls for 2007?
Abigail is number eight on the list of most popular girl names for 2007. Martha, Dolley, Eleanor, and Jacqueline don't even make the top 100, so if you're looking for an uncommon name for 2008 or 2009....
Question 13 of 15
What does the name John mean?
|Protect the king|
God has been gracious
John's origin is Hebrew, meaning "God has been gracious."
|God is my judge|
Question 14 of 15
What does the name Barack mean?
|Gift from God|
Barack means "blessing" and comes from both Swahili and Arabic. It probably shares its origin with the Hebrew Baruch, which means "blessed."
|From the fortified town|
Question 15 of 15
Extra-credit international question! Which of the following is not the first name of a former or current head of state?
The answer is E—Shirley. Angela Merkel is chancellor of Germany. Corazon Aquino was president of the Philippines. Golda Meir was prime minister of Israel. Both Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese were presidents of Ireland. Congresswomen Shirley Chisolm did run for president of the United States, taking her campaign all the way to the Democratic primary in 1972; but the nomination went to George McGovern.
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