Nimrod was a common enough name in the 1800s and earlier, and back then was associated with impressive credentials. Nimrod of the Bible “was a mighty hunter before the Lord” (Genesis 10:9). A son of Cush and a great-grandson to Noah, his family lineage was one of distinction, but my advice is never to name your kid “Nimrod.”
The Nimrod of the Bible was clearly a hunter, apparently an accomplished one, but there’s more to his story. Traditions from outside the Bible say he led the construction of the Tower of Babel. That can only mean he rebelled against God. Sometimes we need a few rebels to defy the conventions and steer us in new directions, but rebellion against God can only be called satanic.
God knows we need a few rebels in our political parties these days. Rebels can bring reform. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church once had a rebel named Martin, and we can hardly say his name without the word “reformer” in the same sentence.
Nimrod makes an appearance in the Quran, and from a single obscure and anonymous reference Muslim scholars conclude that he became a tyrannical ruler and one of two significant infidel kings (along with Nebuchadnezzar II). Nimrod was definitely a rebel, certainly no Martin Luther, and in Christian circles has been called “the first antichrist.”
That’s about all we know. Historians have tried to fill in our knowledge gaps about this “mighty hunter,” but their efforts to excavate his sparse record have had little success. In terms of baby names, Nimrod has faded from view and other hunter names have come into vogue.
Today, hunters name their boys Archer because archery is an honorable and challenging way to hunt. Turkey hunters christen their sons Jacob and shorten it to Jake, the word we use for a young gobbler. And of course there’s always Gunner, and Hunter, the latter of which is often also a surname. (I haven’t heard of any kids named Gunner Hunter, or Hunter Hunter, but if they don’t yet exist, they will.)
Parents with a bent toward Greek mythology might tag a kid with the name Orion. (For those without a night-sky orientation, that’s the name of a prominent constellation, “Orion, the Hunter.”) German ancestry might lead some parents to name a baby boy Jaeger, which is German for Hunter. Occasionally an Esau comes along (often in communities of the plain people, the Amish and the Mennonites). Esau was another biblical hunter of accomplishment.
People with a gender binary view still name their daughters “Diana,” after the Roman goddess of the hunt. Or Jenny, the wild turkey counterpart to Jake. And maybe Katniss, after the heroic female bowyer of The Hunter Games.
But you probably don’t know anyone named Nimrod. Today Nimrod is a name used to belittle a person. If someone calls you Nimrod, he’s insulting you. He’s labeling you as the opposite of the biblical Nimrod’s hunting prowess. He means you’re a dimwit unworthy of respect. As a hunter, you probably take pot shots at whatever moves. You’re a blunderer who never exhibits the slightest skill or applies the slightest common sense to your pursuit of game. You make mistake after mistake and maybe even the game animals taunt you like Bugs Bunny mocked Elmer Fudd. In fact, this use of “Nimrod” was popularized in that cartoon relationship. Bugs often sarcastically called Elmer “Nimrod.”
Fudd, famous for his failed pursuit of that wascally wabbit, is another name you won’t assign your little boy. Bugs Bunny no longer a staple of Saturday mornings, and “Fudd” is now most often applied to a gun owner who knows little about guns and thinks the Second Amendment to the Constitution is about hunting. But that’s a topic for another day.
For now, just cross Nimrod off your list of baby names.
When “The Everyday Hunter” isn’t hunting, he’s thinking about hunting, talking about hunting, dreaming about hunting, writing about hunting, or wishing he were hunting. If you want to tell Steve exactly where your favorite hunting spot is, contact him through his website, www.EverydayHunter.com. He is a field contributor to Deer and Deer Hunting magazine, and won the 2015 and 2018 national “Pinnacle Award” for outdoor writing.