I thought this would be a straightforward post when I first decided to feature this name, but as I did more research, the name started to provide some interesting and complicated layers.
The name’s recent use is most likely in reference to the Lakota-Dakota-Sioux Native American word meaning, “friend.” It is sometimes transliterated as Kota.
It is also the name of a tree that grows in Asia, also known as the Ehretia acuminata it is commonly referred to as Koda in Australia, though I couldn’t find the etymology in this case.
Other links include:
- It is a common Japanese surname (again, I couldn’t find its etymology)
- It is the name of a minority language spoken in India and Bangladesh.
The name came into widespread use for boys after it was used on a character in the 2003 animated film, Brother Bear.
It gets complicated when I dug through the historical records. The earliest records I could find for Koda were to two females who were born in the 18th-century in the United States. I am not certain if in this case, the name was used in reference to its indigenous source. It definitely became more common in the 1800s, and it was far more common on females than for males. Some of these bearers were born in Yugoslavia and Poland. Being Polish myself, I have never heard of this name, so perhaps it is a mistranslation for some other name, but I do not know for what. I am rather familiar with Serbo-Croatian names as well and I cannot think of what its source could be. It does appear on males in 19th-century records, but there are far less of them, and many of them are German immigrants (perhaps related to Konrad). In any case, the majority of the records are of white American females.
These days, the name seems to have become mostly a male name, which goes to show that sometimes, names that started off as female can also be stolen by the boys; as some namenerds have lamented about for years when it comes to trendy male-turned-female names such as Ashley, Avery and Sydney.
The name first appeared in the U.S. Top 1000 Male Names in 2004, coming in as the 935th most popular male name. It fell off the charts and reappeared in 2016, ranking in at 927.