Greek form of the Aramaic name תָּאוֹמָא (Ta'oma')
which meant "twin". In the New Testament
this is the name of the apostle who initially doubts the resurrected Jesus
. According to tradition he was martyred in India. Due to his renown, the name came into general use in the Christian world.
In England the name was introduced by the Normans
and became very popular due to Saint
Thomas Becket, a 12th-century archbishop of Canterbury and martyr. Another notable saint by this name was the 13th-century Italian philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas, who is regarded as a Doctor of the Church. Other famous bearers include philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), American president Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), novelist Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), and inventor Thomas Edison (1847-1931).