surname, from the many Mortons on the map of England, literally "moor or marsh settlement." Morton's Fork (1759) is in reference to John Morton (c. 1420-1500), archbishop of Canterbury, who levied forced loans under Henry VII by arguing the obviously rich could afford to pay and those who were not were living frugally and thus had savings and could pay, too.
"conventional, complacent, materialistic American businessman," 1923, from the name of the title character of Sinclair Lewis' novel (1922).
His name was George F. Babbitt. He was forty-six years old now, in April 1920, and he made nothing in particular, neither butter nor shoes nor poetry, but he was nimble in the selling of houses for more money than people could afford to pay. [Sinclair Lewis, "Babbitt," 1922]
Earlier the name was used in metallurgy (1857) in reference to a type of soft alloy (1875).