Monday, May 6, 2013

Fonzie Names: Ending with "-ay"

Henry Winkler as "Fonzie" via Wikipedia

Happy Days was on when I was very little, and my mom said that I used to run from wherever I was in the house to the television just to dance to the opening theme song. Even though I don't remember watching the show, I do remember the characters, including the iconic Arthur Fonzarelli, a.k.a. "Fonzie" or "The Fonz." His catchphrase, "Aaay", played over and over in my head as I was making the following list of names, so I had to go with it and call them Fonzie Names.

So, I met a 2-year-old Jay yesterday. I haven't met very many little Jays lately, but I have been thinking a lot about other -ay names, like Bay and Ray. This train of thought led to the conclusion that I needed to compile a list. Going through the alphabet and adding -ay to the end of every letter gave me this list of one-syllable names:

Bay - Bay could be a boy or a girl, and I'm surprised it's not used more often. Why not, with Bailey, Baylor, and Baylen out there. It could also be used to pay homage to a chef or a sailor in the family.

Clay - Some say it's a nickname for Clayton, others say it's strong on its own. Both names have consistently been in the Top 1000, but the highest Clay has ranked was #261 in 1961, whereas Clayton has reached #146 in 1988.

Fay - Fay fell off the Top 1000 after 1968, but saw a lot of use in the 1910s through 1930s. The spelling Faye has been used more often, falling off the Top 1000 after 1979. On the plus side, both spellings have seen a slight increase in use in recent years.

Gray - Short for Grayson, or a great color name on its own, Gray is rising in popularity. Grayson has reached #97 in 2011 for boys, but I know girls are also given the name (sometimes spelled Gracen). The Grey spelling is even more popular nowadays and therefore Greyson is also catching on.

Jay - Jay was at the heights of its popularity in the 1950s and 1960s, reaching #78 in 1960, and has continued to fall since then (although it was still at #401 in 2011). It could also be a nickname for the recent Top 10 star, Jayden.

Kay - Kay was at its height in 1941 at #70. It has a simple beauty about it, but it's been lost among the Kay- names that have taken over: Kaylee, Kayla and Kaylynn. Do you love Katherine, but want a slightly unexpected nickname? Go with Kay.

May - May is considered an "old-fashioned" name that is ready for a comeback. May and its superior cousin, Mae, reached their heights around 1920, but the Mae spelling has recently re-entered the Top 1000 after 40 years of absence. As a month name, May is pretty and elegant.

Ray - Ray was in the Top 100 from 1880 until 1949 and has been falling in popularity since. While it's a consistent and ever-present name so far, I do not think it will be back in the Top 100 for quite a while. The full name Raymond has been more popular all along and while it's also falling in popularity, it will stick around longer.

Shay - More commonly seen as Shea, Shay is given to both boys and girls. As a baseball fan, my first thought is the old Shea Stadium in New York, which could be the inspiration for several of the Sheas walking around currently. Shea ranked in the Top 1000 from 1999 through 2008.

There are also quite a few multi-syllable names ending in "-ay"...
Barclay
Conway
Corday
Finlay
Ismay
Janay
Kenway
Lindsay
Murray
Ramsay
Soray
Tiernay

Do you have a favorite "-ay" name?

Thanks to Nancy's Baby Names for numerical help.
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