He’s a Top 100 choice for boys that was obscure just a few decades ago.
Thanks to Kassie for suggesting Brody as our Baby Name of the Day.
Look at the Top 1000 names in 1980, and you can see the seeds of the Irish surname trend. There’s Brady at #339, Riley at #677, and Brody back at #968. As Brian and Ryan gave way to other kelly green possibilities, parents embraced ends-in-y options for boys, and Brody was among them.
But Brody is more international than his cousins, boasting several distinct origins:
- Spelled Bródy, the name is heavily used in Slavic countries. Bród refers to a ford or crossing. Not surprisingly, quite a few place names include this element, from Kostinbrod in Bulgaria to Havlíčkův Brod in the Czech Republic. It is most common in Hungarian – which isn’t a Slavic language, but which has been heavily influenced by Slavic languages. The -y ending indicates from, so from the ford, or from Bród.
- There’s also a city called Brody in the Ukraine, historically an important center of Jewish life, and a crossroads on a major trading route. Brody residents took the place name as a surname.
- In Gaelic brothaigh refers to a ditch, or a muddy place – another possible origin for the name linking it to the map.
- Lastly, many of the possible origins for Brady apply to Brody, too, including sharp-eyed, broad-chested, or from the broad island, broad place.
There are plenty of alternate theories out there, but mostly he’s an upbeat Irish surname with a less-than-attractive meaning.
Respell it Brodie, and he’s Scottish, with a few more possible origins. Clan Brodie is an ancient tribe, dating back to the eleventh century or even farther, featuring in many key moments of Scottish history.
Brody could have caught on just thanks to his similarity to Brady, but there’s a whale of a tale here.
Make that a shark tale.
In 1975, police chief Martin Brody went up against a killer great white in the cinematic classic Jaws. If you haven’t seen the movie, it is Brody who kills the shark by shoving a scuba tank in its mouth and shooting it to ignite, big ol’ explosion. In 1976, Brody charted for the first time, at #981.
The ripple effect from Jaws didn’t last, but Brody slowly caught on. His steady climb began in the 1990s. Today Brody brings to mind sometimes-reality star Brody Jenner (born in 1983, but his given name is Sam Brody Jenner) and Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody. There was a character called Brody on Roswell, and another on One Life to Live.
Much noise is made of Brody being borrowed by girls, but it is pretty rare. Singer Brody Dalle was born Bree. Adding up Brodie, Brody, Brodi and Brodee, fewer than 60 girls received the name in 2011. Compare that to well over 5,000 boys, before counting elaborations like Broderick and Broden.
As he’s slowly graduated from surname to shark hunter to mainstream pick, Brody hasn’t lost his distinctive sound. He’s been in the Top 100 since 2008, but has slipped to #83 in recent years. Brody is a modern choice with history, comfortably on trend.