The nickname Ozzy feels like the next big thing.

Of course, just plain Ozzy is catching on. In 2021, it debuted in the US Top 1000 at #712. That works out to 364 births. In 2022, that number rose 448 births, for a rank of #620. You’re more likely to meet a boy named Ozzy than one called Wayne, Langston, or Thaddeus.

Unlike Charlie from Charles or Freddie from Frederick, it’s not obvious where this unique name comes from. And, of course, the meaning of the name Ozzy shifts depending on the formal name.

As this edgy nickname continues to gain in popularity, what are the best formal names for the nickname Ozzy?


Many of the most famous people called Ozzy got their nickname via their last name.

Wholesome 1950s and early 60s sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet is the exception. Based on the real-life Nelson family, dad Ozzie was born Oswald George Nelson.

In some ways, the Nelsons were among the original reality TV families, with many story lines coming from their actual experiences.

They enjoyed a long stretch of fame. The show originally debuted on radio, launched son Ricky Nelson’s music career, and inspired a film spin-off and later a 1970s-era television sequel, too, titled Ozzie’s Girls. But that all feels a little like ancient history today.

Instead, parents now almost certainly think of John Michael Osbourne, far better known as Ozzy Osbourne.

The iconic metal singer and Black Sabbath frontman scandalized audiences with his heavy metal persona during the 1970s. He was called the Prince of Darkness.

These days, he’s graduated to pop culture fixture. His family starred in a reality TV show on MTV titled The Osbournes. Ozzy is more of a doting grandpa than a heavy metal rock star these days. As the family has stayed in the spotlight following the show’s original run, it’s shifted the name’s image, too.

Two more figures that might be familiar to today’s parents: Buffy the Vampire Slayer gave us Daniel “Oz” Osborn, a guitarist and occasional werewolf. There’s also American Pie’s Chris Ostreicher, also known by the nickname Oz.

Still, at the start of the twenty-first century, Ozzy felt more like a stage name or even a joke name than something we’d actually name a son. 2001’s Osmosis Jones gave the name to an animated white blood cell voiced by Chris Rock. It wasn’t a hit, but it did inspire a two-season kids’ cartoon, so this is yet another place future parents might’ve heard the name.

It all makes the name Ozzy an intriguing mix of cuddly and cool, and most definitely a baby name possibility.

But let’s imagine that you’d like something a little longer to put on your sons’ birth certificate. These formal names could shorten easily to the nickname Ozzy.

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The sound isn’t exactly Oz … it’s more of a long O. And yet, Ambrose called Ozzy feels very possible. It helps that there’s not another logical nickname available.


The same logic that connects Ozzy to Ambrose works for Amos, too.


The letters aren’t there, but shorten Austin to Aus, and Aussie sounds a lot like Ozzy. Name watchers might know that Austin is a contracted form of Augustine. It’s more of a stretch, but possibly Ozzy could work for any of the August names, too.


The Normans brought the French word ors to England, meaning bear. Orson developed from there. While a more natural nickname might be Orry, Ozzy doesn’t feel like a stretch.


While the Os sound is undeniable, Osbert isn’t exactly common today. This name is more Old English relic and less Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


Besides former Black Sabbath frontman, there’s another famous Osborne. Baseball Hall of Famer Osborne “Ozzie” Smith was a 15-time All Star shortstop in the MLB. His nickname? The Wizard of Oz. It means something like “bear god,” from Old English elements.


A name from Irish legend, as well as a name with Old English and Norse roots, Oscar is nearly a classic. Actor and singer Mandy Moore recently welcomed her second son, Oscar “Ozzie” Bennett, a little brother for August “Gus” Harrison.


Also spelled Osmund, this is more surname than given name today. There was an eleventh century Saint Osmund, who came to England with the Norman invasion.


While Osric is another Old English choice, somehow it feels more accessible in the 2020s than Osmond or Osbert. An Osric ruled as an Anglo-Saxon king during the seventh century. The element os means god; it was wildly popular back in the day. Besides King Osric, the royal family included members named Oswiu, Osthryth, and Oshere.


A name with a little more potential, the name Oswald is familiar to Disney fans as the name of Walt Disney very first creation. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is Mickey Mouse’s forerunner. Because Walt created the rabbit while working for another studio, he lost ownership of the character and it would be years before it returned to Disney’s control. But Oswald is also a name with a much longer history of use, regularly appearing in the US Top 1000 into the 1930s. It’s risen in use in recent years again, with 55 boys receiving the name in 2022 – the highest number since the 1930s.


Another saint and king from early medieval English history, Oswin would be forgotten. Except Doctor Who fans may think of Clara Oswin Oswald, sometimes known by her middle. Jenna Coleman played the part in the 2010s, making her one of the longest-serving companions of The Doctor.


An old school Old Testament name, Ozias is another form of Uzziah. Similar names include Ozazias, used in Greek, as well as the Latin Azazias.


Any names with the initials O.Z. could work, too. Owen Zachary, maybe? Oliver Zane, Otto Zachariah, Ocean Zeke. Maybe that last one sounds a little bit like a Cabbage Patch Kid? But it would totally work. Fun fact: the Wizard himself, from L. Frank Baum’s fantastic world, was named Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkle Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs. So Oz might come from his first and middle name, or his initials.


While this name is far more popular for boys, Ozzy appears in the baby girl names data, too. 60 girls received the name in 2022. It could be short for antiques like Ozella. And if Ozzy seems like a stretch, it’s worth noting that Izzy, short for Isabella and similar sounding names, is wildly popular now.

What would you add to this list? How would you get to the nickname Ozzy? 

First published on November 10, 2022, this post was revised and re-published on August 1, 2023 and again on April 4, 2024.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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  1. Ozymandias is the Greek name for Pharaoh Ramses II and the title of a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley. It’s also the title of an episode of Breaking Bad.
    Aside from being an obscure name (outside of early 19th century poetry), the meaning isn’t that great. Shelley’s poem addresses man’s pride and hubris, the fleeting nature of fame, and the futility of pursuing immortality.