Ozzy is one-part upbeat Americana, two-parts heavy metal. But could it also emerge as a great baby name?
Thanks to Abby for suggesting our Lurker Week Baby Name of the Day.
Ozzy: Norse, Of Course
Almost all of the Os- names have Norse roots, many via Old English. The ‘os’ element comes from ás – god.
DMNES lists Oswald, Osborn, Osbert, Oswin and plenty of others you probably haven’t heard on a baby lately, though many of them remain common as surnames.
Ozzy: And Harriet
The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet started out on the radio in the 1940s, leapt to television in 1952, and ran right through 1963.
The series starred the real life Nelson family: sons David and Ricky, mom Harriet, and, of course, dad Ozzie.
Oswald Nelson started out as a band leader. Harriet, born Peggy Louise, was a singer.
Ozzie was in steady, if sparing use, in the era. But it doesn’t seem directly tied to Nelson.
But then along came John Michael Osbourne. Ozzy was his childhood nickname.
In the early 1970s, he was the voice behind the legendary Black Sabbath. Osbourne launched a solo career in the 1980s, and became a reality star in the 2000s.
Today Osborne is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and, thanks to his reality show, seems more like somebody’s eccentric grandpa than a threat. But that wouldn’t have been the case in the 1970s, thanks to many occult references in the music. In the 1980s, he bit the head off a live bat – legend has it that he thought it was rubber.
And yet, in 1982 nine boys were named Ozzy – the first time more than five newborns were given the name in a single year. By 2000, that number was 39, and in 2015, it was 70.
Of course, Ozzy could easily be short for any given name or surname starting with Os or Oz. The NHL’s Chris Osgood is one example.
There’s also Oswald, Oswaldo, and Osvaldo, as well as Oscar. You might think of:
- Known as The Wizard, Osborne “Ozzie” Smith was a player from the 1980s and early 1990s, now a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
- Venezuelan-born Oswaldo Barrios also used the nickname and played Major League baseball. He later managed the Chicago White Sox during the team’s 2005 World Series win.
- Survivor and American Ninja Warrior alum Ozzy Lusth was born Oscar.
- There’s an Osvaldo in The Godfather: Part III.
- Ozzie is a dog in the animated movie Epic.
- Namer extraordinaire Joss Whedon included a character called just Oz in early seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Ozzy: Just Ozzy
Max Greenfield of The New Girl has a son named Ozzie James, a little brother for Lily.
Actors Annie Wersching and Stephen Full have two sons: Freddie and Ozzie.
While the name may have gotten an early boost from the heavy metal antics of Osborne, today it seems likely to appeal to parents after something quirky, nickname-proof, and casual. The British are wild for nickname names like Alfie and Jack, and some American parents have also embraced the trend.
Overall, it’s a name that hits a sweet spot for some parents – it’s just edgy enough, thanks to the rock and roll connection and the letter Z. But it remains friendly, even playful, in sound – and it’s even a tiny bit nostalgic and Americana, too, thanks to the Nelson family.
Would you ever consider this name for a son? Do you prefer Ozzy, Ozzie, or one of the longer forms of the name?
My son’s legal name is Ozzy and it just suits him so well! He’s 3 years old now and all of his friends love his name and he does too. Happy I went with just Ozzy since I knew that was what I was going to call him anyway.
My husband wants to name our son Ozzy so bad. I like it! We are a beach/surfing /outdoors family so it would fit him well I believe.
Angelle Forsythe says
My son’s legal name is Ozzy Henry Robert… he is my fourth child… and my husband and I always said that from the start his name was going to be Ozzy!!! I absolutely love his name I don’t regret it in anyway … not for one second … and I also get a lot of cool comments about his name. And he is Ozzy to the Bone through and through Wild Child
Sarah G says
My son is Oswald (a family name), Ossie for short. I preferred the spelling after reading about the legendary fashion designer Ossie Clark.
Abby Jo says
I’m so glad you did a piece on Ozzy. I love this name so much. I normally don’t believe that shortened forms of names need a formal name, but in this case, I do sort of feel like it needs a more substantial given name. If given the choice, I would use Oscar in an instant, but can’t convince my husband. Oswald is high on my list, but I go back and forth on whether that would be wearable on a real person.
I may have to convince myself that Ozzy is wonderful enough to stand all on it’s own. 🙂
Have you considered other names that could lead to Ozzy? They might be more out there, but they’d get the job done: Ozias/Osias, Osric, or Oslo.
C in DC says
Aus- names like Austin or Augustus could get you to Aussie/Ozzie too. More of a stretch would be names like Maurice, Horace, etc., or their latinized forms: Mauricio or Oracio/Horatio.
Ozzy is great, though I don’t think I’d use it on its own as it’s just too informal for me.
I’m always on the hunt for the perfect long form for it, but I still don’t think I’ve found “the one”. Oz on its own feels too short and informal; Oscar is super-handsome but far too popular here in the UK; Oswald, Oswin, Osbert and the like feel too consciously clunky-cool; Ozias, Oslo and Osiris seem pretty far “out there” just to get to friendly nickname Ozzy…
Maybe Orson? Otto? Not sure either of those really work though…
That’s a good point, Emma. I think I’d be much morel likely to consider this name if there was an obvious formal version. I like Oswald in theory, but I’m not sure I’d ever be so brave!
Emma, these may be too far out there as well, but have you considered: Osric, Cosmo, or Roswell. There’s always other names that have Os next to each other like Roscoe. Additionally, you could make a nickname out of initials with O first name and a S/Z middle making Ozzy.