B names, Brown, Chestnut, Color, Earth, Female, Iberian, Kin/Family, Male, Nature, Nickname names, Proto-Indo-European, Red/Crimson, Surname names, Unisex, Virtues/Attributes, Water, Word names


Bay is an English word with several possible meanings:

  • it refers to an area of water bordered by land on three sides. It comes from French baie via Late Latin baia of uncertain origin though possibly derived from an Iberian origin, bahia; 
  • Bay also refers to a reddish-brown color which comes from Latin badius (chestnut-brown) derived from PIE *badyo- (yellow, brown). It’s often used to describe the color of a horse;
  • it’s also a short form for bay laurel, belonging to the Laurus nobilis species; its leaves can be used for cooking. It comes from Latin bāca (berry, fruit);
  • it can be used to describe the excited howling and barking of dogs as well as used to describe the opening in a wall between two columns.

Bay is also a surname, also with several possible meanings:

  • it could have originated as a nickname for someone with reddish-brown or chestnut hair;
  • it could have originated from Old English given name Beaga (m) and Beage (f);
  • it also seems to be a variant spelling of Turkish bey, a title used by wealthy leaders referring to a cheiftain or lord;
  • Bay is a shortened form of Bayer, a German surname meaning “Bavaria”, referring to someone who came from there;
  • Bay could also be a short form of Gaelic surname O’Bae, itself a short form of McBeth/Macbeth meaning “son of life”, though it also seems to have an implicit meaning of “righteous man” or “religious man”.

Bay could also be used as a nickname for Bailey/Baylee.

Origin: Iberian, Proto-Indo-European



  • Baye (English)
  • Bae (English)- this spelling is also a shortened form of baby or babe, used as a term of endearment.


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