Barry (name)

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Barry is both a given name and a surname. The given name is an Anglicised form of several Irish personal names, while the surname has numerous etymological origins, and is derived from both place names and personal names.


Of given name[edit]

The given name Barry is derived from Gaelic,[1] possibly being an Anglicised form of the personal name Báire, which is a short form of the related Irish names Bairrfhionn[2] or Barrfind ("fair-headed", "fair-haired").[3] and Finbar, or Fionnbharr ("fair-topped", "fair-haired").[4]

For example, Barry is sometimes derived from the Irish Bairre, Barra, and Barre, which are in turn forms of the name Barrfind.[5] Furthermore, Barry is sometimes an Anglicised form of the Irish Finnbarr, which also has short forms of Bairre, Barra, and Barre.[6] Similarly, Barry is sometimes an Anglicised form of the latter short form Barra.[7] In other cases, Barry is an Anglicised form of the Irish Berach ("pointed", "spear", "sharp").[8]

Since the twentieth century, the name has become very popular in Australia. A variant form of the given name is Barrie. Pet forms of the name are Baz and Bazza.[9]

Barry may also be a hypocorism for Bartholomew.[citation needed]

As a given name, Barry currently is less common than it once was. It rose in popularity during the 1930s and 1940s, and was in the top 100 names through the 1970s. In recent years, the name has not even made the top 1000 list of names (the last time was in 2004, where it ranked 963). Barry's highest rank was 61, which was achieved in 1962.[10]

Of surname[edit]

The surname Barry has numerous origins.

In some cases it is an Anglicised form of the Irish Ó Beargha, meaning "descendant of Beargh". The byname Beargh means "plunderer" or "spear-like". In other cases Barry is an Anglicisation of the Irish Ó Báire, meaning "descendant of Báire".[4] In other cases Barry is a patronymic form of the personal name Henry.[2] In such cases, the name is partly derived from the Welsh ap Harry, as is the case of the similar surname Parry.[11] In other cases, the surname Barry is derived from a place name, sometimes seemingly of Continental origin,[12] and sometimes derived from a British place name, such as Barry, Angus in Scotland.[13]

The surname Barry, when borne in Ireland, is chiefly derived from the name borne by the Anglo-Norman de Barry family.[14] In Irish, this family's name is rendered de Barra. In Ireland, the surname Barry is most common in Munster and south Leinster. The concentrations of the surname in County Limerick could correspond with the Ó Beargha origin of the name, while the concentration of the surname in West Cork could correspond with the Ó Báire origin.[15]

There is a surname Barry, variant form of the rarer Barri, typical of the south of France, that means "rampart, city wall" and by extension "suburb", that is to say somebody from the suburb or living near the rampart. Variant forms Delbarry and Dubarry.[16]

Geographical distribution[edit]

As of 2014, 59.3% of all known bearers of the surname Barry were residents of Guinea (frequency 1:17), 14.7% of Burkina Faso (1:104), 5.4% of the United States (1:5,629), 4.5% of Senegal (1:274), 3.7% of Mali (1:384), 1.2% of England (1:3,951), 1.1% of Ireland (1:362) and 1.0% of Australia (1:2,004).[17]

People with the surname[edit]

People with the given name[edit]

Fictional people with the given name[edit]

Non-humans with the name[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hanks; Hardcastle; Hodges (2006) p. xvii.
  2. ^ a b Barry Family History (n.d.).
  3. ^ Ó Corráin; Maguire (1981) pp. 29, 101.
  4. ^ a b Reaney; Wilson (1995) p. 30; Barry Family History (n.d.).
  5. ^ Ó Corráin; Maguire (1981) p. 29.
  6. ^ Hanks; Hardcastle; Hodges (2006) pp. 28, 342; Ó Corráin; Maguire (1981) p. 101.
  7. ^ Hanks; Hardcastle; Hodges (2006) pp. 28, 342.
  8. ^ Ó Corráin; Maguire (1981) p. 31.
  9. ^ Hanks; Hardcastle; Hodges (2006) p. 28.
  10. ^ "Boys Names", Popularity and Meaning of Barry,, retrieved 11 July 2016
  11. ^ Reaney; Wilson (1995) p. 339; Barry Family History (n.d.); Parry Family History (n.d.).
  12. ^ Reaney; Wilson (1995) p. 30.
  13. ^ Reaney; Wilson (1995) p. 30; Black (1971) p. 57.
  14. ^ Reaney; Wilson (1995) p. 30; MacLysaght (1972) pp. 52–54.
  15. ^ de Bhulbh (1997) p. 136.
  16. ^ Albert Dauzat, Noms et prénoms de France, Librairie Larousse 1980, édition revue et commentée par Marie-Thérèse Morlet, p. 28a.
  17. ^ Barry surname distribution