Gary (given name)

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Gary and Garry are English language masculine given names.


Gary is likely derived from compound names of Germanic origin, composed of the element gar ("spear").[1][2][3]

Although the names Gary and Gareth are etymologically unrelated, the former being of Germanic origin and the latter of Celtic origin, Gary is sometimes taken as a pet form of Gareth.[1][2] In fact, the popularity of Gareth has been influenced by the popularity of Gary.[2] A variant form of Gary is Garry, the spelling of which has been influenced by that of Barry. An informal pet form of Gary is Gaz,[1][2] a variant of which is Gazza.[1]

A given name associated with Gary and Garry is Garrison; the latter is sometimes borne by sons of men bearing the former names.[2][4] The Gaelic Garaidh is also associated with Gary.[2]

Gary name is also popular in India and stilized as Garry or गैरी.[5]


The usage of Gary as a given name is intertwined with the success of the actor Gary Cooper (originally Frank Cooper). The American industrialist Elbert Henry Gary left his name to the town of Gary, Indiana. The theatrical agent Nan Collins, who lived in this town, suggested the name Gary to Frank Cooper, one of her clients. Cooper thus adopted the name Gary and enjoyed a successful film career (as Gary Cooper) which caused the name to become popular. The name's popularity was further maintained by the popularity of cricketer Gary Sobers (whose first name was actually a pet form of Garfield),[1][2] footballer Gary Lineker (b. 1960),[1] and musician Gary Glitter (originally Paul Gadd).[2]

According to the Social Security Administration,[6] Gary was relatively rare as a given name in the 1900-1920s period (e.g., in the 1910s it was the 677th most frequent name, given to less than 0.01% of the babies born in that decade). In the 1930s, 0.38% of the male babies in the United States were named Gary, and in the 1950s as many as 1.54% of the male babies were given this name, making it the 12th most popular given name of that decade.

The name Gary reached its record popularity (9th place) in 1954, the year after Gary Cooper received his Best Actor Academy Award for his leading role in High Noon. Since then, the popularity of Gary as a given name in the United States has been on a very slow, but steady decline. In the 1990s, this name was the 170th most popular, given to around 0.1% of newborn males.

In the United Kingdom, its popularity peaked during the 1960s (it was the 16th most popular male name in 1964) and still ranked as high as 26th in 1984, but by the 1990s had fallen out of the top 100.[7]









Fictional characters[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Hanks, Patrick; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A dictionary of first names (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, pp. 106–107, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Hanks, Patrick; Hodges, Flavia (2003), A dictionary of first names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0198606055
  3. ^ "Gary",, retrieved 24 July 2013
  4. ^ Hanks, Patrick; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A dictionary of first names (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 107, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1
  5. ^ "Garry Name Meaning - Garry meaning, Hindu Girls & Boys Names". Retrieved 2018-11-21.
  6. ^ Social Security Administration – Popular Baby Names
  7. ^