For many more names, please Return to Edgar's Main Page.


Percy


Gender: Masculine
Language
: English
Etymology:
Percy comes from a Norman place name, Perci, from the Latin place name Persiacum, or “Persius’s Estate.”
-or-
Percy is occasionally short for the name Percival. Percival is the English form of Perceval, the Old French form (via Frenchified Arthurian legend) of an old Celtic name, Peredur. Peredur was altered to resemble the French surname meaning “Pierced Valley,” (“percer val”), or “Peter’s Valley” (“Piers Val”).

History:
The surname Percy was brought to England with a follower of William the Conqueror, William de Perci, who was from Perci, Normandy. The Percy family was always a prominent one in England. In the early 18th century, the Seymour family (who had intermarried with the Percy family) began naming songs Percy in honor of the connection.

In the 19th century, the name Percy spread, perhaps because of the fame of English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), a relative of both families. Percy became a trendy name in the late 19th century. During this same time the similarly-sounding name Percival also became trendy.

As such, in the United States, it soon carried the connotations of an “English” name, an “upper-class” name, a “cultured” name, a “snobby” name, a “sissy” name. Emmuska Orczy chose it for the name of her “fop” character of Sir Percy Blakeney in the popular 1903/1905 play/novel The Scarlet Pimpernel. Although Percy Blakeney turned out to be the opposite of a sissy, the symbolism was obvious. The name Percy, while not unknown, is rather unfashionable today.

Pronunciation: purs-ee.

Alternates: Perce, Percey, Persy.

Famous Bearers:
Artists and Authors:
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
English poet.
Percy MacKaye (1875-1956)
American playwright and poet.
Percy Grainger (1882-1961)
Australian-American composer.
Percy Humphrey (1905-1995)
American jazz musician.

Educators, Scholars, and Social Workers:
Percy Gardner (1846-1937)
English archeologist.
Percy Qoboza (1938-1988)
South African journalist.

Fictional Characters:
Sir Percy Blakeney
The archetypical fop-who-is-secretly-a-hero in the stories of Emmuska Orczy.
Percy Ignatius Weasley
The stuffiest of the Weasley brothers in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

Miscellaneous:
Percy Duncan Haughton (1876-1924)
American football coach.
Percy Williams (1908-1982)
Canadian Olympic athlete.

Political Figures:
Sir Percy Cox (1864-1937)
English diplomat.

Scientists:
Percy Gilchrist (1851-1935)
English metallurgist.
Percy Sinclair Pilcher (1866-1899)
English engineer.
Percy Williams Bridgman (1882-1961)
American physicist. Winner of the 1946 Nobel Prize for Physics.
Percy L. Julian (1899-1975)
American chemist.
Percy Zell Michener (1904-1996)
American engineer.

Popularity:
Percentage from the 1990 U.S. Census:
0.021 % named Percy

Popularity of Percy:
Popularity (for newborns):
In the United States...
1850: 709th most popular.
1875: 200th most popular.
1880: 144th most popular.
1881: 124th most popular.
1882: 116th most popular.
1883: 148th most popular.
1884: 114th most popular.
1885: 137th most popular.
1886: 119th most popular.
1887: 110th most popular.
1888: 111th most popular.
1889: 110th most popular.
1890: 113th most popular.
1891: 111th most popular.
1892: 116th most popular.
1893: 100th most popular.
1894: 104th most popular.
1895: 109th most popular.
1896: 116th most popular.
1897: 98th most popular. - Peak!
1898: 119th most popular.
1899: 118th most popular.
1900: 114th most popular.
1901: 138th most popular.
1902: 113th most popular.
1903: 151st most popular.
1904: 153rd most popular.
1905: 128th most popular.
1906: 145th most popular.
1907: 145th most popular.
1908: 158th most popular.
1909: 158th most popular.
1910: 160th most popular.
1911: 172nd most popular.
1912: 174th most popular.
1913: 189th most popular.
1914: 188th most popular.
1915: 214th most popular.
1916: 211th most popular.
1917: 217th most popular.
1918: 217th most popular.
1919: 208th most popular.
1920: 215th most popular.
1921: 222nd most popular.
1922: 223rd most popular.
1923: 242nd most popular.
1924: 241st most popular.
1925: 241st most popular.
1926: 252nd most popular.
1927: 249th most popular.
1928: 255th most popular.
1929: 250th most popular.
1930: 273rd most popular.
1931: 272nd most popular.
1932: 262nd most popular.
1933: 267th most popular.
1934: 277th most popular.
1935: 275th most popular.
1936: 284th most popular.
1937: 288th most popular.
1938: 292nd most popular.
1939: 290th most popular.
1940: 311th most popular.
1941: 322nd most popular.
1942: 312th most popular.
1943: 313th most popular.
1944: 323rd most popular.
1945: 318th most popular.
1946: 352nd most popular.
1947: 337th most popular.
1948: 331st most popular.
1949: 338th most popular.
1950: 332nd most popular.
1951: 333rd most popular.
1952: 330th most popular.
1953: 357th most popular.
1954: 371st most popular.
1955: 414th most popular.
1956: 426th most popular.
1957: 417th most popular.
1958: 466th most popular.
1959: 479th most popular.
1960: 482nd most popular.
1961: 501st most popular.
1962: 504th most popular.
1963: 522nd most popular.
1964: 549th most popular.
1965: 548th most popular.
1966: 547th most popular.
1967: 561st most popular.
1968: 567th most popular.
1969: 556th most popular.
1970: 612th most popular.
1971: 605th most popular.
1972: 601st most popular.
1973: 611th most popular.
1974: 670th most popular.
1975: 699th most popular.
1976: 713th most popular.
1977: 733rd most popular.
1978: 692nd most popular.
1979: 791st most popular.
1980: 784th most popular.
1981: 768th most popular.
1982: 828th most popular.
1983: 855th most popular.
1984: 878th most popular.
1985: 924th most popular.
1986: 956th most popular.
1987: NA
1988: 928th most popular.
1989-2004: N/A

Selected Sources:
The Oxford Dictionary of English Christian Names, Withycombe, 1977, 3rd ed.
A Dictionary of First Names, Hanks and Hodges, 1990
The Penguin Dictionary of First Names, Pickering, 1999
A Dictionary of English Surnames, Reaney and Wilson, 1990
American Surnames, Smith, 1994

The Social Security Administration Actuarial Note 139 (www.ssa.gov) - For popularity stats 1880-Present
The 1880 U.S. Census- For popularity stats 1850-1880, and other information (it is available on-line at www.familysearch.org)


Copyright © 2001-2006 Edgar’s Name Pages

1