Bay is a surname used in many countries around the world. The name has many variations and meanings.
- English, French, and Dutch: nickname for someone with chestnut or auburn hair, from Middle English, Old French bay, bai, Middle Dutch bay ‘reddish brown’ (Latin badius, used originally of horses).
- English: from the Middle English personal name Baye, Old English Beaga (masculine) or Beage (feminine).
- Scottish, Irish: reduced form of McBeth.
- German: from the Germanic personal name Baio.
- Turkish: In historical accounts, many Turkish, other Turkic and Persian leaders are titled Bey, Beg, Bek, Bay, Baig or Beigh. They are all the same word with the simple meaning of "lord." Currently "Bay" is Turkish for Mr., gentleman or wealthy. Before the adoption of the 1934 surname law in Turkey, Muslims did not use Western-style surnames, instead the Muslims in the Ottoman Empire carried titles such as Bay or Bey. An unsubstantiated oral tradition among some families in Europe using Bay as their surname dictates that a family member was given or awarded this surname, then as a title, during one of the crusades, when he was given governorship of a territory in Asia minor, possibly as part of a cursader state. This title was then to have been brought back to Europe to be used as a surname after the Crusader states where conquered.
The name is also found in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, where it may be a short form of German Bayer, regional name for someone from Bavaria, or from baygh, originally a loan word from French denoting a type of fabric. There are currently 50 people residing in Sweden with Bay as a surname, while 62 people are named Bayer.
Famous people using the name
- Michael Bay, an American film director.
- Norman Bay, a Chinese-American politician.
- Jason Bay, a professional baseball player.
- Chancellor Bay, a royal scribe to an ancient Egyptian ruler.
- Wolfgang Bay, a Swedish chef and restaurateur awarded the Swedish Gastronomical Academy's Gold Medal in 1989.
- Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4
- Statistics Sweden