Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Otis

Otis is actually the transferred use of a patronymic English surname (i.e., passed down from the father’s given name). In this case, Otis is derived from the personal names Ote or Ode which were medieval English equivalents for the German name Otto (formally known as Audo or Odo). These names all ultimately originate from the Germanic element “od” meaning “wealth, fortune”. By the 19th century Americans were using the name Otis in honor of James Otis (1725-1793), a leading Patriot whose fiery arguments and orations against the English Parliament contributed to the build-up to the Revolutionary War (he is credited with the catch-phrase: “taxation without representation is tyranny”). James Otis was also noted for his progressive position on racial equality and believed that fundamental freedoms concerning life, liberty and property ought to be extended to African-Americans. Perhaps it is also in his honor that African-Americans bestow the name Otis on their sons as well. However, the name is also famously borne by black R&B singer Otis Redding (1941-1967) remembered for his song “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay” (and for his tragic death in an airplane crash at the age of 26).

All About the Baby Name – Otis

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME OTIS

The number Nine personality represents the completion or ending of the cycle, and a need for perfection. This is the personality that moves from "self" to a greater understanding and compassion for the human condition and the world order. They want to make the world a better place. Nines are capable of great spiritual and humanitarian achievements. They are courageous and fearless, able to fight great battles on behalf of worthy causes. These personalities will not tolerate injustice. They are compassionate people with a strong sensitivity to others. They are able to both educate and inspire. Friendships and relationships are the lifeblood to the Nine, and they place a high value on love and affection. Nines are often exceptionally gifted artistically, and they have a keen imagination and enterprising mind.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME OTIS

Otis was most popular for boys way back at the turn of the 20th century. In the year 1899 Otis was the 94th most preferred boy’s name in the country (which is the highest position he ever achieved on the American charts). In the first couple of decades of last century, Otis hovered between #100 and #150 on the charts making him a modest favorite about 100 years ago. As the decades progressed into the 20th century, Otis left his glory days behind him as the name’s popularity slipped. What was once a familiar and commonly used name was now going out of style as we headed toward a new century. In fact, 1994 marks the last year Otis appeared on the American boy’s naming charts. The name is now so underused it doesn’t even make the Top 1000! This is great news for parents looking for an original yet quaintly old-fashioned masculine name. Not many boys are named Otis these days (we hear a lot of people say it’s too close in sound to words like “odor” or “odious”). In our opinion, though, Otis has more than a few things going for it. It’s a name that seriously grows on you, it’s upbeat and friendly, it’s musically inspired, it’s charming and old-fashioned, it’s confidently simple and it has a positively “prosperous” meaning. We applaud the few brave parents who are rediscovering this name, dusting off the cobwebs and hoping to bring it back into circulation.

Quick Facts

ON OTIS

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

African-American

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

N/A

PRONUNCIATION:

O-tis

SIMPLE MEANING:

Wealth, fortune

Characteristics

OF OTIS

Multi-talented

Intuitive

Oneness

Idealistic

Philanthropy

Independent

Perfection

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Otis

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME OTIS

We cannot find any significant literary characters by the name of Otis

Popular Songs

ON OTIS

Tributary Otis
a song by The Refreshments

Otis Redding
a song by Sara Evans

Otis and Marlena
a song by Joni Mitchell

Otis
a song by Millencolin

Muddy, Sam and Otis
a song by Rod Stewart

Miss Otis Regrets
a song recorded by various artists (Bette Midler, Bryan Ferry, Linda Ronstadt, Rosemary Clooney)

Famous People

NAMED OTIS

Otis Redding (soul singer)
Otis Armstrong (football player)
Otis Blackwell (musician/songwriter)
Otis Chandler (publisher)
Otis Nixon (baseball player)
Otis Rush (blues musician)
Otis Smith (basketball player and manager)
Otis Smith (football player)
Otis Spann (blues musician)
Otis Taylor (blues musician)
Otis Taylor (football player)
Otis Williams (co-founding member of The Temptations)

Children of Famous People

NAMED OTIS

We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Otis

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME OTIS

We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Otis