Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Sydney

Sydney is a variation of Sidney both of which are the transferred use of an early Norman surname said to be derived from the baronial family name “Saint-Denis” (patron saint of France; see the name Dennis for more details). Originally rendered as “de Sancto Deonise” circa early 12th century, the surname would eventually be fused into Sidney/Sydney centuries later. Many scholars believe the original surname bearer was King Henry II’s chamberlain (a high ranking member of the king’s court who oversaw management of the monarch’s household). Sydney and Sidney may have also developed from an Anglo-Saxon surname derived from a place name; from the Olde English “sīdan” (side) and “iēg” (island), a surname assigned to a man “dwelling by the well-watered land” (for instance, the wide riverside meadow describing the landscape in Surrey England). Evidence indicates that the Sydney/Sidney has been in use in England as a masculine given name since the 1700’s but gained considerable popularity in the 1800’s, probably influenced by the Charles Dickens’s character Sydney Carton from “A Tale of Two Cities” (1859). Sydney has been primarily used for boys in the English-speaking world until the 1980’s when North America commandeered the name for little girls. Sydney is also considered a “place name” in reference to Sydney, Australia, which was named after the 1st British Earl Sydney (1733-1800). The New South Wales capital city of Sydney sits on the Tasman Sea; apropos, a well-watered land! Today Sydney is mainly a female name popular in both Canada and the United States.

All About the Baby Name – Sydney

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME SYDNEY

The number 11 is a Master Number, and embodies heightened traits of the Two. This personality is on a life journey to find spiritual truth. They are extremely idealistic and intuitive. Elevens have a rare and exceptional spiritual energy that brings a sense of obligation to illuminate the world around them. It's a very powerful responsibility, but these people have far more potential than they know. It's important that they surrender to higher ideals. They have the capacity to see the bigger picture, and they possess the skills to inspire others spiritually. Elevens have strong diplomatic skills and can become great peacemakers. Master numbers can be both a blessing and a curse, as they walk the fine line between greatness and the potential for self-destruction.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME SYDNEY

Sydney has traditionally been considered a male name, then a unisex name, and now, today, it’s almost exclusively given to little girls. For boys in America, the name was basically sent into obscurity after the 1940’s. Parents picked up the name for little girls in the 1980’s and it has persistently increased in popularity since then. For girls, the name Sydney hit the Top 100 in 1994 and into the Top 50 the very next year. It’s actually more popular in Canada for girls than in America, but these are the only two English-speaking nations to have the name on its Top 100 list. In America, Sydney reached the peak of its popularity between the years 1999 and 2002. Today, it appears to be slipping in status ever so slightly. We’ll have to wait and see if this trend continues. The name’s recent success definitely mirrors American parent’s interest in androgynous sounding names for their little daughters.

Quick Facts

ON SYDNEY

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

98

PRONUNCIATION:

SIHD-nee

SIMPLE MEANING:

Well-watered land

Characteristics

OF SYDNEY

Inspirational

Highly Intuitive

Spiritual Teacher

Extremely Bright

Uplifting

Truth-seeker

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Sydney

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME SYDNEY

Sydney Carton is one of the protagonists in Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, which takes place before and during the French Revolution of the 18th century. He is a dissolute lawyer and a wastrel, bitter, cynical and seemingly without merit. His polar opposite is Charles Darnay, the French aristocrat married to Lucie Manette, who is falsely accused of treason, sentenced to death and imprisoned in Paris. It is the profoundly moving experience of his unrequited love for Lucie (Darnay’s wife) which brings forth in Carton the hitherto unseen noble aspect of his nature. In a stirring reversal of fortune, Carton exchanges places with his look-alike, Darnay, and goes to the guillotine in his stead, prompting one of the most quoted lines in literature: “It is a far, far better thing I do than I have ever done…” Carton’s redemption and resurrection are symbolically represented by the child of Darnay and Lucie, whom they name Sydney for him.

Popular Songs

ON SYDNEY

Sydney
a song by Halifax

Sydney Tonight
a song by Watashi-Wa

Famous People

NAMED SYDNEY

Sydney Brenner (Nobel laureate in medicine)
Sydney Penny (actress)
Sydney Pollack (director/actor)
Sydney Brenner (Nobel laureate in medicine)
Sydney Penny (actress)
Sydney Pollack (director/actor)
Sydney Brenner (Nobel laureate in medicine)
Sydney Penny (actress)
Sydney Pollack (director/actor)

Children of Famous People

NAMED SYDNEY

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME SYDNEY

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