Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Toby

Toby is the English short form of Tobiah/Tobias. Tobias is the Greek form of the Hebrew Tobiah (Toviyyah) meaning “Yahweh is good”. Since the Middle Ages the name has mainly been associated with the Biblical tale “Tobias and the Angel” which appears in the apocrypha (Book of Tobit). In the story, Tobias is the son of Tobit, a rich and righteous Jew who goes blind after bird droppings fall into his eyes. The archangel Raphael (disguised as a man) accompanies Tobias on a journey to retrieve money for Tobit. With the aid of the angel, Tobias returns from his travels triumphantly – a rich man with a new wife on his arm after defeating an evil demon. He also brings Tobit an ointment (fish gall bladder) which, after rubbed into his eyes, miraculously cures his blindness and restores his eyesight. As a result of Tobias’ heroic deeds and the popularity of this story in medieval times, the name came into wider usage. It was also the name of an early 4th century Roman soldier who was martyred for his Christian beliefs (along with five other soldiers all of whom were burned at the stake). Tobias is another example of one of the lesser prominent Biblical names adopted and popularized by the Protestants after the Reformation. Toby is the English diminutive but has since become an independently given name in its own right. In fact, Toby is a pretty high ranking in both England and Australia today.

All About the Baby Name – Toby

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME TOBY

The number Eight personality has everything to do with power, wealth and abundance. Somehow, this personality has been blessed on the material plane, but their authoritative and problem-solving traits provide evidence that their good fortunes are not just the luck of the lottery. They are well earned. This is the personality of CEOs and high-ranking military personnel. Eights are intensely active, hard-driving individuals. Success is only meaningful to them after a job well-done.  They are remarkable in their ability to see the larger picture right down to the smallest details, and organize a strategy around success. They then have the ability to direct a group around them toward any goal, and realize individual potential to get the most out of their team.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME TOBY

Technically Toby is considered a unisex name, at least in the United States; although it’s much more commonly bestowed on baby boys than girls. For the most part, Toby first appeared on the American male naming charts in 1934. For the next 40 years, the name would show slow and steady growth in usage until hitting his peak popularity in 1975 at position #190 on the charts. So the highest Toby ever managed was achieving a spot on the Top 200 list. In the meantime, Toby appeared on the girl’s chart in 1933 but constantly struggled to maintain even the lightest feminine usage. In fact, the last year the female Toby saw the charts was 1975 – the same year that the male Toby was at the height of his usage. Obviously, American parents of baby girls just gave up, accepting the fact that the masculine Toby dominated. Toby still retains a gender-neutral quality, but parents just don’t use it frequently enough on their daughters to show up on the charts. As a result, most people think of Toby as a guy’s name. Either way, Toby is a casual, informal and relaxed name, so we weren’t surprised to see that it’s so popular Down Under in Australia.

Quick Facts

ON TOBY

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

550

PRONUNCIATION:

TOE-bee

SIMPLE MEANING:

God is good

Characteristics

OF TOBY

Authoritative

Powerful

Tough

Tenacious

Wealthy

Problem-solver

Achiever

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Toby

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME TOBY

Sir Toby Belch is one of the most memorable of Shakespeare’s characters, appearing in the 1601/02 comedy, Twelfth Night. He is the uncle of the countess, Olivia, and one of the authors of the comic subplot that has Malvolio, Olivia’s steward, convinced she is secretly in love with him. Toby breaks all the rules of polite society, and keeps things moving all along. He would be the leader of the frat house in modern times. He lives to party, and that includes dancing and singing, eating and drinking, and, well, belching. He is impatient with Olivia for her endless mourning for her brother; he wants to get on with life, which means partying some more. His trick on Malvolio puts him in a good mood, as Malvolio is most disapproving of Toby and his life style. At the same time as he is directing his pranks, he is also plotting to have his niece marry his good friend, so he may be assured of continuing his free-loading life in her household and at her expense. All in all, memorable he may be, but probably rather trying after a while. We will say this for him, though – unlike so many of Mr. S.’s characters, he remains a man through and through – no posturing or false identity for him. And when he’s ready to marry, he cuts to the chase. He is to marry, most democratically, Maria, Olivia’s maid, not some boy posturing as a woman. Upon Maria he lavishes his fondest praise: “She’s a beagle, true bred...” For that matter, so is our Sir Toby.

Twelfth Night

Popular Songs

ON TOBY

Toby Take A Bow
a song by Casiotone for the Painfully Alone

Toby
a song by Against All Authority

Famous People

NAMED TOBY

Toby Keith (musician)
Toby Jones (actor)
Toby Stephens (actor)
Toby Gad (music producer)

Children of Famous People

NAMED TOBY

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME TOBY

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