Meaning and Name Origin
Ray \ray\ as a boys' name (also used less commonly as girls' name Ray) is pronounced ray. It is of English and Old German origin, and the meaning of Ray is "protecting hands". A short form of Raymond used as an independent name in the 20th century and also in contemporary blends. See also Raynor. Singer Ray Charles; boxer Sugar Ray Leonard; author Ray Bradbury; actors Ray Liotta, Ray Romano.
For more on this name, see also the related boy name Rashaun.
Ray▼ has 32 more alternative forms via Raymond, Raynor: Raemond, Raemondo, Ragnar, Raimond, Raimondo, Raimund, Raimundo, Rainer, Rainier, Rainor, Rajmund, Ramon▼, Ramond, Ramonde, Ramone, Rane, Ranell, Ranieri, Raniero, Rayment, Raymondo, Raymund, Raymunde, Raymundo▼, Raynar, Rayne, Rayner, Raynord, Reinier, Renier, Reymond and Reymundo.
Ray is a very prominent first name for men (#132 out of 1220, Top 11%) and also a very prominent surname for all people (#173 out of 88799, Top 1%). (2000 U.S. Census)
Shown below is the birth name popularity of Ray for boys. Ray reached its peak position of #55 in the U.S. during 1890-1899, and is presently at #733. (Top 1000 Baby Names Records, 2014)
Shown below is an analysis of the popularity of Ray and associated names. Prominent varying forms of Ray (#733 a year ago) are Raymond (#264 a year ago), Ramon (#647), Raymundo and Rayford. Usage of these boy names was at its apex during the years 1940-1949 and is now significantly lower, with the forms Ramon, Ray, Raymond, Raymundo and Rayford falling out of fashion. (Top 1000 Baby Names Records, 2014)
Ray▼ is pronounced similarly to Rei, Reo, Rey, Rio, Roe, Roi, Row, Roy▼, Ruy, Rye, Ryu and Wray. Other recommended similar baby names are Bay, Day, Fay▼, Gay, Jay▼, Kay▼, Rab, Rad, Raj, Ram, Ramy, Ras, Tay and Way. These names tend to be less commonly used than Ray.