Brody and Brodie are both Scottish names with uncertain meaning; although several theories as to their origin do exist. First appearing as a surname (clan name) in the 14th century, Brodie is likely derived from a location (i.e., the lands of Brodie) in an area of northeast Scotland around where the Brodie Castle sits in Moray. It’s not clear if the clan Brodie took their name from the lands, or if the lands were named after them. Some etymologists suspect that Brodie comes from one of two Scottish-Gaelic words: either “brothaigh” meaning “rampart, fortification” or else “brothach” meaning “muddy place” (the Old Irish “broth” meaning “ditch, mire” is another theory). Given these definitions generally describing a topographical feature of a landscape, it seems that the Brodies took their name from the lands rather than the other way around. Our favorite theory as to the etymological origin of Brody, however, has to do with the Picts (a now-extinct Celtic tribal people who occupied present-day Scotland before the Gaels arrived from Ireland). Some etymologists believe the name Brodie (and thus Brody) evolved from Bridei/Brude, the name of at least seven different Pictish Kings between the 6th and 9th centuries (leading some to speculate that “Bridei” might very well be the Pictish-Celtic word for “king”). The Picts would eventually blend in with the Christianized Gaelic culture of Scotland by the 10th century resulting in the loss of their language and customs. Pictland had, in essence, become Scotland. As a masculine personal name, they prefer the spelling Brodie in Scotland (currently ranked #53 in popularity). The spelling of Brody is a Top 100 favorite in both the United States and Canada.
Brody first appeared on the U.S. popularity charts in 1976, but it really didn’t see much success until the 1990s when it finally reached some moderate levels of usage. Its climb to America’s Top 100 list has been slow and steady, but Brody finally claimed that achievement in in 2008. Having never been über-trendy or overused both Brody and Brodie are fresh name choices. The name’s main attraction is probably derived from its early Scottish roots, and appealing to American parents of Scottish heritage (although Scottish Americans should really be spelling it Brodie which is how the Scots would spell it). Brody and Brodie are occasionally used for baby girls in the United States, but not enough to show up on the Top 1000 list. It’s still largely considered a masculine name.