First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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How to Pronounce Buoy

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Meaning and Origin

What does the name Buoy mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Buoy

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
noun Buoy
A float; esp. a floating object moored to the bottom, to mark a channel or to point out the position of something beneath the water, as an anchor, shoal, rock, etc.

Etymology: D. boei buoy, fetter, fr. OF. boie buie, chain, fetter, F. bouée a buoy, from L. boia. “Boiae genus vinculorum tam ferreae quam ligneae.” Festus. So called because chained to its place

verb Buoy
  1. To keep from sinking in a fluid, as in water or air; to keep afloat; -- with up.
  2. To support or sustain; to preserve from sinking into ruin or despondency."Those old prejudices, which buoy up the ponderous mass of his nobility, wealth, and title." [Burke.]
  3. To fix buoys to; to mark by a buoy or by buoys; as, to buoy an anchor; to buoy or buoy off a channel."Not one rock near the surface was discovered which was not buoyed by this floating weed." [Darwin.]
verb Buoy
To float; to rise like a buoy.
Other Dictionary Sources
  1. Bright-colored; a float attached by rope to the seabed to mark channels in a harbor or underwater hazards
  2. Mark with a buoy
  3. Keep afloat ("The life vest buoyed him up")
  4. Float on the surface of water

Borrowing from Middle Dutch boeye (“float, buoy”), perhaps a special use of Middle Dutch boeye (“shackle, fetter”), from Old French buie (“fetter, chain”) (compare modern bouée), probably from Frankish *baukan, or alternatively from Latin boia (“a (leather) collar, band, fetter”), from Ancient Greek βόεος (bóeos), βόειος (bóeios, “of ox-hide”), from βοῦς (boûs, “ox”), from Proto-Indo-European *gʷow- (“cow”).

  1. (nautical) A float moored in water to mark a location, warn of danger, or indicate a navigational channel.
  2. A life-buoy.

buoy was also found in the following language(s): Kashmiri

Where is the name Buoy popular?

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Popularity of Buoy as a last name

The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Buoy as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in Illinois, Oklahoma, or Oregon.

Common first names for Buoy

Ethnicity Distribution

Ethnicity Buoy U.S.
  White 74.24% 64.26%
  African American 8.20% 11.96%
  Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 7.26% 4.85%
  American Indian and Alaska Native 3.51% 0.69%
  Two or More Ethnicities 4.45% 1.76%
  Hispanic or Latino 2.34% 16.26%

Of Last Name Buoy

People with the last name Buoy are most frequently White

Entire United States

Fun Facts about the name Buoy

  • How Popular is the name Buoy? As a last name Buoy was the 49,268th most popular name in 2010.
  • When was the first name Buoy first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the name Buoy is Thursday, November 17th, 1927.
  • How unique is the name Buoy? From 1880 to 2017 less than 5 people per year have been born with the first name Buoy. Hoorah! You are a unique individual.
  • Weird things about the name Buoy: Your name in reverse order is Youb. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Uybo. How do you pronounce that?
  • How many people have the last name Buoy? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 427 people with the last name Buoy.
  • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Buoy? Chances are, most people haven't met someone with Buoy as their last name since less than 1 person in 714k people have that last name. If you know one, consider yourself lucky!

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Name poster for Buoy

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  • Sources:
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
  • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
  • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
  • Wiktionary: Titles and License.