Origin: English, Germanic, Gaelic/Scottish, Turkish
Meaning: from Latin baca meaning “berry”, originally referring to the berries of a bay tree.
As a surname it comes from Old English Beaga (m) and Beage (f) which mean “garland”, “crown” and “treasure thing”. Bay is also an English word referring to an area of water bordered by land on three sides, as well as referring to the color “reddish brown”.
It also seems to be a variant spelling of Turkish bey, a title used by wealthy leaders referring to a cheiftain or lord.
Bay is also a short form of Bayer, a German surname meaning “Bavaria”, referring to someone from there.
Bay could also be a short form of Gaelic surname O’Bae, itself a short form of McBeth/Macbeth meaning “son of life”, though it also seems to have an implicit meaning of “righteous man” or “religious man”.
Variants: Bae, Baye