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Grady is an Anglicised form of the Irish surname O’Grady, from the Old Gaelic O’Gradaigh, or “son of Gradaigh”, with Gradaeigh meaning “the illustrious one”. The O’Gradys are one of Ireland’s noble families, and a recognised Irish clan. The surname is mostly from County Clare and Kilkenny.

I can find Grady in the records from the late 18th century onward, and interestingly, the Gradys who were born in Ireland were all female, while overall the gender balance between male and female at that time was very even. However, the name Grady is overwhelmingly masculine today. In Australian records, Grady is rare as a first name, and mostly given to boys, although not uncommon as a middle name for girls.

Grady does not rank at all in Australia, and never has, although it is in the Top 500 in the United States, and has charted there since the late 19th century. I was a bit surprised to see how rare Grady is here, because it doesn’t sound rare.

It sounds like Brady, Graydon and Grayson, and like traditional Graham. Yet when I think about it, I don’t recall ever meeting a Grady, or seeing a Grady, or even hearing someone mention a Grady, although it wouldn’t have seemed even slightly unusual if I ever had.

It’s one of those handy names that other parents are hardly using, but won’t seem weird to others – and at a time when surname names for boys are booming, and in a country where Irish names are readily accepted, it’s rather strange how little used this name is.

Thank you to Brooke for suggesting the name Grady to be featured on Waltzing More Than Matilda

POLL RESULT: Grady received an approval rating of 62%. People saw the name Grady as cute for a little boy, but handsome and mature on a grown man (22%), strong and masculine (15%), and rare yet familiar-sounding (12%). However, 12% thought it was harsh or ugly-sounding, and a further 12% believed it sounded too trendy, due to its similarity to other names.

(Photo is of the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare)