Tobias is one of a number of s-ending boys' names that are riding a wave of popularity, now at the midpoint of the Social Security list and poised to rise.
With its Old Testament-Dickensian feel, it's a name with a distinguished pedigree-- Tobias Smollett, for instance, was a major eighteenth century Scottish novelist--that also has a contemporary feel. A contemporary bearer is Tobias Wolff, author of A Boy's Life; Tobias Snape is a Harry Potter character.
Tobias is the name of several biblical figures, but is primarily associated with the story of Tobias and the Angel.
Tobias is currently popular in Europe: it's the second most popular name in Austria and Number 11 in Norway.
The short form Toby has a life of its own, used independently at least as far back as Shakespeare's time, with Sir Toby Belch in "Twelfth Night." Toby was the name of a character on "The West Wing," and is currently at Number 54 in England. Actor Tobey Maguire was born Tobias and named his son Otis Tobias.
There is also the rarely used but still viable daddy of them all, Tobiah, the name of a rebel Hebrew king.
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