- this week

Gender: Female Meaning of Ismay: "esteemed, beloved" Origin of Ismay: Possible variation of Esme

The name Ismay is a girl's name of French origin meaning "esteemed, beloved". Ismay and is often added to lists like Unique Baby Names: Unusual and Rare and discussed in our forums with posts like "For Zelda's sister - your opinion on our shortlist?".

From the experts:

The rise of the the various Isabel names may give a boost to this variation, which has a sunny, springtime feel.

Although this name has been around since the thirteenth century, its origins remain obscure.

Ismay has appealed to several authors as a character name--Robertson Davies in his Cornish Trilogy, Ruth Rendell in The Water's Lovely, and Ken Follett in his World Without End.

Caveat: Could be confused with Esme.

Find other names based on Ismay using our baby name generator.

Famous People Named Ismay

Ismay Johnston, New Zealand actress
Ismay Thorn, pen name of English children's author Edith Caroline Pollock
Thomas Henry Ismay, English founder of the White Star Line
Joseph Bruce Ismay, English managing director of the White Star Line when the Titanic sank; survived the sinking
Hastings Lionel Ismay, 1st Baron Ismay, British Indian Army officer and diplomat

Pop Culture References for the name Ismay

Ismay Meade, character in a short story by L. M. Montgomery
Ismay Sealand, character in The Water's Lovely by Ruth Rendell
Ismae Rienne, protagonist in "Grave Mercy" (His Fair Assassin Trilogy)


MaryKathryn Says:


I could definitely see this name rising in popularity in the future. It's unique and appeals to those who like classic, frilly girl names like Isabel/Esme

Haids1987 Says:


That's what I came here to say too. When I read this name the only reason I clicked on it to see if it was listed as his namesake.

Lena_Aline Says:


I'm not positive, but I think the spelling "Ismay" is far older than Esme, definitely not a unique spelling.

giraffe019 Says:


Same here. I am always going to associate it with J Bruce Ismay, and I'm sure other people would too. It would seem a shame to name someone this as he has such a bad reputation (rightly or wrongly).

SimoneKadele Says:


I assumed it's pronounced IZ-may. I don't have any information on the pronunciation, but that doesn't sound too much like dis-MAY.

SimoneKadele Says:


I really like this, even though it isn't my usual style. Kind of a mash-up between Isabelle and Esme. I don't particularly like either, but I love Ismay! I have been pronouncing it IZ-may.

Zelliew Says:


It dismays me

Zoey_Artemisia Says:


No no no. It looks like a yooneek spelling of Esme.

alyssum Says:


Ugh. I just can't. I'm too much of a Titanic geek.

minisia Says:


It's a nice name, but then I remind myself to add a "d" at the beginning. I'd go with Esme.

emilybrianna Says:


I think it's pretty, although it sort of sounds like Pig Latin!

geeknamezyo Says:


One of my absolute favorites. I love how happy it feels.