Name of the Week: Monty – British Baby Names

Name of the Week: Monty – British Baby Names

Monty name



Monty is a traditional diminutive for Montagu/Montague and Montgomery: both of which are surnames-turned-first names which came to Britain with William the conqueror:

  • Montagu and Montague are English surnames taken from the location of Montaigu-le-Bois in Normandy whose name derives from the Old French mont “hill, mountain” and aigu “point.” The surname was brought to Britain by Norman knight Drogo de Montagu (1040-1086) during the invasion of 1066. He was a close friend of Robert, Earl of Mortain, a favourite brother of William the Conqueror. Drogo was given land in Somerset, and two of his manors (Sutton Montagu and Shipton Montagu) still bear his name. His descendent, Simon de Montagu (d.1316) became first Baron Montagu, whose own grandson William Montagu, 3rd Baron Montagu (1301-1344) was installed as the 1st Earl of Salisbury and King of Mann. The aristocratic House of Montagu have held several tiles including Duke of Montagu and, more recently, the Duke of Manchester. The last seven dukes have all had Drogo as a middle name, alongside many other members of the Montagu family.
  • Montgomery derives from Saint-Germain-de-Montgommery and Sainte-Foy-de-Montgommery in Normandy of which the Montgomery family held. The name Montgomery most likely derives from the Old French mont “hill, mountain” and Gomeri, the French form of the Old Germanic name Gumaric, which itself was composed of the elements guma “man” and ric “power, rule.”Roger “the Great” de Montgomery (died 1094) was one of William the Conqueror’s main counsellors and was given the title of 1st Earl of Shrewsbury. He gave his name to the town of Montgomery in Wales and many instances of the surname may derive from this town. Eventually, Montgomery became the county town of Montgomeryshire.

Monty can, in some cases, also be considered an Anglicised form of the Italian and Spaniah surname (del/di) Monte meaning “from the hill, mountain.”

The full monty is a British phrase which has been in use since the 20th century meaning “the whole thing, full amount.” Its origin is uncertain but there are several theories:

1) It derives from a complete three-piece suit by British tailors Montague Burton for which customers would as for “the full Monty.”2) A corruption of the phrase full amount, perhaps with reference to the English mount vs Spanish monte. 3) It derives from the Spanish card game Monte when someone gets the entire pot. 4) Field Marshal Montgomery’s (known as “Monty”) insistence on a full English breakfast. 5) A reference to a 1980’s Del Monte television advert for fruit juice, in which the characters ask for the full Del Monte.


Monte can be found as a given name as early as 1427 in the Condado Section of the Florence Catasto* and appears to have been used as a short form of a varianty of surname-names such as Montuccio, Montino, Montechio and Montanino.

Famously, Shakespeare used Montague for the name of one of the feuding houses in Romeo and Juliet (1597) though it is unlikely that this inspired early use of the name Montague. Like most surname-firstnames, both Montagu(e) and Montgomery were used as given names from the 16th century as direct adoption of family or godparents’ surnames.

One example is Montague Cholmeley (b. 1615) whose maternal grandmother belonged to the aristocratic Montagu family. Many descendant Montague Cholmeleys followed him, including Sir Montague Cholmeley, 1st Baronet Cholmeley (1772-1831). Three more Baronet Cholmeleys have borne the name Montague, as well as the heir apparent (born 1997).

Montague, in particular, was moderately used in the 19th century, ranking in the lower half of the top 200 from 1870 to 1900 in England & Wales. Montague also established itself as the dominant spelling during this period. Montgomery, on the other hand, was uncommon in the 19th century but eventually came to supersede Montague by the 1990s.

Monty itself grew in use in the 1910s and 1920s. Records in the Birth Index for England and Wales show that the first name was often coupled with an Eastern European surname and particularly in London boroughs such as Stepney and Hackney which, at this time, had a prominent Jewish population. This is most likely due to its being used as an “English” form of Moses (Moishe).

Monty saw a further boost from 1943 to 1945 among non-Jewish parents thanks to Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (1887-1976) — who was known as “Monty” — due to his prominent role in the Second World War. Montgomery also spiked in use during this period.

Registration records for Montagu(e) and Montgomery as a first name in England & Wales:

Montagu(e) Montgomery Monty 1840s:1850s:1860s:1870s:1880s:1890s:1900s:1910s:1920s:1930s:1940s:1950s:1960s:1970s: 196 births318 births526 births884 births1486 births1349 births1165 births945 births889 births361 births207 births41 births25 births7 births 8 births15 births15 births12 births14 births12 births10 births13 births9 births3 births53 births14 births8 births4 births 1 birth0 births1 birth3 births12 births6 births32 births54 births235 births96 births125 births18 births12 births10 births

Births for MontyBy 1996, all of the Mont- names were uncommon and below the top 1000 in England and Wales. The most common was Montgomery, which ranked at #1040 (13 births) followed by Monty at #1458 (8 births) and Montague at #2020 (5 births).

Since then, all three names have been rising, and Monty, in particular, has pulled away from the others as the dominant form.

Having seen a steep rise in 2007 when it went from #433 (76 births) to #342 (109 births), it saw another sharp rise in 2017 when it moved up 59 places to #272 (191 births).

Monty’s use is also partially obscured by its use as a nickname as well as a given name. The rise of both Montgomery and Montague — ranking at #381 (119 births) and #684 (51 births) in 2017 — indicates that several parents are choosing formal names for Monty for the birth certificate. This was certainly the case for Spice Girl Geri Horner, who named her son Montague George Hector “Monty” in 2017.

Famous Bearers:


* Montagu “Monty” Corry, 1st Baron Rowton (1838-1903), British philanthropist and public servant, longtime private secretary to Benjamin Disraeli.* Montague “Monty” Bowden (1865-1892), English cricketer and wicket-keeper.* Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein “Monty” (1887-1976), British Second World War field marshal.* Monty Banks (1897-1950), Italian comedian and film producer.* Monte Collins (1898-1951), American film actor and screenwriter.* Montague “Monty” Berman (1905-2006), British cinematographer and film and television producer.* Montgomery “Monty” Clift (1920-1966), American actor.* Monty Hall (1921-2017), Canadian-born television game show host.


* Monty Norman (born 1928), singer and film composer.* Montgomery “Monty” Alexander (born 1944), Jamaican jazz pianist.* Montagu “Monty” Don (born 1955), British horticulturist and television presenter.* Monty Powell (born 1961), American country music songwriter.* Monty Halls (born 1966), British TV broadcaster, explorer and marine biologist.* Monty Dumond (born 1982), South African rugby union player.* Mudhsuden “Monty” Panesar (born 1982), England cricketer.

Literature and Other Media:

* Monty, a character on Sesame Street.* Monty, a large red dump truck in Thomas and Friends.* Monty Green, a main character in the TV show The 100.


Monte, Monti


MON-tee [key]

Possible longer forms:

Montagu(e), Montgomery, Montmorency, Montel, Beaumont, Remington

Sibling Names:

Eliza Octavia Pearl April Flora Hazel Otto Jasper Digby Barney Chester Rex

Name Lists:

Vintage Names Diminutive Names

If you like Monty you may also like: Baxter, Hughie, Bertie, Wilf, Ziggy, Otis, Jago, Rudy, Vinnie, Angus

Thanks to Jan for requesting this name.