Transferred use of the English and Irish surname, originally a Norman baronial name (d'Arcy) borne by a family who came from Arcy in northern France. The surname was well established in north central England from the Middle Ages onwards, and various gentry families used it as a male given name from the late 1500s. It has always had a somewhat aristocratic flavour, which has added to its popularity as a first name. It is the surname of the hero of Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice (1813). Its use as a girl's name, often spelled Darcey—as in the case of the British ballerina Darcey Bussell (b. 1969)—is more recent and is now predominant.