Riley: Meaning, Popularity, Origin of Baby Name Riley

Riley

Pronunciation: RIY-lee, RIY-ə-lee (key)

Origin of the name Riley:

Transferred use of the surname derived from the Old English elements ryge (rye) and lēah (wood, clearing, meadow). The name was indicative of one who dwelled near a rye field.

From A World of Baby Names by Teresa Norman.

Related Names:

Reilly, Rylee

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US Popularity of Riley Over Time

Sister & Brother Names

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Comments and insights on the name Riley: | Edit

I have a Ryley Kristopher. People always spell it with an I. He has gotten very vocal about the fact that he has a Y and NOT an I.

I named my son John Riley 13 years ago. My father's name is John, so we have the family element. We call him Riley. It wasn't until he was 3 or 4 years old that we met other Rileys and they were all girls. His older sister's name is Casey, so I guess you could say we switched them up. I like Riley as a boy's name. I think it sounds very masculine. With the name John Riley, he can use the John later in life if he decides Riley is too unisex.

- we have had nothing but good comments on the name Riley for our son. It does have a unisex vibe to it, but overall I think it's still most widely recognized as a male name. Ido think though that if I could go back in time I might spell it Reilly or something similar. It seems that the girls named Riley most use the normal spelling or rylee. Reilly makes me think of o'reilly's auto parts...and of course that's a masculine place! Lol.

Personal experiences with the name Riley: | Edit

My 4 year old is Riley Christopher. I like unisex names but I hate this name for a girl. It took us so long to come up with a name for our little guy. But as soon as I saw him I knew that he was a Riley. He is a very happy child and we call him Smiley Riley.If you want to name your son Riley, do it. It's NOT a girls name. It's such a sweet name for a boy.

Personally I think it's cute for girls and boys. It has a feminine appeal because it sounds very similar to Miley. On the other hand, it makes me think of Fort Riley, the Army base in Kansas, which lends it a masculine appeal.

I found this name in a couple of novels i had read years ago & wrote it down for the future. I never paid any attention to what was popular when i was pregnant, then my son was born & i had to name him Riley Patric. As soon as i did i started running in to & hearing about all these girl rileys. I was so angrey. I never had heard it used as a girl name & it just sound stupid. I really wanted his name to be unique. Now with my next baby I am all about comparing my list of baby names that i love & have had for ever, to seeing whats popular. I hate names that are so popular that at school or work u have 3+ its ridicoulus.

- I named my son Riley. Other than him, I have not personally known any more Riley's. We love the name for him. Even if it's currently a gender neutral name, I think most people still think of boys when they hear the name...I wonder if it will ever be considered completely a girls name, like Ashley. Ashley I believe started out as a boys name but now is considered a girls name?? Hmm, something to think about!

The only Riley I know was born way before the name got popular. Because he is the only one I know, this name doesn't seem very popular to me, (even if it really is!) And for that same reason, the name is all-masculine to me.

Nicknames for Riley: | Edit

Ry, Ry-Ry, Riles

We used to call our little boy Smiley Riley

Reezy, ri-weezy, reece, reecy-mobile. Lol. Daddy came up with all of these.

Meanings and history of the name Riley: | Edit

"a small stream" Celtic
"valiant, brave" Irish/Gaelic
"Living the Life of Riley" is a famous saying, depicting someone of wealth.

Famous real-life people named Riley: | Edit

Riley King (B.B. King), American musician
Riley P. Bechtel, American businessman
Riley A. Bender, American businessman and politician
Riley Breckenridge, American musician
Riley Chamberlin, American silent film actor
Riley Martin, American author
Riley Smith, American actor
Riley Swanson, American football player
Riley Odoms, American football player
Riley Matheson, American football player
Riley Edward Donoho, son of actress Holly Marie Combs

Riley in song, story & screen: | Edit

"The Life of Riley", popular 1940s radio series
Riley Stavros - character from the TV show Degrassi: The Next Generation
Riley Freeman - animated character from the TV show The Boondocks
Riley- Twilight's Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer, Evil Vampire

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68
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Smart?

73
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Sexy?

73
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Friendly?

69
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Creative?

67
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Strong?

66
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Young?

60
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Sophisticated?