Kelly: Meaning, Popularity, Origin of Baby Name Kelly

Kelly

Pronunciation: KEH-lee (key)

Origin of the name Kelly:

Transferred use of the Irish surname meaning “war, strife” or the transferred use of English place-names derived from the Cornish celli (wood, grove).

From A World of Baby Names by Teresa Norman. Buy the book

NameVoyager

US Popularity of Kelly Over Time

Sister & Brother Names

Know a Kelly? What are her siblings named?

Contribute your knowledge to the name Kelly

Comments and insights on the name Kelly: | Edit

My name is Kelly Lynn. It seems everyone named Kelly has the same middle name!

My 18 year old sister's name is Kelly and I think it sounds very 80's/early 90's. Just personal opinion though.

The spelling of my name is KELLYE, for which there were times I could have screamed! Like when I had to send a legal document back 3 times to get the spelling correct or when a teacher took over 20 minutes guessing everything, but the correct way, to spell my name. (I finally had to tell him) Or how many times has it been mispronounced!!

Where I went to school there were 5 Kelly(e)'s. And only 100(+/-) kids in the high school! 3 of us were in my grade and the other 2 were in my sister's....and they were her 2 best friends! Heaven forbid someone call out 'Hey, Kelly(e)'!!

There wasn't that many Kelly's at my school, but it seemed like every Kelly I did meet, we all would have the same middle name. Which is Lynn.

Personal experiences with the name Kelly: | Edit

I'm a Kelly bc my Dad is Irish and it was his Grandmother's last name. However, when I think of the name Kelly, I think of a red haired, freckle faced Irish girl, preppy well-off and casual, off playing field hockey at someplace like U of Notre Dame. Whereas I'm a dark haired, dark eyed, olive skinned person who is part Jewish-Italian and a bookish nerd that hates sports :) LOL! So yeah I feel like my name has never at all 'fit' me. It's also very casual and kind of childish, esp after 40. Not a 'smart' person name. In business I've often wished I had a more serious and at least a smarter name - Ellen, Julia, Kate, Katherine, Olivia - something like that. There are few CEO's named Kelly! LOL! Oh and some people who remember 90210 and Married With Children still think of Kelly as a "hot blonde bimbo" type name. If you're naming your baby Kelly it's good to keep all this in mind! :) It's a great name if you feel that it fits you tho!

While working at the Vital Statistics Office several years ago, a young woman came in to get a copy of her birth certificate, and her full name was Kelly Kelly Kelly! No kidding, you can find her on People Finders!

Smelly Kelly ate some Jelly off her Belly! That being said, I LOVE my name. I don't actually even remember being upset, I just thought it was cool there were words that rhymed with my name. I wouldn't change it for anything.

When my mom named my Kelly in 1960, my grandmother was horrified that she would give a boy's name to a little baby girl. Growing up, there was never another Kelly in school - to this day, I still don't personally know anyone named Kelly. There was a short period of time when I didn't like having an unusual name, but most of my life I haven't thought about it one way or the other.

I have a friend named Kelly who goes by her middle name Victoria because she thinks Kelly sounds too "casual."

We know a woman named Kelly-Marie.

My name is Kelly and I've never liked it. It makes me think of big hair and superficiality. When I was a kid, I hated the fact that it rhymed with the words belly, jelly, and smelly, which can lead to some potentially unpleasant combinations. Also, there is really no possible nickname... I'd go by my middle name if it didn't suck more.

My name is Kelly, and I've always loved it. I especially love that there's no nickname for it, because I never had to answer the question, "Do you go by Kelly or ______?" Yes, I got the Smelly Kelly taunts...in first grade. You get over it. As an adult, I feel that it has aged well and suits me in my professional capacity.

I love my name. My middle name is Rachelle (meaning Lamb) and it fits my personality great - a little "Warrior Lamb". I never dealt with the rhyming taunts however - I married a man named Jay and at my wedding, the pastor presented us as Mr & Mrs. Jelly. We all laughed.

My name is Kelly. im okay with my name. my father said i was named after the girl from Cheers. I laughed when i found out that i have a song too! :] in kindergarden there was another girl named kelly and this crazy other girl was obsessed with our names and would never leave us alone! and in 4th grade i remember my gym teacher -- robert kelly...it was embarassing for me to share a name with a teacher.

I don't love my name, but I think I look like a Kelly, and it fits me. I also like my Irish heritage, so I like that I have an Irish name. I never understood why it's a male's name though, it sounds girly to me. A lot of cool names are unisex though, so it's not a bad thing I guess. The only thing I really dislike about it is the spelling, and writing it. I wish my parents spelled it Kelley or Kellie, or anything but Kelly. I hate writing my name, it's awkward to write.

Nicknames for Kelly: | Edit

Lelly
Kel
Kellis /Kelis
Kelina
Kelbele
Kelly Belly Jelly
Kelso

Meanings and history of the name Kelly: | Edit

Kelly is a given name and surname which originates in England, Ireland and Scotland. Etymologically, the Irish surname originated as a patronymic surname, with the prefix Ó ("grandchild", or "male descendant") and the suffix Ceallach ("strife", or "contention"), an Old Gaelic clan name, Ó Ceallaigh (anglicisized as "O'Kelly").

It's been adapted to mean "brave warrior" in many English language armies (for example, the Irish Army, British Army, and Australian Army) and "warrior princess" by American popular culture. Kelly is the second most common family name in Ireland (after Murphy).

Alternative origins are locational:

* In England, from Kelli in Devonshire, reflected as the Welsh/Cornish celli ("grove"), in public records dating as far back as 1194.
* In Scotland, from Kelly, near Arbroath, Angus, reflected as the Gaelic coille ("wood" or "grove"), in public records dating as far back as 1373.

There are several surname variants including: Cheallaigh (add the prefix Ní for a maiden name, instead of the masculine prefix Ó; see example Lisa Kelly/Laoise Ní Cheallaigh), Kelle, Kelley (often associated with pre-famine, mostly Protestant emigrants, during the Irish diaspora), Kellog, Kellye, Kellyn, and McCullough.

Kelly, and variants, was originally only a surname. With transferred use, Kelly became a popular masculine given name also, and subsequently a popular feminine given name. According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, Kelly, girl's name, was ranked #999 in 1944, then steadily gained popularity through 1977 (#10), before declining (#212 in 2006); Kelly, boy's name, was ranked in the top 600 through 1939, then steadily gained popularity through 1968 (#97), before declining (#884 in 2002). There are several given name variants, including: Keely ("strife", or "war"), Kellee, Kelleen, Kelleigh, Kelley, Kelli, Kellie, and Kellye.

Famous real-life people named Kelly: | Edit

Kelly Brook (born 1979), English model and actress
Kelly Chen (born 1973), Chinese singer and actress
Kelly Carlson American actress notable for her role on Nip/Tuck
Kelly Clarkson (born 1982), American singer/songwriter
Kelly Fraga (born 1974), Brazilian volleyball player
Kelly Haxton (born 1982), Canadian football (soccer) defender
Kelly Hart, historian, author of The Mistresses of Henry VIII
Kelly Holmes (born 1970), British retired athlete
Kelly Hu (born 1968), American actress
Kelly Kelekidou, Greek singer
Kelly A. Ayotte, US Senator from New Hampshire
Kelly Key (born 1983), Brazilian singer
Kelly Kline (born 1981), American porn actress
Kelly Kulick (born 1977), American pro bowler
Kelly Llorenna (born 1975), English singer
Kelly MacDonald (diver) (born 1988), Canadian diver
Kelly Marie (born 1957), Scottish singer
Kelly McCormick (born 1960), American diver
Kelly McGillis, American actress
Kelly Osbourne (born 1984), daughter of Ozzy Osbourne; co-stars in the reality show The Osbournes
Kelly Poon, Chinese singer
Kelly Preston (born 1962), American actress
Kelly Price (born 1973), American singer
Kelly Ripa (born 1970), American actress and talk show host
Kelly Rowland (born 1981), American singer with Destiny's Child
Kelly Stefanyshyn (born 1982), Canadian swimmer
Kelly van der Veer (born 1980), Dutch male-to-female transsexual and TV personality

Kelly in song, story & screen: | Edit

Private Kelly, the main character in Kelly's Heroes
Kelly Roberts, Barbie's younger sister
Kelly, valley girl drag persona created by Liam Kyle Sullivan first for the video "Shoes"
Kelly, signature of The Onion's editorial cartoonist Ward Sutton
Kelly Bundy, played by Christina Applegate on the TV series Married... with Children
Kelly Collins, DCOM in Cadet Kelly
Kelly Cramer, on the soap opera One Life to Live
Kelly Gaines, played by Jackie Swanson on the TV series Cheers
Kelly Garrett, played by Jaclyn Smith on the TV series Charlie's Angels
Kelly Kapoor, played by Mindy Kaling on the U.S. version of The Office
Kelly Kelly, stage name of wrestler Barbie Blank
Kelly Leak, baseball playing thug in the 1976 film The Bad News Bears
Kelly Kapowski, played by Tiffani-Amber Thiessen on the TV series Saved by the Bell
Kelly Taylor, played by Jennie Garth on the TV series "Beverly Hills, 90210"

No Way
Definitely
No Way
Definitely
No Way
Definitely
No Way
Definitely
No Way
Definitely
No Way
Definitely
No Way
Definitely
71
No Way
Definitely

Smart?

73
No Way
Definitely

Sexy?

77
No Way
Definitely

Friendly?

69
No Way
Definitely

Creative?

69
No Way
Definitely

Strong?

71
No Way
Definitely

Young?

62
No Way
Definitely

Sophisticated?