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Origin, Meaning, And History of Kelly

Kelly is a name that has Irish, Gaelic, and Scottish origins. The name Kelly can have several meanings, such as ‘warrior,’ ‘wood,’ and ‘bright-headed.’ Other less common meanings of the name Kelly could include, ‘born on a farm’ or ‘farm by the spring.’ Initially, Kelly was a masculine name but later used to name girls. Kelly was originally the name of a Clan in Scotland, later it was used as a surname and slowly began being used as a gender-neutral first name.

The Irish meaning of the name referred to a bright-headed person or someone who frequently went to church. Since this name was associated with religion, it was adopted by several of those belonging to a God-fearing society. Kelly can also mean a clear mountain spring that signifies purity and clarity. By the end of the 19th century, the name Kelly began to be popularly used for boys. Its popularity as a feminine name grew in the US during the 1940s. The name Kelly originated in Ireland and then spread to Britain and the rest of Europe.

Variations of the name Kelly include Kelli, Kellie, Kellye, Kelleigh, Kallie, and Kelley. The name Kelly has several possible nicknames, such as Kelina, Kelis, Kel, Kelbele, Lelly, Kell, Kellz and  Kellis.

In the world of fictional characters, a memorable character is Kelly Collins in the movie Cadet Kelly. The movie follows a young girl’s journey when she is shipped off to military school and the daily trials she has to face. Hillary Duff plays the protagonist of the movie, and the movie focuses on her growth as an individual. Kelly Kapoor is another memorable character who Mindy Kaling plays in the US-based TV series The Office. The show follows the comical lives of a bunch of colleagues who work in a company office.


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Kelly means The Brave Warrior
 K..  Ka..  Kaa..  Kac..  Kae..  Kah..  Kai..  Kaj..  Kal.. 

How To Pronounce Kelly?


Famous People With The Name Kelly

  • Kelly Ann AyotteAn American politician and the US Senator from New Hampshire and the Attorney General of New Hampshire (2004-2009)
  • Kelly ClarksonAn American singer and songwriter who won the 2002 American Idol and bearer of the Single Record of the Year award for her song “Don’t You Wanna Stay”
  • Kelly Olivia GaleA Swedish model who has worked for Victoria secret and has also been featured in an Enrique Iglesias’ music video
  • Kelly Ann HuAmerican-Chinese beauty icon and actress, former Miss Teen USA and Miss Hawaii USA, who is best known for her roles in Vampire Diaries and Arrow
  • Kelly RowlandAmerican actress and singer who was part of the all girls band, Destiny’s Child, and has won five Grammy Awards

Kelly On The Popularity Chart

According to the US Social Security Administration chart, Kelly was popular in the 1980s and 1990s, with its highest popularity in 1982. After that, it saw a transient decrease. These graphs below depict its ranking and popularity over the years.

Popularity Over Time

This name was popular in 1982, with around 1,271 babies per million named Kelly. Check out the graphical representation for detailed insights.

Source: Social Security Administration

Rank Over Time

The ranking of the name Kelly was extremely high in the 1980s but saw a substantial decrease in the following years. The ranking of the name Kelly saw its all-time high in 1983.

Source: Social Security Administration

Names With Similar Sound to Kelly

Here are popular baby names that resemble Kelly but have different meanings.

Names With Similar Meaning as Kelly

Look no further if you are looking for baby names that emulate the strength and devotion of a warrior. Here are some worthwhile names to consider.

Name Numerology For Kelly

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