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Origin, Meaning, And History Of Lee

Lee is a given name that originates from an Old English word, ‘leah,’ which means ‘clearing’ or ‘meadow.’ The use of this name can be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon period in England. Additionally, the name is also utilized as a surname and has topographical significance, as it is speculated to have been used to refer to people who lived near a field or meadow.

According to studies, Lee was first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 in England. The book describes the place Lee with a small community located in close proximity to lowland areas suitable for crops and grazing. The name’s initial popularity as a surname during the Middle Ages and even today can be understood through famous and notable people with Lee as a surname. In the 20th century, Lee spiked up in popularity as a given name among parents of boys and girls.

Lee is often used as a diminutive form of different names, such as Beverly, Leslie, Kimberley, Ashley, and Leona, as it gives a modern, friendly, and cozy vibe. A commonly used variant of Lee in Chinese culture is Lǐ, in Vietnamese Lý, and in Irish is Ó Laoidhigh. Some other variants used in English are Leigh or Lea, and in Dutch, it is Lij.

Despite having many different variants, the name has consistently managed to have many references, including fictional characters in movies, television shows, and literature. Some noteworthy fictional characters include Lee Sin, the Blind Monk, a playable champion character in the action real-time strategy video game League of Legends; a character from the Harry Potter series known as Lee Jordan, a Gryffindor student; Lee Everett, one of the protagonists in the video game series The Walking Dead; and Lee Kanker, the oldest sibling and the leader of the Kanker sisters in the TV show Ed, Edd, and Eddy.


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Healer, the one with the power to heal
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How To Pronounce Lee?


Famous People With The Name Lee

  • Bruce LeeHong Kong-American martial artist and actor who paved the way for modern mixed-martial arts and won the Hong Kong Film Award for Lifetime Achievement
  • Lee DeWyzeAmerican singer-songwriter and the winner of Season 9 of American Ido
  • Lee GreenwoodAmerican country music singer known for the song “God Bless the USA”
  • Lee UnkrichAmerican director, editor, screenwriter and animator known for directing Toy Story 3 and co-directing Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo
  • Lee MillerAmerican fashion model, photographer, war photojournalist during second world war, known for her portraits of Pablo Picasso

Lee On The Popularity Chart

Lee is a sweet name with a calming feel associated with its meaning and is a popular choice for parents. The popularity of the name can be understood from data provided by the Social Security Administration.

Popularity Over Time

Lee has been in use as a given name since the 20th century. The name was at its peak popularity in 1984 but has been declining in popularity since then as shown in the graph.

Source: Social Security Administration

Rank Over Time

In 1983, Lee held its best rank at 12,208. Following a decline in its rank, the name can be seen improving from 2007 to 2021. The same can be explored through the graph below.

Source: Social Security Administration

Names With Similar Sound As Lee

If you like how mellow the name Lee sounds but looking for a more classic name, check out these options.

Names With Similar Meaning As Lee

Meaning of Lee is calming and you might love to check out these options with similar meanings.

Name Numerology For Lee

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