Kelly Name Meaning

Lastest Updated June 7, 2024
Home » Baby Names » Kelly Name Meaning

Fact: Originally a masculine name, Kelly became popular for girls in the U.S. during the 1940s​.

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A Deep Dive

Kelly Overview

Meaning

Warrior, war, lively, bright-headed

Gender

Girl, Gender-neutral

Origin

Irish

Etymology

Derived from the Gaelic surname “Ó Ceallaigh” meaning “descendant of Ceallach”.

Religion

Christianity

Pronunciation

/ˈkɛli/

Popularity

Kelly was very popular in the 1960s and 1970s in the United States and remains a common name today.

Syllable

2 syllables

Length

5 letters

Numerology

2 (Cooperative, Adaptable, Considerate)

Name Styles

Traditional, Cool, Vintage, Classic

Associated Traits

Friendly, creative, and adaptable.
A Deep Dive

Kelly Variations in Different Cultures

Popular Variations

Kelli, Kellie, Kellye, Kelleigh, Kallie, Kelley

Common Nicknames

Kel, Kell, Kells, Kellz, Kelis, Kelina, Lelly, Kelbele, Kellis

Diminutives

Kelli, Kellie, Kell

Famous People

  • Kelly Clarkson
    (American Singer)
  • Kelly Rowland
    (American Singer)
  • Kelly Ripa
    (American TV Show Host)
  • Kelly Slater
    (American Surfer)
  • Kelly Osbourne
    (British TV Personality)

Pop Culture Icons and Works

  • Kelly Taylor
    ("Beverly Hills, 90210," TV Show)
  • Kelly Bundy
    ("Married... with Children," TV Show)
  • Kelly Kapoor
    ("The Office," TV Show)
  • Kelly Collins
    ("Cadet Kelly," TV Movie)
  • Kelly Severide
    ("Chicago Fire," TV Show)

Places

  • Kelly's Island
    (Ohio, USA)
  • Kelly Park
    (Florida, USA)
  • Kelly Hill Conservation Park
    (South Australia, Australia)
  • Kelly Drive Street
    (Pennsylvania, USA)
  • Kelly Rocks
    (Tasmania, Australia)

What Is the Meaning of Kelly?

The name Kelly means “warrior,” “war,” “lively,” or “bright-headed.” It conveys a sense of strength and clarity. Ones who have this name are often thought to be strong, energetic, and full of life​.

What Is the Origin of The Name Kelly?

Kelly originates from Ireland. It is an Anglicized version of the Gaelic surname “Ó Ceallaigh,” which translates to “descendant of Ceallach.” Historically, it was a surname before becoming a popular first name​.

Kelly Name Popularity

Popularity Chart of the Name Kelly in the U.S. over the Years

United States flagUnited States#8492021#8072022#7732023
Top 3 Rankings#101977#121968#121978

Annual Statistics Breakdown for Kelly

YearName RankingNumber of BirthsBirth Rate (%)
2023773
(+34 from 2022)
362
(+15 from 2022)
0.02070
2022807
(+42 from 2021)
347
(+23 from 2021)
0.01935
2021849
(-104 from 2020)
324
(-42 from 2020)
0.01808
2020745
(-90 from 2019)
366
(-80 from 2019)
0.02070
2019655
(-37 from 2018)
446
(-39 from 2018)
0.02431
2018618
(-20 from 2017)
485
(-18 from 2017)
0.02608
2017598
(-83 from 2016)
503
(-101 from 2016)
0.02663
2016515
(-37 from 2015)
604
(-71 from 2015)
0.03120
2015478
(-46 from 2014)
675
(-64 from 2014)
0.03460
2014432
(-63 from 2013)
739
(-109 from 2013)
0.03777
2013369
(-12 from 2012)
848
(-44 from 2012)
0.04399
2012357
(-21 from 2011)
892
(-52 from 2011)
0.04599
2011336
(-30 from 2010)
944
(-117 from 2010)
0.04872
2010306
(-46 from 2009)
1061
(-190 from 2009)
0.05411
2009260
(-12 from 2008)
1251
(-148 from 2008)
0.06178
2008248
(-26 from 2007)
1399
(-169 from 2007)
0.06717
2007222
(-10 from 2006)
1568
(-43 from 2006)
0.07408
2006212
(-37 from 2005)
1611
(-341 from 2005)
0.07706
2005175
(-37 from 2004)
1952
(-405 from 2004)
0.09618
2004138
(-13 from 2003)
2357
(-379 from 2003)
0.11681
2003125
(-6 from 2002)
2736
(-116 from 2002)
0.13636
2002119
(+5 from 2001)
2852
(+38 from 2001)
0.14440
2001124
(-13 from 2000)
2814
(-262 from 2000)
0.14205
2000111
(-16 from 1999)
3076
(-344 from 1999)
0.15413
199995
(-6 from 1998)
3420
(-283 from 1998)
0.17567
199889
(-6 from 1997)
3703
(-360 from 1997)
0.19102
199783
(-10 from 1996)
4063
(-671 from 1996)
0.21281
199673
(-9 from 1995)
4734
(-664 from 1995)
0.24692
199564
(-2 from 1994)
5398
(-47 from 1994)
0.28092
199462
(-11 from 1993)
5445
(-850 from 1993)
0.27932
199351
(-4 from 1992)
6295
(-717 from 1992)
0.31929
199247
(-5 from 1991)
7012
(-502 from 1991)
0.34978
199142
(-1 from 1990)
7514
(-622 from 1990)
0.36952
199041
(-4 from 1989)
8136
(-624 from 1989)
0.39603
198937
(-5 from 1988)
8760
(-155 from 1988)
0.43972
198832
(-2 from 1987)
8915
(-951 from 1987)
0.46357
198730
(-1 from 1986)
9866
(-545 from 1986)
0.52641
198629
(-1 from 1985)
10411
(-620 from 1985)
0.56413
198528
(-1 from 1984)
11031
(-187 from 1984)
0.59746
198427
(-1 from 1983)
11218
(-369 from 1983)
0.62208
198326
(-1 from 1982)
11587
(-583 from 1982)
0.64744
198225
(-2 from 1981)
12170
(+297 from 1981)
0.67079
198123
(-4 from 1980)
11873
(-1837 from 1980)
0.66385
198019
(-3 from 1979)
13710
(-1586 from 1979)
0.76995
197916
(-4 from 1978)
15296
(-1682 from 1978)
0.88761
197812
(-2 from 1977)
16978
(-1256 from 1977)
1.03279
197710
(+9 from 1976)
18234
(+6443 from 1976)
1.10845
197619
(-3 from 1975)
11791
(+54 from 1975)
0.75011
197516
(-1 from 1974)
11737
(+888 from 1974)
0.75195
197415
(+3 from 1973)
10849
(+335 from 1973)
0.69267
197318
(+5 from 1972)
10514
(-429 from 1972)
0.67653
197223
(-1 from 1971)
10943
(-1656 from 1971)
0.67861
197122
(-2 from 1970)
12599
(-2008 from 1970)
0.71888
197020
(-5 from 1969)
14607
(-1720 from 1969)
0.79739
196915
(-3 from 1968)
16327
(-813 from 1968)
0.92623
196812
(+11 from 1967)
17140
(+3423 from 1967)
1.00252
196723
(+3 from 1966)
13717
(+474 from 1966)
0.79897
196626
(+4 from 1965)
13243
(+482 from 1965)
0.75426
196530
(+5 from 1964)
12761
(+290 from 1964)
0.69829
196435
(-3 from 1963)
12471
(-77 from 1963)
0.63713
196332
(+6 from 1962)
12548
(+1019 from 1962)
0.63116
196238
(+7 from 1961)
11529
(+1886 from 1961)
0.56880
196145
(+7 from 1960)
9643
(+969 from 1960)
0.46424
196052
(+22 from 1959)
8674
(+2296 from 1959)
0.41707
195974
(+34 from 1958)
6378
(+1905 from 1958)
0.30684
1958108
(+79 from 1957)
4473
(+2570 from 1957)
0.21653
1957187
(+122 from 1956)
1903
(+1073 from 1956)
0.09070
1956309
(+71 from 1955)
830
(+291 from 1955)
0.04030
1955380
(+26 from 1954)
539
(+86 from 1954)
0.02688
1954406
(+184 from 1953)
453
(+227 from 1953)
0.02275
1953590
(-100 from 1952)
226
(-70 from 1952)
0.01171
1952490
(+191 from 1951)
296
(+132 from 1951)
0.01556
1951681
(+219 from 1950)
164
(+67 from 1950)
0.00888
1950900
(-96 from 1949)
97
(-20 from 1949)
0.00552
1949804
(+151 from 1948)
117
(+34 from 1948)
0.00666
1948955
(+83 from 1947)
83
(+10 from 1947)
0.00476
19471038
(+170 from 1946)
73
(+22 from 1946)
0.00402
19461208
(-108 from 1945)
51
No change from 1945
0.00316
19451100
(-95 from 1944)
51
(-9 from 1944)
0.00379
19441005
(+362 from 1943)
60
(+24 from 1943)
0.00439
19431367
(-18 from 1942)
36
No change from 1942
0.00251
19421349
(+123 from 1941)
36
(+8 from 1941)
0.00259
19411472
(+119 from 1940)
28
(+4 from 1940)
0.00225
19401591
(+1145 from 1939)
24
(+14 from 1939)
0.00203
19392736
(-863 from 1938)
10
(-8 from 1938)
0.00088
19381873
(+323 from 1937)
18
(+4 from 1937)
0.00158
19372196
(+67 from 1936)
14
(+1 from 1936)
0.00127
19362263
(+42 from 1935)
13
No change from 1935
0.00121
19352305
(+261 from 1934)
13
(+2 from 1934)
0.00120
19342566
(-162 from 1933)
11
(-1 from 1933)
0.00102
19332404
(-169 from 1932)
12
(-2 from 1932)
0.00115
19322235
(+737 from 1931)
14
(+5 from 1931)
0.00127
19312972
(-546 from 1930)
9
(-4 from 1930)
0.00082
19302426
(+311 from 1929)
13
(+2 from 1929)
0.00111
19292737
(+31 from 1928)
11
No change from 1928
0.00095
19282768
(+285 from 1927)
11
(+1 from 1927)
0.00092
19273053
(-345 from 1926)
10
(-2 from 1926)
0.00081
19262708
(-330 from 1925)
12
(-3 from 1925)
0.00098
19252378
(+766 from 1924)
15
(+5 from 1924)
0.00119
19243144
(-18 from 1923)
10
No change from 1923
0.00077
19233126
(-514 from 1922)
10
(-3 from 1922)
0.00080
19222612
(-234 from 1921)
13
(-2 from 1921)
0.00104
19212378
(+521 from 1920)
15
(+4 from 1920)
0.00117
19202899
(+553 from 1919)
11
(+3 from 1919)
0.00088
19193452
(-1076 from 1918)
8
(-6 from 1918)
0.00068
19182376
(+968 from 1917)
14
(+6 from 1917)
0.00116
19173344
(-314 from 1916)
8
(-1 from 1916)
0.00071
19163030
(+1244 from 1915)
9
(+4 from 1915)
0.00083
19154274
(-2149 from 1914)
5
(-6 from 1914)
0.00049
19142125
(+235 from 1912)
11
(+4 from 1912)
0.00138
19130
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
19122360
(+103 from 1911)
7
(+2 from 1911)
0.00119
19112463
(-323 from 1910)
5
(-1 from 1910)
0.00113
19102140
(-377 from 1909)
6
(-1 from 1909)
0.00143
19091763
(+338 from 1908)
7
(+2 from 1908)
0.00190
19082101
(-40 from 1907)
5
No change from 1907
0.00141
19072061
First SSA data recorded
5
First SSA data recorded
0.00148
19060
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
19050
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
19040
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
19030
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
19020
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
19010
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
19000
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
18990
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
18980
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
18970
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
18960
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
18950
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
18940
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
18930
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
18920
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
18910
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
18900
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
18890
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
18880
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
18870
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
18860
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
18850
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
18840
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
18830
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
18820
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
18810
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000
18800
No SSA data
0
No SSA data
0.0000

American States Popularity Rankings for Kelly

(From the Most to Least Popular, Based on Number of Births )

California (CA)

California (CA) flagCalifornia (CA)#7242021#7702022#7272023

New York (NY)

New York (NY) flagNew York (NY)#5892021#5122022#6322023

Pennsylvania (PA)

Pennsylvania (PA) flagPennsylvania (PA)#7232021#5642022#4862023

Ohio (OH)

Ohio (OH) flagOhio (OH)#11102021#9132022#12032023

Illinois (IL)

Illinois (IL) flagIllinois (IL)#9622021#10982022#6592023

Michigan (MI)

Michigan (MI) flagMichigan (MI)#9672018#13432021#11352022

Texas (TX)

Texas (TX) flagTexas (TX)#7822021#8022022#8882023

New Jersey (NJ)

New Jersey (NJ) flagNew Jersey (NJ)#6142021#4982022#5422023

Florida (FL)

Florida (FL) flagFlorida (FL)#6482021#6002022#6472023

Massachusetts (MA)

Massachusetts (MA) flagMassachusetts (MA)#5592020#7142021#6942023

Wisconsin (WI)

Wisconsin (WI) flagWisconsin (WI)#8112016#8032019#8822020

Indiana (IN)

Indiana (IN) flagIndiana (IN)#7082016#11412018#8682023

Minnesota (MN)

Minnesota (MN) flagMinnesota (MN)#9612016#9522017#9422019

Missouri (MO)

Missouri (MO) flagMissouri (MO)#4972017#5852018#10162021

North Carolina (NC)

North Carolina (NC) flagNorth Carolina (NC)#9982021#7492022#9722023

Virginia (VA)

Virginia (VA) flagVirginia (VA)#7072021#7662022#4672023

Maryland (MD)

Maryland (MD) flagMaryland (MD)#6112021#5782022#6382023

Georgia (GA)

Georgia (GA) flagGeorgia (GA)#6562021#10302022#12682023

Washington (WA)

Washington (WA) flagWashington (WA)#11962021#5612022#8122023

Connecticut (CT)

Connecticut (CT) flagConnecticut (CT)#5532019#5212021#5822023

Tennessee (TN)

Tennessee (TN) flagTennessee (TN)#9082019#10552021#7272022

Iowa (IA)

Iowa (IA) flagIowa (IA)#6402014#6542015#5472017

Louisiana (LA)

Louisiana (LA) flagLouisiana (LA)#9342018#7972019#8992023

Kentucky (KY)

Kentucky (KY) flagKentucky (KY)#6012019#6122020#6892023

Colorado (CO)

Colorado (CO) flagColorado (CO)#9562019#9582021#8392023

Alabama (AL)

Alabama (AL) flagAlabama (AL)#6012020#9472022#5422023

Arizona (AZ)

Arizona (AZ) flagArizona (AZ)#9812019#7362022#10182023

South Carolina (SC)

South Carolina (SC) flagSouth Carolina (SC)#8282018#7172020#7412021

Oklahoma (OK)

Oklahoma (OK) flagOklahoma (OK)#6052013#8092019#7932022

Kansas (KS)

Kansas (KS) flagKansas (KS)#5792015#3532016#5322023

Oregon (OR)

Oregon (OR) flagOregon (OR)#6202016#5262017#5752023

West Virginia (WV)

West Virginia (WV) flagWest Virginia (WV)#3672010#3682012#3592014

Nebraska (NE)

Nebraska (NE) flagNebraska (NE)#4562012#4682013#4912017

Arkansas (AR)

Arkansas (AR) flagArkansas (AR)#6232010#6182012#5222016

Maine (ME)

Maine (ME) flagMaine (ME)#1162002#2032003#2082004

Mississippi (MS)

Mississippi (MS) flagMississippi (MS)#6202015#4582016#6172019

New Hampshire (NH)

New Hampshire (NH) flagNew Hampshire (NH)#2552005#2632006#2232007

Utah (UT)

Utah (UT) flagUtah (UT)#6972014#6832016#6192020

District of Columbia (DC)

District of Columbia (DC) flagDistrict of Columbia (DC)#2232013#2812014#2792015

Rhode Island (RI)

Rhode Island (RI) flagRhode Island (RI)#1552005#2192008#1472009

New Mexico (NM)

New Mexico (NM) flagNew Mexico (NM)#4602012#3652013#3282014

Delaware (DE)

Delaware (DE) flagDelaware (DE)#1402008#2172011#1472012

Montana (MT)

Montana (MT) flagMontana (MT)#1591998#1871999#2032000

Hawaii (HI)

Hawaii (HI) flagHawaii (HI)#1192004#1042005#2572010

Idaho (ID)

Idaho (ID) flagIdaho (ID)#2932011#3802013#3022023

Nevada (NV)

Nevada (NV) flagNevada (NV)#5932015#6212016#5752019

North Dakota (ND)

North Dakota (ND) flagNorth Dakota (ND)#1461997#1381999#1582002

Vermont (VT)

Vermont (VT) flagVermont (VT)#661996#1091999#992002

South Dakota (SD)

South Dakota (SD) flagSouth Dakota (SD)#1921999#1872000#1282001

Alaska (AK)

Alaska (AK) flagAlaska (AK)#1372000#1072005#1292006

Wyoming (WY)

Wyoming (WY) flagWyoming (WY)#1191993#581995#942001

Popularity Rankings for Kelly in other Countries and American Territories

(From the Most to Least Popular, Based on Rankings)

Popularity in Australia (NSW)

Australia (NSW) flagAustralia (NSW)#831992#831993#991995

Popularity in Belgium

Belgium flagBelgium#1012002#1182003#1182004

Popularity in Portugal

Portugal flagPortugal#1412016#1362017#1322018

Popularity in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico flagPuerto Rico#2322011#2462012#1692013

Popularity in France

France flagFrance#1792010#1752011#1892012

Popularity in Quebec, Canada

Quebec, Canada flagQuebec, Canada#2112020#2072021#3082022

Popularity in Iceland

Iceland flagIceland#2972022

Popularity in Sweden

Sweden flagSweden#3262022#3022023

Popularity in Switzerland

Switzerland flagSwitzerland#4042020#3922021#3392022

Popularity in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland flagNorthern Ireland#3652014#4242019#4462021

Popularity in New Zealand

New Zealand flagNew Zealand#3972017#4242018#3682020

Popularity in Ireland

Ireland flagIreland#4642021#6342022#4042023

Popularity in Scotland

Scotland flagScotland#4602008#4242010#4772014

Popularity in Poland

Poland flagPoland#4292013#7342014#5002016

Popularity in Norway

Norway flagNorway#5802007#5612012#4622019

Popularity in Canada

Canada flagCanada#4652020#7742021#9642022

Popularity in England and Wales

England and Wales flagEngland and Wales#8542013#8772014#9552016

Source: Social Security Administration (SSA) and Other National Sources

Is Kelly a Name for Boys or Girls?

Kelly is a unisex name, used for both boys and girls. While it was originally more common for boys, it has become more popular for girls since the mid-20th century.

Variants, Nicknames, Diminutives, and Ideal Middle Names for Kelly

  • Kelli
  • Kellie
  • Kellye
  • Kelleigh
  • Kallie
  • Kelley
  • Kel
  • Kell
  • Kells
  • Kellz
  • Kelis
  • Kelina
  • Lelly
  • Kelbele
  • Kellis
  • Kelli
  • Kellie
  • Kell

Kelly in Famous People Names, Pop Culture, and Places

  • Kelly Clarkson (Singer, born 1982): An American pop singer known for winning "American Idol" and hits like "Since U Been Gone."
  • Kelly Rowland (Singer, born 1981): An American singer famous as a member of Destiny's Child.
  • Kelly Ripa (TV Show Host, born 1970): An American actress and talk show host known for "Live! with Kelly and Ryan."
  • Kelly Slater (Surfer, born 1972): An American professional surfer with 11 World Surf League Championships.
  • Kelly Osbourne (TV Personality, born 1984): A British TV personality, singer, and fashion designer known from "The Osbournes."
  • Kelly Brook (Model, born 1979): An English model, actress, and TV presenter known for "One Big Happy."
  • Kelly Preston (Actress, 1962-2020): An American actress known for roles in "Jerry Maguire" and "Twins."
  • Kelly Lynch (Actress, born 1959): An American actress and model recognized for "Drugstore Cowboy" and "Road House."
  • Kelly Hu (Actress, born 1968): An American actress known for "The Scorpion King" and "X2: X-Men United."
  • Kelly Macdonald (Actress, born 1976): A Scottish actress famous for "Trainspotting" and "Boardwalk Empire."
  • Kelly Hansen (Singer, born 1961): An American singer best known as the lead vocalist of Foreigner.
  • Kelly McGillis (Actress, born 1957): An American actress known for "Top Gun" and "Witness."
  • Kelly Oubre Jr. (Basketball Player, born 1995): An American professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors.
  • Kelly Smith (Soccer Player, born 1978): An English former professional footballer, England's record goalscorer with 46 goals.
  • Kelly Rutherford (Actress, born 1968): An American actress known for "Melrose Place" and "Gossip Girl."
  • Kelly Taylor ("Beverly Hills, 90210," 1990 TV Show): A central character in this popular series, Kelly navigates the ups and downs of high school and later adult life in Beverly Hills.
  • Kelly Bundy ("Married... with Children," 1987 TV Show): Known for her ditzy personality, Kelly is the daughter of Al and Peggy Bundy in this classic sitcom.
  • Kelly Kapoor ("The Office," 2005 TV Show): A chatty and dramatic customer service representative at Dunder Mifflin, played by Mindy Kaling.
  • Kelly Collins ("Cadet Kelly," 2002 TV Movie): A teenager who attends a military academy, played by Hilary Duff.
  • Kelly Severide ("Chicago Fire," 2012 TV Show): A firefighter known for his bravery and leadership, played by Taylor Kinney.
  • "Kelly's Heroes" (1970 Film): A war film about a group of soldiers who plan a gold heist during World War II.
  • Kelly Garrett ("Charlie's Angels," 1976 TV Show): One of the original Angels, played by Jaclyn Smith, known for her intelligence and resourcefulness.
  • "Kelly" (2020 Song): A song by Van She that became popular for its catchy tune and lyrics.
  • Kelly's Island, Ohio, USA: An island located in Lake Erie, famous for its scenic beauty and historical significance.
  • Kelly Park, Florida, USA: A county park in Orange County, known for its natural springs and tubing.
  • Kelly Hill Conservation Park, South Australia, Australia: A park on Kangaroo Island, famous for its limestone caves.
  • Kelly Drive Street, Pennsylvania, USA: A scenic roadway in Philadelphia, running along the Schuylkill River.
  • Kelly Rocks, Tasmania, Australia: A rock formation on the coast, known for its rugged beauty.
  • Kelly Pool, New South Wales, Australia: A natural pool in Sydney, popular for swimming and picnics.
  • Kelly Canyon, Idaho, USA: A recreational area in Bonneville County, popular for skiing and hiking.
  • Kelly Point Park, Oregon, USA: A park in Portland, where the Willamette and Columbia Rivers meet.
  • Kelly Butte Mountain, Oregon, USA: A small mountain in Portland, offering hiking trails and city views.
  • Kelly Spring, Alabama, USA: A natural spring in Huntsville, known for its clear waters and picnic areas.

Similar Names to Kelly

Sibling Names for Kelly