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Kelly (name)

Kelly (name)

Kelly is an Irish origin given name and surname. Etymologically, it 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 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 become a popular masculine given name also, and subsequently became a popular feminine given name also. 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..

People with the name Kelly or its variants include:

Surname

A - G

H - M

N - Z

O'Kelly

Kelley

First name

Kelly (women)

Kelly (men)

Kelley/Kelli/Kellie

Fictional characters

References

See also

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