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Kelly has had an interesting journey as a given name. It started out as primarily a boy's name, but after the iconic Grace Kelley became a Hollywood star, parents thought it would make a wonderful girl's name. It does! So now Kelly has become a beautiful gender-neutral name that adds some Hollywood glam to an Irish name. Keep reading to find out more about this baby name.

Meaning of the name Kelly:

Irish: War, church; descendant of Ceallach

Origin of the name Kelly:

Irish. Kelly is based on the Gaelic word “ceallach,” which means “war” or ceall “church.” Primarily an Irish boy's name, it became popular as a girl's name in the 1950s.

Symbolism of the name Kelly:

Kelly as a name symbolizes faith, and strength. Having the meaning of both “war” and “church” it represents a force that is protective and faithful.

Style of the name Kelly:


Gender of the name Kelly:

Kelly is very much a gender-neutral name.

Pronunciation of the name Kelly:


Syllables in the name Kelly:


Emotion evoked from the name Kelly:

The name Kelly evokes a feeling of strength, loyalty, and honor.

Alternative spellings for the name Kelly:

Kellie, Kelley

Nicknames for the name Kelly:

Kell, Lee

Popularity of the name Kelly:

According to the Social Security Administration index, Kelly was the 748th most popular girl name in 2020. As a boy's name, the last time it was in the top 1,000 most popular names was in 2002 when it ranked 884th.

Related names for the name Kelly:

Keiley, Kali, Kenley, Kelsey, Kallie, Kaily, Kylee, Kayleigh, Kaylee

Great middle names for Kelly and their meanings:

  • Blue (color)
  • Darby (without envy)
  • Harper (harp player)
  • Leighton (meadow settlement)
  • Morgan (circling sea or great brightness; bright or white sea dweller)
  • Quinn (descendent of Conn)

Famous people with the name Kelly:

Kelly in movies/pop culture:

  • Kelly Bundy (character on “Married… with Children”)
  • Kelly Severide (character on “Chicago Fire”)
  • Kelly Kapowski (character on “Saved by the Bell”)