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Neil is a timeless baby name for boys. Associated with some of the greatest achievements in human history, this name is a wellspring of inspiration for popular culture. Neil “Space Kid” Armstrong Jr. was a protagonist in the Camp Camp series, and Neil Michael Wolowitz was also the name of a main character in The Big Bang Theory series. Keep reading to learn more about this name.

Meaning of the name Neil:

Irish: Champion, hero, vehemence, cloud

Origin of the name Neil:

Neil is an anglicized version of the Irish name Niall. This name has three possible origins. Some etymologists believe that it derives from the Irish element nia (meaning “hero” or “champion”). Others believe that it derives from the Old Irish root nél (meaning “cloud”). Finally, some linguists link the name to the Old Celtic root *nītu (meaning “fury,” “passion,” or “vehemence”).

Regardless of exact derivation, the names Neil and Niall rose in popularity and remained popular throughout the Middle Ages. Norse invaders adopted the name as Njáll, and this heritage remains apparent in the Icelandic spelling (Njáll) and the Norwegian spelling (Njål) still prevalent today. English scribes adopted alternative spellings like Nigel and Niles, and this name also produced surname descendants (such as Nelson and O'Neill) that are now common throughout the English-speaking world.

baby name Neil

Symbolism of the name Neil:

Neil is an alternative spelling of the Irish name Niall (meaning “champion,” “vehemence,” or “cloud”). Historically, one of the most famous bearers of the name was the legendary Níall Noígíallach (Niall of the Nine Hostages). According to legend, Niall was one of the five sons of Eochaid Mugmedón who underwent a test to drink from a wellspring that would determine which brother would become the king of Ireland. The challenge arose when the brothers could only drink from the wellspring if they agreed to kiss a hag who guarded the well. Only Niall passed the test when he agreed to kiss the hag, and she transformed into the most beautiful woman of Ireland. Symbols of Niall include this hunting well and the Red Hand of Ulster.

Style of the name Neil:

Classic

Gender of the name Neil:

Neil is a boy's name.

Pronunciation of the name Neil:

NEEL

Number of syllables in the name Neil:

One

Emotion evoked from the name Neil:

The name Neil evokes feelings of bravery and boldness.

Alternative spellings for the name Neil:

  • Neal 
  • Neel
  • Neill
  • Neale
  • Niall

Nicknames for the name Neil:

Popularity of the name Neil:

According to the Social Security Administration index, Neil was the 749th most popular baby name for boys in 2020.

Related names for the name Neil:

Great middle names for Neil and their meanings:

  • Adiel (ornament of God, righteous, fair)
  • Alan (little rock, handsome)
  • Bruce (brushwood thicket, willow lands)
  • Clive (cliff, steep, slope)
  • Donald (ruler of the world)
  • Gus (exalted, venerable, strong, steadfast)
  • Howard (high guardian, brave heart)
  • Jermaine (brother)
  • Joel (the Lord is God)
  • Oran (light, song, little green one, pine tree)
  • Roderick (famous ruler)
  • Seamus (supplanter)
  • Stanley (stone clearing)
  • Wade (ford, traverse, tread water)
  • Xavier (bright, splendid, the new house)

Famous people with the name Neil:

  • Neil Alden Armstrong (astronaut)
  • Neil Mallon Pierce Bush (businessman and brother of George W. Bush)
  • Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaiman (writer)
  • Neil Patrick Harris (actor)
  • Neil Stuart Hodgson (motorcycle racer)
  • Neil Emile Elias Kenlock (photographer)
  • Neil Nitin Mukesh (actor)
  • Neil Arthur Perry (chef)
  • Neil Darrow Strauss (writer)
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)
  • Neil Clark Warren (theologian)

Neil in popular culture:

  • Neil “Space Kid” Armstrong Jr. (character in the Camp Camp series)
  • Neil Michael Wolowitz (character in The Big Bang Theory series)