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Riley is a cute and fun name that can be used for boys and girls. Though less obvious than names like Hayden, Riley was originally a surname in England and in Ireland. It is one of the most popular names for girls especially, but boys are not far behind.

Meaning of the name Riley:

Irish: descendent of Roghallach, courageous
English: from the rye clearing

RELATED: 25 Irish Baby Names We Love

Origin of the name Riley:

Riley began as a surname in Ireland and in England. In England, the name was used for families that were from towns that literally meant “from the rye clearing.” In Ireland, the surname was spelled Reilly until it became Riley as a first name. Each of these names came from the Irish surname Roghallach.

Symbolism of the name Riley:

In English, Riley means “from the rye clearing” as it retains the meaning of the surname. In Irish, the name means descendent of Roghallach as this is the original surname that existed in ancient Ireland. This family was known for being courageous, which is why courage plays a part in the meaning as well.

Baby name Riley

Style of the name Riley:

Traditional

Gender of the name Riley:

Riley is a truly unisex name as it is used for boys and girls.

Pronunciation of the name Riley:

RIE-lee

Number of syllables in the name Riley:

Two

Emotion evoked from the name Riley:

Riley feels extroverted, family, and joyous as a baby name. It feels young at heart.

Alternative spellings for the name Riley:

Nicknames for the name Riley:

  • Rye
  • Riri
  • Riles
  • Rile
  • Lee 
  • Ley
  • Ri

Popularity of the name Riley:

Riley has been the first name on the Social Security Index since 1990 at rank 827. It obtained a spot on the top 200 list in 1997 at number 184, then went to the top 100 list in 2002 at number 77. The name has been on the top 50 list since 2008 and currently ranks as number 33 as of the year 2020.

Related names for the name Riley:

Great middle names for Riley and their meanings:

  • Abigail (the father's joy)
  • Analise (“graced with God's bounty”)
  • Ava (bird, life, living one)
  • Sienna (orange-red)
  • Harrison (son of Harry)
  • Jude (praised)
  • Mason (“one who works with stone”)
  • Blake (swarthy, dark-haired)

Famous people with the name Riley:

  • Riley Weston (actress, “Black Widow”)
  • Riley McCusker (professional gymnast)
  • Riley Busby (reality TV star, “Outdaughtered”)

Rileys in popular culture:

  • Riley Daring (main character on “The Replacements”)
  • Riley Lawrence (character from “Winning London”)
  • Riley Parks (main character from “The Client List”)
  • Riley Matthews (character on “Girl Meets World”)
  • Riley Blue (character on “Sense8”)
  • Riley Anderson (character on “Inside Out”)
  • Riley Grandy (character from “The Mindy Project”)