Kelly meaning, girlKelly

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Meaning and name origin

Kelly \k(el)-ly\ as a girl's name (also used as boy's name Kelly), is pronounced KEL-ee. It is of Irish and Gaelic origin, and the meaning of Kelly is "strife, war". Transferred use of the surname. Originally an anglicized form of the ancient Irish Gaelic name Ceallach, possibly meaning "strife", "bright-headed", or "church, monastery". Actresses Kelly McGillis, Kelly Preston, Kelly Ripa.


Kelly has 11 variant forms: Kelianne, Kellee, Kelleen, Kelleigh, Kelley, Kelli, Kellie, Kellina, Kellyann, Kellyanne and Kellye.

For more information, see also related girl names Callie and Keely.

There are 4 masculine forms of Kelly: Ceallach, Cillian, Keeley and Killian.


Kelly is a very popular first name for females (#67 out of 4276, Top 2%) and also a very popular surname or last name for all people (#74 out of 88799, Top 1%) (2000 U.S. Census).

Displayed below is the baby name popularity of the name Kelly for girls. Kelly reached its highest rank of #14 in the U.S. in 1970-1979. (2014 statistics).

Top 1000 baby names ranking of Kelly name in U.S.

Top 100 baby names ranking of Kelly outside U.S.

Displayed below is a comparison of the popularity of the girl name Kelly and its variant forms. Popular variation forms ranked in the Top 1000/100 are Callie (#186), Kelly (#431), Kellie, Kelley, Keely and Kelli. (2014 statistics).

Top 1000 baby names ranking of Callie, Keely, Kelley, Kelli, Kellie, Kelly in U.S.

Top 100 baby names ranking of Callie, Keely, Kelli, Kellie, Kelly outside U.S.

Similar Names

Kelly is also pronounced similarly to Cally, Colly, Kaeley, Kaley, Kalla, Kalley, Kalli, Kally, Kaly, Keala, Kealey, Kealy, Keela, Keeley, Keeli, Keila, Keili, Keyely, Keyla, Keyley, Keylley, Kiley and Kyley. Other suggested similar baby names are Delly, Kalle, Kelby, Kelcy, Kellyn, Kelsy, Melly and Nelly. These names tend to be less commonly used than Kelly.