What does Neil mean?
Neil /neil/ [1 syll.] as a boys' name is pronounced neel. It is of Irish and Gaelic origin, and the meaning of Neil is "champion".
Scottish variant of Niall. Also possibly "cloud" and "passionate". The most famous Celtic king of Ireland was Niall of the Nine Hostages. See also Nelson and Nyles. Astronaut Neil Armstrong; singers Neil Diamond, Neil Young; playwright Neil Simon; actor Sam Neill.
How popular is Neil?
Neil is a very popular first name for males (#234 out of 1220, Top 19%) and also a very popular surname for both adults and children (#3544 out of 150436, Top 2%). (2000 U.S. Census)
Displayed below is the baby name popularity of Neil for boys. Neil reached its peak rank of #170 in the U.S. during 1950-1959, and is presently at #655. (2014 Birth Statistics)
Cornelius, Neal, Nels, Nelson (#642 the previous year), Niall, Niles, Nils and Oneal are the prominent variation forms of Neil (#655 the previous year) ranked in the Top 1000. Adoption of these boy names was at its peak during 1900-1909 (usage of 0.4107%) and has become significantly lower since (usage 0.0781%, down 81%), with the versions Cornelius, Neal, Neil, Nels and Nelson becoming somewhat outmoded. Below is a charted comparison of the popularity of Neil and affiliated names. (2014 Birth Statistics)