“I absolutely detest my first name,” says Linley, a 31-year-old from West Virginia.
No one can ever spell my name correctly on the first go. I’ve been called everything from Liz to Lisa to Leslie to Linny. I get mail all the time for Mr. Linley, which is just annoying. I’ve also been put into boy’s gym classes (“Leslie” is a popular male name in my area) in high school, which was not only annoying but embarrassing.
Linley does like that her name was the result of a compromise between her parents, though:
I was adopted, and at the orphanage they were calling me “Beth”. Afraid that I would be “confused,” my parents kept the Beth as my middle name. My dad wanted Lynn for my name, and my mom wanted Ashley, so they combined the two to get “Linley.”
And she concedes that her name is “definitely different”:
The only other “Linley” names I have come across are surnames, not first names.
Indeed, the name Linley has never ranked as a popular baby name in the U.S. — for males or for females. As a locational surname, it was derived from two Old English elements, the first of which meant either “flax” or “lime tree” (depending on the specific source) and the second of which meant “clearing, glade.”