How popular is the baby name Kelly in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Kelly.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Kelly


Posts that Mention the Name Kelly

Baby names associated with green: Olive, Silvano, Thao

pine trees, green

Looking for baby names that are associated with green — including baby names that mean “green”?

If so, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve collected dozens of options for you in this post.

Before we get to the names, though, let’s take a quick look at what the color green represents…

Symbolism of green

What does the color green signify?

In Western cultures in particular, green can be symbolic of:

  • Nature
  • Growth
  • Wealth
  • Luck
  • Envy
  • Freshness
  • Quality

The overriding association with nature is due to the abundance of green plant life on Earth. Plants contain a green pigment called chlorophyll that allows them to absorb energy from light.

The color can also be associated with safety and permission, thanks to green traffic lights (which signal when it’s safe to proceed).

Top baby names associated with green

Determining the top names in a category isn’t difficult when you’re working with an easily definable category, like PH names. When it comes to names that have a connection to the color green, however, we need to account for the fact that certain names have a stronger connection than others.

With that in mind, here are the top baby names that have an obvious association with the color green:

  1. Ivy
  2. Jade
  3. Olive
  4. Forest
  5. Emerald

Now here are the same five names again, but this time around I’ve added some details (including definitions, rankings, and popularity graphs).

Ivy

The word ivy refers to any of several species of climbing or ground-creeping evergreen plants in the genus Hedera. By extension, it also refers to the deep green color of ivy’s foliage.

Ivy is currently the 49th most popular girl name in the U.S.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Ivy in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Ivy

Jade

The word jade refers to two similar-looking minerals, nephrite and jadeite, that are commonly used as gemstones. By extension, it also refers to the green color of these minerals.

Their common name can be traced back to the 16th-century Spanish term piedra de ijada, meaning “loin stone” (because the stone was thought to help cure loin and kidney ailments).

Jade is currently the 91st most popular girl name in the nation.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Jade in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Jade

Olive

The word olive refers to the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea). By extension, it also refers to the dark yellowish-green color of unripened olive fruit. (Ripened olives are black.)

Olive is currently the 182nd most popular girl name in the U.S.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Olive in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Olive

Forest

The word forest refers to a dense growth of trees and underbrush that covers a large area of land. It’s based on the Medieval Latin word foresta (or forestis).

The more popular spelling of the name, Forrest, represents transferred usage of the English surname. The surname Forrest originally referred to a person who lived near or worked in a royal forest (that is, a forest owned by the sovereign and used as a hunting ground).

Forest is currently the 715th most popular boy name in the nation. (Forrest ranks 414th.)

Graph of the usage of the baby name Forest in the U.S. since 1880.
Usage of the baby name Forest

Emerald

The word emerald refers to a vivid green variety of the mineral beryl. By extension, the word also refers to the green color of these crystals.

The name of the stone can be traced back to the ancient Greek word smaragdos, which referred to any green gemstone (including emerald, beryl, malachite, and jasper).

Emerald is currently the 913th most popular girl name in the U.S.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Emerald in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Emerald

More names associated with green

All the names below are associated with the color green. The names range from common to uncommon, and their associations range from strong to slight.

Those that have been popular enough to appear in the U.S. baby name data are linked to their corresponding popularity graphs.

olives, green
  • Alder trees have green foliage. The word alder is derived from the Old English word for the tree, alor.
  • Aran is a Thai masculine name meaning “forest.”
  • Aranya is a Hindi gender-neutral name based on the Sanskrit word aranya, meaning “forest.”
  • Ash trees have green foliage. The word ash is derived from the Old English word for the tree, æsc.
  • Aspen trees have green foliage. The word aspen is derived from the Old English word for the tree, æspe.
  • Aurora is part of both “aurora borealis” and “aurora australis” — the names of the polar lights, which are predominantly green. The polar lights are caused by solar wind (that is, charged particles emitted by sun) striking the Earth’s magnetic field. The word aurora means “dawn” in Latin.
  • Balsam fir trees have dark green foliage. The name of the tree can be traced back to the Hebrew word basam, meaning “spice, perfume.”
  • Beryl is a mineral that can be green. The name of the stone ultimately comes from the ancient Greek word beryllos. (Green beryl is a paler green than emerald.)
  • Birch trees have green foliage. The word birch is derived from the Old English word for the tree, beorc.
    • Björk is the Icelandic word for “birch.”
  • Blerim is an Albanian masculine name based on the word blerim, meaning “greenness, verdure.”
  • Blerta is an Albanian feminine name based on the word blertë, meaning “green.”
  • Burkni is an Icelandic masculine name meaning “fern.”
  • Cactus plants are typically green. The name of the plant is derived from ancient Greek word kaktos.
  • Cedar trees have dark green foliage. The name of the tree ultimately comes from the ancient Greek word kedros.
  • Celadon is a pale grayish-green color. The name of the shade was inspired by a character named Céladon — a shepherd who wore pale green clothing — in the popular 17th-century French novel L’Astrée by Honoré d’Urfé.
  • Chloe (or Chloë) is derived from the ancient Greek word khloe, which referred to “the first green shoot of plants in spring.”
  • Chloris, based on the ancient Greek word khloros, meaning “pale green” or “greenish-yellow,” was the name of several figures in Greek mythology.
    • Chlora is a variant of Chloris.
  • Clover leaves are green. The word clover is derived from the Old English word for the plant, claefre.
  • Codrin is a Romanian masculine name based on the word codru, meaning “forest.”
  • Cyan is the bluish-green color halfway between green and blue on the visible spectrum. The name of the shade comes from the ancient Greek word kyanos, meaning “dark blue.”
  • Cypress trees have dark green foliage. The word cypress is derived from the ancient Greek word for the tree, kyparissos. (In Greek mythology, a grieving boy named Kyparissos was transformed into a cypress tree.)
  • Douglas is part of Douglas Fir — the name of a species of tree with dark green foliage. The tree was named in honor of Scottish botanist David Douglas.
  • Emeraude is the French word for “emerald.”
  • Esmeralda is the Spanish word for “emerald.”
  • Evergreen trees retain their green foliage year-round.
  • Fern fronds are green. The word fern is derived from the Old English word for the plant, fearn.
ferns, green
  • Giada is the Italian word for “jade.”
  • Green, of course, refers to the color green. :)
  • Greenlee comes from a habitational surname that can be traced back to the Old English words grene, meaning “green,” and leah, meaning “clearing, meadow.”
  • Gretna is part of Gretna Green — the name of the Scottish village that became famous in the late 18th century as an elopement destination for young English couples. The village name originally referred to the “green by Gretna,” with the word Gretna meaning “gravelly hill” (from the Old English elements greot, “grit,” and hoh, “heel” — denoting a hill shaped like the heel of a foot).
  • Haljand is an Estonian masculine name based on the word haljas, meaning “green, verdant.”
  • Holly trees have green foliage. The word holly is derived from the Old English word for the tree, holen.
  • Hunter is a dark yellowish-green color. It was the shade of green worn by hunters during the 19th century.
  • Ivik is a Greenlandic masculine name meaning “(blade of) grass.”
  • Jandi is a Korean feminine name meaning “grass.”
  • Kelly is a bright green color. The Irish surname Kelly can be traced back to the Old Irish personal name Cellach.
  • Khidr (also spelled Khadir) is an Arabic masculine name meaning “green.”
  • Lakhdar is an Arabic masculine name based on al-akhdar, meaning “the green.”
  • Leaf green is the bright yellowish-green color typical of plant leaves (due to the presence of chlorophyll).
  • Laurel trees have green foliage. The word laurel is derived from the Latin word for the tree, laurus.
  • Levert comes from the French surname LeVert, which is based on the Old French word vert, meaning “green.”
  • Lin (second tone) is a Chinese name that can mean “valuable jade,” depending upon the character being used to write the name.
  • Linden trees have green foliage. The word linden is derived from the Old English word for the tree, lind.
  • Malachite (pronounced MAL-uh-kiet) is a mineral that is green. The name of the mineral ultimately derives from the ancient Greek word malache, meaning “mallow” — a reference to the resemblance between the color of malachite and the leaves of the mallow plant.
  • Matsu is a Japanese feminine name that can mean “pine tree,” depending upon the kanji being used to write the name.
    • Matsuko is a Japanese name that can include the element Matsu.
    • Matsue is another Japanese name that can include the element Matsu.
  • Midori is a Japanese gender-neutral name that can mean “green, verdure,” depending upon the kanji being used to write the name.
  • Mint leaves are green. Aromatic mint plants are part of the genus Mentha, the name of which derives from the ancient Greek word minthe.
    • Minttu is the Finnish word for “mint.”
    • Mynta is the Swedish word for “mint.”
    • Mynte is the Danish word for “mint.”
  • Moss are small, flowerless plants that grow in dense green mats. The Old English word for “moss” was mos.
  • Myrtle trees have green foliage. The word myrtle is derived from the ancient Greek word for the tree, myrtos.
malachite, green
Malachite
  • Oak trees have green foliage. The word oak is derived from the Old English word for the tree, ac.
  • Oihan is a Basque masculine name meaning “forest.”
    • Oihana is the feminine form of Oihan.
  • Olivine is a mineral that is usually yellowish-green. The name of the mineral can be traced back to the Latin word oliva, meaning “olive.”
  • Oren is a Hebrew masculine name meaning “pine tree.”
    • Orna is the feminine form of Oren.
  • Qorsuk is a Greenlandic masculine name meaning “green, yellowish-green.”
  • Pallav is a Hindi masculine name based on the Sanskrit word pallava, meaning “shoot, sprout, young leaf.”
    • Pallavi is the feminine form of Pallav.
  • Panna is a Hindi feminine name that can mean “emerald” or “leaf.”
  • Peridot, a variety of the mineral olivine, is yellowish-green.
  • Phyllis, the ancient Greek word for “foliage” (based on phyllon, meaning “leaf”) was the name of several figures in Greek mythology.
  • Pilutaq is a Greenlandic gender-neutral name meaning “leaf.”
  • Pine needles are green. The word pine is derived from the Latin word for the tree, pinus.
  • Sage leaves are grayish-green. The name of the sage plant (genus Salvia) can be traced back (via Old French sauge) to the Latin word salvus, meaning “healthy.”
  • Sirkka is a Finnish feminine name that can be derived from the word heinäsirkka, meaning “grasshopper” (many of which are green), or from the word sirkkalehti, meaning “cotyledon” (the embryonic leaf of seed-bearing plants).
  • Silvanus, based on the Latin word silva, meaning “wood, forest,” was the name of the Roman god of forests.
    • Silvano (masculine) and Silvana (feminine) are the modern Italian forms of Silvanus.
    • Sylvain (masculine) and Sylvaine (feminine) are the modern French forms of Silvanus.
  • Silvester is derived from the Latin word silvestris, meaning “forested” or “of the forest.”
  • Silvius was a Roman masculine name based on the Latin word silva, meaning “wood, forest.”
    • Silvio (masculine) and Silvia (feminine) are the modern Italian and Spanish forms of Silvius.
      • Sylvia is a variant of Silvia.
  • Talar (also spelled Dalar) is an Armenian feminine name based on the word talar or dalar, meaning “green, verdant.”
  • Teal is a dark bluish-green color. The shade was named after the Eurasain teal (Anas crecca), a type of duck with a teal-colored stripe on its head.
  • Thao is a Vietnamese gender-neutral name meaning “herbs, grass.”
  • Turquoise (pronounced TUR-koyz) is a mineral that is sometimes bluish-green. The name of the stone can be traced back to the Old French term pierre tourques, meaning “Turkish stone.” Though it was mined in Persia, the stone was introduced to Europe in the 13th century by Turkish traders.
  • Vipin is a Hindi masculine name based on the Sanskrit word vipina, meaning “forest.”
  • Viridian is a bluish-green color. The name of the pigment comes from the Latin word viridis, meaning “green.”
  • Willow trees have green foliage. The word willow is derived from the Old English word for the tree, welig.
  • Zumra is a Turkish feminine name based on the word zümrüt, meaning “emerald.”

Can you think of any other names that have a connection to the color green?

Sources:

Images by Tony Mucci from Unsplash, forumkrakow from Pixabay, minka2507 from Pixabay, and adapted from Malachite by Didier Descouens under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Name quotes #108: Dora, Lola, Reinhold

double quotation mark

Welcome to this month’s batch of name quotes! Here’s what we’ve got this time around…

Talk show host Kelly Ripa’s explanantion of her daughter Lola’s name, via People:

“Lola was supposed to be Sophia, but on the way to the hospital in the taxi cab, the driver was listening to the radio — the 70s station — and ‘Copacabana’ by Barry Manilow was playing,” the mom of three recalled.

“I heard that [lyric], when he said, ‘Her name was Lola,’ and I said to Mark, ‘Lola Consuelos would be a really cool name.’ And he said, ‘If she’s a girl, let’s name her Lola.’ And that was it,” she shared.

From a 1933 article about baby name trends in a newspaper from Queensland, Australia:

THE latest development in public feeling, in Britain, against Defence of the Realm Act is that the name Dora has gone definitely out of favour as a Christian name for girls.

[The U.K.’s restrictive Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) was passed in 1914, at the start of WWI. According to the historical data available at British Baby Names, usage of the baby name Dora does indeed seem to decrease in England and Wales after 1914.]

From the obituary of Reinhold Weege, creator of the TV sitcom Night Court (1984-1992):

In an inside joke during the third season, it was revealed that [character Dan Fielding’s] real first name was Reinhold, but he changed it to Dan out of embarrassment.

From a 2011 article in Discover Magazine about parrots having names:

Parrots, those irrepressible mimics of the animal world, are some of the few creatures known to have individual names: each bird has its own signature call that others use when addressing it and that the bird uses itself in avian “conversation.”

[…]

Dolphins and humans are, so far, the only other members of this select club of animals who use names for individuals. Scientists think this ability is related to the intensely social lives of all three of these creatures.

From Through It All, the autobiography of Christine King Farris (older sister of Martin Luther King, Jr.):

My full name is Willie Christine King. Hardly anyone knows my first name. I am rarely called by it. “Willie” was chosen as a way to pay homage to the Williams side of my family; it was given in tribute to my maternal grandfather, Reverend A. D. Williams.

From the obituary of Nile Kinnick Clarke in the Mercer Island Reporter:

Also in the sports realm, Nile was named after Nile Clarke Kinnick Jr., the 1939 Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Iowa who died in World War II.

From a write-up of a name study conducted by Carnegie Mellon researchers:

As the popularity of one name, say Emily, peaks, parents may decide to forgo that name and pick a similar one, like Emma. By following this strategy, they are instilling in their new daughter a name that is socially acceptable by its similarity to the popular name but will allow her to stand out in the crowd by putting a unique twist on her identity. Many parents may be thinking the same thing and the number of little girls named Emily will decline while those named Emma will increase.

Name quotes #104: Che, Shanaya, Bluzette

double quotation mark

Time for the latest batch of name quotes!

From an interview with Saturday Night Live comedian Michael Che:

I was named after Che Guevara. My name is Michael Che Campbell. My dad is a huge history buff, and he named me after Che Guevara cause he loved Che Guevera for whatever reason. Which is a very polarizing figure, because when I tell people I was named after Che, they’re either like, “Oh, wow that’s cool,” or they’re like, “You know, Che killed people.” I’m like, I didn’t pick my name.

From Sanjana Ramachandran’s recent essay “The Namesakes“:

Shanaya Patel’s story, in more ways than one, encapsulated an India opening up to the world. In March 2000, Shanaya’s parents were at a café in Vadodara, Gujarat, when some Shania Twain tunes came on: she was also the artist who had been playing when her father saw her mother for the first time, “during their whole arranged-marriage-thing.” Finally, after eight months of “baby” and “munna,” Shanaya’s parents had found a name for her.

But “to make it different,” Shanaya’s parents changed the spelling of her name slightly. “Before me, all my cousins were named from this or that religious book,” she said. “When my parents didn’t want to go down that road, the elders were all ‘How can you do this!’—but my parents fought for it. There was a small controversy in the family.”

(Her essay also inspired me to write this post about the name Sanjana!)

About the “naming” of a Native American man who was discovered in California in 1911, from a 1996 UC Berkeley news release:

Under pressure from reporters who wanted to know the stranger’s name, [anthropologist] Alfred Kroeber called him “Ishi,” which means “man” in Yana. Ishi never uttered his real name.

“A California Indian almost never speaks his own name,” wrote Kroeber’s wife, “using it but rarely with those who already know it, and he would never tell it in reply to a direct question.”

About street names in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg, from the book Names of New York (2021) by Joshua Jelly-Schapiro:

Clymer, Ellery, Hart; Harrison, Hooper, Heyward, Hewes; Ross, Rush, Rutledge, Penn — they’re all names belonging to one or another of those fifty-six men who scrawled their letters at the Declaration [of Independence]’s base. So are Taylor and Thornton, Wythe and Whipple.

[…]

[Keap Street’s] name does not match that of one of the Declaration’s signers, but it tries to: “Keap” is apparently a misrendering of the surname of the last man to leave his mark on it: Thomas McKean of Pennsylvania, whose name’s illegibility was perhaps due to his having rather less space to scrawl it by the time the document reached him than John Hancock did.

From a 2008 CNN article about the pros and cons of unusual names:

“At times, for the sake of avoiding an uncomfortable conversation or throwing someone off guard, I answer to the names of ‘Mary’ or ‘Kelly’,” says Bluzette Martin of West Allis, Wisconsin. At restaurants, “the thought of putting an employee through the pain of guessing how to spell and pronounce ‘Bluzette’ just isn’t worth it to me.”

Martin was named after “Bluzette,” an up-tempo jazz waltz written by Jean “Toots” Thielemans. Despite her daily problems with this name, it certainly has its perks, like when she met Thielemans in 1987 at a club in Los Angeles. “When I met [him], he thanked my mother,” she says.

(Here’s “Bluesette” (vid) by Thielemans, who was Belgian.)

From a 1942 item in Time magazine about ‘Roberto’ being used as a fascist greeting:

Last week the authorities ordered 18 Italian-Americans excluded from the San Francisco military area as dangerous to security — the first such action against white citizens. The wonder was that it was not done earlier: everybody heard about the goings on in the North Beach Italian colony. Fascists there used to say RoBerTo as a greeting — Ro for Rome, Ber for Berlin, To for Tokyo. Italy sent teachers, books and medals for the Italian schools. Mussolini won a popularity contest hands down over Franklin Roosevelt.

From a news release about the 2021 baby names at St. Luke’s in Duluth, Minnesota:

Parents also got creative with their children’s names, naming tiny new Apollos, Elfriedas, Tillmans and Winnifreds. Other great names included everything from Atlas to Ziibi and some precious little gems like Amethyst and Ruby.

From a 2014 article in Vogue about 1950s fashion model Dovima:

Dovima, born Dorothy Virginia Margaret Juba, would have been 87 today. She hailed from Jackson Heights, Queens, and was purportedly discovered in 1949 when she strolled out of an Automat near the Vogue offices. The name Dovima wasn’t thought up by a canny publicist, if was concocted by Dorothy herself, invented for an imaginary playmate during a lonely childhood when she was bedridden with rheumatic fever.

(Dovima was the first single-name fashion model. She did legally change her name from Dorothy to Dovima at some point, according to the records, and a handful of baby girls born in the late ’50s were named after her, e.g., Dovima Marie Ayers, b. 1959, VT.)

P.S. “Louvima” is another three-in-one name I’ve blogged about…

Where did the baby name Keely come from in 1957?

Keely Smith's album "I Wish You Love" (1959).
Keely Smith album

At a time when Kelly was bounding up the baby name charts, we see the debut (and quick rise) of the very similar Keely:

  • 1959: 119 baby girls named Keely
  • 1958: 84 baby girls named Keely
  • 1957: 7 baby girls named Keely [debut]
  • 1956: unlisted
  • 1955: unlisted

Keely debuted the year Virginia-born jazz vocalist Keely Smith had her first big solo hit, “I Wish You Love.” The next year, she and her duet partner/husband Louis Prima scored another hit with the song “That Old Black Magic.” In fact, the song won ‘Best Performance by a Vocal Group or Chorus’ at the very first Grammy Awards, in May of 1959.

Keely Smith, born Dorothy Jacqueline Keely, had spent much of the ’50s performing in Vegas with Prima. He had originally wanted to call her Dottie Mae Smith (Smith being her stepfather’s name) but, as she later said: “I was no Dottie Mae.” They settled on using her Irish surname as her first name instead. (The surname means “descendant of Caollaidhe,” with “Caollaidhe” being a male personal name derived from caol, meaning “slender.”)

Which name do you prefer, Keely or Kelly?

Sources: