The Origins of the Name of Kelly

The name Kelly was around for thousands of years. It has its origins in the Irish culture where it was used as a popular surname. In Gaelic the name is pronounced and spelled as Ó Ceallaigh. Another way to pronounce and spell this name in Gaelic is Ó Cadhla. This name was used to describe specific Irish people who belonged to the family clan of Kelly.

The meaning of Kelly is strife. Ceallach is the Gaelic word for strife and this word is pronounced like the surname of Kelly. The name of O’Kelly or Kelly is the second most common type of surnames (last names) within Ireland.

Popularity of the Name

The popularity of Kelly happened during the 60’s and 70s. During that time period, parents named their girls and boys Kelly. However, female usage of the name was about 4 to 1 over the boys. Before that point, may boys were named Kelly. In 2016, the name Kelly does not even rank in the top 100 baby names; though it is slightly higher on the list for girls.

Famous People with the Name Kelly

Famous people with the name Kelly include the Welsh rock star Kelly Jones, Kelly Brown the Scottish rugby player, the English model Kelly Brook, the infamous gangster Machine Gun Kelly, Kelly Clarkston, Robert R. Kelly, Kelly Rowland (from Destiny’s Child), actress Kelly McGillis and talk show hostess Kelly Ripa.

Useful Resources

Discover the meaning and popularity of other English boys’names on our website