Name Kelly Origin, meaning, pronunciation & popularity of the name Kelly


Kelly is a ♀ girl’s name and a ♂ boy’s name. Kelly thus belongs to the gender-neutral unisex names.

What is the origin of the name Kelly?

The name Kelly is of Irish-Gaelic origin and derived from the Irish surname Ó Ceallaigh or the Irish given name Ceallach. It first was only used as a boy’s name and is also a girl’s name today.

What does the name Kelly mean?

Kelly means “descendant of Ceallach” and “warrior” or “female warrior” (from Old Irish “ceallach” = war/battle/strife). Besides, the name Ceallach is said to mean “bright-headed”. Kelly could as well be derived from Irish “ceall” meaning “church” or “monastery”, thus Kelly means “frequenter of churches”.

Other variants

Kelly can also be spelled Kelli, Kellie or Kely. An anagram for Kelly is Kyell. Kelly is also a common last name, most famous name bearer is “The Kelly Family”.


Popular nicknames for Kelly are Key, Kay, Kell and Kells.

Famous people named Kelly

  • Famous American singer Kelly Clarkson (born 1982) won the first season of “American Idol” 20 years ago. She is also the host of her own talk-show “The Kelly Clarkson Show”.
  • American actress Kelly McGillis (born 1957) was the female lead in the 1986 movie “Top Gun”.
  • Daughter of musician Ozzy Osbourne, Kelly Osbourne (born 1984), is also a musician.
  • Brazilian model Kelly Piquet (born 1988) is also a columnist, blogger, and PR-expert. She is also known as the partner of Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen.
  • The American Robert Kelly Slater (born 1972) became world champion in professional surfing eleven times.
  • Former American actress and wife of John Travolta, Kelly Preston (1962 - 2020), died in 2020 after a two year battle against breast cancer.
  • American actress Kelly Rowan (born 1965) is famous for her role as Kristen Cohen from the TV series “O.C. California”.
  • American singer Kelly Rowland (born 1981) started her career in the girl band “Destiny’s Child”. She is a solo artist, mother and judge on the casting show “The Voice Australia”.
  • American actress Kelly Rutherford (born 1968) is especially known for her role as Lily van der Woodsen on the series “Gossip Girl”.

Fictional characters named Kelly

  • On the British science fiction drama series “Misfits”, Kelly Bailey, played by Lauren Socha, was part of the main cast until season three.
  • On the American sitcom “Married… with Children”, Kelly Bundy, played by Christina Applegate, was part of the main cast.
  • On the TV show “Grimm”, the character Kelly Burkhardt, played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, is a Grimm. She was part of the main cast until season four.
  • On the television series “Just Add Magic”, Kelly Quinn, played by Olivia Sanabia, is the protagonist. Together with her two best friends, she found a magic cook book in the attic.
  • On the series “Chicago Fire”, Lieutenant Kelly Severide, played by Taylor Kinney, is part of the main cast.

Pronunciation of Kelly

Parents who like the name Kelly also like

Tyler Ashley Jamie Holly Ryan Mackenzie Luna Jordan Cameron Lucy Leslie Grace Zoe Marley Alice Jason Jayden Casey Aiden Kim

Popularity of the name Kelly

The name Kelly is ranked #5851 overall.

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