Both, Boy Names, Girl Names baby nameRiley

What does the name Riley mean?

The different meanings of the name Riley are:
  • English meaning: A little stream
  • Celtic - Gaelic meaning: Valiant
  • Irish meaning: From the rye meadow
The meaning of the name “Riley” is different in several languages, countries and cultures and has more than one possibly same or different meanings available.

Additional information: This name has a complicated origin that involves multiple changes to the original surname Raghallach and a local name from a place named with Old English ryge (rye) and leah (wood, clearing). Over time this name evolved from Anglican influence and became the Irish surname O’Reilly. Its first stunt as a given name rather than a surname came later on when Reilly began to be a common Irish first name for boys. The spelling changed to Riley as the name was adopted by more and more people around the world. While it is a unisex name in some countries, such as the US and New Zealand, it is typically seen as a name for boys around the rest of the world. Riley means “valiant”, because the original man to bear the name Raghallach died in the Battle of Clontarf.

In an effort to put a more feminine touch on this name, some people change the spelling to Rylie, Rylee, Ryleigh, or Ryley. Common diminutives of the name include Ry, Ry-ry, Lee, and Ley. It can be seen commonly misspelled as Rilley, Rilie, Rily, or Rilee.

Popularity of Riley as a boy’s name has been high in a lot of countries around the world for decades. In the US, it was ranked within the top 500 boy names from 1880-1944 with only 1 year outside. After that the popularity picked back up in the US in 1985 as it became a more popular name for boys and girls. 2002 was the first year that the name was more popular for girls in the US than for boys. In 2014 it was ranked as the 47th most popular girls name and the 173rd most popular boys name in the US. Its peak can in 2009 when it was the 38th most popular girls name in the US. Elsewhere in the world, Riley was ranked as the 79th most popular girls name in Canada and the 61st most popular girls name in New Zealand in 2010. In 2014, it was ranked as the 25th most popular boys name in Scotland, the 35th most popular boys name in the UK, and the 41st most popular boys name in Australia.

Celebrities and notable famous people who share the name include Riley McDonough, a pop singer; Riley Keough, an actress; Riley Cooper, an NFL player; and Riley Biederer, a pop singer.