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Bailey Name Meaning

Updated
Learn about the name Bailey including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Bailey Overview

  • Meaning: Bailey means “bailiff,” “fortification,” or “berry wood.”
  • Gender: Bailey is used for both genders, having begun as a boy’s name, but in the last couple of decades, it is primarily a girl’s name.
  • Origin: Bailey originated in Old English from the word “baili” which means “bailiff.”
  • Pronunciation: The name Bailey is pronounced: “BAY-lee.”
  • Popularity: Bailey is a trendy name for girls worldwide.
  • Nicknames: Ali, Bae, Bail, Bay, Lee.
  • Variations: Bailee, Baileigh, Bailie, Bailey, Bali, Baylee, Bayleigh, Bayley.
  • Namesakes: Bailey Sarian, YouTuber; Bailey Baio, child of Scott Baio; Bailey Jay, actress.

What Does Bailey Mean?

The name Bailey means “bailiff,” “fortification,” or “berry wood.” It is an English name derived from “baili” which means “bailiff.” Its alternate elements are “beg,” meaning “berry,” and “leah” meaning “wood/clearing/meadow.” It was and continues to be a surname, as well.

Both boys and girls are named Bailey. Until the 1970s, it was more commonly a boy’s name, but it has gradually become more common for girls. It peaked in the charts for both genders in the late 1990s.

What is the Origin of the Name Bailey?

The Old English word “baili” is the origin of the name Bailey. It means “bailiff, porter, or messenger.” Many people who worked as a bailiff were given Bailey as a surname. Others whose home was close to or in a bailey began to carry the name.

How Popular is the Name Bailey?

As a girl’s name, Bailey began the 21st century as a trendy name, ranking #68 (1). It moved up and down the charts, dropping to #112 in 2006 before moving back to #78 in 2010.

From there, it descended to #172 in 2020 and began its way back up, reaching #162 in 2021 and #154 at present.

As a boy’s name, Bailey was popular in 2000, sitting at #202 on the chart. It dropped each year until 2010, when it reached #996 and dropped off the Social Security popularity list for being out of the top 1000 (2).

How Do I Pronounce Bailey?

Bailey is pronounced as “BAY-lee.”

Interestingly, it is pronounced the same in most other languages. In very few languages, such as Spanish, the first vowel sounds closer to eye than ay, but that is rare.

Is Bailey a Boy or Girl Name?

Bailey began as a boy name, and parents gave it to boys more often until the 1970s. At that time, a female TV character in WKRP in Cincinnati named Bailey Quarters made the name more fashionable for girls.

By the mid-1990s, the name was common for both genders, and in the following decade, girls outpaced boys. At present, the name is primarily a girl name.

Variations of Bailey

There are many variations of the name Bailey. The primary difference is in the spelling of Bailey. Some options include:

  • Bailee
  • Baileigh
  • Bailie
  • Baily
  • Bali
  • Baylee
  • Bayleigh
  • Bayley

Any alternative spelling for “bay” or “lee” combined creates a variation of Bailey. However, these variations are not region-specific. You may find an alternative spelling in any country.

Nicknames for Bailey

While there are many options for spelling differences, there are few common nicknames, most of which involve shortening the name into one of its two halves.

  • Ali
  • Bae
  • Bail
  • Bay
  • Lee

Similar Names to Bailey

The long a at the beginning of Bailey and the long e at the end make it easy to match with several other names.

  • Bentley
  • Billy
  • Briley
  • Carly
  • Finley
  • Harley
  • Hayley
  • Jayla
  • Kayleigh
  • Layla
  • Paisley
  • Riley

Other names from the English and Scotch background include:

  • Ceilidh (pronounced KAY-lee)
  • Elsie
  • Flora
  • Graham
  • Hector
  • Logan
  • Rory
  • Rowan

Middle Names for Bailey

Choosing a middle name that suits the first name can be a challenge. A name like Bailey goes well with many middle names. Such compatibility can make selecting a middle name easier or harder because you have many options.

Consider the initials when selecting a middle name. When initials have common meanings or create a word, other children may use that to tease your child.

Sibling Names for Bailey

The children in a family may have names that match in initials, origin, or not at all. If you want to choose matching names for Bailey’s siblings, consider these suggestions:

  • Ainsleigh
  • Amelia
  • Ashley
  • Blair
  • Bryanne
  • Cicely
  • Dakota
  • Hadley
  • Jadelyn
  • Kaitlyn
  • Lacey
  • Lyndsie
  • Mikayla
  • Sydney

Famous People Named Bailey

Famous people named Bailey range from sports personalities to politicians from several different countries.

  • Bailey Aldrich: American lawyer and judge.
  • Bailey Baio: child of American actor Scott Baio.
  • Bailey Bartlett: American politician.
  • Bailey Bryan: American singer and songwriter.
  • Bailey Clements: English football player.
  • Bailey Dale: Australian football player.
  • Bailey De Young: American actress.
  • Bailey Falter: American baseball player.
  • Bailey Hardeman: American politician, Texas’ Secretary of the Treasury in the early 1800s.
  • Bailey Howell: American basketball player.
  • Bailey Jay: American actress and model.
  • Bailey Otter: Micronesian politician.
  • Bailey Peacock-Farrell: Irish football player.
  • Bailey Sarian: American YouTuber.
  • Bailey Smith: Australian football player.
  • Bailey Walsh: American politician.
  • Bailey White: American author and commentator on NPR.
  • Bailey Wright: Australian football player.
  • Bailey Zappe: American football player.

Bailey in Popular Culture

Bailey gained popularity through its use in popular culture, but it is not as popular there as it is in real life.

  • Bailey: a character in Disney’s Finding Dory, a beluga whale.
  • Bailey Quarters: a character on the TV show WKRP in Cincinnati.
  • Bailey Salinger: a character on the TV show Party of Five.
  • Bailey: the dog in A Dog’s Purpose, an American movie.

Bailey FAQs

Read on for some answers to other questions that people have about the name Bailey.

Is Bailey a Good Name for a Girl?

The name Bailey is still often used for girls. It has an informal connotation and is less likely to be used by parents who tend toward tradition.

How Old Is the Name Bailey?

As a family name, it became common in the UK, the USA, Canada, and Scotland in the early 1800s. It was a given name from the mid-1700s (3).

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