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Bradley Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Bradley Overview

  • Meaning: Bradley means “broad meadow” or “spacious woods.” It was initially used as a surname to describe people originating from such locations.
  • Gender: Bradley is traditionally a masculine name.
  • Origin: Bradley originates from the Old English phrase “wide forest” or “broad meadow.” In Old English, “brad” means “broad,” “brád” means “open space,” and “leah” means “meadow.”
  • Pronunciation: “b-RAH-d-LEE”
  • Popularity: The name is popular within the United States, and ranked 313th in 2021. It is more popular in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
  • Nicknames: Bard, Brad, Braddles, Brady, Brody.
  • Variations: Bradleah, Bradlee, Bradleigh, Bradli, Bradly.
  • Namesakes: Bradley “Brad” Ausmus, Bradley Cooper, Bradley “Brad” Paisley.

What Does Bradley Mean?

Bradley is an Old English name meaning “broad meadow” or “spacious woods.” It can also mean “from the broad meadow” or “from the spacious woods.”

The best way to understand the literal meaning of this name is to reference Old English words and phrases. For example, in Old English, “brad” means “broad.” A similar term, “brád,” means “open space.” Meanwhile, “leah” means “meadow” in Old English (1).

When you pair these individual words together to form Bradley (or Brádleah), you end up with a name that most closely means “broad, open meadow.”

What Is the Origin of the Name Bradley?

The name Bradley originated from Old English, a spoken and written language developed by the Anglo-Saxons. Old English was initially developed around 450 CE and remained a popular spoken language until 1150 (2).

Because the Anglo-Saxon people had mixed origins, the name Bradley has Germanic, Latin, and Scandinavian influences. Bradley was initially used as a surname, denoting people who came from meadows or vast forested areas.

Bradley didn’t become an established first name until the late 1700s. Its initial rise in popularity occurred in the United States, though it would quickly become adopted by English populations during the 1900s.

How Popular Is the Name Bradley?

The name Bradley is relatively common in the United States. In 2021, when Bradley ranked 313th, there were 1062 baby boys born with the name (3).

However, this name is slightly more prevalent in other countries, including the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. It ranks within the top 300 baby names in England and the top 200 in the Netherlands.

The first notable spike in this name’s popularity within the United States occurred in 1895, though it only saw a resurgence in 1935. After this point, Bradley steadily became more popular as a first name, reaching its height in popularity in 1970.

That said, Bradley has remained a popular name in the US, never falling out of the top 400 names since 1935.

How Do I Pronounce Bradley?

The name Bradley is pronounced, “b-RAH-d-LEE.” This name rhymes with several English words, including “gladly,” “madly,” and “sadly.”

Is Bradley a Boy or Girl Name?

Traditionally, Bradley is a masculine name given to boys. However, it has also been used femininely, though to a much lesser extent. As a surname, Bradley has neither masculine nor feminine connotations.

Variations of Bradley

Bradley can be spelled in a multitude of ways. For example, you can spell this name:

  • Bradleah
  • Bradlee
  • Bradleigh
  • Bradli
  • Bradly

Nicknames for Bradley

There are a handful of nicknames associated with the name Bradley, such as:

  • Bard
  • Brad
  • Braddles
  • Brady
  • Brody

Similar Names to Bradley

Several names are similar to Bradley in terms of sound and meaning. Some of the most notable include:

  • Barclay
  • Baxley
  • Beardsley
  • Bentley
  • Bradford
  • Brady
  • Brayden
  • Brinley
  • Bromley
  • Buckley
  • Clooney
  • Hartley
  • Kingsley
  • Langley
  • Leighton
  • Presley
  • Rylan
  • Sully
  • Wesley

Middle Names for Bradley

The first name Bradley could go well with any of the following choices:

  • Alcott
  • Calhoun
  • Darrel
  • Edward
  • Fielding
  • Harden
  • Knox
  • Locke
  • Nyle
  • Parker
  • Preston
  • Shaw
  • Shepherd
  • Wallace
  • William

Sibling Names for Bradley

Given Bradley is surprisingly ancient, it pairs well with several other Old English names, including:

For a brother:

For a sister:

Famous People Named Bradley

Bradly has been consistently popular for almost a century, so it’s no surprise that there have been several famous people named Bradley. Some of the most notable include:

  • Bradley “Brad” Ausmus: American Major League baseball catcher, coach, and manager.
  • Bradley Cooper: American actor and filmmaker best known for his roles in “A Star Is Born,” “American Sniper,” and “Silver Linings Playbook.”
  • Bradley James: English actor noted for his role as Arthur Pendragon in the BBC television show “Merlin.”
  • Bradley “Brad” Paisley: American country singer.
  • Bradley McIntosh: English rapper, singer, and actor.
  • Bradley Steven Perry: American actor.
  • Bradley Walsh: English actor and comedian.
  • Bradley Whitford: American actor and producer.

Bradley in Popular Culture

In addition to several famous people named Bradley, there are also popular fictional characters with this first name (or its shortened form, Brad). For example:

  • Bradley: The main male protagonist of the 1996 Canadian animated television show “Stickin’ Around.”
  • Bradley Branning: Fictional character from the BBC television drama “EastEnders” portrayed by Charlie Clements.
  • Bradley Evans: A fictional “Grand Theft Auto” character role played by content creator Shrimp.
  • Brad Majors: Male protagonist in the 1975 cult classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” portrayed by Barry Bostwick.
  • Bradley Martin: A fictional character in the A&E and NBC television show “Bates Motel” played by Nicola Peltz.

Bradley FAQs

If you’d like to learn more about the name Bradley, check out these frequently asked questions.

What Is the Personality of the Name Bradley?

The name Bradley is associated with several personality traits, including dependability and pragmatism. This first name is also frequently associated with wealth and intellectualism.

Is Bradley a Viking name?

The name Bradley originates from the United Kingdom and Ireland. While Vikings did invade these countries during the 6th Century, there is no evidence that Bradley was ever used as a name by them. However, the name may have some Viking origins or influences thanks to the development of the Anglo-Saxon language.

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