- Meaning: Faye means “Fairy” in Middle English
- Gender: Faye is a gender-neutral name, but is more popular as a girls name
- Origin: You can trace the roots of Faye back to the Old French word “beliet,” which means loyalty.
- Pronunciation: “Fey”
- Popularity: Faye was a rare name till 2014, when it began increasing in popularity in the US.
- Nicknames: Fae, Fee, Fifi.
- Variations: Phae, Fae.
- Namesakes: Faye Valentine, Faye Wattleton, Faye Wong, Faye Whittaker.
What Does Faye Mean?
Faye is a diminutive of the Old French name, “Faive,” meaning “blond” (1). The name was common among early Christians, and Saint Fara was a seventh-century abbess who founded a convent in Swabia. The name was also borne by an eighth-century English saint, who the Danes martyred.
The name Faye appeared in James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales, which belonged to the daughter of one of the characters. It has been used sparingly in the English-speaking world since that time. It has recently begun to gain popularity as a given name, especially in the United States.
What Is the Origin of the Name Faye?
The name Faye is thought to be of French origin, and it is often used as a variant of the name Faith. The meaning of the name Faye is unclear, but it is possibly derived from the Latin word “fides,” meaning “faith.”
The name Faye first appeared in records in the 12th century and has been used sparingly in the English-speaking world since that time. However, it has seen a resurgence in recent years, particularly in the United States.
There are a few different theories about the origins of the name Faye. One possibility is derived from the Latin word “Fagus,” meaning “beech tree” (2). Alternatively, it could be a variant of the French girl name Fleur, meaning “flower.” Faye is also possibly a diminutive of the given name Faith.
While it is still relatively uncommon, the name Faye is a beautiful and unique option for parents looking for something a little different for their baby girl.
How Popular Is the Name Faye?
The Normans first introduced the name Faye to the English-speaking world in the 12th century. However, it was not until the 19th century that the name began to gain popularity in the United States.
In 1884, the name Faye appeared on the Social Security Administration’s list of baby names for the first time. It remained relatively obscure until the mid-20th century when it began slowly gaining popularity. By 1973, Faye reached its highest point on the list, 391. Since then, it has slowly declined in popularity but remains a popular choice for parents looking for a unique and meaningful name for their child.
The name Faye in present times has a fairly popular rating, ranking in the top 700 baby girl names in the United States (3).
How Do I Pronounce Faye?
The name Faye can be pronounced in a few different ways. The most common pronunciation is “fay,” as in the word “fair.” However, some people also pronounce it “fee,” as in the word “coffee.” Additionally, the name can be pronounced with a long “e” sound, as in the word “key.”
Which pronunciation you use may depend on your regional dialect. In general, though, all of these pronunciations are considered to be correct. So whether you say “fay,” “fee,” or “key,” everyone will know you’re talking about the same name.
Is Faye a Boy or Girl Name?
Faye is a name that has been historically used primarily for boys, but in recent years it has become more popular for girls. It is a gender-neutral name.
According to baby name data from the Social Security Administration, in 2018, Faye was the 1,231st most popular name for girls and the 2,445th most popular name for boys. This represents a significant increase in popularity for girls, as in 2000, Faye was the 3,737th most popular name for girls and the 1,843rd most popular name for boys.
While it is still more common for boys to be named Faye than girls, the gap is narrowing. Given its rise in popularity for girls, Faye is likely to continue to become more common as a given name for both genders.
Variations of Faye
Faye is derived from the Middle English word for “Fairy” (4). Parents have been a popular choice to give their children a magical, otherworldly name. There are many ways to spell the name, and each version has an ethereal quality. Fey also conjures images of enchanting creatures.
Alternatively, parents looking for a unique spelling may choose Phae, which sounds similar to Faye but is far less common. No matter how it is spelled, the name Faye is sure to bestow an air of mystery and wonder. Fae is another common spelling variation.
Nicknames for Faye
Some nicknames that work well for Faye include:
Similar Names to Faye
Names that are similar to Faye or also mean “faith” include:
Middle Names for Faye
Middle names that go well with Faye include:
Sibling Names for Faye
Names for siblings that would go well with Faye include:
Famous People Named Faye
Several famous people have the name Faye.
- Faye Adams: An American gospel and rhythm and blues singer
- Faye Dunaway: An Oscar-winning actress who has starred in films such as “Chinatown” and “Network.”
- Faye Emerson: An American stage actress and TV interviewer
- Faye Tozer: An English dancer, singer-songwriter, and actress
- Faye Wattleton: An American reproductive right activist and the youngest elected and first African-American president of Planned Parenthood
- Faye Wong: A Chinese actress and singer-songwriter
Faye in Popular Culture
The name Faye has a long history of use in art and life. Here are some more examples of the name Faye as it appears in popular culture today.
- Faye Chamberlain: A character in the LJ Smith series “The Secret Circle”
- Faye Conroy: A character in Joyce’s “The Dead”
- Faye Greener: A character in the novel “The Day of the Locust” by Nathaniel West
- Faye Miller: A character from the TV show “Mad Men”
- Faye Valentine: A character from the anime “Cowboy Bebop”
- Faye Whitaker: A character from the webcomic “Questionable Content”
Additionally, in Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire,” one of the main characters is named Blanche DuBois, which can be translated to mean “White of Faye.”
Now you’ve learned the story behind the name Faye and have middle and sibling names that go well with it. In case you need additional information before settling on a name, check out these frequently asked questions about the name Faye.