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Finley Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Finley Overview

  • Meaning: Finley means “fair warrior.”
  • Gender: Finley is a unisex name with more popularity among baby girls in the United States.
  • Origin: The name Finley originates from the Scottish Gaelic name Fionnlagh.
  • Pronunciation: Finley is pronounced as “FINN-lee.”
  • Popularity: The name Finley is traditionally popular in Scotland and Ireland. In the United States, it has climbed up the charts since the early 2000s. It ranked 265th for boys and 211th for girls in 2021.
  • Nicknames: Fin, FinFin, Finn, Finners, Finno, Finny, Fins, Finsie, Finster, Lee, LeyLey.
  • Variations: Findlay, Findley, Finlay, Finlea, Finlee, Finleigh, Finnlea, Finnley.
  • Namesakes: Finley Peter Dunne, Finley Jeffrey.

What Does Finley Mean?

The name Finley means “fair warrior.” The first part of the name, “fin” (which was once Fionn) means “white” or “fair.” Meanwhile, “ley” comes from “laoch,” meaning “warrior” or ”hero” (1).

What Is the Origin of the Name Finley?

Finley comes from the old Gaelic boy’s name, Fionnlagh. It first appeared in Scotland but does show up in some old Irish accounts.

Some theories attribute Finley becoming a given name to Findláech of Moray, the 11th Century Scottish King of Moray and Thane of Angus. He was an influential figure in Medieval Scotland, so it is possible that he inspired others to bestow his powerful name onto their children (2).

How Popular Is the Name Finley?

Finley is a well-loved name around a lot of the English-speaking world. In the UK, Finley was ranked 16th for boys in 2021. Surprisingly, in the United States, it only reached 265th for baby boys in 2021 (3).

If you’re wondering why there aren’t many boys in the US being named Finley, it is likely because it is more commonly given to girls instead! In 2017, Finley was the 159th most popular baby name for a girl. It has fallen slightly since then and held the 211th spot in 2021.

How Do I Pronounce Finley?

Though the original Gaelic pronunciation of the name Finley is probably very different from how it’s spelled, the anglicized version used today is quite similar to its spelling.

The proper pronunciation of the name Finley is “FINN-lee.”

Is Finley a Boy or Girl Name?

In the UK, Finley is generally a boy’s name. In the United States, it’s a fairly even split between boys and girls but with slightly more popularity for girls.

It’s impossible to say which is more common, so Finley is a thoroughly unisex name.

Variations of Finley

There are many other spellings of the name Finley, with all having their roots in Gaelic. Here are some of the most common variations of the name:

  • Findlay (Gaelic)
  • Findley (Gaelic)
  • Finlay (Gaelic)
  • Finlea (Gaelic)
  • Finlee (Gaelic)
  • Finleigh (Gaelic)
  • Finnlea (Gaelic)
  • Finnley (Gaelic)

Nicknames for Finley

When you’re thinking of what to name your sweet new baby, it’s important to know that you’ll be able to shorten the name and make it even cuter and sweeter.

We know it can be hard to find that perfect nickname, though, so take a look at these adorable options:

  • Fin
  • FinFin
  • Finn
  • Finners
  • Finno
  • Finny
  • Fins
  • Finsie
  • Finster
  • Lee
  • LeyLey

Similar Names to Finley

If you like the name Finley, but don’t think it’s exactly right for you, then consider something that has a similar meaning, origin, or sound. As with Finley, there are many unisex options, like:

Middle Names for Finley

When choosing a first name, you likely also want to make sure you can find a nice middle name to go with it. Many of these options are unisex, while others would fit a boy or girl Finley best:

Sibling Names for Finley

If you’re looking for the right name for Finley’s siblings, then you might want to consider the following:

For a brother:

For a sister:

Famous People Named Finley

As Finley has only recently surged in popularity, there are relatively few famous people with the name. Here are some notable ones:

  • Finley Peter Dunne: American writer, humorist, and journalist.
  • Finley Jeffrey: Grenadian calypsonian, soca artist and songwriter.
  • Finley Hamilton: American politician.
  • Finley Quaye: Scottish musician.
  • William Finley Semple: American dentist regarded as the first person to patent chewing gum.

Finley in Popular Culture

You can also find a few Finleys in popular culture, with the most well-known being:

  • Finley: Tritagonist from “Oz the Great and Powerful.”
  • Finley Jayne: Main character from “The Strange Case of Finley Jayne.”
  • Finley “Finn” Polmar: Character from “The Good Wife.”
  • Finley: Main character from “Finley the Fire Engine.”
  • Finley: Character from “Hirokin: The Last Samurai.”

Finley FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the name Finley.

What Is Finley Short For?

Finley is not necessarily the nickname for any other given name. It has many nicknames that come from it, such as Finn or Finny, but it is not usually used as a nickname for other longer names.

Is Finley Irish or Scottish?

Both Ireland and Scotland spoke Gaelic at the time when the name Finley emerged. However, the two dialects of Gaelic were a bit different. Given that context, it is attributed much more to the Scottish than to the Irish.

Is Finley Spelled Differently for Girls?

In the United States, Finley is the most common spelling of the name for a girl. In other English-speaking countries, it is more common to see Finley used for a boy.

In these cases, the spelling for a girl is most often changed to Finlay.

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