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Harlow Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Harlow Overview

  • Meaning: The name Harlow is Anglo-Saxon and means “from the rocky hills.”
  • Gender: Harlow is a gender-neutral name but is more common among girls.
  • Origin: Old English.
  • Pronunciation: Harlow is most commonly pronounced as “HARR-low,” emphasizing the first syllable.
  • Popularity: Harlow is a popular name and one that is gender-neutral. In the United States, the name ranked 238th for newborn girls in 2021. It did not break into the top 1000 for boys.
  • Nicknames: Ari, Hare, Harry, Hari, Lo.
  • Variations: Herlawe (English), Herlaye (English), Hirlawe (English), Hlaw (English), Hoer (English).
  • Namesakes: Jack Harlow (American rapper and singer), Jean Harlow (American actress).

What Does the Name Harlow Mean?

The name Harlow is Anglo-Saxon and means “from the rocky hills.” Harlow is also a town in England and can refer to someone from there. It is in the English county of Essex and is the hometown of former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham (1).

It is as popular as a habitational last name as a first name, which says that “Harlow” is derived or refers to someone from the town or area of Harlow.

What Is the Origin of the Name Harlow?

The Anglo name is a combination of several Old English words. Those words include “hær,” meaning “rock,” “here,” meaning “army” (or in this case, “many”), and hlæw means “hill.” Combined, these become the phrase “from the many rocky hills,” which is in reference to the landscape around the English town of Harlow (2).

How Popular Is the Name Harlow?

Harlow is a relatively popular name in the United States. For girls, it held the 238th spot in 2021. However, it is much rarer for boys as the name did not enter the top 1000.

Though the name is gender-neutral by nature, this clearly shows that it is more popular for baby girls today.

As a given name, it has only recently surged in popularity. It entered the top 1000 names for girls in 2009. This rise can be attributed to a spate of celebrities naming their child Harlow, such as Nicole Richie and Patricia Arquette.

How Do I Pronounce Harlow?

Harlow is most commonly pronounced as “HARR-low,” emphasizing the first syllable. The name is said in legato or blended, not as two independent syllables.

Is Harlow a Boy or Girl Name?

Harlow intends to be a gender-neutral name. But, as the popularity section indicated, it is much more popular as a girl’s name today than boys.

Variations of Harlow

Since the name Harlow is from a location, there aren’t too many variations on it. Most of them are versions of the historic, Old English spelling:

  • Herlawe (English)
  • Herlaye (English)
  • Hirlawe (English)
  • Hlaw (English)
  • Hoer (English)

Nicknames for Harlow

Not that many nicknames exist for Harlow. Still, there are some fun and playful ways to reinvent Harlow with a cute term-of-endearment, such as:

  • Ari
  • Hare
  • Harry
  • Hari
  • Lo

Similar Names to Harlow

Harlow is a name that sounds as fresh as ever. Given that, you have plenty of choices for a new brother or sister:

For a brother:

For a sister:

Middle Names for Harlow

Harlow is classic but not overused. This gives it a lot of options when it comes to middle names. Some good ones (for both girls and boys) might look like:

Sibling Names for Harlow

No matter whether you have a boy or girl, Harlow is a dynamic option that can suit countless names. You might want to consider:

For a brother:

For a sister:

Famous People Named Harlow

Harlow is an evocative name but few individuals have borne it as a given name besides the children of numerous celebrities. Some of the most recognizable have Harlow as a surname instead:

  • Harry Harlow: An American psychologist who conducted studies with primates focused on maternal separation, dependency needs, and social isolation (3).
  • Jack Harlow: American singer and rapper. He is best known for his song “First Class” from his second studio album, “Come Home The Kids Miss You.”
  • Jean Harlow: American actress from the early 20th century. She was especially popular in the 1930s for her roles as a bad girl in “Hell’s Angels,” “Red Dust,” and “Saratoga.”
  • John Harlow: English film director from the 20th century. He was famous for his crime thrillers and potboiler genre movies, including “The Agitator” and “The Echo Murders.”
  • Larry Harlow: American composer, performer, producer, and musician of salsa and Latin music.

Harlow in Popular Culture

Many characters from books, video games, and films have used the name “Harlow.” Some of the most recognizable ones are:

  • Bobbi Harlow: Character from the comic strip “Bloom County.”
  • Clarissa Harlowe: Character from the novel “Clarissa,” by Samuel Richardson.
  • Harlow: A biographical film made in the 1950s about the actress, Jean Harlow.
  • Red Harlow: A main character from the video game “Red Dead Revolver.”

Harlow FAQs

One of the most frequently asked questions about the name Harlow is:

Is Harlow a Biblical Name?

No, Harlow is not a biblical girl’s name. Since its first use as an Anglo-Saxon Old English word, its origins remain post-biblical. However, the name is popular in Christian communities.

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