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Kimberly Name Meaning

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

Kimberly Overview

  • Meaning: Kimberly means “woodland clearing of the royal fortress,” which many think is a royal name associated with nature.
  • Gender: Kimberly is a gender-neutral or unisex name, though it has been more popular as a feminine name in the United States.
  • Origin: Kimberly as a given name originated from the location of Kimberley in the Northern Cape, South Africa.
  • Pronunciation: “KIM-bur-lee.” The name rhymes with the words “liberty” or “wizardly.”
  • Popularity: In 1966 and 1967, Kimberly was the second most popular name for girls in the United States. In recent years, it has remained popular in the top 250.
  • Nicknames: Berry, Kiki, Kim, Kimbo, Kimmie, Kimmy, Lee, Leigh, Lili, Lily, Linnie, Millie.
  • Variations: Amberly, Kim, Kimber, Kimberlee, Kimberleigh, Kimberley, Kimberlyn, Kimmie, Kym.
  • Namesakes: Kim Cattrall, Kimberly Denise Jones (Lil’ Kim), Kimberly “Kim” Kardashian.

What Does Kimberly Mean?

Kimberly is a combination of multiple Old English personal names. Its meaning comes from the individual Old English names, which gathered stories and legends over the years.

Kimberly comes from the Old English names “Kimber” and “Leah” (or “Leigh”). Kimber in Old English means “clearing of a woman named Cyneburg.” Cyneburg is a feminine given name that means “royal fortress.”

“Leigh or “Leah” means “clearing or woodland.” With the Old English meanings combined (clearing of a royal fortress from Kimber and woodland from Leah or Leigh), the name Kimberly means “woodland clearing of the royal fortress” (1).

This meaning reflects the use of Kimberly as a “place name,” a name commonly used and popularized as a name for a location. This meaning is interpreted as a royal name associated with nature.

What Is the Origin of the Name Kimberly?

Kimberly is a given name derived from various locations bearing the name “Kimberly.” The most famous of these locations and what is often cited as the location that popularized Kimberly as a given name is Kimberley in Northern Cape, South Africa (2).

Kimberley is the capital of the Northern Cape province of South Africa and its largest city. The city of Kimberley was named after Lord Kimberley in the 1800s.

Although the name Kimberly or Kimberley is traced back as early as the 11th century, it was only popularized as a given name (and not just a location name) in the 19th century from the city of Kimberley in South Africa.

How Popular Is the Name Kimberly?

Kimberly originated in the 19th century, but it did not gain popularity in the United States until the late 1940s. From 1946 to 1955, Kimberly jumped in popularity from the rank of #706 to #111 in the list of most popular names for girls in the United States.

In 1966 and 1967, Kimberly became the second most popular name for girls in the United States, an all-time peak.

Over the years, Kimberly as a feminine name has lost some steam but remains popular, staying within the top 250 (3).

Kimberly has not been as famous as a masculine name in the United States. From 1951 to 1980, Kimberly broke the top 1000 names for boys in the United States, reaching a peak at #552 in 1955. It has not broken back into the top 1000 for boys since 1980.

How Do I Pronounce Kimberly?

Kimberly is pronounced “KIM-bur-lee.” The name rhymes with the words “liberty” or “wizardly.”

Is Kimberly a Boy or Girl Name?

Kimberly is a gender-neutral or unisex name, though it has been more popular as a feminine name in the United States.

Variations of Kimberly

Kimberly as a name has been adapted primarily in the English language in various forms.

  • Amberly (English)
  • Kim (English)
  • Kimber (English)
  • Kimberlee (English)
  • Kimberleigh (English)
  • Kimberley (English)
  • Kimberlyn (English)
  • Kimmie (English)
  • Kym (English)

Nicknames for Kimberly

There are many short and catchy nicknames for Kimberly.

  • Berry
  • Kiki
  • Kim
  • Kimbo
  • Kimmie
  • Kimmy
  • Lee
  • Leigh
  • Lili
  • Lily
  • Linnie
  • Millie

Similar Names to Kimberly

For those who love Kimberly, you are sure to love these similar names.

Middle Names for Kimberly

Kimberly works well with many short middle names.

Sibling Names for Kimberly

Many of these names are gender-neutral/unisex, meaning they can work for any sibling of Kimberly.

Famous People Named Kimberly

Many famous people named Kimberly prefer to use the shortened form of the name, “Kim.”

  • Kim Cattrall: Canadian-British actress well-known for her role in the TV series Sex and the City.
  • Kim Fields: American actress well-known for her role in the TV series The Facts of Life.
  • Kimberly Denise Jones (Lil’ Kim): American rapper.
  • Kimberly “Kim” Kardashian: American reality TV star.
  • Kimberly Walsh: English singer from the pop girl group Girls Aloud.
  • Kimberly Wyatt: a member of the American girl group The Pussycat Dolls.

Kimberly in Popular Culture

Kimberly is a decently popular name in pop culture, though similarly to famous Kimberlys in real life, the shortened form “Kim” is popular.

  • Kimberly Bauer: a character in the American TV series 24.
  • Kimberly Corman: a character in the sequel film Final Destination 2.
  • Kimberly Hart: the pink Ranger character from Power Rangers.
  • Kim Pine: a character in the comic series and movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
  • Kim Possible: the main character in the Disney Channel TV series Kim Possible.
  • Kim Wexler: a character in the TV series Better Call Saul.

Kimberly FAQs

Here, we will answer the most common question about the name Kimberly.

What Does the Name Kimberly Mean Biblically?

Unlike many English names, Kimberly never appears in the bible. It originated as a location name in the 11th century but did not become a common given name for people until the 19th century. This is too late to be a biblically interpreted name.

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