Quick Facts on Lee
- Number of syllables:
- Ranking popularity:
Clearing; shelter; or mine
Etymology & Historical Origin - Lee
Lee is the transferred use of an Olde English surname derived from place names. In Olde English, the word “lēah” stood for a “clearing” or an open space where villages and towns could be established, such as a wood clearing or meadow in a forested area. There is a town called The Lee in Buckinghamshire and a small hamlet in Hampshire known as Lee (as well as other places in England called Lea). The surname would have been given to people who were native to these towns and then moved away (their surname becoming an identifier in their new location). The first written appearance of this surname emerged in the 12th century (rendered as “de la Leie”). Alternately, from the perspective of the sailing terms “leeward” or “alee”, the word “lee” developed from the Olde English “hlēo” meaning “shelter, protection” possibly from an Old Germanic root element meaning “warmth”. When you consider the “leeward” position on any water vessel you’re essentially talking about the side of the ship/boat away and “protected” from the weather or wind. Finally, Lee is sometimes considered a transliteration of the Hebrew לי which is a term of endearment meaning “mine”. In the United States, Lee has a history of gender-neutrality but it is primarily considered a masculine name. It is currently on the Top 100 list of most commonly used baby boy names in Ireland.
Popularity of the Name Lee
In the United States, the name Lee started out as a given name in honor of the Confederate Army commander Robert E. Lee (1807-1870). We must assume Lee was a name at first embraced by dissenting southerners when the tragedy of the Civil War was still fresh in the minds of Americans. General Lee’s surrender to Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1965 pretty much sealed the fate for the South and promised victory for the Union. During the late 19th century, Lee became quite popular as a given name for boys but it was also used with impressive frequency on baby girls as well. Despite Robert E. Lee’s symbolism as the “lost cause of the confederacy”, he was still admired by northerners for his tactical genius and military leadership. The name basically took on a life of its own and remained unisex in nature for well over 100 years (the name went out of circulation for girls only recently in 1990). Just to give you some perspective, Lee was the 39th most commonly used masculine name at the turn of the 20th century (1900). For boy’s, Lee maintained Top 100 status all the way up until 1956 and remained a moderate favorite up until the 1990s. In the past 20+ years however, Lee has quickly dropped from fashionable usage. Simple, three-letters and one syllable, parents today find the minimalistic Lee a little too basic and boring. Leigh has often replaced Lee for girls, or it’s used as a middle name instead: Annabel Lee, Bobby Lee, Jamie Lee, etc. Even though Lee is primarily considered masculine by today’s standards, this one is still up for grabs.
Popularity of the Boy Name Lee
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Lee
Literary Characters of the Baby Name Lee
Lee We cannot find any significant literary characters with the first name Lee.
Popular Songs on Lee
Lee and Molly - a song by Ziggy Marley
Lee Is Free - a song by Sonic Youth
Children's Books on the Baby Name Lee
Lee - We cannot find any children’s books featuring a character named Lee.
Famous People Named Lee
Famous People Named Lee - Lee DeWyze (American Idol winner); Lee Iacocca (businessman); Lee Janzen (golfer); Lee Majors (actor); Lee Marvin (actor); Lee Meriwether (actress); Lee Harvey Oswald (assassin of JFK); Lee Ranaldo (musician); Lee Remick (actress); Lee Smith (baseball player); Lee Strasberg (famous acting teacher); Lee Trevino (golfer); Lee Van Cleef (actor); Lee Westwood (golfer); Lee Ann Womack (musician)
Children of Famous People Named Lee
Famous People Who Named Their Child Lee - Buster Posey (baseball player, named his son Lee); Ringo Starr (named his daughter Lee)
Lee - Boy Baby Name - Historic Figures
Lee - We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Lee.
Personality of the Boy Name Lee
The number Four personality is marked by stability and discipline. This is the personality that follows the rules and is conservative by nature. They have an earth-bound energy that prefers to build things methodically on top of firm foundations; they don't cut corners. Fours take their time and don't like to be hurried. But the outcome of their endeavors is likely to result in some strong and useful structure, which makes them great engineers and inventors. Fours are anything but frivolous or controversial. This is a trustworthy, straight-forward personality that embodies dedication and organization. They are the backbone and anchor in their relationships, careers and communities. They are tidy, punctual, and full of integrity. Hard-work comes naturally to a Four and they are immensely reliable. This is the personality you can always count on.
Variations of the Baby Name - Lee