Boy Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Riley

  • Gender:
  • Boy
  • Origin:
  • Celtic, English, Gaelic, Irish
  • Number of syllables:
  • 2
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 156
Simple meaning:
Valiant, courageous

Characteristics of Riley

  • Humanitarian
  • Community-minded
  • Family-oriented
  • Loving
  • Affectionate
  • Compassionate
  • Sensitive

Etymology & Historical Origin - Riley

Riley comes from an old Irish given name, Raghallaigh (pronounced rah + hal + ee) which is derived from the Gaelic word “raghalach” meaning ‘courageous, valiant.’ The name is still very common as a surname, particularly in Ireland, where it’s spelled “O’Reilly.” The given name Riley is not only considered a transferred use of a surname from Ireland, but it is also an English surname derived from a place name. In this case, the name comes from the Old English words “ryge” (rye) and “leah” (wood, clearing). Ironically, the name is not popular in Ireland as a personal name. However, it gets heavy usage in the United Kingdom and Canada (as a boy’s name), but it’s the Australians and New Zealanders who are the biggest fans of Riley. Interestingly, the United States is the only country to favor the name Riley for girls over boys.

Popularity of the Name Riley

The name Riley is distinctively unisex in the United States, as it’s commonly used for either gender. In 2010, the name placed in position #40 for girls and #105 for boys. The name has been around and in use for boys a lot longer. In fact, Americans have been giving their sons the name Riley for well over 100 years, but for girls – the name has only been bestowed for a mere twenty years (starting in 1990). Despite its late entry onto the U.S. charts for female names, Riley surpassed the boy-version of the name in 2003. Today, American parents are 50% more likely to use the name for a girl than for a boy. Naming trends in the United States seem to favor unisex names for girls rather than boys, and once the female gender hijacks a name significantly enough, it begins to fall out of favor for the boys. We’ll have to wait and see if this happens with Riley. The name is unpretentious and sweet-sounding which is probably what attracts parents to the name. And its distinctly Irish flavor adds to the appeal.
Popularity of the Boy Name Riley
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Riley

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Riley

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Riley

    Riley We cannot find any significant literary characters with the first name Riley.

  • Popular Songs on Riley

    Popular Songs on Riley

    Baba O'Riley - a song by The Who

    I Live the Life of Riley - a song by Lester Flatt & The Nashville Grass

    John Riley - a song by The Byrds

    John Riley - a song by Joan Baez

    Life O'Riley - a song by Nofx

    Riley Joe - is a song by Home Town Hero

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Riley

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Riley

    Project Panda: Adventures Of Riley (Amanda Lumry) - It's "Panda-monium" in China when a rare giant panda mysteriously disappears from the world's largest panda reserve! Riley and family must face remote mountain forests, snow leopards, red pandas, and more in their desperate search for clues. When disaster strikes, Riley must act fast to save the day, and the missing panda. The “Adventures of Riley” series includes several books such as South Pole Penguins, Dolphins in Danger, Safari in South Africa. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Riley and Rose in the Picture (Susanna Gretz) - It's raining outside, so shaggy-dog Riley and his kitty friend, Rose, agree to stay inside and draw pictures together. They also agree not to fight. Riley likes drawing basic shapes, and Rose likes drawing stories; where Riley sees triangles, Rose sees tents. Soon, despite their good intentions, they quarrel. One last picture on the wall brings the bickering to a halt: the stories and the shapes come together, and Riley and Rose find themselves inside their own artwork on a high-seas adventure, enjoying each other's creativity and friendship. An engaging, insightful take on how creativity can bring different personalities together. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley (Colin Thompson) - Human beings live for quite a long time and for a lot of that time we are not happy. We want to be taller, shorter, fatter, thinner, older and younger. We want our straight hair to be curly, our curly hair to be straight and our brown eyes to be blue. We want to be somewhere else with someone else and eating something else. Rats live for quite a short time and for most of that time they are very, very happy. This laugh-out-loud picture book will appeal to people - and rats - of all ages. A truly unique picture book by Thompson and Lissiat presents life lessons with gentle humor and satire. Recommended for ages 4-8.

  • Famous People Named Riley

    Famous People Named Riley

    Famous People Named Riley - Riley P. Bechtel (businessman); Riley Smith (actor)

  • Children of Famous People Named Riley

    Children of Famous People Named Riley

    Famous People who Named their Child Riley - David Lynch (director); Lisa Marie Presley (musician); Mare Winningham (actress)

  • Historic Figures

    Riley - Boy Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Riley - We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Riley.

Personality of the Boy Name Riley

Romance is the hallmark of the Six personality. They exude nurturing, loving, and caring energy. Sixes are in love with the idea of love in its idealized form - and with their magnetic personalities, they easily draw people toward them. Like the number Two personality, they seek balance and harmony in their life and the world at large. They are conscientious and service-oriented, and a champion for the underdog. These personalities naturally attract money and are usually surrounded by lovely material objects - but their human relationships are always primary. They thrive in giving back to others rather than being motivated by their own desires. This is when they achieve great things. Sixes are natural teachers, ministers and counselors.

Variations of the Baby Name - Riley

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