Girl Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Shelby

  • Gender:
  • Girl
  • Origin:
  • English, Nordic
  • Number of syllables:
  • 2
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 259
Simple meaning:
Willow Town

Characteristics of Shelby

  • Authoritative
  • Powerful
  • Tough
  • Tenacious
  • Wealthy
  • Problem-solver
  • Achiever

Etymology & Historical Origin - Shelby

Shelby is the transferred use of an English surname derived from a place name known as Selby in Yorkshire. Originally rendered as Selby or Selbie, Shelby is ultimately of Old Norse origin by way of the Vikings (Selby, England was established in the 8th century as a Viking settlement on the banks of the River Ouse in northeast England). The name comes from the Old Norse elements “selja” meaning “willow” and “býr” meaning “farm, settlement,” in other words, “willow town” (indicating that the original settlement was built up around willow trees). The willow tree is known for its graceful elegance and pliancy of wood. Willows grow in cold and temperate climates throughout the Northern Hemisphere and often near water. The tree’s branches can bend into unbelievable poses without breaking. In Celtic mythology there is a strong association between the willow tree and the moon/water, and as such connected with the metaphysical and encouragement of intuition and imagination. This bendable tree can withstand harsh environments, symbolizing our flexibility to adjust no matter where we are planted. Location-based surnames were usually assigned to people who hailed from one place and later relocated to another. The name of their birth town would serve to identify them. The first recorded spelling of this particular surname appeared in the late 12th century rendered as “de Selebia.” As a forename, Shelby’s usage was initially masculine in honor of Isaac Shelby (1750-1826), an American Revolutionary War commander and first governor of Kentucky. It wouldn’t be much later until the 20th century when Shelby started to emerge as a female giving name, owing largely to a 1935 film, “The Woman in Red”, starring Barbara Stanwyck as Shelby Barret Wyatt.

Popularity of the Name Shelby

As mentioned above, Shelby started out as a masculine name in America, in the early 19th century in homage to the Revolutionary War hero and Congressional Gold Medal recipient Isaac Shelby. Although never particularly popular as a baby boy’s name, Shelby saw consistent and respectable usage up through the 20th century. The name suddenly appeared on the female naming charts in 1935 and skyrocketed in popularity (thanks to the film “The Woman in Red” mentioned above). You can clearly see by the chart below what an impact the movie had on Shelby becoming a widely accepted female name. However, Shelby’s peak usage occurred in in 1991 at #33 on the charts – again, influenced by a popular film. This time, Shelby’s increased circulation was owing to Julia Roberts who played a character named Shelby in the 1989 movie “Steel Magnolias.” Not surprisingly, Shelby has always been most popular as a female name in the Southern states. Although we still consider Shelby a gender-neutral name, it fell off the male charts in the year 2000. Today, out of all of the babies given the name Shelby in any given year, 97% of them are female.
Popularity of the Girl Name Shelby
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Shelby

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Shelby

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Shelby

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

  • Popular Songs on Shelby

    Popular Songs on Shelby

    Shelby - We cannot find any well-known or significantly popular songs featuring the name Shelby.

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Shelby

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Shelby

    A Slash in the Night: Shelby Woo Series (Alan Goodman) - When a break-in at the art gallery owned by Cindi Ornette's Uncle Phil threatens to close the hottest hangout in Cocoa Beach, Shelby must help her friend before the art thief strikes again. There are about 15 books in this series about Shelby Woo. Recommended for ages 9-12.

    Chasing Shadows: A Shelby Belgarden Mystery (Valerie Sherrard) - At last, Shelby Belgarden has put her crime-solving behind her and has returned to the life of an ordinary teenager. Now 16, she has taken her first job: working at a new local restaurant called The Steak Place. But when one of her co-workers -- a waitress named Nadine -- goes missing, Shelby suspects foul play. The police won't believe her. Neither will Shelby's boyfriend, Greg, who grows frustrated with her search for a criminal who may not exist. Recommended for ages 9-12.

    For Sale or Swap: Shelby and Blue (Alyssa Brugman) - Shelby is convinced her reliable but ugly pony, Blue, is holding her back at Pony Club. If only she had a beautiful horse, everyone would see what a great rider she is. But how can Shelby buy a new horse when her parents can't even afford to pay her Pony Club fees? When she sees an ad for an eye-catching brown pony for sale or swap, Shelby thinks she's found the answer to all her problems. Maxshine Celtic Copper—otherwise known as Brat—seems perfect. But swapping a pony who's your best friend for a highly strung horse whose beautiful brown coat washes out with shampoo turns out to be a really bad idea. The race is on for Shelby and her friends to catch a horse thief, find her beloved Blue and return Brat to her rightful owners. Also in the “Shelby and Blue” series of books: Hot Potato, Beginners Luck, and Hide & Seek. Recommended for ages 9-12.

    Shelby and Cricket Bunny! (Kimberley Rodriguez) - Shelby is a little girl who loves to play make-believe. She has a great imagination. Shelby has Leukemia. The doctors are helping her get well. Sometimes Shelby pretends she is Cricket an imaginary friend. Cricket can jump and fly with her special little wings. She can go on adventures and meet new friends! Cricket helps Shelby feel better when she is sad or feeling sick. And when she just wants to fly and be free! Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Shelby and Shauna Kitt and the Dimensional Holes (P.H.C. Marchesi) - Who would want to have tea with mushrooms, when it’s a hundred degrees and humid out? As Shelby and Shauna Kitt find out, quite a few people. These are, of course, people from Miriax, a planet in a different dimension where nothing and no one is anything like what the thirteen year-old brother and sister twins expect. On Miriax, lilac tea is served with explosive mushrooms, agitex leaves cure motion sickness, stick insects patrol the jungle, and library books carefully choose their readers, refusing to leave the shelf for anyone else. And, if you’re not careful, the walls spit on you. Shelby and Shauna's lives change drastically when planet Miriax recruits them to seal a dimensional hole that allows Klodians - nasty aliens - to travel to Earth. In order to succeed in their mission, Shelby and Shauna discover skills they never thought they possessed, make friends they never expected to have, and face enemies they never imagined existed. Recommended for ages 13+

    Shelby the Cat (Don M. Winn) - This is the story about a cat named Shelby who was always kind and looked for opportunities to help others. However, there was a gang of alley cats that didn't like all the good things that Shelby was doing because it made them look bad. So the gang of alley cats tries to bully Shelby into giving up his good deeds and joining their gang. Who will triumph in the end, the gang of alley cats or Shelby? Recommended for ages 4-8.

  • Famous People Named Shelby

    Famous People Named Shelby

    Famous People Named Shelby - Shelby Foote (author); Shelby Lynne (country musician); Shelby Steele (black activist and scholar)

  • Children of Famous People Named Shelby

    Children of Famous People Named Shelby

    Famous People who Named their Child Shelby - Reba McEntire (country musician)

  • Historic Figures

    Shelby - Girl Baby Name - Historic Figures

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

Personality of the Girl Name Shelby

The number Eight personality has everything to do with power, wealth and abundance. Somehow, this personality has been blessed on the material plane, but their authoritative and problem-solving traits provide evidence that their good fortunes are not just the luck of the lottery. They are well earned. This is the personality of CEOs and high-ranking military personnel. Eights are intensely active, hard-driving individuals. Success is only meaningful to them after a job well-done.  They are remarkable in their ability to see the larger picture right down to the smallest details, and organize a strategy around success. They then have the ability to direct a group around them toward any goal, and realize individual potential to get the most out of their team.

Variations of the Baby Name - Shelby

  • No Variations Found.
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