We recently talked about how one of the biggest boy name trends is to use surnames as first names. As an English surname, Wesley is no exception. It fits right in with other surname names for boys.
As a name, Wesley could be considered more on the gentle side of boy names. This could be partly because many of the other -ley names are rather unisex like Bailey or conquered by the girls like Ashley. However, there are many who also consider Wesley to be a tough guy name due to pop culture associations such as actor Wesley Snipes.
Another major association is John Wesley, an 18th century theologian who founded the evangelical movement known as Methodism.
Wesley is short for "Wesleydale" which is Anglo-Norman in origin. The "wes" part refers to the direction "west" while "lea" is an open grassy area. Therefore, Wesley refers to a western field or
meadow. Most sites list its meaning as "west meadow".
The name Wesley is more popular for boys, but it has also been given to a handful of girls every year since 1910. There were 43 girls named Wesley in 2014.
For boys, though, Wesley has consistently ranked in the #100s or better since 1880. Its high point came in 1977 when 4300 boys were given the name. It has had its ups and downs but as of 2014, Wesley ranks at #130 with 3,112 births.
Brother name Westley has been in use in the US since 1887 but it has never been anywhere near as popular as Wesley. It has ranked within the Top 1000 many times, though, mostly through the 1980s and early 1990s. The timing of that popularity boost coincides with the 1987 film The Princess Bride which featured a handsome character named Westley. After that time period, the name Westley declined in usage again and was given to only 174 boys in 2014.
Wesley feels both old-fashioned and modern. It has always been in use so it is more of an evergreen name than not even though it is much less common than other evergreens like James and William. What do you think of Wesley? If you are considering it, here are some ideas for middle names and sibling names:
Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Annabel, Diana, Laurel, Katherine, Margaret, Rebecca, Sarah
Brothers: Bennett, Carson, Harrison, Neil, Owen, Reid, Stephen
Middle Name Ideas:
As a Middle Name:
What names would you pair with Wesley? Do you prefer Wesley or Westley?