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Updated March 26, 2024

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Girl name origins & meanings

  • French : Bailiff
  • Old English : Fortification

What does Bailey mean and stand for?

The name Bailey is of Old English origin and means "fortification," and also French origin and means "bailiff." It's derived from a surname, which was comprised of the Middle English word baili, meaning "bailiff."

Syllables: 2

How Popular Is The Name Bailey

Family name origins & meanings

  • English : status name for a steward or official, Middle English bail(l)i (Old French baillis, from Late Latin baiulivus, an adjectival derivative of baiulus ‘attendant’, ‘carrier’ ‘porter’).
  • English : topographic name for someone who lived by the outer wall of a castle, Middle English bail(l)y, baile ‘outer courtyard of a castle’, from Old French bail(le) ‘enclosure’, a derivative of bailer ‘to enclose’, a word of unknown origin. This term became a place name in its own right, denoting a district beside a fortification or wall, as in the case of the Old Bailey in London, which formed part of the early medieval outer wall of the city.
  • English : habitational name from Bailey in Lancashire, named with Old English beg ‘berry’ + lēah ‘woodland clearing’.
  • English : Anglicized form of French Bailly.
  • English : The surname Bailey was established early on in North America by several different bearers; one of them, James Bailey, was one of the founders of Rowley, MA.

Famous people who gave their babies this name


According to Social Security Administration data, Bailey has been declining in popularity since falling out of the top 100 in 2013. The decline is nothing new to Bailey, as it fell out of the top 100 once before in 2005. Despite the decline, Bailey remains in the top 200.

However, it is the 21st most popular name on

According to Google search data analysis, in the last five years Bailey was at its peak popularity in July 2019.

Bailey was only recently used for girls, appearing the first time in 1978 in the TV show WKRP in Cincinnaati. Siner Melissa Etheridge and Julie Cypher, basketball player Ben Wallace, designer Stella McCartney and Alasdhair Willis, actor Scott Baio, and musician Stefan Lessard all latched on to the new trend, choosing the name for their daughters. Bailey was also used for a main character in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Where is it Popular?

Bailey was searched for most often in the following states:

Nicknames for Bailey

  • Bae
  • Bay
  • Lee

Pairs well with these middle names


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