Riley Name Meaning

A perky name with surname roots, Riley is a derivative of the English name Reilly. She’s akin to chart climbers Avery and Sadie with her peppy -ee ending, keeping her light and airy. At the same time she’s intensely Irish like Kerry and Rory.

Riley is undoubtedly modern, standing apart from the vintage classics making a comeback and the timeless chart rulers that have been around for decades. She’s a little girl through and through, but she isn’t afraid to get messy if it means having some fun. Easygoing and approachable, Riley’s got the girl-next-door appeal that’s hard to find but a treasure once found. Everyone could know a Riley, whether she’s captain of the cheerleading squad or the debate team captain.

Her unisex style mirrors Quinn and Parker while her surname history are on-trend with Harper and Madison. Rhyming twins Miley and Kylie keep her company on the charts, but she’s heads above them when it comes to popularity.

Different spellings include Rylie, Ryleigh, and Rilee while variations of the name like Rylan have been catching on as well. Similar feeling R names include Remi, Ruby, and Romy while Lucy, Zoe, and Ellie have the same short, spunky feel.

Infographic of Riley name meaning, which is Derived from the English surname Reilly meaning rye clearing, Riley is also a place name.
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Riley Name Popularity

How popular is the name Riley? Here’s everything we know.

Year Rank # Births % Births
1910 0 0%
1911 0 0%
1912 0 0%
1913 0 0%
1914 0 0%
1915 0 0%
1916 0 0%
1917 0 0%
1918 0 0%
1919 0 0%
1920 0 0%
1921 0 0%
1922 0 0%
1923 0 0%
1924 0 0%
1925 0 0%
1926 0 0%
1927 0 0%
1928 0 0%
1929 0 0%
1930 0 0%
1931 0 0%
1932 0 0%
1933 0 0%
1934 0 0%
1935 0 0%
1936 0 0%
1937 0 0%
1938 0 0%
1939 0 0%
1940 0 0%
1941 0 0%
1942 0 0%
1943 0 0%
1944 0 0%
1945 0 0%
1946 0 0%
1947 0 0%
1948 0 0%
1949 0 0%
1950 0 0%
1951 0 0%
1952 0 0%
1953 0 0%
1954 0 0%
1955 0 0%
1956 0 0%
1957 0 0%
1958 0 0%
1959 0 0%
1960 0 0%
1961 0 0%
1962 0 0%
1963 0 0%
1964 0 0%
1965 0 0%
1966 0 0%
1967 0 0%
1968 0 0%
1969 0 0%
1970 0 0%
1971 0 0%
1972 0 0%
1973 0 0%
1974 0 0%
1975 0 0%
1976 0 0%
1977 0 0%
1978 0 0%
1979 0 0%
1980 0 0%
1981 0 0%
1982 0 0%
1983 0 0%
1984 0 0%
1985 1,995 18 0.0012%
1986 1,521 37 0.0025%
1987 1,534 39 0.0026%
1988 1,368 53 0.0034%
1989 1,123 98 0.0061%
1990 869 176 0.0106%
1991 728 244 0.015%
1992 558 377 0.0236%
1993 456 510 0.0327%
1994 348 726 0.0473%
1995 287 938 0.0622%
1996 242 1,129 0.0754%
1997 184 1,641 0.111%
1998 166 1,863 0.1245%
1999 137 2,312 0.1544%
2000 131 2,542 0.1664%
2001 106 3,041 0.2018%
2002 77 3,905 0.2606%
2003 72 4,242 0.2788%
2004 58 4,982 0.3269%
2005 54 5,124 0.3351%
2006 56 5,055 0.3228%
2007 52 5,208 0.3301%
2008 39 5,768 0.3732%
2009 38 5,629 0.3766%
2010 40 5,537 0.3842%
2011 47 5,031 0.3531%
2012 47 4,821 0.3383%
2013 45 4,931 0.3463%
2014 47 4,786 0.3285%
2015 35 5,726 0.3935%
2016 22 7,131 0.4946%
2017 25 6,343 0.4545%
2018 28 5,976 0.435%
2019 30 5,676 0.4193%

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Hawaii (HI)

Iowa (IA)

Idaho (ID)

Illinois (IL)

Indiana (IN)

Kansas (KS)

Kentucky (KY)

Louisiana (LA)

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Maryland (MD)

Maine (ME)

Michigan (MI)

Minnesota (MN)

Missouri (MO)

Mississippi (MS)

Montana (MT)

North Carolina (NC)

North Dakota (ND)

Nebraska (NE)

New Hampshire (NH)

New Jersey (NJ)

New Mexico (NM)

Nevada (NV)

New York (NY)

Ohio (OH)

Oklahoma (OK)

Oregon (OR)

Pennsylvania (PA)

Rhode Island (RI)

South Carolina (SC)

South Dakota (SD)

Tennessee (TN)

Texas (TX)

Utah (UT)

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Vermont (VT)

Washington (WA)

Wisconsin (WI)

West Virginia (WV)

Wyoming (WY)

Data via SSA.gov.


Names Like Riley

If you like Riley, you’ll love these other names like Riley.


What names are variants of Riley?

Mix it up with these names that are a variation of the name Riley.

Name Meaning Origin Popularity Other Gender
Reilley

Courageous

Irish

Reilly

Courageous

Irish

Rilee

Courageous

Irish

Rileigh

Courageous

Irish

Rylee

Rye clearing

Irish

Ryley

Courageous

Irish


What names sound like Riley?

If you like how Riley sounds, you might also like these names that sound like Riley.

Name Meaning Origin Popularity Other Gender
Kaylee

Pure

English

Kylie

Boomerang

Aboriginal

Miley

Smiley

American

Raleigh

Roe deer's meadow

English


What names are similar to Riley?

Find a name that’s like Riley, but just a little bit different.

Name Meaning Origin Popularity Other Gender
Ava

To live

Latin

Avery

Elf counsel

English

Bella

Beautiful one

Italian

Callie

Beautiful one

Greek

Chloe

Green sprout

Greek

Dakota

Friend and ally

Native American

Ellie

Shortened form of El- names

English

Gemma

Precious stone

Italian

Harper

Harp Player

English

Madison

Son of Maud

English


Lists With Riley

Find inspiration in these baby girl name lists featuring the name Riley.


Siblings of Riley

Mamas with kids named Riley also have kids with these names.

Name Meaning Origin Popularity Other Gender
Corbin

Raven

English

Aria

Vocal solo

English

13 Comments

  1. Just loved the name

  2. My husband gave her first name. I let my oldest daughter chose her middle name which they both share( Elizabeth)

  3. I think it is a beautiful name for a girl and I just love it wouldn’t want any other name for her

  4. I love her name Riley Nevada. I wish I would have spelled it a little different (rylie). Play with the spelling you might find the way you love it.

  5. I chose the name Riley because I was looking for a name that meant courageous.

  6. How she got her name was because of me I was one of the first babies to survive liver cancer . Riley hospital saved my life!!! I’m forever grateful for them … I was always told I wouldn’t be able to have kids now I have two ?? there both my miracle babies and had c section with both I feel truly blessed and glad to have both my girls wouldn’t have it any other way !! That’s how I got Riley & Gracie name is cause she is a grace of God ????????? #LoveMyFamily #LoveTheMomLife

    • How sweet!! Blessings to you and your family??

  7. I want a name that u dont hear much. So thats when i came up with riley

  8. I grew up with a unique name and wanted the same for my daughter. My husbands middle name is Riley and it was his grandmothers maiden name as well

  9. I just love the name and the fact it can be for a boy or a girl. It also means ‘carefree and that’s what I want my child to be as she grows.

  10. Actually my mother picked the name Riley. She was watching hallmark and a movie that she was watching a lady name was Riley. She also chose that name because it was simple and not to flamboyant

  11. I chose the name Riley because I was originally looking for a name that means warrior but didn’t like them so when I looked for courage or courageous Riley came up meaning valiant which is a synonym for courage. I like it because we don’t know anyone named Riley and our intent is for her to be brave and courageous. Since having her I can see she will definitely be that and more.

  12. My husband and I both loved the name Riley before we even got pregnant. We watched Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ and that’s the name of the girl in it. After the movie we decided Riley was a good baby name and years later, when we found out we were having a girl, we were set.

    I love the name because it’s not overly cutesie. It means valiant and courageous, and is a strong, sturdy name.


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