Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Holly

Holly is from the English vocabulary word signifying the holly tree, an evergreen shrub ornamented with bright red berries associated with winter and Christmastime. The word holly comes from the Olde English “holegn” and Middle English “holi(n)”. Beginning with the ancient Celts, the holly leaves would be brought into homes as bright and cheerful decoration; they were also considered a symbol of good luck. The holly plant stays green even through the darkest, coldest winter climates of Northern Europe and America indicating their perseverance and vigor. The prickly leaves of the plant also symbolize protection and victorious defense from outside elements. More than anything, however, the holly shrub is connected to Christmas and yuletide merriment, warmth and comfort. As a female given name, Holly is a 20th century coinage. Today, the name is remarkably popular in Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Australia. In fact, out of all the English-speaking nations, Holly is currently least popular in the United States and Canada. Apparently there’s a continental separation for appreciation of this darling name.

All About the Baby Name – Holly

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME HOLLY

The number Nine personality represents the completion or ending of the cycle, and a need for perfection. This is the personality that moves from "self" to a greater understanding and compassion for the human condition and the world order. They want to make the world a better place. Nines are capable of great spiritual and humanitarian achievements. They are courageous and fearless, able to fight great battles on behalf of worthy causes. These personalities will not tolerate injustice. They are compassionate people with a strong sensitivity to others. They are able to both educate and inspire. Friendships and relationships are the lifeblood to the Nine, and they place a high value on love and affection. Nines are often exceptionally gifted artistically, and they have a keen imagination and enterprising mind.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME HOLLY

This bright, cheerful name first entered the panoply of American female names in 1939. Within the first 10 years, Holly showed remarkable success advancing from complete obscurity to moderate usage. By 1969, she was a Top 100 favorite girl’s name in America. When we hear this name, not only do we think of Christmas but we also remember Holly Golightly, the madcap character from Truman Capote’s 1958 novella “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and the 1961 film adaptation starring Audrey Hepburn as the irrepressible Holly (see literary references below). The name Holly would remain on the Top 100 list for almost 25 straight years, dropping off in the early 1990s. Since the turn of the 21st century, Holly is no longer a name in vogue. Today, Holly is given to barely 750 baby girls per year in the United States. Holly, like Noelle and Natalie, are cute names for December babies or those born on or around Christmas day. But even when Holly is not associated with the holidays or wintertime, it’s still a bright and affable name. It’s so full of vitality and strength as well as friendliness and optimism. Holly reminds us of Molly, Dolly and Polly. They are all such “jolly” names. Plus, it doesn’t really matter which month of the year you name your daughter Holly because when you welcome your baby girl into the world it will be a joyful “Holly”day anyway!

Quick Facts

ON HOLLY

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

449

PRONUNCIATION:

HOL-lee

SIMPLE MEANING:

Holly tree; bright and cheerful

Characteristics

OF HOLLY

Multi-talented

Intuitive

Oneness

Idealistic

Philanthropy

Independent

Perfection

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Holly

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME HOLLY

Holly Golightly is the main character of Truman Capote’s short novel, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, published in 1958 and later adapted to the screen in 1961 with the incomparable Audrey Hepburn as Holly. The character has since then become a cultural icon of elegance, zaniness and the urge to live life right now, for all it is worth. In the translation from the novella to the screen, Holly’s beginnings and overall character were watered down a bit, but her essence remains. She is a person who strives to know everything that the world has to offer, especially on the “fun” side, but she is also a warm and loving and ultimately naïve observer of the world around her. If we were all to see the world through Holly’s eyes, wouldn’t it, indeed, be like having “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” every day of our lives? We think so.

Holly Martins is the main character of “The Third Man”, a 1949 British noir film based on a novella by Graham Greene, which he prepared for the screen play. Holly is an American pulp fiction writer searching post World War II Vienna for his old friend (Harry Lime) who has offered him a job. As memorably played by Joseph Cotton, Holly is a good, decent, almost innocent man who stumbles through the ruined, divided city in search of truth and justice. He is no match for the evil that Lime embodies, nor for the deceptive manipulation of his love interest, Anna. As he is drawn further and further into their intrigue, Holly loses some of his naïve outlook as the optimistic American, but he still perseveres in his self-appointed quest. What he finds is corruption personified, but we have the feeling that, even as he leaves war-torn Europe behind, against the backdrop of that inimitable zither music, Holly will pick up the pieces and go on, sans Harry, sans Anna.

Popular Songs

ON HOLLY

No Holly for Miss Quinn
a song by Enya

The Holly and the Ivy
a song by Mediaeval Baebes

Famous People

NAMED HOLLY

Holly Hunter (actress)
Holly Robinson Peete (actress)
Holly Hobbie (doll)
Holly Madison (reality TV star)
Holly Valance (actress)
Holly Hunter (actress)
Holly Robinson Peete (actress)
Holly Hobbie (doll)
Holly Madison (reality TV star)
Holly Valance (actress)
Holly Hunter (actress)
Holly Robinson Peete (actress)
Holly Hobbie (doll)
Holly Madison (reality TV star)
Holly Valance (actress)

Children of Famous People

NAMED HOLLY

We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Holly

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME HOLLY

We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Holly