Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Kennedy

Kennedy is the Anglicized form of an ancient Irish personal name Cinnéidigh from the Old Gaelic elements “cinn” meaning “head” and “éidigh” meaning either “ugly” or “helmeted”. As such, the personal name most likely finds its origin in a frisky nickname for a man with a misshapen head. We know it’s not the most pleasant of etymologies so don’t kill the messenger. Given the 21st century trendiness of Kennedy as a baby girl’s name, we were quite surprised to discover its actual etymological roots. In any case, we find it rather amusing in a charming sort of way. The name was most famously borne by Cennétig Mac Lorcáin, a 10th century Irish king in a sub-kingdom of Munster and the father of Brian Boru (an iconic Irish historical figure often regarded as the last High King of Ireland). Brian Boru greatly expanded his power throughout Ireland thanks in part to the foundation laid by his “helmet-headed” father and older brother. Brian is credited with restoring Ireland’s greatness by orchestrating the unification of the Irish kingdoms against the Viking invaders and pesky Norse settlers. Brian’s nephew, Cinnéide, was named after his grandfather and became the founding father of the O’Kennedy clan (from whom the American Kennedys are ultimately descended). Obviously, the Kennedy name remains quite common in Ireland, particularly in the region of North Munster (Counties Clare and Limerick). As a forename, Kennedy was first coined in America in 1960 as a masculine personal name in honor of the 35th U.S. President, John F. Kennedy (1917-1963).

All About the Baby Name – Kennedy

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME KENNEDY

Romance is the hallmark of the Six personality. They exude nurturing, loving, and caring energy. Sixes are in love with the idea of love in its idealized form - and with their magnetic personalities, they easily draw people toward them. Like the number Two personality, they seek balance and harmony in their life and the world at large. They are conscientious and service-oriented, and a champion for the underdog. These personalities naturally attract money and are usually surrounded by lovely material objects - but their human relationships are always primary. They thrive in giving back to others rather than being motivated by their own desires. This is when they achieve great things. Sixes are natural teachers, ministers and counselors.

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME KENNEDY

The name Kennedy started out as a boy’s name in 1960, the year JFK was elected into the office of the presidency. Clearly, the name’s sudden usage was in homage to this greatly admired man, but by 1969, the name fell off America’s Top 1000 list. Then, abruptly in 1994, American parents decided to resurrect Kennedy for their daughters (it just so happened Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis passed away in May of 1994; coincidence? Probably not). From this point on, Kennedy overtook her male counterpart and is now primarily considered a female name in the United States. In less than 20 years, Kennedy reached Top 100 status (2011) – a remarkable achievement in such a short period of time. The name came back on the charts for boys (also in 1994), but didn’t stick around, falling off entirely by 2006. It’s become overly feminized through popular usage; now parents aren’t interested in this name for their boys. Not surprisingly, as we often see with trendy names, modified spellings began to emerge, like Kennedi, Kenadee and Kenadi. Right now, Kennedy is the most popular of all the female “Ken” names (e.g., Kendell, Kenzie, Kendra, Kenley, Kenya and Kenna). Ironically, a lot of the female “Ken” names were inspired by Kenneth, from the Scottish-Gaelic Coinneach meaning “handsome” (the opposite of Kennedy). C’mon. It’s funny. Right?

Quick Facts

ON KENNEDY

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

Celtic

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

3

RANKING POPULARITY:

64

PRONUNCIATION:

KEN-ә-dee

SIMPLE MEANING:

Helmet-head; Ugly-head

Characteristics

OF KENNEDY

Humanitarian

Community-minded

Family-oriented

Loving

Affectionate

Compassionate

Sensitive

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Kennedy

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME KENNEDY

We cannot find any significant literary characters by the name of Kennedy

Popular Songs

ON KENNEDY

We cannot find any popular or well-known songs with the name of Kennedy


Famous People

NAMED KENNEDY

Kennedy (aka Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, former MTV "video jockey")
Kennedy (aka Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, former MTV "video jockey")
Kennedy (aka Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, former MTV "video jockey")

Children of Famous People

NAMED KENNEDY

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME KENNEDY

Needs no introduction, no explanation, no biography, no commentary – she simply is. Born July 28, 1929, she died on May 19, 1994, and lived an amazing life in those 64 years. Born to privileged wealth with old world credentials, she was both a debutante and a “working girl” of the fifties. She married into more wealth and brought a needed polish and class to the Kennedy clan. As First Lady, she reintroduced a style and grace to the White House that had been sadly lacking, and she restored the manse to its historical splendor as a symbol of pride for all Americans. She and President Kennedy symbolized youth and energy, and with their adorable children, became our very own “royal family” in the most democratic of ways. After all too short a reign, Mrs. Kennedy held a grieving nation together during the dark days of the assassination and its aftermath, through the example of her own quiet dignity. She had practically achieved sainthood. Then - oops – she went and married a little old Greek billionaire oil tycoon with shadowy credentials, and a shocked populace said” “WHAT??!!” An international jet-set lifestyle followed, during which time it seemed she spent whatever spare time she had from the yachts and private planes in Tiffany’s. Nonetheless, we still hung on her every whispery word and clamored for more and more pictures and stories offered up by a willing paparazzi. This avid attention continued into her later years, when she settled down in New York with her companion and concentrated on her publishing career, civic causes and her family. Probably the most famous woman of the last century, she was one of a kind – iconic, intelligent, elegant, and yet aloof enough to remain a mystery in the glare of the spotlight. By our feminist standards today, she may have seemed a little too much in the “stand-by-your-man” mold, but there is no doubt that she made her own indelible mark on the world.