Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Wesley

The name Wesley is the transferred use of an Anglo-Norman surname originating as a place name. There are various places in England called Westley from “wes” signifying the western direction and “lëah” meaning ‘wood clearing or meadow’. The surname Wesley was famously borne by the Englishman and founder of the Methodist Church, John Wesley (1703-1791). John Wesley was a cleric and theologian in the Church of England who felt the Protestants did not do enough to persuade the repentance of sinners and that the Church was rampant with corruption. As a “field preacher” he basically defined the evangelical movement by encouraging an “up-close-and-personal” relationship with Jesus Christ. Originally, the forename Wesley was confined to members of the Methodist faith but has since been more widely adopted.

All About the Baby Name – Wesley

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME WESLEY

The number Eight personality has everything to do with power, wealth and abundance. Somehow, this personality has been blessed on the material plane, but their authoritative and problem-solving traits provide evidence that their good fortunes are not just the luck of the lottery. They are well earned. This is the personality of CEOs and high-ranking military personnel. Eights are intensely active, hard-driving individuals. Success is only meaningful to them after a job well-done.  They are remarkable in their ability to see the larger picture right down to the smallest details, and organize a strategy around success. They then have the ability to direct a group around them toward any goal, and realize individual potential to get the most out of their team.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME WESLEY

The name Wesley has enjoyed relatively high and consistent usage as a boy’s name in the United States for well over a century. The height of the name’s popularity came in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s. Although Wesley only achieved a spot on the Top 100 list of most favored boys’ names for a short while in the 70s and 80s, the name has maintained impressively consistent usage for decades. It seems clear that Wesley was a favorite among Methodists (for reasons mentioned above), but the name has obviously attracted interest outside of this particular faith. During the height of Wesley’s popularity it was a particular favorite in the southern states. Today, Wesley appears to be waning but if history is any measure, we don’t expect to see the name go too far down the list. Wesley is somehow both unpretentious and sophisticated sounding. It’s been a choice among the African-American community and the religious community. In the 1980s, the name acquired a “preppy” sound that further widened its general use. The pet form, Wes, provides a simple, easy and masculine alternative.

Quick Facts

ON WESLEY

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

African-American

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

139

PRONUNCIATION:

WEHS-lee

SIMPLE MEANING:

Western wood clearing or meadow

Characteristics

OF WESLEY

Authoritative

Powerful

Tough

Tenacious

Wealthy

Problem-solver

Achiever

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Wesley

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME WESLEY

Popular Songs

ON WESLEY

John Wesley Harding
a song by Bob Dylan

Famous People

NAMED WESLEY

Wesley Snipes (actor)
Wesley A. Brown (first African-American to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy)
John Wesley Hardin (outlaw and gunfighter in late 19th-century Texas)
John Wesley Powell (explorer of the American West)
Wesley Clark (military General)
Wesley "Wes" Ferrell (baseball player)
Wesley Johnson (basketball player)
Wesley Moodie (tennis player)
Wesley Wright (baseball player)

Children of Famous People

NAMED WESLEY

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME WESLEY

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