Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Whitney

Whitney is the transferred use of an Anglo-Saxon surname originating as a location name from the Middle English phrase “atten whiten ey” meaning “by the white island”. The place name was first recorded in Herefordshire, a west-midland county of England that borders Wales. It was used to signify a location near a “white island” in the middle of one of the rivers which flows through the county. Eventually the surname was given to the lord of the manor in the region and/or people who left the area to settle elsewhere (for identification purposes). Some of the first recorded spellings of the name include Whitney, Witteneye and Whytene dating back to the 11th century. They have been described as a “knightly family of remote antiquity”. In the early 17th century an Englishman by the name John Whitney left London bound for New England, settled in Massachusetts and established the Whitney family name in America. As a given name, Whitney has been bestowed upon both genders but in more modern times it has become exclusively female. It is also primarily used in North America.

All About the Baby Name – Whitney

Personality

OF THE GIRL NAME WHITNEY

The number Five personality loves the excitement of life and can easily adapt to all situations. As natural adventurers, these personalities thrive on the new and unexpected and prefer to be in constant motion. It makes them feel alive. They'll stir up some action if there's not enough around, and as inherent risk-takers they enjoy pushing the envelope. Naturally rebellious, the Five personality has no fear and never resists change.  Traveling and new experiences feed their souls. Fives are very social and attract friends with ease. People love to be around the Five fun-loving and exciting energy.  This is also a lucky number in numerology (like the Threes), so fortune seems to shine on them, helped along by their own optimism and good-nature. Fives have a quick wit, a cerebral mind, and are generally very persuasive. 

Popularity

OF THE GIRL NAME WHITNEY

The female given name Whitney first appeared on the U.S. charts in 1962. The name was actually brought into the American consciousness by an old comic television series called “Hazel” which ran from 1961 to 1966. It starred an actress by the name of Whitney Blake as the lady of the household who employs a take-charge live in maid named Hazel. American parents obviously responded to the pretty actress’s first name because it appeared on the female naming charts a year after the sitcom debuted. However, it was Whitney Houston (1963-2012) who really gave the name some serious cachet in the mid-1980s when her debut album was released and she entered the arena of superstardom. In fact, the name Whitney hit its peak popularity on the charts from 1986-1987 as the 32nd most commonly used girl’s name at that time. Since that time, however, Whitney has been retreating on the charts back down to levels of light moderation. This means Whitney is now a more unique and underused choice (although we wonder if Houston’s recent death will prompt another brief revival in 2012). Whitney also has a history (and in fact a longer history) as a masculine given name. However, as the name grew in popularity for girls in the 1980s, the name eventually disappeared off the charts for boys in 1988. It is now considered almost exclusively female. As a unisex name, Whitney is a bit more androgynous and therefore stronger and more confident rather than frilly or girly-girly. Yet somehow it manages to retain a lot of femininity for girls. Whitney is a cool name and one of those surnames-turned-first-names that works better than most!

Quick Facts

ON WHITNEY

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

English

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

592

PRONUNCIATION:

WIT-nee

SIMPLE MEANING:

White island

Characteristics

OF WHITNEY

Freedom-loving

Adventurous

Adaptable

Intellectual

Easygoing

Progressive

Sensual

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Whitney

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME WHITNEY

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

Popular Songs

ON WHITNEY

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


Famous People

NAMED WHITNEY

Whitney Houston (musician)
Whitney Blake (actress)
Whitney Able (actress)

Children of Famous People

NAMED WHITNEY

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME WHITNEY

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