WEZ-lee or WESS-lee
"western meadow"

Wesley Origin and Meaning

The name Wesley is a boy's name of English origin meaning "western meadow".

Reminiscent of the Old West, with rugged charm and a gentle, easy-going feel, Wesley has long been a staple on the US charts.

Its popularity may have peaked in the 1970s when it reached #66, but Wesley has never really gone out of style. It’s always remained inside the US Top 200, making it a modern classic, solid and familiar but not too overused.

Now, Wesley is receiving renewed interest, joining Wyatt, Waylon, Maverick, Weston and Beau in the Top 100, as parents turn towards surnames-as-given-names and to names that feel both preppy and cowboyish.

Derived from an English surname – which likely came from an English place name – Wesley means “western meadow” or “western clearing.” It was first used as a given name in the 1700’s, when parents chose it in honor of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.

Wesley’s popularity has spread since then and it’s no longer tied to these religious associations. Instead, it has a number of other noteworthy bearers, including: the military general and politician, Wesley Clark; the actor, Wesley Snipes; the film directors, Wes Anderson and Wes Craven; the jazz guitarist, Wes Montgomery; and TV personality, Wes Nelson.

The name might also be remembered by the fans of several TV classics, including “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, and “Last of the Summer Wine,” all of which have featured a fictional Wesley.

Despite these notable namesakes, Wesley is currently only popular in the US. Though it has seen some usage in England, Wales, and France in recent years, it has yet to move into the spotlight.

Handsome and charming, Wesley is given to more than 4000 boys each year in the US, and following its recent trajectory, it could well move further up the charts. If you’re wanting to avoid a popular choice but love Wesley, the similar Westley ranks much lower. You could also consider Casey, Halston, Dempsey, or Layton.

# 69 in the US

Wesley Rank in US Top 1000

# 88 on Nameberry

Wesley Rank in Nameberry Top 1000

Wesley Popularity

Famous People Named Wesley

  • Wesley "Wes" StudiAmerican actor
  • Wesley Kanne ClarkU.S. Army general
  • Wesley Trent SnipesAmerican actor
  • Wesley Cook "Wes" BentleyAmerican actor
  • Wesley Wales "Wes" AndersonAmerican screenwriter and director
  • Wesley Carter "Wes" WelkerAmerican NFL football player
  • Wesley Earl "Wes" CravenAmerican film director
  • John Wesley "Wes" ChathamAmerican actor
  • Wesley WoodyardAmerican NFL football player
  • Wesley SneijderDutch footballer
  • Wesley Strombergmusician of American band Emblem3
  • Wesley Chapmanson of reality TV personality Dog the Bounty Hunter
  • Wesley BurrowesIrish playwright and screenwriter
  • Wesley MoodieSouth African tennis player
  • Wesley MerrittU.S. Civil War general
  • Wesley Barbasa SoFilipino,American chess champion
  • Wesley "Wes" ChanAmerican YouTube filmmaker of Wong Fu Productions
  • Wesley JonathanAmerican actor
  • John and Charles Wesleyfounders of the Methodist Church
  • Wesley Alan "Wes" Johnsonpersonality on YouTube channel "Smosh Games"
  • Wesley Taylormusical theatre actor
  • Wesley Phillip Dirks (b. 2018)son of American professional surfer Bethany Hamilton, brother to Tobias
  • Wesley James Fulmer(b. 2018) Son of Ned Fulmer of BuzzFeed's "try guys" and wife Ariel Fulmer
  • Weslie Renaedaughter of dancers Allison Holker and Stephen "tWitch" Boss

Wesley in Pop Culture

  • Wesley Crushercharacter on TV's "Star Trek: The Next Generation"
  • Wesley Pegdencharacter from "Last of the Summer Wine"
  • Wesley WyndamPryce, character from the American TV series "Angel"
  • Wesley Gibsoncharacter from the movie "Wanted"
  • Wesley SnipesLiz Lemon love interest on "30 Rock"
  • Wesley Hodgescharacter from American TV show "The Torkelsons"
  • Wesleycharacter in "Mew Mew Power"
  • Wesley Owenscharacter from "Mr. Belvedere"
  • Wesley Rushfrom "The DUFF"
  • Westleycharacter from "The Princess Bride"
  • Dr. Wesley "Wes" Maxfieldcharacter on TV's "The Vampire Diaries"
  • Wesley Stringercharacter from "Diary of a Wimpy Kid"
  • Wesley Wizardcharacter on Bee and Puppycat

Wesley in Nameberry Blog Posts