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Gender: Female Meaning of Shirley: "bright meadow" Origin of Shirley: English

Shirley Origin and Meaning

The name Shirley is a girl's name of English origin meaning "bright meadow".

All Shirleys were born in 1937, when Shirley Temple was America's princess -- or at least sound as if they were.

Shirley Temple almost single-handedly lifted the gloom of the Great Depression, and in tribute (and perhaps wishing for a similarly curly-headed, dimpled darling of their own), thousands of parents of that generation gave their little girls her name. In 1935, Shirley was the second most popular girls' name in the country with more than 42,000 babies named Shirley.

In an earlier time Shirley was used primarily for boys, but the tide turned with the publication of Charlotte Bronte's novel Shirley in 1849, the story of a character whose parents had selected the name for a boy child, then decided to use it anyway when he turned out to be a she.

In addition to Shirley Temple, there have been Shirleys MacLaine and Jones and writer Shirley Jackson, as well as rocker Shirley Manson.

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