"bright meadow"

Shirley Origin and Meaning

The name Shirley is a boy's name meaning "bright meadow".
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.

Shirley peaked for boys at #259 in 1935, the same year it reached its peak of #2 for girls in the US. A famous fictional male namesake is Shirley Blythe, son of Anne and Gilbert Blythe in L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables books. Shirley was Anne's maiden name.