Emily Name Meaning

baby girl

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Are you looking for a classic, traditionally feminine name that has surged in popularity in recent decades? Emily may be the name you are looking for.

The name Emily is derived from the Roman family name Aemilius. The Aemilius family was a prominent and powerful family in ancient Rome. The name may come from the Latin word aemulus meaning “rival,” or the Greek term aimylos meaning “wily” or “persuasive.”

  • Origin: The Latin name Aemilia became Emilia in Italian, and Emily in English.
  • Gender: Emily is traditionally a feminine name. Emil and Emilio are available as masculine alternatives.
  • Pronunciation: EM-i-lee

Although baby names are often separated by gender, Verywell Family believes that sex does not need to play a role in your name selection process. It’s important to select a name that you feel suits your new baby the best.

How Popular Is the Name Emily?

Emily was the No. 1 baby name for girls in America from 1996 to 2007. It was consistently in the top 10 from 1991 to 2016. The latest statistics in 2020 show Emily is ranked as No. 18 in girl name in the U.S.

Although the name Emily is typically used as a girl's name, it can be used any way you see fit, as sex does not have to be a part of your name selection process.

Name Variations

The Emilia variation is used in many languages, including Czech, Danish, German, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish. Here are some more forms seen around the world:

  • Eemeli (Finnish)
  • Emelie (Swedish)
  • Emili (Hungarian)
  • Emília (Portuguese)
  • Emilía (Icelandic)
  • Émilie (French)
  • Emīlija (Latvian)
  • Emilis (Lithuanian)
  • Emiliya (Bulgarian)
  • Emlyn (Welsh)

Masculine variations include:

  • Emiel (Dutch)
  • Emil (German)
  • Émile (French)
  • Emilio (Italian)
  • Emílio (Portuguese)
  • Emilios (Greek)
  • Emīls (Latvian)

Nicknames for Emily include Em, Emmy, Mil, Mille, and Millie.

Similar Names

As Emily shares its first syllable with the name Emma, both of these names are sometimes shortened as Em or Emmy.

Emily/Emilia also sounds similar to Amelia (and its French variant Amélie), though these are both derived from the Germanic name Amalia.

More girl names starting with E:

  • Eleanor
  • Eliana
  • Elizabeth
  • Ella
  • Eloise
  • Erica
  • Esme
  • Estelle
  • Esther
  • Eva
  • Evelyn

More popular girl names from the 1990s:

  • Ashley
  • Brianna
  • Hannah
  • Jessica
  • Kayla
  • Lauren
  • Megan
  • Samantha
  • Stephanie
  • Taylor
  • Victoria

Suggested Sibling Names

  • Abigail
  • Alyssa
  • Chloe
  • Daniel
  • Isabella
  • Joshua
  • Matthew
  • Nicholas
  • Olivia
  • Ryan
  • Sophia
  • Zachary

Famous People Named Emily

The name Emily has been commonplace for hundreds of years. Here are some notable figures your baby would share a name with:

  • Emily Barton, American novelist, author of “Brookland” and “The Book of Esther”
  • Emily Blackwell, American academic, among the first women to earn a medical degree in the United States
  • Emily Blunt,English actress known for her roles in “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Mary Poppins Returns”
  • Emily Brontë, English novelist, author of “Wuthering Heights”
  • Emily Browning, Australian actress known for her roles in the film “Sleeping Beauty” and the TV series “American Gods”
  • Emily Carr, Canadian artist who painted in a Modernist and Post-Impressionist style
  • Emily Davies, English feminist and suffragist
  • Emily Deschanel, American actress known for her starring role in the TV series “Bones”
  • Emily Dickinson, American poet regarded as one of the major figures in American poetry
  • Emily Haines, Canadian singer-songwriter, lead singer for the rock band Metric
  • Emily Hobhouse, English activist, feminist, and pacifist
  • Emily Hughes, American figure skater who competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics
  • Emily Lau, Hong Kong politician and human rights activist
  • Emily Mortimer, English actress known for her roles in “Lovely and Amazing” and “Lars and the Real Girl”
  • Emily Murphy, Canadian author and women's rights activist
  • Emily Osment, American actress known for her roles in the “Spy Kids” film series and the TV show “Hannah Montana”
  • Emily Post, American author known for her works on etiquette
  • Emily Procter, American actress known for her roles in the TV series “The West Wing” and “CSI: Miami”
  • Emily VanCamp, Canadian actress known for her role in the “Captain America” films and related works
  • Emily Watson, English actress known for her work in “Breaking the Waves” and “Hilary and Jackie”
  • Emily Webley-Smith, English tennis player

Famous People Named Emmy:

  • Emmy Andriesse, Dutch photographer
  • Emmy Krüger, German operatic soprano
  • Emmy Noether, Bavarian Jewish mathematician
  • Emmy Okello, Ugandan consultant physician
  • Emmy Verhey, Dutch violinist
  • Emmy Wehlen, German actress
  • Emmy Werner, American developmental psychologist

Famous People Named Millie:

  • Millie Bailey, American World War II veteran, civil servant, and volunteer
  • Millie Bobby Brown, English actress known for "Stranger Things"
  • Millie Bright, English footballer in the FA Women's Super League
  • Millie Corretjer, Puerto Rican singer and actress
  • Millie Criswell, American writer of romance novels
  • Millie Davis, Canadian actress
  • Millie Hamner, American politician, member of the Colorado State House of Representatives beginning 2010
  • Millie Hughes-Fulford, American medical investigator, molecular biologist, and former NASA astronaut
  • Millie Innes, Scottish actress

More Baby Names

Still searching for the perfect baby name? Check out these related baby name lists for even more options:

1 Source
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Social Security Administration. Popularity of name.

Additional Reading

By Wendy Wisner
Wendy Wisner is a lactation consultant and writer covering maternal/child health, parenting, general health and wellness, and mental health. She has worked with breastfeeding parents for over a decade, and is a mom to two boys.