Kyle Name Meaning

Baby of African American descent looking at the camera, close-up

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Kyle is a name with Scottish and Irish origins. It comes from the Gaelic word “caol” which means a narrow, a sound, or a strait. This geographic term refers to the narrow channel of water between two islands or between an island and the mainland.

Kyle is also a well-known Scottish last name whose origins can be traced back to an area in southwestern Scotland. Although it originated as a surname, Kyle has since been used most often as a first name for boys. It has also been used as a name for girls, most commonly in the early part of the century.

  • Origin: Scottish and Northern Irish
  • Gender: Kyle is most commonly used as a boy name although it can be used as a girl name as well.
  • Pronunciation: KA-ill

Although baby names are 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 Kyle?

Kyle follows the trend of surnames that have become popular as a first name. It entered the Social Security Administration's top 1,000 list of names for baby boys in 1902 as No. 983. The name Kyle remained on the list and enjoyed a mostly upward trajectory although it bounced up and down in popularity during the following half-century. By 1950 it was ranked as No. 430.

From that point on, it began its earnest climb on the list. Although there was no dramatic jump in its rankings, the name steadily increased in popularity until it reached its peak in 1990 when it was ranked as No. 18. It stayed in the top 100 for the next 20 years. The latest data from 2020 has it ranked as No. 313.

As a girl name, Kyle entered the list of most popular girl names in 1950 as No. 879. By the early 1960s, it had dropped off the chart but remerged in the late 1970s. However, by 1991 it dropped off the list completely as a girl name. It was never as popular as it was in 1951 when it was ranked as No. 594 in girl names.

The name Kyle was used in several well-known television series and in the "Terminator" movie franchise throughout the 1980s and 1990s, possibly contributing to its rise in popularity.

Name Variations

The following are variations of the name Kyle: 

  • Kailee
  • Kile
  • Kiley
  • Kylan
  • Kylen
  • Kyler

Similar Names

Similar sounding names to Kyle:

  • Kai
  • Miles
  • Rye
  • Ty
  • Wylie

Other names that start with K:

  • Kane
  • Kareem
  • Kayden
  • Keagan
  • Keenan
  • Keith
  • Ken
  • Kendrick
  • Kenneth
  • Kevin
  • Kobe

Other names of Scottish origin:

  • Alistair
  • Angus
  • Barclay
  • Callum
  • Fergus
  • Finn
  • Gilroy
  • Kirk
  • Logan
  • Ramsay
  • Wallace

Suggested Sibling Names

Looking for a sibling name for Kyle? Here are some popular options:

  • Ava
  • Blaine
  • Duncan
  • Evan
  • Freya
  • Grant
  • Isla
  • Knox
  • Lachlan
  • Paige
  • Scott
  • Skylar

Famous People Named Kyle

The name Kyle reached the peak of its popularity in 1990, with references in pop culture appearing at around the same time. The name is also associated with famous American actors, artists, and sports figures of the last several decades.

Famous Kyles:

  • Kyle Busch, an American NASCAR driver
  • Kyle Chandler, an American actor best known for “Friday Night Lights”
  • Kyle Dean Massey, an American actor and singer best known the Broadway musical “Wicked”
  • Kyle John Baker, an award-winning American cartoonist, comic book writer-artist, and animator
  • Kyle Lowry, an American professional basketball player 
  • Kyle MacLachlan, an American actor best known for his role in “Twin Peaks”
  • Kyle Thomas Harvey, an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and actor

Fictional Kyles:

  • Kyle Trager, the main character in the American science fiction television series “Kyle XY”
  • Kyle Reese, the main character John Connor’s time-traveling father in the "Terminator" movie franchise
  • Kyle Broslofski, one of four main characters on “South Park"

More Baby Names

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

2 Sources
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. Hanks P, Hardcastle K, Hodges F. A Dictionary of First Names. Oxford University Press; 2016.

  2. Social Security Administration. Popularity of name.

By Vicky Yip
Vicky is a freelance writer specializing on topics relating to prenatal care, motherhood, parenting, family, and home life. She is also a Senior Contributor for HoustonMoms (City Mom Collective).