Lily Name Meaning

baby girl with bucket hat and flower

 MmeEmil / Getty Images

Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

Lily is an English name used in reference to the popular white, showy flower. It signifies purity and innocence. Although it isn’t derived directly from the Bible, it does have Biblical connections: lilies are often used to represent the Virgin Mary’s purity, and St. Joseph is frequently pictured holding lilies to represent his relationship with Jesus’ mother.  

  • Origin: The name Lily comes from the Latin word for the lily flower, “lilium.”
  • Gender: Lily is traditionally used as a girl name.
  • Pronunciation: LIL-ee 

Although many 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 Lily?

Lily has been holding steady in the top 50 baby names in the U.S. for more than 15 years. Per the Social Security Administration, its peak popularity came in 2011, when it ranked 15th (alongside other classic favorites like Natalie and Grace). In the 2021 rankings, it stands at #31.

Before 2000, though, it wasn’t an especially popular name; in the early 1970s, it barely cracked the top 1,000. It started making leaps and bounds through the following decades, advancing into the top 500 by 1992. In the early 2000s, as name trends adopted an emphasis on the natural world (think River, Jade, and Autumn), Lily became an obvious choice. 

The name is likely to grow in popularity even more after the birth of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's daughter on June 4, 2021. Lilibet Diana, who is eighth in line to the English throne, will be called Lili. Charlotte, the name of Lili's cousin Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, rose in the ranks from #9 in 2015 (the year the princess was born) to #4 in 2020.

Name Variations 

There are many adaptations of the name Lily, as well as many translations of the name in several other languages.

  • Lili
  • Lilian
  • Liliana
  • Lilith
  • Lillian
  • Lillie
  • Lilly
  • Lilie (German)
  • Lilia (Polish)
  • Lilja (Finnish)

Similar Names 

Other girl names that start with L:

  • Lauren
  • Leah
  • Lindsay
  • Lisbeth
  • Lola
  • Lorelai
  • Louise
  • Lucy
  • Lulu
  • Lydia

Other girl names representing flowers:

  • Daisy
  • Ivy
  • Iris
  • Jasmine
  • Magnolia
  • Marigold
  • Poppy
  • Rose
  • Violet

Suggested Sibling Names

  • Ava
  • Grace
  • Daniel
  • Jacob
  • Luke
  • Matthew 
  • Sarah
  • Emma
  • Jack
  • Nathan
  • Joseph

Famous People Named Lily

Considering how simply sweet the name Lily is, it’s no surprise that there are several famous people with the moniker. It is a little surprising how many of them are actresses or, in some cases, well-loved fictional characters.

Famous Lilys:

  • Lili (Lilibet) Mountbatten-Windsor, daughter of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
  • Lily Tomlin, American actress
  • Lily Allen, British singer
  • Lily Bart, fictional character in Edith Wharton’s "The House of Mirth"
  • Lily James, British actress
  • Lily Pritchett-Tucker, fictional character on American TV series "Modern Family"
  • Lily Collins, British-American actress and daughter of singer Phil Collins
  • Lily Rabe, American actress
  • Lily Aldrin, fictional character on American TV series "How I Met Your Mother"

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. U.S. Social Security Administration. Popular baby names.

By Sarah Bradley
Sarah Bradley has been writing parenting content since 2017, after her third son was born. Since then, she has expanded her expertise to write about pregnancy and postpartum, childhood ages and stages, and general health conditions, including commerce articles for health products. Because she has been homeschooling her sons for seven years, she is also frequently asked to share homeschooling tips, tricks, and advice for parenting sites.