Kennedy (given name)

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For other uses, see Kennedy.
Kennedy
Cinnéidigh - Gaelic type.svg
Cinnéididh and Cinnéidigh in a Gaelic type. Note the lenited g and d in the names (gh, dh) once appeared in Irish orthography with a dot above them.
Pronunciation /ˈkɛnɪdi/
Gender Unisex
Language(s) English
Origin
Language(s) Irish
Other names
See also Kennedy (surname)

Kennedy /ˈkɛnɪdi/[1] is a unisex given name in the English language. The name is an Anglicised form of a masculine given name in the Irish language.

Etymology[edit]

According to Patrick Hanks and Flavia Hodges, the given name Kennedy is an Anglicised form of Cinnéidigh, a masculine given name in the Irish language.[2][3] This Irish name is composed of two elements: the first, ceann, means "head"; the second, éidigh, means "ugly".[3] According to Patrick Woulfe, who wrote in the early 19th century, Kennedy is an Anglicised form the Irish Cinnéididh and Cinnéidigh. Woulfe derived these Irish names from two elements: the first, ceann, meaning "a head"; the second, éide, meaning "armour"; hence the name can be thought to mean "helmet-headed".[4]

Other languages[edit]

As a masculine given name, Kennedy can be rendered into Irish as Cinnéididh and Cinnéidigh,[3][4] and into Latin as Kinnedius.[4] The masculine Kennedy can be rendered into Scottish Gaelic as Uarraig. This name is etymologically unrelated to the English Kennedy and Irish Cinnéidigh. Uarraig is composed of two Gaelic elements: the first, uall, means "pride"; and the second, garg, means "fierce". This Scottish Gaelic name is Anglicised Kennedy possibly because it was commonly borne by various families who bore the surname Kennedy.[5] One such family, according tradition dating from the 18th century, descended from a man who bore a form of this name, and settled in Lochaber in the 16th century.[6][7][8]

Popularity and use[edit]

Throughout the English-speaking world, the given name Kennedy has sometimes been used in honour of John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, who was assassinated in 1963, and his brother Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968.[2]

In the United States of America, Kennedy, has been among the top 1,000 names recorded in Social Security card applications, in the last 10 years, for both baby boys and girls. As a masculine name, Kennedy first appeared amongst the top 1,000 names in 1960, but fell out of the top 1,000 after 1968. The name did not re-enter the top 1,000 until 1994, where it stayed until 2005. At its height, Kennedy was ranked the 516th most popular masculine baby name in 1964. As a feminine name, Kennedy first appeared among the top 1,000 names in 1994, where it has remained ever since. Its peak it was ranked the 110th most popular feminine baby name in 2007. As of 2009 it was the 114th most popular.[9] In 1990, the United States Census Bureau undertook a study of the 1990 United States Census, and released a sample of data concerning the most popular names.[10] According to this sample of 6.3 million people (who had 5,494 unique first names),[11] Kennedy did not even appear among the 4,275 feminine names, or the 1,219 masculine names.[12][13]

Popularity charts[edit]

Popularity of Kennedy as a masculine name
Popularity of Kennedy as a feminine name
The years and rank when Kennedy appeared amongst the top 1,000 names for Social Security card applications concerning male and female births in the United States of America.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kennedy, Dictionary.com, retrieved 14 November 2010  which cited: Dictionary.com Unabridged, Random House .
  2. ^ a b Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 157, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1 .
  3. ^ a b c Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 344, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1 .
  4. ^ a b c Cinnéididh, Cinnéidigh, Library Ireland (www.libraryireland.com), retrieved 16 January 2011 , which is a transcription of: Woulfe, Patrick (1923), Irish Names and Surnames .
  5. ^ Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 410, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1 .
  6. ^ Black, George Fraser (1946), The Surnames of Scotland: Their Origin, Meaning, and History, New York: New York Public Library, pp. 569–570 .
  7. ^ Macbain, Alexander (1911), An etymological dictionary of the Gaelic language, Stirling, Scotland: Eneas Mackay, p. 402 .
  8. ^ Buchanan of Auchmar, William (1849), An historical and genealogical essay upon the family and surname of Buchanan; to which is added a brief inquiry into the genealogy and present state of ancient Scottish surnames, and more particularly of the Highland clans, Cincinnati: J.A. & U.P. James, p. 183 , this book is a reprint of Buchanan of Auchmar's 1723 book.
  9. ^ Popularity of a Name, Social Security Online, retrieved 17 November 2010 .
  10. ^ Genealogy Data: Frequently Occurring Surnames from Census 1990 – Names Files, United States Census Bureau, retrieved 21 October 2010 .
  11. ^ Documentation and Methodology for Frequently Occurring Names in the U.S. (txt), United States Census Bureau, retrieved 21 October 2010 .
  12. ^ dist.male.first (txt), United States Census Bureau, retrieved 17 November 2010 .
  13. ^ dist.female.first (txt), United States Census Bureau, retrieved 17 November 2010 .

See also[edit]