Kimberly (given name)

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Pronunciation /ˈkɪmbərli/
Gender Feminine
Language(s) English
Language(s) Old English
Word/name Combination of Kimber and leigh
Other names
Variant form(s) Kimberlee, Kimberleigh, Kimberli, Kimberlie, Kimberley[1]
Short form(s) Kim
See also Kimberley (surname)

Kimberly is a female given name of Old English origin. John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley, a place in Norfolk, England, popularised the name by giving it to a town in South Africa and a region in Australia. The first element, Kimber, reflect various Old English personal names; in the case of the Earldom in Norfolk this first appeared as Chineburlai in 1086 and seems to mean "clearing of a woman called Cyneburg". The second element is the Old English leah or leigh "meadow, clearing in a woodland".[2] A variant spelling of the name is Kimberley.[1]

Origin of the given name[edit]

The given name Kimberley is derived from place of Kimberley, in Northern Cape, South Africa. This South African place name was named after a Lord Kimberley in the 19th century.[1] At the end of the 19th century, this place was the scene of fighting and a British victory during the Second Boer War, and consequently the given name was popularised in the English-speaking world.

The name of Lord Kimberley's title is derived from Kimberley, in Norfolk, England. This place name is derived from two Old English elements: the first is the feminine personal name Cyneburg; the second element is lēah, meaning "wood" or "clearing".[1][3] The place name roughly means: the "woodland clearing of Cyneburg". This place name was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Chineburlai.[3] The Old English personal name Cyneburg means "royal fortress".[citation needed]


Kimberly is a given name with many variants. Kimberley is used for males and females, while Kimberlee, Kimberleigh, Kimberli and Kimberlie are common feminine variant forms.[1]

The variant Kym is also common with males.

The common Korean surname Kim is not related to Kimberley.

People with this name[edit]

Fictional characters[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 159, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1 
  2. ^ Kimberley, Online Etymology Dictionary
  3. ^ a b Kimberley,, retrieved 8 December 2010  which cited: Mills, A. D. (2003), A Dictionary of British Place-Names, Oxford University Press