Shirley (name)

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Shirley is a given name and a surname originating from the English place-name Shirley, which is derived from the Old English elements scire (shire) or scīr (bright, clear) and lēah (wood, clearing, meadow, enclosure). The name makes reference to the open space where the moot (an early English assembly of freeman which met to administer justice and discuss community issues) was held. Shirley was originally a male name, but its use in Charlotte Brontë's novel Shirley (1849) established it as a female name.[citation needed]

In the American Jewish society of the middle twentieth century described in Herman Wouk's novel Marjorie Morningstar, it is used as a pejorative term for "a typical, conventional, well-brought up New York Jewish girl, who will ultimately want a stable husband and family"; the book's protagonist is repeatedly told that her artistic inclinations are but a sham, since she is "a Shirley at heart".

Given name[edit]

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Surname[edit]

Shirley
Origin
Word/nameAnglo-Saxon
Meaninghabitational name for one who lived in one of the parishes called Shirley in the counties of Derbyshire, Surrey, Hampshire and the West Midlands.
Region of originEngland

Shirley is a rather uncommon surname, with pockets of Shirleys living in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, Utah, North Carolina, Tennessee, Canada, New Zealand, and parts of Great Britain.[citation needed] A work on the genealogy of the various branches of the Shirley family was published as Stemmata Shirleiana by E. P. Shirley in 1841.[citation needed] Their name comes from having lived in the parish of Shirley found in the counties of Derbyshire, Surrey, Hampshire and the West Midlands.

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