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Wendy Darling drawn by Oliver Herford in The Peter Pan Alphabet
Other names
Alternative spellingWendi
Related namesGwendolyn, Gwen, Wendeline, Wendelinda, Winifred

Wendy is a given name now generally given to girls in English-speaking countries.

In Britain during the English Civil War in the mid-1600s, a male Captain Wendy Oxford was identified by the Leveller John Lilburne as a spy reporting on his activities.[1][2] It was also used as a surname in Britain from at least the 17th century.[3] Its popularity in Britain as a feminine name is owed to the character Wendy Darling from the 1904 play Peter Pan and its 1911 novelisation Peter and Wendy, both by J. M. Barrie.[4][5][6] Its popularity reached a peak in the 1960s, and subsequently declined.[7] The name was inspired by young Margaret Henley, daughter of Barrie's poet friend W. E. Henley. Margaret reportedly used to call Barrie "my friendy", with the common childhood difficulty pronouncing Rs this came out as "my fwendy" and "my fwendy-wendy".[8][9]

In Germany after 1986, the name Wendy became popular because it is the name of a magazine (targeted specifically at young girls) about horses and horse riding.


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  1. ^ https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/10038330/1/Peacey_BookChapter_Lilburne%20article3b.pdf
  2. ^ "An English Civil War 1649 hand written letter from Captain Wendy Oxford pledging funds to various". 9 March 2023.
  3. ^ James Heath, John Phillips (1675). A Chronicle of the Late Intestine War in the Three Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland (2nd ed.). London: J.C. for Thomas Basset. p. 480.
  4. ^ Was the name Wendy invented for the book Peter Pan? at The Straight Dope
  5. ^ Patrick Hanks and Flavia Hodges, Dictionary of First Names, 1990
  6. ^ "Before this, the name simply didn't exist! The History of the name "Wendy"". Archived from the original on June 27, 2001.
  7. ^ "Wendy - Meaning and Origin of the Name Wendy | BabyNames.co.uk".
  8. ^ "The History of Wendy". Archived from the original on 2009-03-18. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
  9. ^ Winn, Christopher (2005). I Never Knew That About England. Ebury Press. p. 4. ISBN 9780091902070.