Hayley is the transferred use of an English surname which is derived from a place name. The surname probably originated from the town of Hailey in Oxfordshire, a county in the southeast region of England. Hayley comes from the Old English words “hēg” (meaning ‘hay’) and “lēah” (meaning ‘clearing’). Another etymological source suggests that Hayley may also be derived from the Old Norse word “haela” meaning ‘hero’. This is plausible since many Scandinavians settled in England dating back to early medieval times. The given form of the name came into use by the 1970s and really caught on in popularity the United States by the mid-80’s. Adding interest to the name was Halley’s Comet which came blasting through the earth’s atmosphere in 1986, a rare event visible to the naked eye that happens only once every 75 years! While Hayley could be considered unisex, it’s way more common for little girls than for boys.

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Hayley is one of ten spellings of this ϋber-popular name now in use. The most popular spelling today is Hailey (currently a Top 25 favorite girl’s name in America). Haley is the second most popular spelling, Haylee is 3rd and Hayley comes in 4th place. To put it in perspective, a little over 50% of the “Hayleys” being born are receiving the Hailey spelling and about 5% get Hayley. While much less popular of a spelling, it’s arguably the most traditional spelling of this old English surname. Since there are so many spelling variations of this moniker, the Hayley family of names all combined make this one a Top 10 choice. As a result, Hayley (just by virtue of her sound and pronunciation) is a very commonly used and ultra-trendy name.

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It probably falls in the “cute” category rather than being a feminine, sophisticated or beautiful choice as a girl’s name. Many people find the name similar sounding to “halo” giving it an angelic quality.