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Etymology 1[edit]

English place name from Old English sċīr (county) + lēah (meadow). More at shire, leigh.

Proper noun[edit]


  1. An English habitational surname
  2. (rare) A male given name transferred from the surname.
  3. A female given name transferred from the surname. Popular from the 1920s to the 1950s.
  4. Various places in England:
    1. A village in Derbyshire Dales district, Derbyshire (OS grid ref SK2141).
    2. A suburb of Croydon borough, Greater London (OS grid ref TQ3565).
    3. A suburb of Southampton, Hampshire (OS grid ref SU4013).
    4. A suburb of the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull, West Midlands (OS grid ref SP1278).
  5. Various places in the United States:
    1. A town in Van Buren County, Arkansas.
    2. An unincorporated community in Kings County, California.
    3. An unincorporated community in El Paso County, Colorado.
    4. An unincorporated community in McLean County, Illinois.
    5. A town in Hancock County and Henry County, Indiana.
    6. A town in Piscataquis County, Maine.
    7. A town and census-designated place in Middlesex County, Massachusetts.
    8. An unincorporated community in Polk County, Minnesota.
    9. An unincorporated community in Washington County, Missouri.
    10. A hamlet and census-designated place in Suffolk County, New York.
    11. A hamlet in Erie County, New York.
    12. An unincorporated community in Charles City County, Virginia.
    13. An unincorporated community in Tyler County, West Virginia.
    14. An unincorporated community in Brown County, Wisconsin.
  6. A suburb of Christchurch, New Zealand.
Derived terms[edit]
  • 1591, William Shakespeare, “The First Part of Henry the Sixt”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, (please specify the act number in uppercase Roman numerals, and the scene number in lowercase Roman numerals):
    : Act V, Scene IV:
    Hold up thy head, vile Scot, or thou art like / Never to hold it up again! the spirits / Of valiant Shirley, Stafford, Blunt, are in my arms.
  • 1849 Charlotte Brontë, Shirley, Chapter XI:
    Shirley Keeldar ( she had no Christian name but Shirley; her parents, who had wished to have a son, finding that, after eight years of marriage, Providence had granted them only a daughter, bestowed on her the same masculine family cognomen they would have bestowed on a boy, if with a boy they had been blessed) - - -
  • 1921 Lucy Maud Montgomery, Rilla of Ingleside, Chapter 2:
    Shirley Blythe was with Una Meredith and both were rather silent because such was their nature. Shirley was a lad of sixteen, sedate, sensible, thoughtful, full of a quiet humour.
  • 1951 Alice Tisdale Hobart, The Serpent-Wreathed Staff, Bobbs-Merrill, page 50:
    "Why a girl like you should be named Shirley is beyond me. You haven't a ruffle or a furbelow anywhere in your nature." "Is that meant for an insult?" she asked, flushing angrily. "No, it's just that it's incongruous. You are the 'give us this day our daily bread' sort of person. Shirley is party stuff."

See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

A pun on surely and the name Shirley; probably inspired by the 1980 comedy film Airplane!, which has the exchange: "Surely you can’t be serious." "I am serious — and don’t call me Shirley."


Shirley (not comparable)

  1. (informal, humorous) surely
    • 2001 February 18, "Tim Hall", Spilero 15/2 (on newsgroup
      Shirley the pepper mills are whipped away by the peppier after use, so no danger there. But what about the candles?
  • Usenet newsgroups: [1]




Borrowed from English, a given name transferred from the habitational surname, from Old English scīr+lēah.


  • Hyphenation: Shir‧ley

Proper noun[edit]


  1. A female given name from English