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English place name form Old English scīr (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. Any of various places in England, including suburbs of London, Birmingham and Southampton.


  • 1593, William Shakespeare, King Henry VI, Part 1: 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."


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]

See also[edit]