Thanks to Noelle for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.
The baby name Kinsley begins as a surname – though a relatively uncommon one.
It means “King’s meadow,” from two elements. The Old English cyne means royal; the -ley ending is that familiar bit referring to a meadow, clearing, or field. Other interpretations, like “royal wood clearing” are also seen.
Kinsley might also serve as the English form of similar-sounding German names, like Kinzler and Künzli.
While Kinsley can be found on the map – there’s a tiny village in West Yorkshire, England, for one – it’s not common. And there’s Kinsley, Kansas, which claims to be precisely midway between New York City and San Fransisco.
The latter was named for a Boston businessman, who apparently who only visited the town once. He did, indeed, bear the surname Kinsley.
Others have, too, and in the mid-1800s, Kinsley Scott Bingham served as Senator for the state of Michigan, and later Governor of Michigan.
But it wouldn’t become a girl’s name until many years later.
KELLY, KEELY, KYLIE
In 1978, the baby name Kinsley debuted in the US popularity data, with eight girls receiving the name.
By the late 1970s, a two-syllable K name ending with the ‘ee’ sound was a popular formula, and -ley has long been a favorite. Kelly neared the top of the charts. Ashley was soaring up the rankings. Other newcomers included Kelsey, Keely, and Kylie.
The baby name Kinsley was just begging to be discovered.
FAMOUS (TINY) FIGURES
Many of the most famous bearers of the name are still children themselves. But they’ve clearly helped boost the name.
In 2015, Kinsley Klassen, daughter of snowboarder Steve Klassen, went viral at the age of three. Steve and Kinsley’s tandem ride for her birthday quickly became a most-viewed video.
- Kinsley Kesler, daughter of ice hockey player Ryan Kesler, now retired after a long career.
- Singer Travis Clark of We the Kings and actress Jenny Robinson are parents to Kinsley James Robinson Clark.
In other words, you’re more likely to find famous parents of a Kinsley – at least for the next twenty years or so.
KINSEY, KENSLI, KINGSLEY
Along the way, similar names have evolved, like Kensli, the daughter of rapper Chance.
Author Sue Grafton made her fictional detective Kinsey Millhone famous with a long-running series of novels beginning in 1982. In the stories, it was her mother’s maiden name. It’s a cousin to Kinsley, but means “royal victory.”
Kingsley also caught on, partly boosted by a character in the Harry Potter novels. It’s worth noting that Kingsley and Kinsley are basically the same name – they both mean “king’s meadow” and were sometimes used interchangeably.
BY the NUMBERS
In 2015, 261 girls received the baby name Kinsley – enough to launch it into the US Top 1000 at #949.
Since then, Kinsley has continued to climb the baby girl names rankings. In 2012, it entered the US Top 200, and by 2016, the name ranked in the Top 100.
It reached a new high of #57 as of 2021.
Kinslee also appears in the US Top 1000.
MODERN and LIVELY
The baby name Kinsley can’t offer a lot of history. After all, it’s only been used as a given name in significant numbers since the 1970s. The surname, too, is quite rare.
But Kinsley fits with so many names that have gone from little girl mainstays to competent women’s names. It’s a next-generation Ashley or Kimberly, a Top 100 favorite that will undeniably grow up and sound just right on women of accomplishment.