Meaning of the Name Wendy
Wendy is a common feminine given name in the United States and other English-speaking countries. By looking into its origin and background, I’ve discovered the meaning of the name Wendy.
Meaning of the Name Wendy: First appearing in the late 1800s, the meaning of the name Wendy is “to wander” or “wanderer.” Etymologists believe that Scottish playwright Sir James Matthew Barrie coined the name for a friend.
Origins of the Name Wendy
Like many given names, etymologists have conflicting theories regarding the true origins of the name Wendy. With that said, the most plausible theory is that the name Wendy originated in the late 19th century Europe when it was used as a nickname by Scottish playwright Sir James Matthew Barrie.
Barrie has a friend whom he referred to as Fwendy. Eventually, Barrie began calling his friend Fwendy Wendy. Barrie later used the name Wendy in a now-famous fantasy novel titled “Peter Pan.” Published Dec. 27, 1904, “Peter Pan,” tells the story of a young boy with the ability to fly and who doesn’t age.
If you’ve ever read “Peter Pan,” you may recall a female character named Wendy Darling in the novel. While Barrie had used the name Wendy as a nickname for his friend prior to the novel’s publication, this was the first time that the name Wendy was used in print. As a result, “Peter Pan” was largely responsible for popularizing the name Wendy.
The popularity of the Name Wendy
Wendy was relatively uncommon throughout the early 1900s. Even after “Peter Pan” was published, it still took some time for the general public to adopt Wendy as a given name. Birth records show, for example, that Wendy was the 5,564th most popular girls’ name in the United States in 1918. In 1930, Wendy was just the 2,102nd most popular girls’ name in the country.
More parents began naming their daughters Wendy around the mid-1930s, however. In 1935, Wendy was the 1,446th most popular girls’ name in the United States. In 1936, Wendy was the 825th most popular girls’ name in the country. Wendy peaked in 1970 when it ranked as the 28th most popular girls’ name in the United States.
Famous women named Wendy include American actress Wendy Cailo, English actress Wendy Hurrell, British actress Wendy Toye, American talk show hostess Wendy Williams, American Olympic swimmer Wendy Weinberg and American Olympic diver Wendy Wyland.
Popular variants of the name Wendy include Wendie, Gwen, Wendeline, and Gwendolyn.