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The first name 

Neil is a first name typically given to boys, but in rare cases also used as a girls name.

Neil is a common name for boys!

The name Neil isn’t among the current fashionable names in our top 10 stats, but nonetheless, it’s still very popular and common. In our SmartGenius ranking of all boys names, Neil ranks 617. Recently, out of every 10,000 newborn boys, approximately 2 were named Neil. In the entire USA, approximately 99,044 people – children, adults and seniors – currently bear the name Neil. That is 0.03 % of all living Americans.

You won't believe all there is 
to discover about the name

What does the name 
Neil mean?

The English name Neil originated from Irish Niall, whose meaning is not clear. It is suggested that it can stand for ‘cloud’, ‘passionate’, ‘victory’, ‘honour’ or ‘champion’. The latter is most likely to be true.

From 1930 to 1980,... Neil was quite popular, since then its popularity has been declining.

Neil -
evergreen, but special

For more than 140 years, parents decide to name their son Neil annualy. This means that there have been boys named Neil who witnessed the first Labor Day parade in the U.S. or followed Albert Einstein's career. The name has 'always been there', but never ranked in the top 100, and thus men named Neil have consistently been special. A small flight of popularity was experienced by the name way back in the last century and in one particular year, parents liked Neil even more than any other time: in 1953, it holds its present record at rank #142 in the list of the most popular boys' names.

In years where the graph has no value, the name Neil was given less than five times or even none at all in the entire USA.

How popular was Neil 2022 among young parents?

Neil has never been ranked higher than #142. In 2022, he rivaled the 708 names that preceded him on the list. In total, 328 boys named Neil were born in this year. For comparison: 30 years earlier, in 1992, when possibly the parents of the now very young Neil were born, there have been 791 newborns who received this name.

Neil -
very special and well known across the entire USA

Everyone knows him, everyone loves him and still he’s different from the mainstream: Neil occurs in every single state of the U.S. This may sound quite unspectacular at first, but in fact, of the nearly 50,000 different male first names that occur in the USA, only 386 are recorded in each individual state, so the name Neil is definitely something very special. However, at the same time, since the name does not appear in the top 100 most common first names in any single state, Neil is not one of those names that everyone encounters in his neighbourhood, but stands out from the crowd, captures attention and is something special without being strange or unknown. From Alaska to Florida, a total of 99,044 men and boys of all generations bear the name Neil – that is one in 1,685. However, there are considerable regional differences – the name is far more popular than average in North Dakota, where one in 400 men and boys is called Neil, while it is particularly rare in Mississippi, where you have to ask an average of 8,928 men for their name to get Neil as an answer once.

Neil has 4 letters 
and begins with an N

Well, you might say, you probably figured that out yourself! But what you might not know is: 3.0% of all common boys' names in the US begin with an N. This means that N as the first letter for boys' names is neither particularly common nor rare. The most common first letters of boys' names are J, A and D, while X, U and Q are the least common initials of boys' names.

With four letters, the name Neil is shorter than most other given names. In fact, only 5.5% of all common first names in the US consist of exactly four letters. Just 1.2% of all first names are even shorter, while 93% consist of more than four letters. On average, first names in the US (not counting hyphenated names) are 6.5 letters long. There are no significant differences between boys' and girls' names.

Thus, if 3.0% of all boys’ names start with an N, this initial letter is slightly less common than all other letters on average. Nevertheless, there are boys' names with N that are quite common in the U.S., the most common at present is Nicholas.

Other names with 
N, e, i and l

If you take all the letters in the name Neil – N, e, i and l – and put them together again, you can form other names, such as Lien or others.

With hands, flags and sounds 
How to say Neil

If your name is Neil and someone asks after your name, you can of course just tell them what it is. But sometimes that isn't so easy - what if it's too loud, and you don't understand them well? Or what if the other person is so far away that you can see them but not hear them? In these situations, you can communicate your name in so many other ways: you call spell it, sign it, or even use a flag to wave it...

This is how you spell the name Neil

So that everyone really understands you when you have to spell the name Neil, you can simply say:





This is how the name Neil is spelled in the NATO phonetic alphabet

The NATO alphabet often helps people spell words on the phone or radio when there are communication problems.

How do you write Neil in Braille?

Braille is made up of dots, which the blind and visually impaired can feel to read words.



You want to tell a deaf person that your name is Neil

Just use American Sign Language!

The name Neil is particularly colorful in the Semaphore flag signaling system!

These flags are used for maritime communication - each flag represents a letter.


Have you ever waved the name Neil

In the navy, sailors of two ships might wave flags to each other to send messages. A sailor holds two flags in specific positions to represent different letters.


Beeping like crazy...

In Morse code, letters and other characters are represented only by a series of short and long tones. For example, a short tone followed by a long tone stands for the letter A. Neil sounds like this: