[ 2 syll. au-drey, aud-r-ey ] The baby girl name Audrey is also used as a boy name, though it is far more popular for girls. It is pronounced AO-DRiy- †. Audrey's origin is Old English and Germanic, and its use, English and French. From Old English roots, its meaning is 'noble strength'. It is a two-element name derived from aethel and thryth with the meanings 'noble, honorable' and 'strength, power' respectively.
The name was borne by Saint Etheldreda, a 7th-century English saint and East Anglian princess. The name Audrey first arose as a shortened version of Etheldreda in the early 16th century and the saint came to be known as Saint Audrey. In the Isle of Ely where she was an abbess, the annual St Audrey fair selling lace and trinkets was held, as the saint was traditionally known to have a liking for fine necklaces in her youth. The name of the fair gave rise to the word 'tawdry' in reference to the low quality goods being sold there. This was especially so in the 17th century when Puritans despised lacy attire, resulting in a decline in the use of the name Audrey by association. Audrey has also appeared as the name of a country girl in Shakespeare's pastoral play As You Like It (1599), reflecting its rustic and unfavorable associations then. In the 19th century it enjoyed a revival, spawning variants such as Audra. The name has since lost much of its previous associations, and is now famous from the actress Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993).
In addition, Audrey is a form of the German Edeltraud in the English language.
Audrey is also a form of the English Etheldreda in the English and French languages.
Audrey is a widely used name; it has 39 forms that are used in English and foreign languages. English forms of the name include Adrey, Auda, Audee, Audelia, Audene, Audey, Audra (used in French too), Audray, Audre, Audrea (used in French too), Audreah, Audreana, Audreanna, Audreanne, Audreen, Audrene, Audri, Audria, Audriana, Audrianna, Audrianne, Audrielle, Audrienna, Audrienne, Audrin, Audrina, Audriya, Audrye, and Audy. Other English forms include the shortening Aud, the familiar forms Addy, Aude, Audi, Audie, Audrie, and Audry, and the spelling variant Audree. Forms used in foreign languages include the German Audelina and the German Audris.
Audrey is very popular as a baby girl name, and it is also perceived as trendy. The name grew in popularity from the 1900s up to the 1920s; prior to that, it was of only modest use. At the height of its usage in 1928, 0.387% of baby girls were named Audrey. It was #60 in rank then. The baby name has seen a decline in frequency since then. In 2012, it ranked at #41 with a usage of 0.274%, but it was nevertheless the most popular within all girl names in its family. Audrey was used 8 times more than the 2nd most popular name, Audrina, in 2012. Audrey has in the last century been primarily given to baby girls. In 1939, 53 times more baby girls than boys were given the name Audrey.
† Pronunciation for Audrey: AO as in "ought (AO.T)" ; D as in "day (D.EY)" ; R as in "race (R.EY.S)" ; IY as in "eat (IY.T)"
Details of famous persons named Audrey:
Actress Audrey Hepburn, born Audrey Kathleen Hepburn-Ruston 4 May 1929 - 20 January 1993, Brussels, Belgium.
Actress Audrey Tautou, born 9 August 1978, Beaumont, France.