[ 2 syll. mol-ly, mo-lly ] The baby girl name Molly is pronounced as MAOLLiy- †. Molly is used predominantly in English and Irish. It is derived from Hebrew origins. The name first evolved as an 18th-century diminutive of Mary via the older form Mally (Middle English). The change of the '-r-' to '-ll-' is reflected in other English names including Sally.
The name was known from the virtuous 18th-century London barmaid Molly Mog, about whom John Gay wrote in his ballad Fair Maid of the Inn (1726). Molly was also used by Henry Fielding for the name of a gamekeeper's daughter in his novel The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (1749), reflecting a growing association of the name with maids at the time. A short form of the name has also been made known by the Daniel Defoe novel Moll Flanders (1722), which has since been adapted into a film (1996). In Ireland, the name is well-known from Molly Malone, a popular song based on a beautiful street hawker who lived in 17th-century Dublin. In recent times, the name has been bestowed by the Irish author James Joyce on the fictional Molly Bloom in his novel Ulysses (1922). The name has often been associated with Ireland despite its etymology.
Molly is a familiar form (English and Irish) of the name Mary (English).
Molly has 17 variations that are used in English and other languages. English variations of Molly include Mally, Moli, Molie, Moll, Molle, Mollea, Mollee, Molley, Molli, Mollissa, and Pollie. Other English forms include the contracted form Mol, the familiar form Polly (used in Hebrew too), and the spelling variant Mollie. Maille (Gaelic), Mali (Welsh), and Mallaidh (Irish) are variations of the name that are used in other languages.
The origin and thus the meaning of Molly is inherited by all variant forms.
Molly is popular as a baby girl name. The name's popularity increased from the 1920s up to the 1990s. At the peak of its usage in 1991, 0.229% of baby girls were named Molly. It was #74 in rank then. The baby name has experienced a fall in popularity since then. In 2018, its usage was 0.097% and its ranking #158. Out of the family of girl names directly related to Molly, Mary was the most commonly used. In 2018, it was 30% more frequently used than Molly.
† Pronunciation for Molly: M as in "me (M.IY)" ; AO as in "ought (AO.T)" ; L as in "lay (L.EY)" ; IY as in "eat (IY.T)"
Details of famous persons named Molly:
Actress Molly Ringwald, born 18 February 1968, Roseville, California.
Author Molly Keane, born 1905 - April 22, 1996, Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland.
Journalist Molly Ivins, born 30 August 1944 - 31 January 2007, Monterey, California.
Model Molly Simms, born 25 May 1973, Murray, Kentucky.
Revolutionary War Figure Molly Pitcher, born 1754 - 22 January 1832.