Sidney Meaning Name – Origin, History, and Significance

Are you curious about the meaning and history behind the name “Sidney”? This name has a rich and interesting background that spans centuries. In this article, we will explore the origin, history, and significance of Sidney, including its variations and notable namesakes.

The Origin of Sidney

The name Sidney is of English origin and is derived from two Old English words: ‘sīd’ which means “wide” or “extensive”, and ‘ēg’ which means “island”. Therefore, the literal translation of Sidney is “wide island”.

The History of the Name Sidney

The name Sidney can be traced back to the 16th century in England when it was first used for both boys and girls. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that the name became more popular among boys. Today, Sidney is considered a unisex name.

During the Elizabethan era, Sir Philip Sidney, an English poet, courtier, and soldier, was a prominent figure. He was known for his intellectual prowess and artistic contributions. His sister, Mary Sidney, was also an accomplished writer who wrote under the pseudonym “The Countess of Pembroke”.

Variations of Sidney

There are several variations of the name Sidney, including Sydney, Sidnie, Sydnee, and Sydni. In recent years, the spelling Sydney has become more popular as a girl’s name, while Sidney remains more common for boys.

Notable Namesakes

Throughout history, there have been many notable individuals with the name Sidney. Here are a few examples:

  • Sidney Poitier: An American actor, director, and diplomat. He was the first African American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor.
  • Sidney Sheldon: An American author and screenwriter. He is best known for his suspense novels and television shows such as “I Dream of Jeannie” and “Hart to Hart”.
  • Sidney Crosby: A Canadian professional ice hockey player. He is considered one of the greatest hockey players of all time and has won numerous awards, including three Stanley Cups.
  • Sidney Lumet: An American film director, producer, and screenwriter. He directed many critically acclaimed films, including “12 Angry Men”, “Dog Day Afternoon”, and “Network”.

The Significance of Sidney

The name Sidney has a strong significance in English literature and culture. It has been used in various works of fiction, including Shakespeare’s play “As You Like It”, where the character Rosalind disguises herself as a man named Ganymede and says, “I have no more wit than a Christian or an ordinary man has; but I have enough to serve my own turn”. This quote has been interpreted as a reference to Sir Philip Sidney’s famous work “The Defence of Poesy”, which argued that poetry has the power to transcend reality and create something beautiful.

In addition to its literary significance, the name Sidney also has a spiritual meaning. In numerology, the number 7 (the sum of the letters in Sidney) represents spirituality, introspection, and wisdom.


In conclusion, the name Sidney is a unique and meaningful name with a rich history and cultural significance. Its variations and notable namesakes show how versatile and enduring this name can be. Whether you choose to name your child Sidney because of its literary or spiritual significance or simply because you like the sound of it, it is a name that will stand the test of time.


  1. Is Sidney a popular name?
  2. Sidney is not as popular as it once was, but it remains a recognizable and timeless name.
  1. Can Sidney be a girl’s name?
  2. Yes, Sidney can be a unisex name, but recently, the spelling Sydney has become more popular for girls.
  1. What does the name Sidney mean in numerology?
  2. In numerology, the number 7 (the sum of the letters in Sidney) represents spirituality, introspection, and wisdom.
  1. Who was Sir Philip Sidney?
  2. Sir Philip Sidney was an English poet, courtier, and soldier during the Elizabethan era. He is known for his literary contributions and intellectual prowess.
  1. What are some variations of the name Sidney?
  2. Some variations of the name Sidney include Sydney, Sidnie, Sydnee, and Sydni.

I am Patricia Mann, an experienced professional in the art of naming children. With a wealth of knowledge in the field of baby names, I aim to assist parents in choosing a meaningful and beautiful name for their little ones. My expertise lies in the Name Meaning section, where I delve deep into the origins and significance of names, providing valuable insights that I hope will be beneficial for parents.

Understanding the profound impact a name can have on a child's life, I strive to offer comprehensive guidance. The Name Meaning section is not just a repository of information but a resource where parents can discover the rich tapestry of meanings associated with different names. It is my belief that a child's name is more than just a label; it encapsulates the desires, hopes, and love of the parents.

In this journey of baby naming, my goal is to make the process enjoyable and meaningful for parents, ensuring that the chosen name resonates with the family's values and cultural background. I invite you to explore the Name Meaning of Impeccable Nest section as we embark on the delightful and important task of naming the newest members of your family.

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