The Meaning and Origin of the Name Colleen

Colleen is a popular name that has been around for decades. If you’re wondering what this name means or where it comes from, keep reading to learn more.

What is the meaning of the name Colleen?

The name Colleen is derived from the Irish word “cailín,” which means girl. As such, Colleen means “girl” or “young woman” in Gaelic.

Who is most likely to be named Colleen?

Colleen is a popular name for girls born in the United States, particularly those of Irish descent. It was most popular in the 1960s and 1970s, but it still remains a common name today.

When did the name Colleen become popular?

The name Colleen first appeared on the charts in the early 20th century, but it didn’t become popular until the 1940s. Its popularity peaked in the 1960s and 1970s before gradually declining in the following decades.

How to pronounce the name Colleen?

The name Colleen is pronounced as kah-LEEN.

Pros and cons of naming your child Colleen


  1. Unique: While Colleen is a popular name, it’s not as common as some other names, so it can make your child stand out.
  2. Easy to spell and pronounce: Colleen is a straightforward name that is easy for people to spell and pronounce correctly.
  3. Cultural significance: If you have Irish heritage, naming your child Colleen can be a way to honor that heritage.


  1. Popularity: While not as popular as it once was, Colleen is still a fairly common name, so your child may end up sharing their name with others in their class or age group.
  2. Gender specific: Colleen is primarily used as a girl’s name, so if you have a boy, it may not be the best choice.
  3. Lack of uniqueness: While Colleen is unique in its own way, it doesn’t have the distinctive qualities that some other names do.

Alternatives to the name Colleen

If you like the sound of the name Colleen but are looking for something a bit different, here are some alternatives to consider:

  • Caitlin
  • Kathleen
  • Eileen
  • Maureen
  • Shannon
  • Bridget

Step-by-step guide to choosing a name like Colleen

  1. Look for inspiration: Start by looking through baby name books or websites to find names that appeal to you.
  2. Consider cultural significance: If you have a particular culture or heritage you want to honor, look for names from that culture.
  3. Think about pronunciation and spelling: Make sure the name you choose is easy to pronounce and spell correctly.
  4. Consider popularity: You may want to choose a name that is less common to help your child stand out.
  5. Get feedback: Once you have a list of potential names, run them by family members and friends to get their thoughts and opinions.

Compare Colleen to other popular names

Here’s how Colleen stacks up against some other popular names:

Name Meaning Popularity
Colleen Girl/young woman #938 (2020)
Emily Industrious #12 (2020)
Ava Life #3 (2020)
Olivia Olive tree #1 (2020)

Tips for naming your child Colleen

If you decide to name your child Colleen, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Spell it correctly: While the name is straightforward, make sure it’s spelled correctly on official documents and forms.
  • Consider middle names: Colleen pairs well with a variety of middle names, so consider your options before making a final decision.
  • Think about nicknames: Colleen can be shortened to “Coll” or “Coley,” so think about whether you like those nicknames as well.

The best ways to honor someone named Colleen

If you know someone named Colleen and want to honor them, consider:

  • Naming a child after them: If you’re having a baby, consider naming them after your friend or family member.
  • Giving them a personalized gift: Consider getting them something with their name on it, such as a piece of jewelry or a personalized mug.
  • Hosting a celebration: Throw a party or gathering in their honor to show them how much they mean to you.


Now that you know more about the name Colleen, you can decide whether it’s the right choice for your child. Whether you choose Colleen or another name, remember to put thought and care into your decision.


  1. Is Colleen a common name?
    Yes, Colleen was a popular name in the 1960s and 1970s, but it has become less common in recent years. In 2020, it was the 938th most popular name for girls in the United States.
  1. What is the origin of the name Colleen?
    The name Colleen comes from the Irish word “cailín,” which means girl. As such, Colleen means “girl” or “young woman” in Gaelic.
  1. Does the name Colleen have any cultural significance?
    Yes, the name Colleen has cultural significance for those with Irish heritage, as it is derived from an Irish word and is often used as a nod to that heritage.
  1. How do you pronounce the name Colleen?
    The name Colleen is pronounced kah-LEEN.
  1. Are there any famous people named Colleen?
    Yes, there are several famous people named Colleen, including Colleen Atwood, a costume designer who has won four Academy Awards, and Colleen Dewhurst, a Canadian-American actress who won two Tony Awards and four Emmy Awards.

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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