What Does the Name Sheila Mean? Exploring the Origins and Significance of the Name

Have you ever wondered about the meaning behind your name? Names often have rich histories and cultural significance that can reveal a lot about a person’s background and personality. In this article, we will be exploring the name Sheila – its origins, meaning, and cultural associations.

Who Is Named Sheila?

Sheila is a popular name for girls, particularly in English-speaking countries such as the United States, Australia, and Ireland. It is also commonly found in Scotland and Wales. If you know someone named Sheila, they may share their name with famous individuals such as Sheila E. (American drummer and percussionist), Sheila Hancock (English actress), and Sheila Jordan (American jazz singer).

What Does the Name Sheila Mean?

The name Sheila has multiple meanings, depending on its origin and cultural context. Here are some possible interpretations:

  • Irish Gaelic: In Irish Gaelic, Sheila is derived from the name Síle, which is a variant of Cécile or Cecilia. This name means “blind” or “musical”.
  • Hebrew: Sheila can also be interpreted as a Hebrew name, derived from the word shaylah which means “question” or “request”.
  • Australian slang: In Australian slang, Sheila is a term used to refer to a woman or girlfriend.

When Was the Name Sheila Popularized?

The name Sheila has been around for centuries, but it became especially popular in the mid-20th century. In the United States, the name reached its peak popularity in the 1940s and 1950s. It remained a common name throughout the 1960s and 1970s but declined in popularity in later decades. However, the name remains popular in other countries such as Australia and Ireland.

How To Choose the Name Sheila for Your Baby?

If you are considering naming your child Sheila, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Meaning: Consider the meaning and cultural significance of the name. Are you looking for a traditional or unique name? Do you resonate with the Irish Gaelic or Hebrew origins of the name?
  • Popularity: While the name Sheila may not be as popular as it once was, it is still recognizable and familiar to many people. If you prefer a less common name, you may want to consider alternative options.
  • Middle name: Think about pairing Sheila with a middle name that complements its sound and meaning. Some suggestions include Sheila Rose, Sheila Mae, and Sheila Grace.

Pros and Cons of Having the Name Sheila

Like any name, there are both advantages and disadvantages to being named Sheila. Here are some pros and cons to consider:


  • Cultural significance: Sheila has a rich cultural history, particularly in Ireland and Australia. It is also associated with strong and successful women such as Sheila E. and Sheila Hancock.
  • Familiarity: Although the name is less common than it once was, it is still recognizable and easy to pronounce.
  • Variations: There are several variations of the name Sheila, including Sheela, Shila, and Síle. This allows for some flexibility and personalization.


  • Popularity: Depending on your preferences, the popularity of the name may be a drawback. If you prefer a more unique name, Sheila may not be the best option.
  • Stereotyping: In some contexts, the term “Sheila” can be used in a derogatory way to refer to women. This negative association may be a concern for some individuals.

Alternatives to the Name Sheila

If you are considering alternative names to Sheila, here are some suggestions:

  • Siobhan: This name is also of Irish origin and means “God is gracious”.
  • Cecilia: As mentioned earlier, Sheila is a variant of the name Cecilia. This name means “blind” or “musical”.
  • Shannon: Shannon is an Irish name meaning “old river”.

Step by Step Guide to Finding the Meaning of Your Name

If you are curious about the significance of your own name, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Research the origin of your name: Depending on your cultural background, your name may have ancient or modern roots. Look into the etymology of your name to learn more.
  2. Consider variations and translations of your name: Depending on how your name is pronounced or spelled in different languages, it may have different meanings. Look into these variations to gain a broader understanding of your name.
  3. Explore cultural associations: Many names have cultural or historical significance that can reveal insights into personality traits or values.
  4. Consult with family members: Family members may have stories or traditions associated with your name that can provide additional context.

Comparing Sheila with Other Popular Names

To get a sense of where Sheila fits inwith other popular names, here is a comparison of Sheila to some other common girls’ names:

  • Sarah: Sarah is a Hebrew name meaning “princess”. It has been a consistently popular name for centuries and remains a top choice for baby girls.
  • Emily: Emily is a German name meaning “industrious” or “striving”. It became popular in the late 20th century and remains a widely-used name.
  • Ava: Ava is a Latin name meaning “bird”. It has become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly in the United States.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Name

Choosing a name for your child can be an exciting but daunting task. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:

  • Consider cultural significance: If you have a strong cultural background or connection, consider choosing a name with roots in that culture. This can provide a meaningful and personal touch to your child’s name.
  • Think about nicknames: While you may love a certain name, it’s important to think about how it may be shortened or altered over time. Make sure you’re comfortable with potential nicknames or variations of the name.
  • Say it out loud: Before making a final decision, make sure you like the sound of the name when spoken aloud. Imagine calling your child by their name and see how it feels.
  • Get feedback: Consider asking friends and family members for their opinions on your top name choices. They may offer insights or perspectives that you hadn’t considered.


The name Sheila has a diverse history and cultural significance that spans across multiple countries and traditions. Whether you’re named Sheila yourself or considering it as a name for your child, it’s important to understand its nuances and meanings. By exploring the insights and information presented in this article, you can gain a deeper appreciation for the name Sheila and its place in the world of names and meanings.


  1. What are some other variations of the name Sheila?
  2. Some other variations include Sheela, Shila, Síle, and Sìleas.
  1. What is the most common spelling of the name Sheila?
  2. In English-speaking countries, the most common spelling is typically “Sheila”.
  1. Is Sheila a popular name in other languages or cultures?
  2. While it is most commonly found in English-speaking countries, the name has variations and equivalents in many other languages and cultures.
  1. What are some famous people named Sheila?
  2. Famous individuals named Sheila include Sheila E. (American drummer and percussionist), Sheila Hancock (English actress), and Sheila Jordan (American jazz singer).
  1. What are some similar names to Sheila?
  2. Similar names include Siobhan, Cecilia, Shannon, and Sheena.

We’re Emma Carole Paradis and Kimberly Carole, the owners and designers of Impeccable Nest, based in Bedford, New Hampshire. A mother-daughter team with a love of design. Originally from Manhattan Beach, California, now based in Bedford, New Hampshire, we bring a Southern California cool and New England tradition to our design. Not only do we work together…we also live together in a multi-generational home…and a home that they are known to design for others.

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