AskDefine | Define Kyle

User Contributed Dictionary



Proper noun

  1. A Scottish and Northern Irish habitational surname, from several place names derived from Gaelic caol, narrows.
  2. A given name, derived from the surname.

Extensive Definition

Kyle is a name that was originally a family name (surname) but like other family names became a popular given name (first name) in English speaking countries. As a given name, it is gender-blind or unisex, but usually given to males.


One derivation of the surname is from the Scottish Highlands word caol, 'channel', or 'strait', but there are other possible derivations.
Most Lowland Scots and Irish Kyles probably trace their name to the ancient Kyle District of Ayrshire, Scotland. In those days a person was often referred to by his residence, for example "John of Kyle."
In the Kyle District itself, the origin of the name is traditionally attributed to Old King Cole (also written "Coil" or "Coel").
Other possible derivations include:
  1. Harrison’s Surnames of the United Kingdom says major variants Keil, Kile and Kyle, originated from the Celtic word coal, "narrow", and defines Kyle as "Dweller at the Narrow or Strait". Even today many Scottish straits retain that name, such as the Kyle of Lochash, Kyle of Sutherland. (But there are actually no narrows or straights in the District of Kyle, Ayrshire.)
  2. Some variations might stem from European forms: Kyle from Sweden; Kehl, Keil, Keyl, Coil, Kail from German and Dutch families; Kuyle from Flemish families.
  3. Robert Chalmers of Ayrshire in his History of Scotland claimed the word kyle means "a woody region".
  4. Another possible connection is that in Gaelic cill means "church" or "churchyard"
  5. One source claims that kylle in old Scotland meant candle (Workmans Manuscript).
  6. R.A. Kyle of Belfast claims that the names "Kyle", "Kail" and "Kaile" derive from the Anglo-Saxon cil meaning "ship"
  7. In modern Welsh (the language closest to the ancient Brythonic language of Kyle), coel means "omen or belief." Coelio means "to believe or trust".
  8. One source claims that the Irish Gaelic equivalent of "Kyle" is "Mac Suile". It claims that this is corroborated by the summary of returns of local registrars, published by Matheson in 1901, which say that in the Ballycastle district (Co. Antrim) "Kyle" and "MacSuile" were used as synonyms by members of the same family.
  9. "Coyle", a somewhat common surname in Co. Cavan Ireland, derives from the Irish name "Mac Giolla Chomgaill", or "Son of the Devotee of St. Comhghal". Comhghal (pronounced Cowal) was a two-fisted priest of the 7th century who founded Bangor Abbey, at one time the largest monastery in Ireland. (Comhghal also accompanied the better-known St. Columba on his trip to Scotland to convert the Picts and confront the Loch Ness monster.) The same name is sometimes anglicized as "MacIlhoyle" or "MacCool".
  10. There is a phonetic similarity to the words "kyloe" and "kyley;" one of the small long-horned breed of Highland cattle (Old English cy-leah – cow pasture) – Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology – contributed by Roland Symons.
  11. 'Kyles' was a form of skittles (bowling) and some might have been given the name as a nickname. The game is apparently quite old, as two 14th century manuscripts show a game called club Kayles -- from the French "quilles" or skittles. See Battle of Sherramuir. Source: Sorbie Pages and Skittles History
  12. The name "Coelestius" or "Caelestius", meaning "heavenly", was a common first name among Christians in the Late Roman Empire. One Coelestius, a Roman-educated Briton was the instigator of the Pelagian heresy at the time of King Cole. PF Turner in The Real King Arthur postulates this as King Cole's given name.
  13. Finally, there was a well known Roman family or gens called Coelius (or Caelius). See Old King Cole.

Famous people

For people with surname Kyle, see Kyle (surname).

Fictional characters


  • Kyle XY, a TV series
  • KYLE, the call sign for the KWKT television station repeater in Bryan, Texas


* Kyle Bay, New South Wales* Kyle, Saskatchewan


Kyle in German: Kyle
Kyle in French: Kyle
Kyle in Dutch: Kyle
Kyle in Polish: Kyle
Kyle in Swedish: Kyle
Kyle in Volapük: Kyle
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