Kelly vs Nelly - What's the difference?

kelly | nelly |

As a noun kelly

is a square or hexagonal pipe that is turned in order to rotate the rotary table of a drilling rig.

As a proper noun nelly is

a spelling variant of nellie, a diminutive of the female given names eleanor and helen.



Alternative forms

* Kelley * (female given name) Kelli, Kellie

Proper noun

(en proper noun)
  • .
  • transferred from the surname.
  • , popular from the 1960s to the 1990s.
  • Quotations

    * 1867 Percy Hetherington Fitzgerald, The Life of David Garrick , Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, 1899, page 319 *: A better and more straightforward appeal, though less cool, was made to him by Hugh Kelly', - - - The play was so successful, and and Garrick said so much of it that Lord Pembroke was eager to be back from Paris to see it, though he said, with true aristocratic pride, that he could expect very little from such a name as "' Kelly ", especially if there be an "O'" before it. * 1986 , Enchantment , Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1986, ISBN 0151287910, page 207 *: On the walls of the salon are blown-up photos of models with dazzling teeth and ingeniously tousled hair - women with names like Kelly and Dawn, who come from tiny towns in Texas and Washington, who are tall and thin, and who don't appear to be burdened by any pasts to speak of.



    Etymology 1

    Shortened from Nelly Duff'', for ''puff'', i.e. breath of ''life


    (-) (not used in the plural)
  • (Cockney rhyming slang) Life.
  • Usage notes
    * Used principally in the phrase (not on your nelly).

    Etymology 2

    From the woman's name, Nelly


  • (derogatory, slang) An effeminate homosexual man.
  • (British, slang) A silly person.
  • A common name for the giant petrels, Macronectes giganteus'' and ''Macronectes halli
  • Hyponyms
    * (petrel) Antarctic giant petrel, northern piant petrel, southern giant fulmar, southern giant petrel


  • (slang) Unmanly, effeminate.