It's not entirely clear where the name Wendy comes from, but one guess is that it be a derivative of the Welsh female name Gwendydd ("gwen-deethe"), which was the name of the wizard Merlin's sister in folklore. This might not be true, though, because Wendy was used more as a boy's name than a girl's name in the United States and the United Kingdom in the late 19th century. The name Wendy became widely popular for girls after J.M. Barrie created the character Wendy in Peter Pan in the early 20th century.
More facts about the name Wendy and gendered names:
- Just like Wendy, names such as Shannon, Shirley, Angel, Marian and Ariel, which used to be considered boys' names, are now considered girls' names.
- J.M. Barrie reportedly based the character Wendy on a young girl he was friends with named Margaret Henley. Margaret was rhotacistic, meaning that she couldn't pronounce R's, and she called Barrie her "fwiendy-wendy," which led Barrie to think of the name Wendy. Margaret died at the age of 5.
- In Peter Pan, Wendy's full name is Wendy Moira Angela Darling.