The name Lily is taken directly from the flower, which derives its name from the Latin 'lilium'. It fits into a long-standing tradition of girls' names which come from flower names - Rose or Poppy, for instance, both of which are now popular girls' names.
The Edwardian era was the golden age of floral names such as Daisy, Violet and Iris. Their popularity may have been related to the Victorian preoccupation with the 'language of flowers' and parental desire to pass this symbolic meaning onto their daughters. In the language of flowers, the lily represents purity.
For a time, these names were considered old-fashioned, but recent years have seen a resurgence of some floral names, while others (Primrose, anyone?) have remained largely confined to history.
Famous people called Lily:
Lily Allen, British pop star
Lily Tomlin, American comedian and actress (born Mary Jean Tomlin)
Lillian 'Lilly' Hellman, American author and playwright
Lily Cole, British model
Lily Collins, British actress and model
Can be shortened to:
Lil Surnames to avoid with Lily:
Surnames beginning with a 'Li' sound, ie. Linford or Lyman, might cause problems as when said aloud this combination of sounds may result in elision – when two words slurred together end up sounding like one.
Lilian/Lillian, Leanne, Leanna, Liana, Liliana, Lilith
The masculine variant of Lily is Lilian (which, somewhat confusingly, can be used for a boy or a girl). Similar names for a boy include Liam, Leslie or Lindsay.
Celebrities who named their baby Lily:
Michael Sheen and Kate Beckinsale