Waverly is an English unisex name though the meaning behind it is a bit tricky. Most sites I’ve gone to list it as meaning “quaking aspen” or “field of quaking aspens”. I know that -ley is a popular element in place names, coming from Old English lēah (wood, clearing, meadow). The first element is a little unclear. It could be derived from Middle English waveren meaning “to shake, to move to and fro; to move around” which comes from Old English wæfre (wandering, restless, wavering) from Old Norse vafra (to hover, to flicker about) which seems to derive from a PIE root word. There’s a place called Wavertree in Liverpool, England, which means “wavering tree”, likely in reference to the trees waving around in the wind, so Waverly could have risen as a habitional name where there were plenty of trees (likely aspens) whose branches were moved by the wind.
- Waverley (English, Scottish)