Its source is an Old English expression meaning "Crafty."
The name Wiley ranked 652nd in popularity for males of all ages in a sample of the 1990 US Census.
Though this name appears on the 1990 U.S. Census lists, it is used by only a small percentage of the general population.
The Oxford English Dictionary tentatively traces the origin of the English word ''wily'' to certain British place names. One of these is Wiley, the name of both a village and a river in England.
In modern usage, to be wily (meaning ''crafty'') is generally negative, but the source of the term was probably more literal, referring to mechanical ability.
The ''-ley'' ending also suggests a possible derivation from the Old English term leah, meaning ''meadow,'' ''field'' or ''place.'' It could be that Wiley developed as the name for a crafts center -- the place where one could find a blacksmith, a cooper, a sawyer and other craftsmen.