Ryan (given name) - Wikipedia

Pronunciation/ˈrən/ RY-ən
Language(s)English (via Irish)
Word/nameRian (Old Irish)
Other names
Alternative spellingRyann
Related namesRyland

Ryan is an English-language given name of Irish origin. Traditionally a male name, it has been used increasingly for both boys and girls since the 1970s. It comes from the Irish surname Ryan, which in turn comes from the Old Irish name Rían (Irish: Rian).[1] Popular modern sources typically suggest that the name means "Little king"[2][3] or "illustrious",[4][5] but the original meaning is unknown.[6] According to John Ryan, Professor of Early and Medieval History at University College Dublin, "Rian, like Niall, seems to be so ancient that its meaning was lost before records began."[6]



The popularity of "Ryan" as a name for newborn children in Ireland was ranked at No. 10 in 2005 and No. 14 in 2006.[7] By 2021, the Irish spellings of the name, Rian (and Old Irish: Rían), had overtaken Ryan in popularity on the Irish charts.[8]

United Kingdom[edit]

In Scotland, "Ryan" was the most popular name given to newborn boys every year from 1994 to 1998.[9] This increase in popularity is fairly recent as records show that "Ryan" was barely in use in 1900, then was later ranked between No. 100 and No. 250 in 1950, and finally climbed to No. 64 in 1975.

In Northern Ireland, "Ryan" did not appear in the top ten most common male names for newborns in 1975, but was in the top five from 2000 to 2003.[10]

In England and Wales, records suggest less popularity for the name than in other parts of the UK, ranking at No. 21 in 2003 and 2004 before dropping to No. 25 from 2005 to 2007.[11]

United States[edit]

"Ryan" appeared in the top 20 male given names in the U.S. for 30 years between 1976 and 2006, having previously appeared in the top 1,000 for the first time in 1946 before steadily gaining popularity over the next three decades.[12] The name gained popularity for girls in the 1970s, having first appeared in this capacity in the top 1,000 in 1974, and has remained in the top 1,000 since then; in 2018, it was ranked at No. 364 on a list of the most popular girls' names.[13]

List of people with the given name Ryan[edit]




Fictional characters[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 355, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1
  2. ^ Smith, Elsdon C. (1969). American Surnames. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company. p. 88. ISBN 0-8063-1150-9.
  3. ^ Rosenkrantz, Linda; Satran, Pamela Redmond (2002). Baby Names Now: From Classic to Cool—The Very Last Word on First Names. New York: St. Martin's Paperbacks. p. 419. ISBN 0-312-98368-9.
  4. ^ Grehan, Ida (1997). The Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Lanham, Maryland: Roberts Rinehart Publishers. p. 299. ISBN 1-56833-224-6.
  5. ^ Grehan, Ida (1997). A little book of Irish family names. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. p. 56. ISBN 0-8118-1286-3.
  6. ^ a b MacLysaght, Edward (1964). A Guide to Irish Surnames. Helicon. p. 15.
  7. ^ "Top 25 Baby Names". Births, Deaths and Marriages. Central Statistics Office. 2008-01-28. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  8. ^ Ó Séaghdha, Darach (3 March 2022). "The Irish For: The rise of Rían - the latest baby names in Ireland". thejournal.ie. The Journal. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  9. ^ "The top names: year by year". National Records of Scotland. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  10. ^ "Jack and Emma were the most popular first names in Northern Ireland in 2003" (PDF) (Press release). Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. 2004-01-02. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-09-29. Retrieved 2008-02-14. (Consult tables "Comparison with 1975" and "Top 20 Names 2000-2003", the latter showing ranks of 5, 3, 4, 3 for 2003, 2002, 2001 and 2000, respectively)
  11. ^ "Top 100 names for baby boys in England and Wales". National Statistics Online. Office for National Statistics. 2007-12-19. Archived from the original on 2011-05-22. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  12. ^ "Popular baby names". Social Security Administration. 2007-05-11. Retrieved 2008-02-16. (Query in "Popularity of a name" section: Ryan – male – 100 years)
  13. ^ "Popular baby names". Social Security Administration. 2018-06-24. Retrieved 2018-06-24. (Query in "Popularity of a name" section: Ryan – female – 2000 and later)