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International Baby Names: Manx Names

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by Eleanor Nickerson of British Baby Names

Manx is one of the six Celtic languages that hail from the British isles.  It is the native language of the Isle of Man, an island uniquely situated between the coasts of Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. From its highest point, Snaefell, you can even see all four countries on a clear day.

Over the centuries it has passed from and between Welsh, Viking, English and Scottish rule, though now has its own democratic parliament. The Manx language — a close relative of Irish and Scot Gaelic — was spoken up until the 1970s, when its last native speaker died. However, it is now beginning to see some signs of revival.

The names of Mann are therefore a rich mixture of English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Norse influences as well as uniquely Manx creations. And while many of the Island’s inhabitants opt for the usual popular British names (Alfie, Max, Poppy, Freya…), several are also using purely Manx names.

The following names are indigenous Manx names taken from birth announcements from the Isle of Man.

Boys:

Aedan – The Manx version of Aidan, a diminutive of the Old Irish Áed meaning “fire”.
Cristen – Manx form of Christian. Used historically on both men and women, more so on women from the 15th century but is now found more on boys.
Dolyn – Manx form of Donald.  The name is found on many medieval religious figures in Manx history.
Finlo, Ffinlo  - meaning “white, blessed Lugh,” Lugh being an ancient Celtic god once worshipped in Mann, or the Manx form of Finley “white, blessed champion.”
Illiam – The Manx form of William.
Jamys – The Manx form of James.
Jole – An old Manx name name, still used today, derived from the Old Norse Jolfr “Yule“.
Juan – Either a form of Eoghan via Euan, or a form of John via Eoin or Johan. It is pronounced JOO-un.
Kerran – Manx form of Kieran.
Mian – A Manx diminutive of Matthew.
Orry, Gorry – The Manx forms of Godfrey. The older form, Godred, was borne by three Manx kings.
Pheric – The Manx form of Patrick.
Vannin – The Manx name for the Isle of Man is Ellan Vannin.

Girls:

Aalin – From the Manx vocabulary word meaning “beautiful.”
Aalish, Aelish – The Manx form of Alice.
Breeshey, Breesha – Manx forms of Bridget. In Manx, the word bree means ‘strength, vigour.’
Graihagh – From the Manx vocabulary word meaning “lovable”. It’s pronounced GRAY-ah.
Grayse – The Manx word for “grace,” used as a name.
Kirree – The Manx version of Kitty, but is also the vocabulary word for “sheep.”
Lilee – The Manx word for “lily”, used as a name.
Malane – Manx form of Madeline. Moirrey Malene is the Manx name of Mary Magdalene.
Margaid – Manx form of Margaret.
Moirrey - Manx form of Mary, now found more in the vocative form Voirrey.
Onnee – The Manx form of Annie.
Paaie, Pyee – A diminutive of Margaret, equivalent to Peggy.
Sessott, Sissott – Manx diminutives of Cecilia.

Prevalent in C, K, and Q sounds, Manx surnames can also be an interesting source for names with a Celtic kick:

Callister
Carran
Cashin
Collister
Colvin
Comish 
Corran
Corris
Cowen
Creer
Cregeen 
Duggan
Kennish
Kewley
Kinley
Lewin
Quane
Quay
Quilliam
Quinney
Sayle
Vondy

Eleanor Nickerson, better known to nameberry message board visitors as Eleais a primary school teacher living in Coventry, England and author of the excellent, highly recommended blog British BabyNames

 

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Elea

Eleanor Nickerson, better known to Nameberry message board visitors as Elea, is a primary school teacher living in Coventry, England and author of the blog British Baby Names.
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