"strong, virtuous, and honorable"

Brian Origin and Meaning

The name Brian is a boy's name of Irish origin meaning "strong, virtuous, and honorable".

The origins of the name Brian are not entirely clear, but it is suspected that it evolved from an Old Celtic word related to nobility. In Ireland the name is associated with Brian Boru, the most famous of all Irish warrior-kings, credited with driving the Vikings out of Ireland around the year 1000.

Like other native Irish names, Brian was outlawed in Ireland during the centuries of British rule, restored to use after the war for Irish independence in 1916. Irish immigrants propelled it onto the US Top 1000 list for the first time in 1925.

Because it was outlawed for so long, Brian may feel like a less classic and ancient name than it really is. Its massive popularity in the 1970s, when it ranked in the Top 10, makes it one of today's quintessential Dad Names.

While Brian has been trending downward in the US for decades, it still ranks solidly in the Top 1000, where it will likely remain for decades to come. Bryan, Bryant, and Brianna are common variations.

Brian has some pretty diverse associations—to newscaster Williams, the movie Monty Python's Life of Brian and as Marilyn Manson's real name.

# 317 in the US

Brian Rank in US Top 1000

# 470 on Nameberry

Brian Rank in Nameberry Top 1000

Brian Popularity

Famous People Named Brian

  • Brian BoruKing of Ireland
  • Brian Douglas WilliamsAmerican broadcast journalist
  • Brian Eno (aka Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno)English musician
  • (Martin) Brian Mulroney18th prime minister of Canada
  • Brian Russell de PalmaAmerican film director
  • Brian Manion DennehyAmerican actor
  • Brian Anthony BoitanoAmerican figure skater
  • Brian McKnightAmerican singer
  • Brian Austin GreenAmerican actor
  • Brian Samuel EpsteinEnglish manager of The Beatles
  • Brian Edward GottfriedAmerican tennis player
  • Brian HoldenAmerican actor, singer, writer
  • Brian MinchinBritish TV producer
  • Brian Douglas WilsonAmerican musician of The Beach Boys
  • (Louis) Brian PiccoloAmerican NFL football player, subject of film "Brian's Song"
  • Brian Howard CloughEnglish footballer and manager
  • Brian de la PuenteAmerican football player
  • Brian KerwinAmerican actor
  • Brian UrlacherAmerican football player
  • Brian Denis CoxScottish actor
  • Brian ReganAmerican comedian
  • Brian Justin CrumAmerican musician
  • Brian RosenthalAmerican actor and singer
  • Brian Thomas "BRok" Littrell, American singer of the Backstreet Boys
  • Brian Logan Daleslead singer of American band The Summer Set
  • Brian Leo BianchiniAmerican model/actor
  • Brian Mayguitarist for British band Queen
  • Brian HallisayAmerican actor
  • Brian HoweAmerican actor
  • Brian Phillip "Head" Welchguitarist for American band Korn
  • Brian 'Astro' BradleyAmerican actor and Rapper
  • Brian 'Q' QuinnAmerican comedian from The Tenderloins and Impractical Jokers
  • Brian Awadis aka FaZe RugAmerican YouTuber
  • Brian Sean O'Connor (b. 2007)son of American television personality Kevin O'Connor
  • Brian JonesMulti,instrumentalist and rhythm guitarist for The Rolling Stones
  • Brian Ross Weitzmusician and founding member of the band Animal Collective
  • Brian Johnsonlead singer of AC/DC
  • Brian Kang/Kang Yonghyunbassist, singer, songwriter, and rapper of the South Korean band Day6; more popularly known by his stage name Young K
  • Brian FirkusAmerican musician, TV personality, and drag queen
  • Brian Timothy GeraghtyAmerican actor
  • Brian Theodore Deneke (b. 1978)19 year old American man who was killed in a hit and run attack for being a punk rock musician

Brian in Pop Culture

  • Sir Brian de BoisGuilbert, character in "Ivanhoe" by Sir Walter Scott
  • Brian Griffindog character on "Family Guy"
  • Brian Cohenmain character in 1979 film "Monty Python's Life of Brian"
  • Mr. Brian Fitzpatrickcharacter in “Tom Jones” (1746)
  • Brian Kinneycharacter on "Queer as Folk"
  • Brian Finncharacter in "Keeping the Faith"
  • Brian O'Connercharacter in "Fast and the Furious" series
  • Brian Johnsoncharacter in film "The Breakfast Club"
  • Brian Johnson character on British TV series "My Parents Are Aliens"
  • Brian Shelbycharacter in film "Vanilla Sky"
  • Brian Hardingcharacter in videogame "Dream Daddy"
  • Brian Davismain character on TV series "What About Brian?"
  • Brian Duffordcharacter in webcomic "Camp Weedonwantcha"
  • Brian Marshcharacter in "Prince of Darkness"
  • Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledorecharacter in Harry Potter series
  • Brian "Otis" Zvonecekcharacter on TV's "Chicago Fire"
  • Brian / Greencharacter in "Monster Prom"
  • Brian Thomasfull name of Hoodie from Marble Hornets