Nolan Origin and Meaning

The name Nolan is a boy's name of Irish origin meaning "champion".

The friendly and sporty feeling Nolan blends some of the best qualities of other popular boy names. With the gentle but energetic sounds of Noah, a hint of the classic Nicholas, and the cool, surname-style vibe of Greyson or Colton, it makes for a familiar and grounded choice.

Popularized by the baseball player, Nolan Ryan, Nolan has been steadily climbing up the charts since the 1970s, and it entered the US Top 100 in 2011. While it has never been a Top 50 name, it is given to a substantial 5000 babies every year.

Nolan is the Anglicized form of the Irish name Nuallán, meaning “noble and famous” or “champion.”

This could give you the fun option of nickname Champ, while also providing the name with weight and history: the O’Nolans were once a chiefly Irish family, descended from the first Celts to settle in Ireland.

A once very American feeling choice, Nolan is now more popular in France and Canada. It is on the rise in England and Wales too, a favorite in The Netherlands and Belgium, and at #22 in Hungary (albeit with the Hungarian spelling, Nolen).

Notable Nolans include the fashion designer, Nolan Miller; the Modern Family actor, Nolan Gould; Marvel and DC voice actor, Nolan North; and the actor and singer Nolan Gerard Funk of Glee fame. Some may associate it with the Nolan Chart, a political spectrum diagram invented in the 60’s, while others may be more familiar with Nolan Chance, from the game Fortnite.

Familiar and cool, grounded and approachable, Nolan continues to hold its steady place in the lower end of the US Top 100.

Do you love Nolan but want some more inspiration? Other names inspired by Irish surnames include Nevan, Blaine, Riordan, Donnovan, and Callahan. For names that share a similar sound, Bowen, Milan, Noel, or Roland might appeal.

# 57 in the US

Nolan Rank in US Top 1000

# 92 on Nameberry

Nolan Rank in Nameberry Top 1000

Nolan Popularity

Famous People Named Nolan

  • (Lynn) Nolan RyanAmerican baseball pitcher
  • Nolan GouldAmerican child actor
  • Nolan Kay BushnellAmerican engineer and entrepreneur
  • Nolan Alexander CarrollAmerican NFL player
  • Nolan Gallagher ReimoldAmerican baseball player
  • Nolan Neil CromwellAmerican NFL football coach
  • Nolan Bertrandoff MillerAmerican fashion designer
  • Nolan NorthAmerican voice actor
  • Nolan James ArenadoAmerican baseball player
  • Nolan RichardsonAmerican basketball coach
  • Nolan RouxFrench footballer
  • Nolan Derek SmithAmerican basketball player
  • Nolan Gerard FunkCanadian Actor
  • Nolan SotilloAmerican actor
  • Nolan EmmeYoutube personality
  • Sydney NolanAustralian artist famous for his Ned Kelly paintings
  • Christopher NolanBritish,American director
  • Jonathan "Jonah" NolanBritish,American screenwriter, brother of Christopher Nolan
  • Nolan River Nicholas (b. 2011)son of actor Thomas Ian Nicholas & DJ Colette
  • Nolan Chesnut (b. 2005)son of actress Molly Shannon and artist Fritz Chesnut
  • Nolan James Crosby (b. 2010)son of NFL player Mason Crosby
  • Nolan Kennedy Ward (b. 2010)son of ice hockey player Cam Ward
  • Nolan Luca (b. 2014)son of YouTuber britneyandbaby

Nolan in Pop Culture

  • Nolan Rosscharacter on TV's "Revenge"
  • Nolan Hotchkisscharacter in Sara Shepard's "The Perfectionists" and "The Good Girls"

Nolan in Nameberry Blog Posts