Welsh names have attracted new interest in recent years, both within Wales and beyond. Some Welsh baby names are being newly discovered by parents throughout the English-speaking world, with choices such as Bryn, Owen, Maddox, Dylan, and Evan climbing the international popularity lists.
Welsh girl names in the US Top 1000 include Brynn, Gwendolyn, Morgan, Reese, and Tegan. Welsh boy names that rank among the US Top 1000 include Dawson, Ellis, Evan, Maddox, and Owen. In Wales, popular names include Megan, Meredith, Dylan, and Rhys.
In Lord of the Rings, the Welsh girls' name Arwen sparked a fashion for wen-ending names, while previously unknown Welsh baby names such as Carys, Seren, and Bowen are achieving more widespread use. A beautiful yet tiny country, Wales has its own distinctive language and culture and a lovely roster of its own baby names.
Description:This Celtic goddess and Arthurian name may sound terminally old-ladyish to many ears--but so did names like Ella and Etta not so long ago. So Enid is yet another forgotten four-letter E-possibility: she's has been M.I.A since 1954.
Meaning:"young warrior; well-born"
Description:Owen was derived from two names—the Welsh Owain and the Celtic Eoghan. Each are connected to Eugene, which ultimately came from the Greek word eugenes, comprised of the elements eu, meaning good, and genes, “born.” Owen became a Welsh patronymic surname during the Renaissance. The legendary St. Owen was a Benedictine monk who was a follower of St. Chad.
Origin:English surname derived from Elijah or Elias or Welsh
Description:Ellis is one of the less used names in the currently popular El-family. It is a popular Welsh name in its own right, sometimes spelled Elis, and also an English surname derived Elijah, by way of the Greek Elias.
Meaning:"son of the sea"
Description:Dylan was derived of the Welsh components dy and llanw, meaning "sea." In Welsh mythology, Dylan was a legendary sea god who prompted all the waters of Britain and Ireland to weep when he died. The name came to prominence via the great Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, whose name Bob Dylan adopted in tribute.
Description:Now that Tristan has been rediscovered, maybe it's time for his fabled lover in the Arthurian romances and Wagnerian opera, a beautiful Irish princess, to be brought back into the light as well.
Description:There's Rhys and there's Reese (now more popular for girls) and there's Reece, and we particularly like the traditional Welsh spelling, which entered the list in 2004, possibly influenced by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, of The Tudors, and Welsh-born actor Rhys Ifans.
Description:One of the few remaining unrestored vintage gems, with a choice of two winning nicknames--the girlish Winnie and the tomboyish Freddie--as well as the slight stretch Freda. Winifred, the name of a legendary Welsh saint, was a Top 200 name into the mid-1920's.
Meaning:"white shadow, white wave"
Description:Guinevere was the name of the beautiful but ill-fated queen of Camelot, for so many years eclipsed by its modern Cornish form Jennifer. Today, Guinevere could be a cool possibility for adventurous parents intrigued by this richly evocative and romantic choice.
Origin:Welsh diminutive of Margaret
Description:Megan originally evolved from Meg, which itself derived as a nickname for Margaret. Margaret ultimately comes from the Greek word margarites, meaning "pearl." Megan is no longer a common nickname for Margaret—it is most often used as a full name. Other spellings include Meghan, Meagan, Megyn, and Meaghan.
Description:Arwen is well known as princess of the Elves in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. The author took inspiration from Welsh for many of his character names, and indeed Arwen and its masculine counterpart Arwyn do have a modest history of use as legitimate Welsh names, deriving from the -wyn suffix ("fair, blessed") plus an intensifying prefix.
Description:A name of multiple identities: a somewhat soap-operatic single-syllable surname, a homonym for the biblical bad boy Cain, and, when found in Japan and Hawaii, it transforms into the two syllable KA-neh. Kane also has multiple meanings: in Welsh, it's "beautiful"; in Japanese, "golden"; and in Hawaiian, "man of the Eastern sky."
Description:This Welsh nature name that can be pronounced exactly like the male Ira. Or, to avoid confusion, you could just name her Snow.
Origin:English, diminutive of Jennifer
Meaning:"white shadow, white wave"
Description:Jenna was first noted on the 1980s TV series Dallas, later associated with one of the First Twin Daughters. Jenna is still being used, but no longer feels much fresher than Jennifer. You can also spell it Jena, but then many people will pronounce it jeen-a, as in Gina.
Origin:Spelling variation of Bryn, Welsh
Description:Brynn outshines the original Welsh Bryn in the popularity stakes. This simple, brisk name might be seen as a combination of Bree and Lynn, an androgynous-sounding choice that especially in this spelling is not truly unisex: Brynn, for boys, is not even in the Top 1000.
Description:Common name in Wales that's all but unknown in the U.S. Certainly an attractive choice ripe for export. In the UK it sits at Number 330.
Origin:Variation of Gwendolen, Welsh
Description:One spelling variation that's more popular than the original, this somewhat old-fashioned name might be in honor of poet Gwendolyn Brooks, the first African-American to win a Pulitzer prize for poetry, or may be a way to get to the modern short form Gwen.
Origin:Diminutive of Gwendolen/Gwendolyn
Description:While Gwen may have originated as a short form of Gwendolen and Gwendolyn, these days it frequently stands on its own. Rocker Gwen Stefani has given it a shot of cool, and parents are choosing it as a standalone more and more often—Gwen hopped back onto the US Top 1000 in 2013 after an absence of over 30 years. Gwen could also be short for Guinevere.
Meaning:"white spear or famous friend"
Description:A fabled storybook name via the heroine of Sir Walter Scott's novel Ivanhoe (1819), which featured a heroine called Rowena of Hargottstanstede, and also a Harry Potter name, as Rowena Ravenclaw, founder of one of the Hogwarts houses.. Rowena has some old-fashioned charm, though most modern parents seem to prefer Rowen. Pronunciation, however, is NOT like Rowen with an a at the end, but with a long e and an emphasis on the middle syllable.. She was on the popularity list until 1963, several years in the Top 500.
Origin:Welsh, variation of Llywelyn
Description:Llewellyn/Llywelyn is a common patriotic first name in Wales, with its distinctive Welsh double LL's; in the U.S. Llewellyn would make a daring choice, though with the chance that some might find the ellen sound slightly feminine.
Origin:Welsh variation of John
Meaning:"the Lord is gracious"
Description:Evan was derived from Iefan, a Welsh version of John. John is ultimately a derivative of the Hebrew name Yochanan, comprised of the elements yo, meaning “God” and chanan, “to be gracious.” Evan is actually a Hebrew word itself, meaning “rock.”