The name Ian is a boy's name of Scottish origin meaning "the Lord is gracious". Ian is ranked #76 on our popularity charts and is often added to lists like Best Boy Names Starting with Vowels and discussed in our forums with posts like "A brother or sister for little Jack or Olivia".
From the experts:
This Scottish form of John was rather late making inroads on our shores--it was already the seventh most popular name in England in 1975. But then after being introduced to Americans by Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, it's been on a steady path in the Top 100 ever since, thanks to its jaunty charm. Today, Ian flies in formation with fellow classic British RAF pilot names, like Derek and Miles and Colin, all now certified U.S. citizens, packing considerable punch and panache into its three short letters. So though it may not be the newest name on the block, it's still a recommended choice.
Notable namesakes include actor Ian McKellan and novelist Ian McEwan. Actor Ian Ziering pronounces his name EYE-an, rather than the traditional EE-an.