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Gender: Male Meaning of Tristan: "noise or sorrowful" Origin of Tristan: Celtic Tristan's Popularity in 2018: #123

Tristan Origin and Meaning

The name Tristan is a boy's name of Celtic origin meaning "noise or sorrowful".

Tristan -- known through medieval legend and Wagnerian opera -- has a slightly wistful, touching air. This, combined with the name's popular "an" ending, makes Tristan very appealing to parents seeking a more original alternative to Christian.

One influence was the character Tristan Ludlow played by Brad Pitt in the 1994 movie Legends of the Fall, based on a Jim Harrison novel.

Tristan is a dragon-slaying hero of Celtic legend, whose story was incorporated into Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, in which Tristan is one of the Knights of the Round Table, consumed by his doomed love affair with Queen Isolde. Wagner set the story to music in his opera Tristan und Isolde.

Tristan and its alternate form Tristram have been found in later lit as well. Tristram Shandy is a famous early comic novel by Laurence Sterne (in which the hero's father calls Tristram the worst name in the universe); Tristan is a major character in James Herriott's All Creatures Great and Small, and there is an eponymous novella by Thomas Mann.

Particularly popular in Canada, Tristan was chosen for their sons by Travis Tritt, Wayne Gretzky, Natasha Henstridge and, most recently, by Elsa Pataky and Chris Hemsworth. Basketball player Tristan Thompson hails from Canada.

Other variants of Tristan include Tristen, Tristin, Triston and Tristian.

16 names similar to Tristan

These 16 names were selected by our users that were looking for other names like Tristan. If you didn't find an alternative name that you like better than Tristan, try our name generator. It allows you to go beyond the similarities of a name, which can provide a lot of inspiration!

Find other names based on Tristan using our baby name generator.

Popularity

Rank in US: #123

- this week

Famous People Named Tristan

Pop Culture References for the name Tristan

Tristan's International Variations

Trystan (Welsh) Tristano (Italian)

Comments

paulapuddephatt Says:

2016-11-09T23:26:34

Love this name

Fluffykitten101 Says:

2016-08-05T17:51:35

I love the movie Stardust! I agree, I don't like the name for girls.

Deborah Payne Fogt Says:

2016-08-05T16:31:59

My younger son is named Tristan. It goes well with "Duncan", my older son's name. Tristan is named after the main character in Stardust. (In the movie he is Tristan, in the book Tristram. We chose the movie spelling because it is easier to say.)

I do not like that this name is being used for girls. It is absolutely and historically a male name.

iipostmvh Says:

2016-04-09T12:19:53

I hate to do this, as I don't like criticizing baby name choices and I am not opposed to most creative spellings, but be cautious of using the variant spelling TRYST - an/en. I understand that it sounds the same is Tristan, but the reality is TRYST is a word that I wouldn't want associated with my child.

JRTWM Says:

2016-04-09T06:00:37

My 10 yr old is Tristan and I love it, we have only come across maybe 1 or 2 other Tristans and he has yet to have a classmate with the same name. I got the name from Legends of the Fall, and the name was popular then around 1996. I'm surprised to see it rising again.
He is a smart, sensitive, energetic boy with an old soul. Fits him perfect.

hollyrose90 Says:

2016-03-21T22:44:02

As nice as the name sounds on its own, I could never name my son Tristan because of a character in a beloved book series, Tristan Steward, is a pompous and self centered bigot who simply can't stay in his wife's bed. Blech.

JazzDeSaturn Says:

2016-03-21T22:38:23

The name meaning is debated. Most believe the "noise" meaning is correct albeit grossly oversimplified. Tristan likely derives from the Welsh tumult or uproar and is most likely related to the "clanking of swords" as in the sound made by knights and warriors in battle (In Arthurian tales, Tristan is a knight of the round table). So after digging a little deeper, I found Tristan is just another knightly/warrior name, which is a very common meaning among boy names. I wouldn't dwell too much on the oversimplified noisy meaning. Don't take any meaning found on baby name sites as fact. It's worth doing your own research.

As for my opinion, Tristan is an old and beautiful name with modern appeal (Tristan goes in and out of the top 100 which makes it a real choice for parents who are looking for something familiar but not popular). It is definitely more modern than the original names its based on--Tristram or Trystram-- which admittedly have their own whimsical and medieval charm but are likely more suited to storytelling than baby naming in the 2010s. As for gender, Tristan is still a far cry from a true unisex name, but it's definitely not an overly masculine name and probably falls in the same camps as Jasper, Lucien/an, Milo, Rory, etc. So if you like a softer sounding boy name this name is a delight!

In the end, I would say if you don't have a negative association with the name, don't count this one out! It's a strong name!

SL Says:

2015-10-03T01:31:07

yes! Stardust is such a good book (and movie!)

FantasyandPrayer Says:

2015-09-08T23:26:14

I'm torn over this one- I know a Tristan I like and a Tristan I don't, which sadly puts me off what is otherwise a really nice name

headintheclouds Says:

2015-05-26T02:15:59

This is one of those very popular boy names that I actually really love and would consider using (probably just as a middle name)- the other boy name with a similar feel as Tristan, I feel, is Dylan. Both have deep roots in history and literature, while also fitting into the current boy name trends, and has a very accessible sound. Plus they're starting to be used increasingly on girls lately, a trend I absolutely hate.

I've met many, many little Tristans and Dylans over the years, and chances are, out of their sibling set, theirs is the only name I like (it's almost always something like Ayden, Jordyn, Hudson, and Dylan/Tristan).

indiefendi2 Says:

2015-03-26T05:14:02

I always thought this was a girls name tbh.

Rush1986 Says:

2015-03-02T18:17:03

I know a little Tristan and its a great name for him. He's the only one i have ever met with this name. While its not really my kind of name, i can see the appeal and i see no reason for it not to increase in popularity over the next 5 years.

Caroline Says:

2014-12-26T10:09:47

Unique.

PineWarrior Says:

2014-12-18T11:41:33

Reminds me of the legend of 'Tristan and Isolde' alongside with the character in 'Stardust'

jasminegarden Says:

2014-08-17T11:27:21

such a strong, masculine, romantic name, I love it!

TrystenKylie Says:

2014-08-14T23:21:19

We named our son "Trysten"

Sweekune Says:

2014-03-08T21:09:32

A masculine and European name. I love it and its history.