Menu

The Top Scottish Names You Never Hear

November 30, 2020 Emma Waterhouse
top scottish names

Top Scottish names known the world over include Logan and Lewis, Isla and Isobel. But there are many more uniquely Scottish baby names which are popular in their native land, but little known elsewhere.

In honor of St Andrew’s Day, we take a look at the top Scottish names in Scotland by the numbers. Which are you most excited to see make the list?

Scottish Names: What Qualifies?

Trying to isolate specifically Scottish names is made challenging by their proximity to many Irish names.

Lots of Gaelic names, like Angus and Fionnuala, have been used in both Ireland and Scotland since the early Middle Ages. Some have a specific Scots Gaelic form, such as Scottish Callum vs Irish Colm, or Seonaid vs Sinead. Other Irish names, such as Ryan and Orla, have seen only relatively recent usage in Scotland.

To further complicate things, there are names which are native to other countries that have proved particularly popular in Scotland. Janet, Flora, Esme, Hector, Archibald and Magnus are all names that feel typically Scottish, even though they aren’t indigenous.

And on the flipside, there are also names like Annabel and Elsie, Carson and Jamie that feel English – even though they started life in Scotland.

Here, we are defining Scottish names as those which originated in Scotland, derive from Scottish topography, or are Gaelic names which have been used in Scotland since at least the 12th century.

Below is a list of all the indigenous Scottish names in the Scottish Top 500 for 2019. Names with the same ranking had the same number of births.

Top Scottish Names for Girls

The top Scottish girl name in Scotland is Isla, also well used in its “proper” geographical spelling Islay (#248). Other Scottish island names popular in Scotland include Ailsa, Iona, Rona, Skye and Vaila.

See our full list of Scottish girl names for even more beautiful options below the Top 500 in Scotland, like Ailish, Greer, Ishbel and Marsaili.

Isla (#3)

Eilidh (#22)

Maisie (#26)

Skye (#42)

Bonnie (#56)

Lexi (#69)

Iona (#70)

Elsie (#71)

Mirren (#85)

Ailsa (#100)

Alba (#107)

Arabella (#117)

Isobel (#164)

Blair (#216)

Mairi (#267)

Murron (#267)

Annabel (#286)

Morven (#286)

Vaila (#286)

Breagha (#322)

Una (#322)

Elspeth (#376)

Catriona (#406)

Rona (#406)

Kirsty (#493)

Mackenzie (#493)

Top Scottish Names for Boys

The top Scottish boy name in Scotland is also an island name: Harris. Other popular picks inspired by Scotland’s unique geography include Angus, Arran, Cairn, Innes and Struan – a fashionable choice from the Scottish Gaelic struthan “little stream”.

Because there are so many great options in the Scottish Top 500 for boys, we’ve omitted those Scottish names that feel most “expected” in the US, such as Cameron, Ian, Kyle and Scott.

See our full list of Scottish boy names for even more cool choices below the Top 500 in Scotland, like Auley, Cormac, Laith and Thorfinn.

Harris (#5)

Lewis (#6)

Rory (#10)

Brodie (#18)

Finlay (#21)

Finn (#21)

Jamie (#40)

Callum (#41)

Angus (#52)

Hamish (#60)

Arran (#62)

Blair (#66)

Fraser (#79)

Innes (#83)

Murray (#85)

Lachlan (#101)

Struan (#107)

Lyle (#113)

Euan (#125)

Fergus (#136)

Gregor (#187)

Ross (#189)

Maxwell (#194)

Alasdair (#204)

Kerr (#204)

Campbell (#219)

Douglas (#233)

Mac (#233)

Murdo (#233)

Lennox (#244)

Duncan (#258)

Cailean (#296)

Munro (#296)

Malcolm (#320)

Alec (#334)

Nairn (#334)

Cairn (#355)

Stewart (#355)

Blaine (#394)

Kenzie (#394)

Tate (#394)

Gordon (#431)

Lockie (#431)

Ramsay (#431)

Sandy (#431)

Barclay (#464)

Grant (#464)

Niven (#464)

Ritchie (#464)

With thanks to Eleanor Nickerson of British Baby Names, from whose original research this post has been adapted.

About the author

Emma Waterhouse

Emma Waterhouse — better known as @katinka around these parts — joined the team in 2017, writing about everything from where to find a cool vintage boy name to why some names become popular memes. As Nameberry's head moderator, she also helps to keep our active Forums community ticking. A linguist by background, Emma speaks six languages and lives in England's smallest county with her husband and three young children. You can reach her at emma@nameberry.com.

View all of Emma Waterhouse's articles

Comments

No Comments “The Top Scottish Names You Never Hear”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.