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WELSH NAMES: Beyond Gwyneth and Griffin

WELSH NAMES: Beyond Gwyneth and Griffin

 Because of its relatively small population, Wales has sent fewer immigrants to the US than Ireland and Scotland have–a mere 100,000 between 1820 and 1976–so that  Welsh names are not as well known here as the other Celts. Which is a shame, because  it’s a lilting, rhythmic language, offering lots of fresh and beguiling choices.

Like the Irish, the Welsh have only rediscovered some of the rich resources of their own language and culture in the past century. Ater the Welsh language was suppressed for hundreds of years, baby namers are now digging back into their native history and myth, traditional literature and legends for inspirational namesakes of ancient heroes, princes and other royalty, for example increasing the popularity of names like the mythological Rhiannon.

Unlike the Irish names, Welsh choices present far fewer pronunciation challenges–their spelling is much closer to phonetic. Also note that the yn ending is usually masculine (even though, for example, Gwyn might sound feminine to us), and the en ending, as in Gwen, is for the most part feminine.

Here, a selection of some rich Welsh possibilities:

GIRLS

ADWYNAELWENAERON/AERONAALYS
ANWENAURON (AYR-on)BEDELIA
BETHAN
BRANWEN
BRIALLEN
BRONWEN
BRYN (unisex)CERYSDELYTH/DILYSEIRA (AY-ra)ELERI (el-AYR-ee)ELEN/ELINENIDFFION, FFIONA
FFLUR (FLEER)–Welsh word for flower)GLADYS
GLENYS
GWENDOLENGWENNO (a nickname-name for Gwen names)GWYN/GWYNETHIOLA (YO-la)KENDALL (unisex)LLIO (LHEE-oh)LOWRI
MAIR
MARGED
MEGANMELERI (mel-AYR-ee)MYFANWY
NERYSNIA

NESTA
OLWEN
RHIANNON (ree-AHN-un)RHONWEN
SIAN (SHAN)–Welsh form of Jane
TEGANTELERI (the-AYR-ee)WINIFRED

BOYS

ALUN
ALWYNANEIRIN (an-EYE-rin)ARVELBEVAN/BEVINBRYNCADWELLENDAFYDD (DAY-veth)DEWI
DRYSTAN
DYLAN
ELIAN
ELLISSMYREVAN
GARETH
GRIFFIN
GRIFFITH
GWILYM (GWIL-um)GWYNHUW/HEW/HUGHIAON (ee-oo-an)IOLO (YOH-lo)JEVANKYNANLLEULLEWELLYN
LLOYD
MADDOX
MARCH
MORGAN
NYEPADRIG (PAHD-rig)PARRY
RHYSSIAM (SHAM)–Welsh form of James
SIARL (SHARL)–Welsh form of CharlesSIOR (SHOR)–Welsh form of George
SULIEN (SIL-yen)TALIESIN (tahl-YES-in)TEILO (TAY-lo)TUDORVAUGHAN

About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.