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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/AERONAALYSANWENAURON (AYR-on)BEDELIABETHANBRANWENBRIALLENBRONWENBRYN (unisex)CERYSDELYTH/DILYSEIRA (AY-ra)ELERI (el-AYR-ee)ELEN/ELINENIDFFION, FFIONAFFLUR (FLEER)–Welsh word for flower)GLADYSGLENYSGWENDOLENGWENNO (a nickname-name for Gwen names)GWYN/GWYNETHIOLA (YO-la)KENDALL (unisex)LLIO (LHEE-oh)LOWRIMAIRMARGEDMEGANMELERI (mel-AYR-ee)MYFANWYNERYSNIA

NESTAOLWENRHIANNON (ree-AHN-un)RHONWENSIAN (SHAN)–Welsh form of JaneTEGANTELERI (the-AYR-ee)WINIFRED

BOYS

ALUNALWYNANEIRIN (an-EYE-rin)ARVELBEVAN/BEVINBRYNCADWELLENDAFYDD (DAY-veth)DEWIDRYSTANDYLANELIANELLISSMYREVANGARETHGRIFFINGRIFFITHGWILYM (GWIL-um)GWYNHUW/HEW/HUGHIAON (ee-oo-an)IOLO (YOH-lo)JEVANKYNANLLEULLEWELLYNLLOYDMADDOXMARCHMORGANNYEPADRIG (PAHD-rig)PARRYRHYSSIAM (SHAM)–Welsh form of JamesSIARL (SHARL)–Welsh form of CharlesSIOR (SHOR)–Welsh form of GeorgeSULIEN (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.