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Welsh Names Celebrate St David’s Day

Welsh Names Celebrate St David’s Day

Happy St David's Day! Dydd Gŵyl Dewi hapus! Let’s celebrate the patron saint of Wales with a fresh look at Welsh names.

Welsh baby names are treasures that sometimes get overshadowed by their Irish and Scottish neighbors. You definitely know a few — Megan, Dylan, Owen, Arthur — but there are so many more that are barely known outside Wales and the UK, but really should be.

Here, discover our guide to the best Welsh names for every style.

It leans towards more anglo-friendly spellings and pronunciations so they’ll sound great whether you’re in Cardiff or Chicago. (But if names like Lleucu and Wmffre make your heart sing, then all power to you!)

Top Baby Names in Wales

The most popular names in Wales are broadly similar to those in England: the Top 10 includes Olivia, Amelia, and Isla; Noah, Arthur, and Oliver.

But about one fifth of the names in Wales's Top 100 are not shared with England. Most of these are of Welsh origin, or adapted to the Welsh language. The following names were in the Top 100 baby names in Wales, but not England, in 2021:

Popular Welsh Names

Most of the familiar Welsh names in the USA follow the “two syllables ending in N” template that Welsh does very well: Owen, Dylan, Evan, Gavin, Tristan, Griffin, Megan, Morgan.

Other well-known Welsh names come from history and legend, like Arthur, Rhys, and Guinevere, and from patronymic surnames, like Bowen and Davis. International superstar Kai counts Welsh among its many roots: he’s Sir Kay of the Round Table, but in Wales today the most common spelling is Cai.

Here are some of the best-known — and highly usable — Welsh names in the USA:

Cool Welsh Names

These names are just as Welsh but much less known Stateside — but they really should be, because they fit perfectly with today's trends.

They include last names as first names (could Evans be the next Banks?), and fresh twists on classics, like Arthen instead of Arthur. Many are simple and streamlined with a consonant at the end, or have sounds that are currently popular, such as Eira, which echoes names like Ayla and Aurelia.

Cute Welsh Names

Like your names short and sweet? Like the rest of Britain, many Welsh parents love using nicknames as full names, whether they’re “native” ones like Iolo, or respellings of English nicknames, like Loti (Lottie). Also in this style are full mini-names, like Huw, and sweet vintage options like Dilys.

Romantic Welsh names

Wales has rich traditions of literature, legend and song, way beyond just King Arthur, and a cast of colorfully-named characters to go with it. Here’s a selection of names from history and fiction with a romantic, fanciful feel.

Welsh Word and Nature Names

In Wales just as elsewhere, there has been a boom in names from nature and other vocabulary words in the last few decades, many of them unisex, as parents look beyond traditional sources for fresh inspiration. Here are some that are ready to travel further afield.

Aderyn “bird”

Awen “muse, inspiration”

Bleddyn “wolf”

Brenin “king”

Briallen “primrose”

Bryn “hill”

Cariad “darling”

Celyn “holly”

Eira “snow”

Enfys “rainbow”

Eos “nightingale”

Ffion “foxglove”

Glyn “valley”

Hefin “summer”

Lili “lily”

Medi “September, reaping”

Rhosyn “rose”

Seren “star”

Swyn “charm, spell”

Taran “thunder”

For more ideas, read our full list of Welsh names.

About the Author

Clare Green

Clare Green

Clare Green has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, covering everything from names peaking right now to feminist baby names, and keeping up-to-date with international baby name rankings. Her work has featured in publications such as The Independent and HuffPost. Clare has a background in linguistics and librarianship, and recently completed an MA dissertation researching names in multilingual families. She lives in England with her husband and son. You can reach her at clare@nameberry.com