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Alternatives to Ryan

Baby boy name you love but fear is overused? Here are some possible substitutes.
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FinnHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "fair or white"
  • Description:

    Finn is a name with enormous energy and charm, that of the greatest hero of Irish mythology, Finn MacCool (aka Fionn mac Cuumhaill), an intrepid warrior with mystical supernatural powers, noted as well for his wisdom and generosity.

KieranHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little dark one"
  • Description:

    Long popular in Ireland and England, Kieran, the name of Ireland's first-born saint and twenty-five other saints, has been building its U.S. fan base thanks to its strong and attractive sound, and its fashionable Irish brogue. While Ciaran is the more authentic Irish spelling, Kieran is more popular this side of the Atlantic.

DeclanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, meaning unknown, possible "man of prayer"
  • Meaning:

    "man of prayer"
  • Description:

    Declan is the Anglicized form of the Irish name Deaglán. St. Declan was one of the first missionaries to bring Christianity to Ireland, preceding St. Patrick. Originally from Wales, he founded the monastery of Ardmore in Ireland.

RyanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little king"
  • Description:

    Ryan’s use as a given name was inspired by the surname Ryan, a variation of the Irish O’Riain meaning "son of Rían." Rían is composed of the Irish-Gaelic elements , meaning "king" and an, a diminutive suffix. Ryan is considered a unisex name in the US, where variant spellings Ryann and Ryanne are also valid for girls.

GriffinHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh, variation of Griffith
  • Meaning:

    "strong lord"
  • Description:

    Griffin is one of the newer and most appealing of the two-syllable Celtic surnames. In English, griffin is the name of a mythological creature, half eagle, half lion. It re-entered the list in 1983 after an absence of 75+ years.
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KillianHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "church"
  • Description:

    Killian – aka Cillian – is a spirited yet resonant Gaelic name that was borne by several Irish saints and could make a distinctive replacement for the dated Kelly. Possible downsides: an unsavory first syllable and a connection to the trendy brew.

CormacHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "charioteer"
  • Description:

    Both offbeat and upbeat, this evocative traditional Irish name that runs through Celtic mythology is known here via award-winning novelist Cormac McCarthy (born Charles). The author's adopted name is related to Cormac Mac Airt, one of the great legendary high kings of Ireland.

SullivanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish surname
  • Meaning:

    "black-eyed one"
  • Description:

    Sullivan is a jaunty Celtic three-syllable name, with a real twinkle in its eye. It was immortalized in the 1930s classic film Sullivan's Travels and was chosen for one of Patrick Dempsey's twin boys. Nickname Sully is equally jaunty.

RileyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "courageous"
  • Description:

    Riley -- one of the most popular unisex names -- is rising faster now for girls than boys. Still, there are lots of athletes and other notable real-life namesakes for a boy named Riley, as well as fictional ones in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twilight: Eclipse.

BradyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "broad meadow or large-chested"
  • Description:

    The Irish name given to Miranda Hobbes's son on the dearly departed Sex and the City is a friendly and energetic choice. You well might want to make your son part of the Brady bunch.
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FinlayHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish and Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "fair-haired hero"
  • Description:

    Finlay is a formerly fusty Scottish royal name--it belonged to Macbeth's father, Finlay MacRory--or Findlaech mac Ruaidri--that has a bit of a split personality. It has two acceptable spellings--Finlay and Finley, the first more popular in its native Scotland, where it ranks Number 14, the second in the US. It is also becoming more and more unisex in the States, with the Finley spelling now split between girls and boys.

ConanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little wolf"
  • Description:

    The fierce image of the Barbarian made a complete turnaround thanks to amiable talk show host O'Brien, making Conan one of the newly desirable Irish choices, a perfect alternative to Conor/Connor.

BrennanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "descendent of the sad one"
  • Description:

    Brennan is a winning Irish surname name, more modern than Brian or Brendan, more unusual than Conor and Aidan. The only possible problem with Brennan: people might think you're saying Brendan.

RedmondHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish variation of Raymond
  • Meaning:

    "wise protector"
  • Description:

    We love this partly for purely personal reasons, since it is one of our surnames. We used it as the middle name of a son –and it can make a good first choice too. Redmond – also found as Reamann or Raemonn – is the Irish form of the Germanic name that occurs in modern English as Raymond.

DermotHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish, Anglicization of Diarmaid
  • Meaning:

    "free from envy"
  • Description:



    Dermot is an appealing, relatively undiscovered Irish mythological hero's name long popular in the Old Country, and imported into the American consciousness by actor Dermot Mulroney. We see it in the next Celtic wave following Connor and Liam.
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TierneyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "descendant of a lord"
  • Description:

    Tierney is a Celtic surname with a definite Irish twinkle, a name just waiting to be discovered. Though now sometimes used for girls (in the US, not Ireland), as in jazz singer Tierney Sutton, it still has plenty of masculine punch.

O'brienHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "descendant of Brian"
  • Description:

    The use of O-prefixes could create the next wave of Irish-inflected names, offering an innovative way of honoring a relative with the old-fashioned moniker Brian. On Downton Abbey, the surname O'Brien was heard so often, it began to seem like a first.