Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Dylan

Dylan’s etymology is not certain but it’s believed to be connected to an old Welsh noun meaning “the sea”, perhaps from the elements “dy” (great) and “llanw” (tide, flow). Dylan is a figure in Welsh/Celtic mythology known as Dylan Eil Ton (Dylan, son of the wave). According to Celtic legend, Māth, King of Gwynedd, could only remain alive if his feet lay in the lap of a virgin (unless he was called to war). The fairest maiden of all the land, Goewin, became his so called foot-holder. One of Māth’s nephews, Gilvaethwy, desired the beautiful virgin and so, along with his brother Gwydion, conspired to start a war with a neighboring kingdom which forced Māth away to battle. In his absence, Gilvaethwy took the girl’s virginity against her will. When Māth returned and saw his nephews’ betrayal, he at once turned both Gilvaethwy and Gwydion into a series of mating animals (first deer, then swine and finally wolves). The punishment lasted for three years until their humanity was once again restored. In the meantime, the king needed a new virginal lap upon which he could rest his feet. Now on good terms with his uncle, Gwydion suggested Māth take his sister Arianrod; but when Arianrod is put to Māth’s magical “virgin” test, she failed when a baby dropped from her womb. This baby, a son, was given the name Dylan at his baptism when he at once “plunged into the sea and swam as well as the best fish that was therein… Beneath him no wave ever broke.” Henceforth Dylan became a sea-deity of sorts in Celtic legend and when he was later killed by a spear at the hand of his unwitting uncle, Govannon, it was said that all the waves of Britain and Ireland wept for him. And so this is how Dylan came to be called “Son of the Wave”. The name, most notably, has been held by the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914-1953). It remains a hugely popular name in Wales still (where it’s pronounced DUL-an), and other English speaking nations have embraced Dylan likewise – it’s a Top 20 favorite in Ireland, Northern Ireland, England and Scotland. Dylan is also a Top 50 in the United States, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands, not to mention a Top 100 in France, Belgium and Chile. What do all of these countries have in common? Why, they all border “the sea”! Incidentally, the United States is the only country that uses Dylan as a girl’s name (although it remains more heavily used on baby boys).

All About the Baby Name – Dylan

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME DYLAN

The Number 2 personality in numerology is all about cooperation and balance. It's the number of diplomats and mediators. They are not leaders, but strive rather for harmony in partnerships. These are the peacemakers. Equality and fairness are important in their dealings, and they are willing to share power and responsibility to achieve a harmonious outcome. This personality is calm and patient, waiting for things to evolve instead of pushing aggressively for an outcome. They are good-natured and easy-going, and care deeply on an emotional and spiritual plane. Twos appreciate beauty and nature and are intent on making the world a better place.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME DYLAN

The name Dylan is considered suitable for either sex in America; although it’s much more common as a boy’s name. For baby boys, Dylan first appeared on the U.S. charts in 1966, and since then, it has slowly and quietly climbed the charts to levels of great success. For girls, the name Dylan came into use in 1993, but has not shown any substantial usage when compared to her male counterpart. In the United States, parents are twenty-times more likely to give the name Dylan to a boy than to a girl. The musician Bob Dylan (born Robert Zimmerman) who came into the forefront of the American music scene in 1965 probably had something to do with the use of Dylan as a masculine given name starting in 1966. The famous folksinger has acknowledged in interviews that his name change was inspired by his appreciation for the poetry of Dylan Thomas. Further, the name Dylan jumped in popularity for boys during the 1990’s thanks to another pop-culture influence: the wildly popular teenage drama series “Beverly Hills: 90210” (Dylan McKay was the brooding, handsome one). Lastly, names with Celtic roots continue to be popular with Americans, so this is another reason for its success.

Quick Facts

ON DYLAN

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

Celtic

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

28

PRONUNCIATION:

DILL-in

SIMPLE MEANING:

The sea

Characteristics

OF DYLAN

Cooperative

Considerate

Compassionate

Nurturing

Sensitive

Patient

Loving

Kind

Gracious

Balanced

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Dylan

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME DYLAN

We cannot find any significant literary characters by the name of Dylan

Popular Songs

ON DYLAN

Song for Bob Dylan
a song by David Bowie

Like Dylan in the Movies
a song by Belle and Sebastian

Dylan Thomas Days
a song by The Gathering Field

Dylan
a song by Throwing Muses

Bob Dylan Blues
a song by Syd Barrett

Famous People

NAMED DYLAN

Dylan McDermott (actor)
Dylan Thomas (poet)
Dylan Sprouse (child actor)
Dylan McDermott (actor)
Dylan Thomas (poet)
Dylan Sprouse (child actor)
Dylan McDermott (actor)
Dylan Thomas (poet)
Dylan Sprouse (child actor)

Children of Famous People

NAMED DYLAN

We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Dylan

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME DYLAN

One of the best known poets of the twentieth century, Dylan Thomas hailed from a seaside port in Wales. He started publishing poetry at the age of 20 and instantly received critical acclaim. As his popularity grew in Britain, he was invited to the United States for a series of readings. Thomas became legendary in the United States, and gained a large following. Nevertheless, his last years were shadowed by an increasingly tragic view of his own darkly tempestuous life. After a particularly long alcohol binge, Thomas died in New York in 1953. He was only 39 years old. Although his life was short, Thomas made a deep impression and his poems are immortal. The last two lines of Dylan Thomas’ most famous poem “Do not go gentle into that good night” (written not long before his own death) read: "Do not go gentle into that good night. / Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

One of the best known poets of the twentieth century, Dylan Thomas hailed from a seaside port in Wales. He started publishing poetry at the age of 20 and instantly received critical acclaim. As his popularity grew in Britain, he was invited to the United States for a series of readings. Thomas became legendary in the United States, and gained a large following. Nevertheless, his last years were shadowed by an increasingly tragic view of his own darkly tempestuous life. After a particularly long alcohol binge, Thomas died in New York in 1953. He was only 39 years old. Although his life was short, Thomas made a deep impression and his poems are immortal. The last two lines of Dylan Thomas’ most famous poem “Do not go gentle into that good night” (written not long before his own death) read: "Do not go gentle into that good night. / Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

One of the best known poets of the twentieth century, Dylan Thomas hailed from a seaside port in Wales. He started publishing poetry at the age of 20 and instantly received critical acclaim. As his popularity grew in Britain, he was invited to the United States for a series of readings. Thomas became legendary in the United States, and gained a large following. Nevertheless, his last years were shadowed by an increasingly tragic view of his own darkly tempestuous life. After a particularly long alcohol binge, Thomas died in New York in 1953. He was only 39 years old. Although his life was short, Thomas made a deep impression and his poems are immortal. The last two lines of Dylan Thomas’ most famous poem “Do not go gentle into that good night” (written not long before his own death) read: "Do not go gentle into that good night / Rage, rage against the dying of the light."