Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Ryan

This classic Irish masculine name comes from the clan name O’Riain (descendent of Rían). Pronounced “ree-an” in Gaelic, the name comes from the Irish-Gaelic “Rí” meaning “king” together with the diminutive suffix “-an” supplies Ryan with its full etymological meaning: “little king”. There is some dispute; however, other sources claim that the clan name may be derived from the Gaelic meaning “little red one”. In ancient Ireland the name may have been bestowed in order to imply some type of “royal” stature within the chiefdoms or clans. The surname may find one of its roots in a 10th century Irish King Rían of a territory in South Leinster; the clan name was later anglicized to Ryan and the surname is still quite popular in Ireland today (especially in the cities of Carlow, Tipperary and Limerick). The family motto states: “"I would rather die than be disgraced" which is pretty honorable stuff if you ask us. As a forename, Ryan has the distinction of being one of the few surnames that has become more popular as a first name today. The name Ryan is considered unisex in the United States, but elsewhere in the English speaking world Ryan is distinctly masculine. Ryan is ultra-popular in the Gaelic-influenced nations of Northern Ireland, Ireland and Scotland where it’s ranked inside the Top 10 most favorite boy names. As a boy’s name, it’s also highly ranked in Canada (#13), Australia (#23), the United States (#25), England (#30) and the Netherlands (#41). Remarkably, Ryan is also ranked at position #100 in France. Only the Irish male names Aidan/Aiden and Liam can claim such widespread and consistent popular usage of a name throughout the English-speaking world.

All About the Baby Name – Ryan

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME RYAN

The Master Number Twenty-Two combines the traits of Twos and Fours into a powerful force. The references to The Master Builder and "large undertakings" serve to underscore the massive potential of this personality. They are extremely capable and therefore almost always successful. Twenty-Twos are courageous leaders, innovative thinkers, extremely wise and highly organized. As such, they are able to manifest something of major importance that will have a lasting impact on this world. Master Numbers carry with them a great sense of responsibility, so it can be a burden. However, Twenty-Twos are executors and action-takers. Further, this personality exhibits traits of the Twos, which brings sensitivity, spirituality and harmony, so their endeavors are likely to benefit mankind in some capacity.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME RYAN

For boys, Ryan is one of the most successful modern-day names of Irish origin in the United States. Although the name dates back to at least the Middle Ages in Ireland, Americans didn’t begin to embrace Ryan until the 1940s. First appearing on the masculine naming charts in 1946, it only took Ryan less than 30 years to achieve Top 25 status in America. This is actually quite remarkable for a brand new name! Not only that, but Ryan has maintained his Top 25 positioning for going on 40 consecutive years. His best years ever on the list were 1986, 1990 and 1991 when Ryan was the 11th most commonly used boy’s name in the country. Still a favorite for boys, Ryan has stepped aside some in order to let a few Irish brothers join him at the apex. Aidan, Liam, Braden and Connor are other masculine darlings hailing from the Emerald Isle. Not to mention the staples Patrick, Sean and Brian. There are also some Irish sleepers finding their way up the charts: Nolan, Oscar and Donovan. Ryan is a likable name, friendly and approachable. Not to mention a lot of parents absolutely adore the name’s etymology: “little king”. Too charming for words.

Quick Facts

ON RYAN

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

Celtic

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

30

PRONUNCIATION:

RYE-әn

SIMPLE MEANING:

Little king

Characteristics

OF RYAN

The Master Builder

Leader

Large Undertakings

Confidence

Discipline

Organization

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Ryan

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME RYAN

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

Popular Songs

ON RYAN

Nolan Ryan (He's A Hero To Us All)
a song by Jerry Jeff Walker

Famous People

NAMED RYAN

Ryan Seacrest (entertainer)
Ryan Phillippe (actor)
Ryan O'Neal (actor)
Ryan Gosling (actor)
Ryan Reynolds (actor)
Ryan Braun (baseball player)
Ryan Cabrera (pop-singer)
Ryan Dunn (reality TV from the Jackass series)
Ryan Getzlaf (hockey player)
Ryan Howard (baseball player)
Ryan Kalish (baseball player)
Ryan Newman (NASCAR)
Ryan Newman (actress)
Ryan Roberts (baseball player)
Ryan Sheckler (skateboarder)
Ryan White (AIDS activist)
Ryan Seacrest (entertainer)
Ryan Phillippe (actor)
Ryan O'Neal (actor)
Ryan Gosling (actor)
Ryan Reynolds (actor)
Ryan Braun (baseball player)
Ryan Cabrera (pop-singer)
Ryan Dunn (reality TV from the Jackass series)
Ryan Getzlaf (hockey player)
Ryan Howard (baseball player)
Ryan Kalish (baseball player)
Ryan Newman (NASCAR)
Ryan Newman (actress)
Ryan Roberts (baseball player)
Ryan Sheckler (skateboarder)
Ryan White (AIDS activist)
Ryan Seacrest (entertainer)
Ryan Phillippe (actor)
Ryan O'Neal (actor)
Ryan Gosling (actor)
Ryan Reynolds (actor)
Ryan Braun (baseball player)
Ryan Cabrera (pop-singer)
Ryan Dunn (reality TV from the Jackass series)
Ryan Getzlaf (hockey player)
Ryan Howard (baseball player)
Ryan Kalish (baseball player)
Ryan Newman (NASCAR)
Ryan Newman (actress)
Ryan Roberts (baseball player)
Ryan Sheckler (skateboarder)
Ryan White (AIDS activist)

Children of Famous People

NAMED RYAN

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

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME RYAN

We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Ryan