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 GIRL 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 GIRL NAME RYAN

Ryan made her debut on the American female naming charts in 1974 and quickly rose to impressive levels of moderation by the 1980s. No doubt Ryan’s success as a female name had a lot to do with what was happening on the masculine charts, but it was also influenced by a soap opera series called “Ryan’s Hope” (1975-1989). In the 1977 season a baby girl is named Ryan (and in real life, Ryan soared nearly 500 positions on the female charts between 1977 and 1978). Ryan became a very familiar name pretty quickly in the United States, and by the 1980s American parents were loosening their notions about gender-neutrality when it came to name selection. Especially for baby girls. A lot of parents like unisex sounding names for their daughters, and Ryan seems like a good fit. Even though other English-speaking nations use Ryan almost exclusively on boys, in America we’re familiar with it on either gender. Having said that, Ryan is still over 20 times more popular for the XY vs. the XX babies. In order to feminize the name up a bit, some parents will alter the spelling to Ryann.

Quick Facts

ON RYAN

GENDER:

Girl

ORIGIN:

Celtic

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

2

RANKING POPULARITY:

641

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