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For other uses, see Erin (disambiguation).
Topography Ireland.jpg
A topographic map of Ireland, after which Erin is named
Pronunciation /ˈɛrɪn/
Gender Mainly Female
Word/name Hiberno-English derivative of Irish “Éirinn”
Meaning Ireland (West), green water,
Region of origin Gaelic & Celtic
Other names
Related names Ehrynn, Erinn, Eryn, Erynn, Iorn
Popularity see popular names

Erin is a Hiberno-English derivative of the Irish word "Éirinn". "Éirinn" is the dative case of the Irish word for Ireland - "Éire", genitive "Éireann". The dative form is the one usually used in spoken Irish where the written language would require the nominative "Éire".[1] Poets and nineteenth-century Irish nationalists used Erin in English as a romantic name for Ireland.[2] In this context, along with Hibernia, Erin is the name given to the female personification of Ireland, but the name was rarely used as a given name, probably because no saints, queens, or literary figures were ever called Erin.[3]

According to Irish mythology and folklore, the name was originally given to the island by the Milesians after the goddess Ériu.

Erin go bragh ("Éirinn go brách" in standard orthography), a slogan dating from the 1798 revolution, is often translated as "Ireland forever". The etymology of the word as it drifted throughout the Gaelic region gave rise to its use by the early Scots to both mean Ireland and "west" - as Ireland lies to the west of Scotland.[4]

Usage as a given or family name[edit]

As a given name, Erin is used for both sexes, although, given its origins, it is principally used as a feminine forename. It first became a popular given name in the United States.[3] Erin is also a name for Ireland in Welsh, and is one of the 20 most popular girls' names in Wales.[5]

As a family name, Erin has been used as one of the many spellings of the name of the Scottish clan "Irwin" - which was involved in the Scottish Plantations of Ireland.[6] However, their name was originally derived from the place of the same name near Dumfries, and means "green water", from Brittonic ir afon.[7][8]


  1. ^ Behind the Name: Meaning, Origin and History of the Name Erin
  2. ^ Text of "Let Erin Remember"
  3. ^ a b Osborn, Susan (1999). What's in a Name? (illustrated ed.). Simon and Schuster. p. 250. ISBN 978-0671025557. Retrieved 2013-08-06. 
  4. ^ The Book of Irvings (1907) by John Beaufin Irving
  5. ^ Welsh names for children
  6. ^ Clan Irwin Association
  7. ^ Scottish Surname Meanings & History
  8. ^ Behind the Name: Search Results