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Family name
Meaning Possibly "Church of John" or "strife"
Region of origin Ireland
Language(s) of origin Irish
Related names Ó Cillín, Cillian, Ceallach, Kilian, Killion, Killeen

Killian, as a given name, is an Anglicized version of the Irish name Cillian. One possible meaning for the name is "Church of John", cill meaning "church" and Ian being the Gaelic version of "John".[1] The Rev. Patrick Woulfe wrote that Cillian is the 'pet' diminutive of Ceallach which means "war" or "strife".[2]

Killian, as a surname, is found in both Ireland and Germany. Said to be derived from Saint Kilian, an Irish missionary to Germany in the 7th century, it was originally spelled Ó Cillín in Irish before being Anglicized into Killeen as well as Killian. Spelling variations for Killian include Kilian, Killion, and others.[3]

Notable people named Killian[edit]

Notable people named Kilian[edit]

  • Saint Kilian, an Irish missionary bishop and the apostle of Franconia
  • André Kilian, a German-born footballer currently playing for North Queensland Fury
  • Crawford Kilian, a Canadian novelist and a college professor
  • Hanns Kilian (1905–1981), a German bobsledder who competed from the late 1920s to the late 1930
  • John Kilian (1811–1884), a Lutheran pastor and leader of the colony known as the Wends of Texas
  • Michael Kilian (1939–2005), author and journalist primarily for the Chicago Tribune in Washington, D.C
  • Victor Kilian (1891–1979), an American actor blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio in the 1950s
  • Wiesław Kilian, a Polish politician
  • Kílian Jornet Burgada, a Catalan ski mountaineer, long-distance runner, mountain biker and duathlete

Notable people named Killion[edit]

Notable people named Cillian[edit]


  • Killian, Louisiana, a village in Livingston Parish
  • Miami Killian High School, a public high school located in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida
    • The Killian Nine, a group of students at Miami Killian High School who in February 1999 distributed a controversial satirical pamphlet named "First Amendment" and were arrested for it
  • Kilian Island, (also known as: Elvira Island) an uninhbaited island in the Qikiqtaaluk Region, Nunavut, Canada
  • St. Kilian's Deutsche Schule, (also known as 'St. Kilian's German School') a school situated in Clonskeagh, Dublin, Ireland

Other uses[edit]

  • Killian's Irish Red Beer, a lager brewed by Coors
  • The Killian documents controversy, referring to allegedly forged documents that were publicized during the 2004 US presidential campaign, re-opening the George W. Bush military service controversy, and raising charges of political bias or poor oversight at CBS News
  • Charles Killian, fictional character from the New Zealand kidult horror-fantasy series The Killian Curse
  • Captain Killian "Hook" Jones, a fictional character on the TV series Once Upon a Time


  1. ^ Johnson, Geoffrey (1999). O'baby : the Irish baby name book. New York: Berkley Books. ISBN 978-0-425-16818-9. 
  2. ^ Patrick Woulfe (1923). "Cillian". Irish Names and Surnames. Retrieved 28 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Killian Family Crest.