Owain (Welsh pronunciation: [ˈoːwain]) is a name of Welsh origin, apparently corresponding (along with Iwan) to Irish "Eoghan". There is more than one proposed etymology for this name. Several etymologists consider it to be cognate with Eugene meaning noble-born. However, the encyclopedia Irish Names disputes the connection with Eugene and derives the name from Old Irish Eógan, meaning "born of the yew". An alternative but less likely origin of the name is Proto-Celtic "Esugenos", meaning "engendered of Esos".
Owain is one of the few Welsh names to be consistently popular over the last 100 years in England and Wales, particularly with the spelling Owen. Other variants of the name Owain include Ewein, Iguein, Owein, Ouein, Ywein, Ywain, Yuein, and Yvain. Owain has also been Latinized as "Oenus" and as "Audoenus", which itself evolved into another variant Audoen. Patronymics include "Bowen" (from "[a]b Owain") and Owens. The name Ednywain (along with variants Ednywein, Ednowain, and Ednywen) is associated with Owain, and "appears to be a name constructed by a reshuffle of the naming elements, i.e. taking 'Edn'- from 'Ednyfed' and putting it before 'Owain'".
People with the name Owain include:
- Owain mab Urien (d. circa 595), son of Urien, king of Rheged c. 590 AD, and fought with his father against the Angles of Bernicia. He is remembered as Sir Ywain in Arthurian legend
- Owain Gwynedd (c. 1100–1170), aka "Owain ap Gruffydd", considered most successful of all the north Welsh princes prior to his grandson, Llywelyn the Great
- Owain Cyfeiliog (c. 1130 - 1197), prince of part of Powys and a notable poet
- Owain Goch ap Gruffydd (in English, "Owain the Red") (died c. 1280), brother of Llywelyn the Last of Gwynedd
- Owain Owain, one of the founders of The Welsh Language Society; poet, writer, philosopher
- Owain Lawgoch (in English "Owain of the Red Hand", full name Owain ap Thomas ap Rhodri) (c.1330 - 1378), great-nephew of Llywelyn the Last and claimant to the throne of Wales
- Owain Glyndŵr, sometimes anglicised as Owen Glendower (1359–c. 1416), last Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales, and descendant of the princes of Powys
- Owain Ddantgwyn, Prince of North Wales, proposed as possible candidate for the "real" King Arthur
- Owain of Strathclyde (disambiguation), the name of several kings of Strathclyde
- Owain Yeoman, Welsh actor, currently Starring on The Mentalist
- Owain Quinlan, Rugby player, currently playing for Crescent College and Bruff RFC, and part-owner of Monkey frog
- Owen (anglicised form of the name)
- Morgan, T.J. and Morgan, Prys, Welsh Surnames, University of Wales, 1985, Owain (Owen, Bowen, Ednowain). According to T.J. Morgan in Welsh Surnames (pp. 172/173) the name is a derivation of the Latin "Eugenis" > [Old Welsh] Ou(u)ein, Eug(u)ein … "variously written in [Middle Welsh] as Ewein, Owein, Ywein. LL gives the names Euguen, Iguein, Yuein, Ouein. The corresponding form in Irish is Eoghan." Morgan notes that there are less likely alternative explanations and agrees with Dr. Rachel Bromwich that Welsh "Owein" "is normally latinized as Eugenius," and both the Welsh and Irish forms are Latin derivatives. Additionally, another latinized variations of the name Owain is "Audoenus" in certain parish registers
- Surnames of the United Kingdom, reprinted for Clearfield Company, INC by Genealogical Publishing Co. INC, Baltimore 1995, 1996. Surnames of the United Kingdom notes that the most likely and widely accepted origin of Owain (along with Irish Gaelic Eoghan, and Scottish Gaelic Eoghann) is Latin Eugenius. Cormic gives this origin for Eogan (one MS, Eogen); and Zimmer considers Owen to be borrowed from Latin "Eugens", as noted by MacBain, p. 400. The mediaeval Latinization of Owen as "Oenus" led to a belief that the etymology was the Welsh and Breton "oen" (lamb). With much stronger reason it was at one tme considered that the name represented Irish "eoghunn" = Gael. Ogan- [f. Old Irish oc- Welsh og, young], "youth".
- Ó Corráin, Donnchadh agus Maguire, Fidelma. Irish Names (1981, 1990). 87-88.
- "Common Welsh Boys Names". Retrieved 1 June 2012.
- In the Welsh language, "ap" (derived from old Welsh "map") means "son of".