Ryan (given name)

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For other uses, see Ryan.
Pronunciation /ˈrən/ RY-ən
Gender Male
  • English
  • Arabic
  • Persian
  • Ryan (English)
  • Rayyan (Arabic)
  • Ray (Old Persian)
Other names
See also Ó Riain, Rían

Ryan is a given name in English. It originates from the surname Ryan, which is an Anglicised form of the Irish Ó Riain.[1]

Some sources suggest Rían/Ryan means "little king",[2] although its actual etymology is unknown.

Ryan or Rayan (Ar Rayyan) is an Arabic name as well. Rayyan is an indirect Quranic name for both boys and girls. According to hadith, it is one of the "gates of paradise" dedicated to those who fasted often in their lives.

It is also similar to the Persian male given name Rayan (Persian pronunciation: [raɪan]), meaning "wise", which derives from the Old Persian etymon ray, meaning "reason" and "wisdom".[3]



For Ireland, information is available for 2005 and 2006, which shows a popularity rank of 10th and 14th, respectively, for use of "Ryan" as a male given name for newborn children.[4]

United Kingdom

In Scotland of the 1990s, "Ryan" was the most popular forename of the decade; this popularity is recent, as "Ryan" apparently was not in use in 1900, ranked between 100 and 250 in 1950, and appears at rank 64 in 1975.[5] In Northern Ireland, "Ryan" appeared among the top-five most commonly selected male names for newborns in 2000–2003, but did not appear among the top-ten in 1975.[6] In England and Wales, data for 2003–2007 is available, which suggest somewhat less popularity of "Ryan" than in other parts of the UK, having a rank of 21 in 2003 and 2004 then dropping to 25 in 2005–2007.[7]

United States

"Ryan" as a male given name has persisted in popularity for the thirty-year period of 1976–2006 in the 10th to 20th rank; the name appeared in the top-thousand for the first time in 1946 and gained steadily in popularity until leveling off in the 1970s.[8] The popularity of "Ryan" as a female given name is an order of magnitude less than that as a male name; the name first appeared in the top-thousand in 1974 and has remained there since, fluctuating widely from year to year but never breaching the rank of 300.[9]

List of persons with the given name Ryan[edit]

Fictional characters[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 355, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1 
  2. ^ "Behind the Name: Meaning, Origin and History of the Name Ryan". Retrieved 2012-07-19. 
  3. ^ Dehkhoda Dictionary: Rayan
  4. ^ "Top 25 Baby Names". Births, Deaths and Marriages. Central Statistics Office (Ireland). 2008-01-28. Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  5. ^ "Popular Forenames in Scotland 1900-2000". Occasional papers. General Register Office for Scotland. 2001-01-04. Retrieved 2008-02-16. Ryan was the most popular name for boys for five years, 1994 - 1998. (see also Table 5) 
  6. ^ "Jack and Emma were the most popular first names in Northern Ireland in 2003" (PDF) (Press release). Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. 2004-01-02. Retrieved 2008-02-14. (Consult tables "Comparison with 1975" and "Top 20 Names 2000-2003", the latter showing ranks of 5, 3, 4, 3 for 2003, 2002, 2001 and 2000, respectively) 
  7. ^ "Top 100 names for baby boys in England and Wales". National Statistics Online. Office for National Statistics. 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  8. ^ "Popular baby names". Social Security Administration. 2007-05-11. Retrieved 2008-02-16. (Query in "Popularity of a name" section: Ryan - male - 100 years) 
  9. ^ "Popular baby names". Social Security Administration. 2007-05-11. Retrieved 2008-02-16. (Query in "Popularity of a name" section: Ryan - female - 100 years)