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Language(s)English, Scottish Gaelic
Word/nameDomhnall, Dómhnall, Dòmhnall, Domhnull, Dòmhnull
DerivationProto-Celtic *dumno-ualos
Meaning"world ruler", "world wielder"
Other names
Short form(s)Don
Pet form(s)Donnie, Donny, Dolly
Cognate(s)Domnall, Dónal, Donal, Donall, Dyfnwal, Dumnagual

Donald is a masculine given name derived from the Gaelic name Dòmhnall.[1] This comes from the Proto-Celtic *Dumno-ualos ("world-ruler" or "world-wielder").[2][3][4] The final -d in Donald is partly derived from a misinterpretation of the Gaelic pronunciation by English speakers, and partly associated with the spelling of similar-sounding Germanic names, such as Ronald. A short form of Donald is Don. Pet forms of Donald include Donnie and Donny. The feminine given name Donella is derived from Donald.[1]

Donald has cognates in other Celtic languages: Modern Irish Dónal (anglicised as Donal and Donall);[5] Scottish Gaelic Dòmhnall,[6] Domhnull[7] and Dòmhnull;[8] Welsh Dyfnwal and Cumbric Dumnagual. Although the feminine given name Donna is sometimes used as a feminine form of Donald, the names are not etymologically related.[1]


Old Irish Modern Irish Hiberno-English Scottish Gaelic Scottish English Scots
Domhnall Dónal Donal Dòmhnall Donald Donnald

Kings and noblemen[edit]

Domnall or Domhnall is the name of many ancient and medieval Gaelic kings and noblemen:

Given name[edit]



  • Don Adams (1923–2005), American actor, comedian and director
  • Don Airey (21 June 1948), English keyboardist
  • Don Barksdale (1923–1993), American basketball player
  • Don Bertoia, Canadian middle distance runner
  • Don Bluth (born 1937), animator, film director, producer, writer, production designer, video game designer and independent studio owner
  • Don Bowman (singer) (1937–2013), American comedian, country music singer, and songwriter
  • Don Cheadle, American actor and producer
  • Don Cherry (singer) (1924–2018), American singer and golfer
  • Don Ciccone (1946–2016), American singer-songwriter, member of the band The Critters
  • Don Cornelius (1936–2012), American television show host and producer
  • Don Cornell (1919–2004), stage name of Luigi Varlaro, American singer
  • Dominick Don Costa (1925–1983), American conductor and record producer
  • Don Covay (1936–2015), American singer and songwriter
  • Don Dunstan, Former Premier of South Australia (1926–1999)
  • Don Estelle (1933–2003), British actor and singer
  • Don Everly (born 1937), American country-influenced rock and roll singer and guitarist
  • Don Frye (born 1965), American mixed martial artist and professional wrestler
  • Don Gardner (1931–2018), American singer-songwriter
  • Don Gibson (1928–2003), American songwriter and country musician
  • Don Goldstein, American basketball player
  • Don Hathaway (born 1928), American politician
  • Don Herczeg (born 1964), Canadian ice hockey defenceman
  • Don Ho (1930–2007), American pop musician, singer and entertainer
  • Don King (boxing promoter) (born 1931), American boxing promoter
  • Don King (coach) (born 1926), American football player and coach
  • Don King (defensive back) (born 1964), American football player
  • Don King (defensive lineman) (1929–2014), American football player
  • Don King (musician) (born 1954), American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and trumpeter
  • Don King (photographer) (born 1960), American photographer, cinematographer, and film director
  • Don Roy King, American television director
  • Don Kirshner (1934–2011), American music publisher, rock music producer, talent manager, and songwriter
  • Don Lemon, American television personality and current host of CNN Tonight
  • Don MacLean (basketball) (born 1970), American basketball player and color commentator
  • Don Mattingly, American pro baseball player for the New York Yankees and manager of the LA Dodgers; aka "Donnie Baseball" and "The Hitman"
  • Don McLean, American musician and songwriter
  • Don Reid (born 1945), lead singer of American country group The Statler Brothers
  • Don Rickles (1926–2017), American stand-up comedian
  • Don Robesky (1906–2002), American football player
  • Don Rondo (1930–2011), American singer
  • Don Slater (born 1954), British sociologist
  • Don Trahan (born 1949), American golfer, father of D. J. Trahan
  • Don Van Vliet (1941–2010), American singer, songwriter and musician, also known as Captain Beefheart
  • Don Warrington (born 1951), Trinidadian-born British actor
  • Don Waterman, former NASCAR Cup Series driver
  • Don Webb (playwright)







See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, pp. 78, 402, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1.
  2. ^ Koch, John T. (2006), "Dyfnwal ap Tewdor", in Koch, John T. (ed.), Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO, pp. 639–640, ISBN 1-85109-445-8
  3. ^ Koch, John T. (2006), "Domnall Brecc", in Koch, John T. (ed.), Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO, p. 604, ISBN 1-85109-445-8
  4. ^ Norman, Teresa. Names Through the Ages. Berkley Books, 1999. pp.129, 136
  5. ^ Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 346, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1.
  6. ^ Mark, Colin (2006), The Gaelic-English Dictionary, Routledge, p. 714, ISBN 0-203-22259-8.
  7. ^ Maceachen, Ewan (1922), Maceachen's Gaelic-English Dictionary (4, revised and enlarged ed.), The Northern Counties Newspaper and Printing and Publishing Company, pp. 467–469.
  8. ^ MacFarlane, Malcolm (1912), The School Gaelic Dictionary prepared for the use of learners of the Gaelic language, Eneas Mackay, p. 144