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Éogan or Eógan is an early Irish male given name, which also has the hypocoristic and diminutive forms Eoganán, Eóghainin, Eóghain and Eóghainn. The Modern Irish form of the name is Eoghan (pronounced ['oː(ə)nˠ]).

In Scottish Gaelic the name is Eòghann or Eòghan. All of the above are often anglicised as Ewen or, less often, Owen. The name in both Goidelic languages is generally considered a derivative of the Greek and Latin name Eugenes, meaning "noble born".[1][2][3]


The Corpus Inscriptionum Insularum Celticarum derives Eógan from the Primitive Irish *Iwagenas,[4] while others such as Tomás Ua Concheanainn (Mion-chomhradh, in 1903) have stated that Eóghan equates to Owain and Eugene;[1] Dr Rachel Bromwich has commented that Eoghan is a derivation of the Latin Eugenius,[3] making these names long-attested in Gaelic areas, yet still based on loan-words.[2] 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".[2]

Eoghan has also been translated into English as "well born", in an example c. 1923, due to this Latin derivation; but with the note that in common usage it is usually anglicised to "Eugene".[5] The name corresponds to the Welsh Owain, often spelt Owen in English;[1][2] as well to Ewen, Ewan and Euan. The most likely and widely accepted origin of the Old Welsh Owain is, like the Old Irish Eogan also from Latin Eugenius.[1]

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Celtic nobility[edit]

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  1. ^ a b c d Surnames of the United Kingdom (1912), reprinted for Clearfield Company, INC by Genealogical Publishing Co. INC, Baltimore 1995, 1996. 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 time considered that the name represented Irish eoghunn = Gael. Ogan- [f. Old Irish oc- Welsh og, young], ‘youth’. Surnames of the United Kingdom cites Tomás Ua Concheanainn, Mion-Chomhrádh (p. 126), that "Eóghan is a diminutive of Eóghainin, = Owain, Eugene"
  2. ^ a b c d Morgan, T.J. and Morgan, Prys, Welsh Surnames, University of Wales, 1985, Owain (Owen, Bowen, Ednowain). According to T.J. Morgan in Welsh Surnames (page 172/173) Owen 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. Additionally, another Latinized variation of the name Owen is Audoenus in certain parish registers.”
  3. ^ a b As cited by T.J. Morgan in Welsh Surnames, page 172
  4. ^ Macalister, R. A. S. Corpus Inscriptionum Insularum Celticarum Vol. I. (1945) Dublin: Stationery Office
  5. ^ Eoghan, www.libraryireland.com