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Éogan or Eógan is an early Irish male name, which also has the hypocoristic and diminutive forms Eóganán, Eóghainin, Eóghain and Eóghainn. In more modern forms of Irish it is written as Eóghan or Eoghan (/'oːəun/).

In Scottish Gaelic the name is Eòghann or Eòghan. All of the above are often anglicised as Ewen or, less often, Owen. The name is generally considered cognate with the Greek and Latin name Eugenes, meaning "noble born".[1]


The Corpus Inscriptionum Insularum Celticarum derives Eógan from the Primitive Irish *Iwagenas,[2] while others such as Tomás Ua Concheanainn (Mion-chomhradh, 1903) have stated that Eóghan equates to Owain and Eugene,[1] and Dr Rachel Bromwich has commented[3] that Eoghan is a derivation of the Latin Eugenius.[4]

In the Irish language, the phoneme Eo- is a rarely-used component found in some Old Irish place-names associated with yew trees.[5] Eoghan has also come to mean Well Born based on the Latinized form of Eugenius.[6]

The name corresponds to the Welsh Owain, often spelt Owen in English;[1][4] as well to Ewen, Ewan and Euan. The most likely and widely accepted origin of Owen (Old Welsh Owain and Old Irish Eogan) is from Latin Eugenius.[1]

List of people[edit]

Celtic nobility[edit]

Recent times[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. ^ Macalister, R. A. S. Corpus Inscriptionum Insularum Celticarum Vol. I. (1945) Dublin: Stationery Office
  3. ^ As cited by T.J. Morgan in Welsh Surnames, page 172
  4. ^ a b 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.” 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 variation of the name Owen is Audoenus in certain parish registers.
  5. ^ Joyce, Patrick (1875). The Origin and History of Irish Names of Places. Internet Archive: McGlashan & Gill. p. 492.
  6. ^ Eoghan, www.libraryireland.com