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Pronunciation /ˈ.ən/
Scottish Gaelic pronunciation: [ˈɪʲən]
Gender Male
Word/name Scottish Gaelic
Meaning gift of god, god's gift
Other names
Related names John, Evan, Giovanni, Hans, Juan, Hovhannes, Ioan, Ioane, Ivan, Iven, Ifan, Jack, Jackson, Jan, Jane, Janez, Jean, Jhon, Joan, João, Johan/Johann, Johanan, Johannes, Jonne, Jovan, Juhani, Seán, Shane, Siôn, Yahya, Yohannes

Ian, Iain (/ˈ.ən/; Scottish Gaelic pronunciation: [ˈɪʲən]) is a name of Scottish Gaelic origin, ultimately derived from Hebrew Yohanan and corresponding to English John. It is a very popular name in much of the English-speaking world and especially in Scotland, where it originated. Ian was the 19th most popular male name, taking account of the whole British population (over 300,000 Ians in total).[citation needed]

The name has now fallen out of the top 100 male baby names in the UK, having peaked in popularity as one of the top 10 names throughout the 1960s,[1] while remaining roughly constant in popularity in the USA. Back in 1900, Ian was the 180th most popular male baby name in England and Wales.[2]

The original Irish Gaelic and Scottish Gaelic form of the name is Seán (or Seathan). Ian is a variant spelling of the Scoticisations Eathain, Eóin, and Iain.

Popularity of the name 'Ian' in the USA
Year Rank
2015 76
2014 77
2013 80
2012 78
2011 72
2010 72
2009 72
2008 80
2007 74
2006 80
2005 67
2004 69
2003 65
2002 67
2001 70
2000 73
Note: Rank 1 is the most popular,
rank 2 is the next most popular, and so forth.
Name data are from Social Security card applications
for births that occurred in the United States.
Source: Social Security Administration.
See http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames

Other Gaelic forms of "John" include "Seonaidh" ("Johnny" from Lowland Scots), "Seon" (from English), "Seathan", and "Seán" and "Eoin" (from Irish). Its Welsh counterpart is Ioan and Breton equivalent is Yann.

Notable Ians[edit]

As a first name (alphabetical by family name)[edit]

As a middle name[edit]

As a surname[edit]

Notable Iains[edit]

Fictional Iains[edit]

Fictional Ians[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Name: Ian". BabyNames.co.uk. Baby Names UK. Retrieved 2015-01-01. 
  2. ^ "Top 200 Most Popular Names in England and Wales in 1900". British Baby Names. 21 August 2012. Retrieved 2015-01-01.