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Scottish Gaelic: [ˈiaɲ][1]
Word/nameScottish Gaelic, from Hebrew Yohanan
Other names
Related namesJohn, 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, Sean, Shane, Siôn, Yahya, Yohannes

Ian or Iain is a name of Scottish Gaelic origin, derived from the Hebrew given name יוֹחָנָן (Yohanan, Yôḥānān) and corresponding to the English name John. The spelling Ian is an Anglicization of the Scottish Gaelic forename Iain. It is a very popular name in much of the English-speaking world and especially in Scotland, where it originated.

The name has now fallen out of the top 100 male baby names in the United Kingdom, having peaked in popularity as one of the top 10 names throughout the 1960s,[2] while remaining roughly constant in popularity in the United States. Back in 1900, Ian was the 180th most popular male baby name in England and Wales.[3]

Popularity of the name 'Ian' in the US
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]

  • Janis Ian (born 1951), singer and songwriter
  • Scott Ian, stage name of Scott Ian Rosenfeld, guitarist with the metal band Anthrax

Notable Iains[edit]

Fictional Iains[edit]

Fictional Ians[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dictionary Detail – Iain". www.faclair.com. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Name: Ian". BabyNames.co.uk. Baby Names UK. Retrieved 2015-01-01.
  3. ^ "Top 200 Most Popular Names in England and Wales in 1900". British Baby Names. 21 August 2012. Retrieved 2015-01-01.