Owain (Welsh pronunciation: [ˈoːwain]) is a name of Welsh origin. variously written in Old Welsh as Ougein, Eugein, Euguen, Iguein, Ou(u)ein, Eug(u)ein, Yuein, and in Middle Welsh as Ewein, Owein, and Ywein. Other variants of the name Owain include Ewein, Iguein, Owein, Ouein, Ywen, Ywein, Ywain, Yuein, and Yvain. Owain has also been Latinized as Oenus.
Osborn Bergin proposed that the name is cognate with Old Irish Ugaine, Augaine, and suggested that the Irish name could be a British loan. Linguist Kenneth H. Jackson proposed that the name is a derivation of the Latin Eugenius, (which was more recently accepted by T.J. Morgan). Julius Pokorny favored a purely Celtic origin, from Brittonic *Ouo-genios/*Owi-genjos, "Born of Sheep", "Sheep kin" Linguists Holger Pedersen and Henry Lewis (who earlier linked the name to Gaulish *Esugenos) determined that both Jackson's and Pokorny's etymologies were phonologically impossible.
Owain is one of the few Welsh names to be consistently popular over the last 100 years in England and Wales, particularly with the spelling Owen (and pronunciation /ˈoʊwən/). Patronymics include Bowen (from [a]b Owain) and Owens.
People with the name Owain include:
- Owain mab Urien (d. c. 595), son of Urien, king of Rheged c. 590, and fought with his father against the Angles of Bernicia. He is remembered as Sir Ywain in Arthurian legend
- Owain Gwynedd (c. 1100–1170), aka "Owain ap Gruffydd", considered most successful of all the north Welsh princes prior to his grandson, Llywelyn the Great
- Owain Cyfeiliog (c. 1130 - 1197), prince of part of Powys and a notable poet
- Owain Goch ap Gruffydd (in English, "Owain the Red") (died c. 1280), brother of Llywelyn the Last of Gwynedd
- Owain Owain, one of the founders of the Welsh Language Society; poet, writer, philosopher
- Owain Lawgoch (in English "Owain of the Red Hand", also known as Owain ap Thomas ap Rhodri) (c. 1330 - 1378), great-nephew of Llywelyn the Last and claimant to the throne of Wales
- Owain Glyndŵr, sometimes anglicised as Owen Glendower (1359–c. 1416), last Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales, and descendant of the princes of Powys
- Owain Ddantgwyn, Prince of North Wales, proposed as possible candidate for the "real" King Arthur
- Owain of Strathclyde (disambiguation), the name of several kings of Strathclyde
- Owain Yeoman, Welsh actor
- Owain Fon Williams, Welsh association football player
- Owain Wyn Evans, Welsh journalist, broadcaster and award-winning television presenter, currently working for the BBC.
- Owain, character from the tactical role-playing video game Fire Emblem: Awakening
- Owen (anglicised form of the name)
- Bergin, Osborn, "Varia. I", in: Ériu XII, 1938, p. 224ff.
- Jackson, Kenneth, Language and History in Early Britain, Edinburgh University Press, 1953, p. 324.
- T. J. Morgan, Prys Morgan, Welsh surnames, University of Wales Press, 1985, pp. 172-173
- Pokorny, Julius, 'Miscellanea Celtica', in: Celtica, vol. 3, 1956, p. 307.
- Pokorny, Julius, Indogermanisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch, vol. 1, Francke Verlag, 1959, p. 342.
- Pedersen, Holger, Lewis, Henry, A Concise Comparative Celtic Grammar, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1961, p. 17.
- Pedersen, Holger, Lewis, Henry, Supplement to a Concise Comparative Celtic Grammar. Front Cover · Henry Lewis, Holger Pedersen. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1962, p. 4.
- "Common Welsh Boys Names". Retrieved 1 June 2012.
- In the Welsh language, ap (derived from Old Welsh map) means "son of".