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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.[1] Linguist Kenneth H. Jackson proposed that the name is a derivation of the Latin Eugenius,[2] (which was more recently accepted by T.J. Morgan).[3] Julius Pokorny favored a purely Celtic origin, from Brittonic *Ouo-genios/*Owi-genjos, "Born of Sheep", "Sheep kin"[4][5] Linguists Holger Pedersen and Henry Lewis (who earlier linked the name to Gaulish *Esugenos)[6] determined that both Jackson's and Pokorny's etymologies were phonologically impossible.[7]


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/).[8] Patronymics include Bowen (from [a]b Owain)[9] and Owens.


People with the name Owain include:

See also[edit]

  • Owen (anglicised form of the name)


  1. ^ Bergin, Osborn, "Varia. I", in: Ériu XII, 1938, p. 224ff.
  2. ^ Jackson, Kenneth, Language and History in Early Britain, Edinburgh University Press, 1953, p. 324.
  3. ^ T. J. Morgan, Prys Morgan, Welsh surnames, University of Wales Press, 1985, pp. 172-173
  4. ^ Pokorny, Julius, 'Miscellanea Celtica', in: Celtica, vol. 3, 1956, p. 307.
  5. ^ Pokorny, Julius, Indogermanisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch, vol. 1, Francke Verlag, 1959, p. 342.
  6. ^ Pedersen, Holger, Lewis, Henry, A Concise Comparative Celtic Grammar, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1961, p. 17.
  7. ^ Pedersen, Holger, Lewis, Henry, Supplement to a Concise Comparative Celtic Grammar. Front Cover · Henry Lewis, Holger Pedersen. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1962, p. 4.
  8. ^ "Common Welsh Boys Names". Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  9. ^ In the Welsh language, ap (derived from Old Welsh map) means "son of".