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MeaningFrom ri "sovereign, king" and the diminutive -in; hence "the king's child"[1][2]
Region of originIreland
Other names
Variant form(s)Riagán, Ríogáin, Ó Riagáin, Ó Ríogáin, O Regan, O'Reagan, O'Regan, Riggin, Riggins

The family name Regan, along with its cognates O'Regan, O Regan, Reagan, and O'Reagan, is an Anglicized form of the Irish surname Ó Riagáin or Ó Ríogáin, from Ua Riagáin. The meaning is likely to have originated in ancient Gaelic ri "sovereign, king" and the diminutive suffix -in; thus "the king's child" or "big king".[4] The name was borne by two distinct families: one seated in Meath, the other in Thomond.[citation needed]

The O'Regans of Meath were a branch of the southern Ui Neill and one of the four Tribes of Tara. Before the Anglo-Norman invasion, they were lords of south Breagh and the north of present-day County Dublin. They took a leading part in the wars against the Danes. In the year 1029, Mathghamhain Ó Riagáin, king of Breagh, captured the king of Dublin, Amhlaoibh son of Sitric, releasing him only upon payment of an enormous ransom, which included the celebrated Sword of Carlus. The O'Regans were dispossessed soon after the invasion and dispersed through Ireland.[5]

The O'Regans of Thomond are a Dalcassian family said to be descended from Riagán, son of Donncuan, a brother of Brian Boru.[6]

The unisex forename Regan is likely to have derived sometime later from the Latin Regina "queen", the feminine form of Rex (stem reg-) "king", which is also the source of the name Reginald.[2]

Persons with the surname[edit]

Persons with the given name[edit]

Fictional characters[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Regan - Meaning of Name Regan - Pronounce Regan Irish Girl Name".
  2. ^ a b "History of the Irish name Regan".
  3. ^ - origin
  4. ^ "Meaning of Regan - Celtic baby name". Archived from the original on 31 May 2012.
  5. ^ "O%27Regan Coat of Arms, Family Crest - Free Image to View - O%27Regan Name Origin History and Meaning of Symbols".
  6. ^ "Sloinne". Archived from the original on 7 May 2018.