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Pronunciation English: /ˈrɔːri/ ROR-ee[1]
Language(s) Gaelic
Meaning red-king or red-haired
Region of origin Ireland, Scotland
Other names
Related names from Ruairi (Ruaridh, Ruaidhrí, Ruairí, Ruairidh, Ruaraidh)

Rory is a given name of Gaelic origin. It is traditionally a masculine name, but in the US is increasingly being used for females too. It is an anglicization of the Irish: Ruairí/Ruaidhrí and Scottish Gaelic: Ruairidh,[2] and is common to the Irish, Highland Scots and their diasporas.[3] The meaning of the name is "red king," from ruadh ("red-haired" or "rusty") and rígh ("king"). The name is given more to boys (the 379 most common male baby name in 2017 in the US), than to girls (the 565 most common female baby name in 2017 in the US).[4]


An early use of the name in antiquity is in reference to Rudraige mac Sithrigi, a High King of Ireland who eventually spawned the Ulaid (indeed this tribe are sometimes known as Clanna Rudhraighe). Throughout the Middle Ages the name was in use by various kings such as Ruaidrí mac Fáeláin, Ruaidrí na Saide Buide and Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair, the last High King of Ireland. As well as this the famous King of Laois, Ruairí Óg Ó Mórdha and his nephew Ruairí Ó Mórdha who was a leader in the Irish Rebellion of 1641, held the name.

Since the 1960s in the United States, the name has occasionally been given to females, notably to Rory Kennedy (b. 1968), daughter of Robert F. Kennedy. It can also be short for "Aurora".


The standard Gaelic pronunciation is /ˈruərʲiː/, and in Munster Irish /rəiˈrʲiː/. In English, it is typically pronounced as English: /ˈrɔːri/ (ROR-ee).[1] In Classical Gaelic, the name was written Ruaidhrigh, and in Old Gaelic Ruaidhrí /ruaðʲr͈ʲiː/ (Proto Celtic *roudo-riks). There are numerous other recorded variations of the name such as Ruaidrí, Ruaidhri, Ruairdhri, Rhuairidh, Ruaridh, Rhuaridh, Ruarídh, Ruari, Roighrí, Rauridh or Raighrí. Historically, it has also been anglicised by replacement with the Germanic cognate Roderick, of similar meaning (red leader) and in some cases the etymologically unrelated Roger and Ray. Its equivalent in the Welsh language is Rhodri, also meaning red king.

Old Irish Modern Irish Hiberno-English Scottish Gaelic Scottish English
Ruaidhrí Ruairí Rory Ruairidh Rory

List of people[edit]








  • Aurora 'Rory' Block (born 1949), American blues guitarist and singer. Rory here is short for "Aurora".
  • Rory Flack (born 1971), American figure skater. Born Ellen Flack, "Rory" is a nickname.
  • Rory Kennedy (born 1968), American filmmaker
  • Rory Quintos (born 1962), Filipino television and film director


Male characters[edit]

Female characters[edit]


  1. ^ a b "How to pronounce Rory". Retrieved 21 April 2017. 
  2. ^ Martin-Doyle, Katie (1999). Treasury of Baby Names. Cambridge, UK: Worth Press. p. 220. ISBN 978-1-903025-11-6. Anglicised form of the Irish Gaelic names Ruaidhri, Ruari, and the Scottish Gaelic Ruairidh and Ruaraidh 
  3. ^ "Learn about the family history of your surname". ISBN 0-19-280050-7.  for the given name "Rory".
  4. ^

See also[edit]