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PronunciationEnglish: /ˈrɔːri/ ROR-ee[1]
Language(s)Goidelic languages
Meaningred king
Region of originIreland, Scotland
Other names
Related namesfrom Ruairi (Ruaridh, Ruaidhrí, Ruairí, Ruairidh, Ruaraidh, Ruaidhrígh, "Ruari")

Rory is a given name of Goidelic origin. It is an anglicisation of the Irish: Ruairí/Ruaidhrí/Ruaidhrígh/Raidhrígh/Ruaraidh Scottish Gaelic: Ruairidh and Manx: Rauree[2] and is common to the Irish, Highland Scots and their diasporas.[3] The meaning of the name is "red-haired king", from ruadh ("red-haired" or "rusty") and rígh ("king"). In Ireland and Scotland it is a masculine name (there is no record of the name being used for a girl in Ireland since at least 1965,[4] and there have only been six instances of its use among girls in Scotland since 1974;[5] in contrast, it was the 72nd- and 9th-most popular name among boys in Ireland and Scotland, respectively, in 2018).[4][6] In the United States the name is given more to boys (881 babies in 2018 in the US) than to girls (529 babies in 2018 in the US).[7]


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, Ruairí Óg Ó Mórdha, the famous King of Laois, 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 Scottish Gaelic pronunciation is /ˈruə̯.rʲɪ/, 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 Irish Ruaidríg /ruaðʲr͈ʲiːʝʲ/ (Proto Celtic *roudo-riks). There are numerous other recorded variations of the name such as Ruaidrí, Ruaidhrí, Ruairdhrí, Rhuairidh, Ruaridh, Rhuari, Rhuaridh, Ruarídh, Ruarí, Roighrí, Rauridh or Raighrí. Historically, it has also been anglicised by replacement with the Germanic name Roderick, of similar meaning (leader) and in some cases the also etymologically unrelated names Roger and Ray.

Old Irish Modern Irish Scottish Gaelic Modern Scottish English
Ruaidhrí Ruairí Ruairidh Ruaridh Rory

List of people[edit]










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


Male characters[edit]

Female characters[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "How to pronounce Rory". Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  2. ^ Martin-Doyle, Katie (1999). Treasury of Baby Names. Cambridge: 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. ^ Hanks, Patrick; Hodges, Flavia (1996). Learn about the family history of your surname. ISBN 0-19-280050-7. for the given name "Rory".
  4. ^ a b "Baby Names of Ireland - CSO - Central Statistics Office". Retrieved 2021-06-04.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Rory - Popularity of Rory, How Popular Is the name Rory?". Retrieved 2021-06-04.