Ryan (given name)

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Pronunciation/ˈrən/ RY-ən
GenderUnisex (most commonly male)
Word/nameOld Irish Rian

Ryan is an English-language given name of Irish origin. It is primarily a male name. It comes from the Irish surname Ryan.[2] See Ryan (surname) for more information about the origins of the name.

Popular sources typically suggest that Ryan means "little king"[3][4] or "illustrious",[5][6] although the original meaning of the name is obscure.[1]



For Ireland, information is available for 2005 and 2006, which shows a popularity rank of 10th and 14th, respectively, for use of "Ryan" as a male given name for newborn children.[7]

United Kingdom

In Scotland of the 1990s, "Ryan" was the most popular forename for newborn boys in every year from 1994 to 1998;[8] this popularity is recent, as "Ryan" apparently was not in use in 1900, ranked between 100 and 250 in 1950, and appears at rank 64 in 1975. In Northern Ireland, "Ryan" appeared among the top five most commonly selected male names for newborns in 2000–2003, but did not appear among the top ten in 1975.[9] In England and Wales, data for 2003–2007 is available, which suggest somewhat less popularity of "Ryan" than in other parts of the UK, having a rank of 21 in 2003 and 2004 then dropping to 25 in 2005–2007.[10]

United States

"Ryan" as a male given name has persisted in popularity for the thirty-year period of 1976–2006 in the 10th to 20th rank; the name appeared in the top thousand for the first time in 1946 and gained steadily in popularity until leveling off in the 1970s.[11] Its ascendency in the U.S. has been traced, in part, to its use by American actor Charles Patrick Ryan O'Neal who used the stage name Ryan O'Neal in the popular series Peyton Place from 1964 to 1969.

"Ryan" gained popularity as a given name for girls in the 1970s. It first appeared in the top thousand in 1974 and has remained within the top thousand since then. It was ranked as the 465th most popular girls' name in 2016.[12]

List of persons with the given name Ryan[edit]



Fictional characters[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b MacLysaght, Edward (1964). A Guide to Irish Surnames. Helicon. p. 15.
  2. ^ Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 355, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1
  3. ^ Smith, Elsdon C. (1969). American Surnames. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company. p. 88. ISBN 0-8063-1150-9.
  4. ^ Rosenkrantz, Linda; Satran, Pamela Redmond (2002). Baby Names Now: From Classic to Cool—The Very Last Word on First Names. New York: St. Martin's Paperbacks. p. 419. ISBN 0-312-98368-9.
  5. ^ Grehan, Ida (1997). The Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Lanham, Maryland: Roberts Rinehart Publishers. p. 299. ISBN 1-56833-224-6.
  6. ^ Grehan, Ida (1997). A little book of Irish family names. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. p. 56. ISBN 0-8118-1286-3.
  7. ^ "Top 25 Baby Names". Births, Deaths and Marriages. Central Statistics Office. 2008-01-28. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  8. ^ "The top names: year by year". National Records of Scotland. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  9. ^ "Jack and Emma were the most popular first names in Northern Ireland in 2003" (PDF) (Press release). Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. 2004-01-02. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-09-29. Retrieved 2008-02-14. (Consult tables "Comparison with 1975" and "Top 20 Names 2000-2003", the latter showing ranks of 5, 3, 4, 3 for 2003, 2002, 2001 and 2000, respectively)
  10. ^ "Top 100 names for baby boys in England and Wales". National Statistics Online. Office for National Statistics. 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  11. ^ "Popular baby names". Social Security Administration. 2007-05-11. Retrieved 2008-02-16. (Query in "Popularity of a name" section: Ryan – male – 100 years)
  12. ^ "Popular baby names". Social Security Administration. 2017-10-14. Retrieved 2017-10-14. (Query in "Popularity of a name" section: Ryan – female – 100 years)