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Irish: [ʃɔːnˠ, ʃeːnˠ, ʃeɪn]
Language(s)Irish language
Region of originIrish cognate of John (Hebrew origin)
Other names
Variant form(s)Seaghán, Seón, Shaun, Shawn, Seann, Seaghán, Shaine, Shayne, Shane, Shon, Shan
Related namesEoin, John
Female version: Shawna, Shauna, Seána, Shonna, Seanna, Siobhán, Sinéad

Sean is a male given name of Irish origin.[1] Its correct Irish spelling is Seán ([ʃɔːnˠ]) or Séan ([ʃeːnˠ]), while an older form is Seaghán or Seaġán. It is the Irish spelling of the Biblical name John. The Norman French Jehan (see Jean) is another version. Seán is the source for English versions such as Shaun, Shawn and Shon. Séan reflects the Ulster pronunciation[2] and is anglicized Shane, Shaine or Shayne.

For notable people named Sean, refer to List of people named Sean.


The name originated in the Irish language. It is an adaption of the Anglo-Norman name Johan/John.[citation needed] In 1066, the Norman duke, William the Conqueror conquered England, where the Norman French name Jahan/Johan ([dʒɛˈan])[citation needed] came to be pronounced Jean[clarification needed], and spelled John. The Norman from the Welsh Marches, with the Norman King of England's mandate invaded parts of Leinster and Munster in the 1170s. The Irish nobility in these areas were replaced by Norman nobles, some of whom bore the Norman French name Johan or the anglicised name John. The Irish adapted the name to their own pronunciation and spelling, producing the name Seán (or Seathan). Sean is commonly pronounced "Shawn" (Seán), but in the northern parts of Ireland (owing to a northern dialect), it is pronounced "Shan", "Shen" or "Shayn" (Séan, with the fada on the e instead of the a[citation needed]), thus leading to the variant Shane.

The name was once the common equivalent of John in Gaelic-speaking areas of Scotland (largely identifiable with the Highlands and Islands), but has been supplanted by a vulgarization of its address form: Iain or Ian[citation needed]. When addressing someone named Seán in Irish, it becomes a Sheain ("a Ee-in"), and in Scotland was generally adapted into Scots and Highland English as Eathain, Eoin, Iain, and Ian (John has traditionally been more commonly used in the Scots-speaking Lowlands than any form of Seán). Even in Highland areas where Gaelic is still spoken, these anglicisations are now more common than Seán or Seathan.

In other languages

See also


  1. ^ "Sean | meaning of Sean | name Sean". Retrieved 2011-12-06.
  2. ^ "Meaning of Sean - What does the Name Sean mean?". Retrieved 2011-12-06.

External links