Origin of the Name Ian

The name is pronounced EE-an, however, some people choose to pronounce it Eye-an. Ian originated in Scotland and was derived from Eoin, the Gaelic form of John. By the 19th century, Eoin had evolved into Iain and then became Ian by the end of the century.

Meaning of Ian

Ian is the Scottish and Gaelic form of John, which means God’s Gift. During medieval times, Eion was derived from the Latin Johannes.

Popularity of Ian

One in five boys were named Ian in the middle ages. Ian first became popular with the success of writer Ian Fleming who created James Bond back in 1953 as the hero in Casino Royale. James Bond was featured in 12 novels and several short stories before Ian Fleming’s sudden death in 1964. Ian reached its popularity peak in the 1960s, gradually slipped out of the top 100 most popular names by the end of the 20th century. It was not in the top 100 male baby names in England in 2013.

People Named Ian

  • Ian Charleson (1949-1990) was best known for playing Eric Liddel in Chariots of Fire Ian Paisley was born in Paisely Scotland; he was a lawyer in he 1950s.
  • Ian Rush the Welsh and Liverpool striker.
  • Ian McKellen an actor famous for his role as Gandelf in the Lord of the Rings films

Useful Resources

  • See other Gaelic male names like Ian on our website.

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