Meaning and Origin of the Name Kenneth

The Kenneth name is an old one. It is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic names Coinneach and Cináed , and it dates back to at least the 9th century. Kenneth (Cináed) mac Alpin, who was the king of the Scots in the 9th century, was known for uniting the Scots and Picts. The name didn’t start getting used outside of Scotland until the 19th century. In 1825, Sir Walter Scott wrote the novel The Talsiman, and he named his hero Kenneth, which made the name popular with non-Scots.

The meaning of Kenneth varies, given its origins. Coinneach comes from a Gaelic word for “handsome,” while Cináed means “born of fire.”

Variants of the Name Kenneth

Kenneth has several variants. Diminutive forms of the name include Ken and Kenny. Feminine versions of the name include Kendra, Kenna, and Kenina. In Scandinavian countries, the name is spelled “Kennet.”


Kenneth was the 274th most popular popular baby boys’s name in Scotland in 2013.

The popularity of Kenneth is declining in the United States. It was quite popular from the 1940s through the 60s, but has since fallen out of favour somewhat. It is the 187th most popular boy’s name in the U.S.

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