The name Brayden is an Americanized respelling of Braden, an ancient Irish masculine name from the Gaelic “bradán” meaning “salmon”. In fact, a large number of early Irish names were derived from animals for example: Cailean (Colin) meaning “young hound”; Conchobhar (Conor) meaning “hound lover”; Madain (Madden) meaning “little dog”; Oisín (Oscar) meaning “little deer”; Rónán (Ronan) meaning “little seal”. The transformation of humans into animal forms was very common in Celtic mythology and literature; it was thought that the bearer of such names would gain some of the power and qualities of the animal. The salmon was a particularly important creature among the ancient Celts, as it was associated with wisdom and respect. The many manic respellings of Bradán (i.e., Braden, Bradyn, Braeden, Braedon, Braiden, Braydon and Brayden) are a result of American parents’ insistence on being “yoo-neek”. Brayden is the most favored spelling among Americans and Canadians. Ironically, they don’t really use this name in Ireland anymore.
The name Brayden first appeared on the American popularity charts for boy names in 1991 – so although it’s ancient to the Irish, it’s quite modern here in the U.S. Even Braden (the traditional modern Irish spelling) only dates back to 1970. In other words, the popularity of the name Brayden is really just a product of the “ay-den” naming craze (Aiden, Brayden, Jayden, Kaden). Even though the name is new to the charts, its climb in popularity was pretty quick. It only took 15 years for Brayden to hit the Top 100. And in 2009, Brayden became a Top 50 choice for American parents of baby boys. Brayden enjoys particular popularity in certain states where it’s a Top 10 choice: Kentucky, North Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming. It’s a great name choice for a baby boy born under Pisces, an astrological water sign whose symbol is the fish.