Boy Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Brian

  • Gender:
  • Boy
  • Origin:
  • Celtic, Gaelic, Irish
  • Number of syllables:
  • 2
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 150
Simple meaning:
Noble, high

Characteristics of Brian

  • Authoritative
  • Powerful
  • Tough
  • Tenacious
  • Wealthy
  • Problem-solver
  • Achiever

Etymology & Historical Origin - Brian

It is believed by many scholars that the Irish masculine name Brian comes from an Old Celtic-Gaelic word “brígh” meaning “noble, high” perhaps from the ancient Celtic element “bre” meaning “hill”. Brian owes most of his popularity in Éire to Ireland’s last High King, Brian Boru, who reigned between 1002 and 1014. Brian Boru famously defeated the Vikings at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 but died of wounds sustained in the battle (see historical references below for more information). Brian has long been a perennial favorite baby boy’s name in Ireland since the Middle Ages and eventually, in the 20th century, it made its way across the Emerald Isle borders. Irish names became vogue in other English-speaking countries around the middle of the 20th century. At first, names like Brian, Patrick, Kevin and Sean were American favorites. Today those Irish-Gaelic names have shifted toward the trendier Liam, Braden, Connor and Ryan. Brian still does modestly well among the non-Irish, but he’s still most popular in Ireland than anywhere else.

Popularity of the Name Brian

The name Brian first appeared on the U.S. popularity charts in 1925. By 1947, the name achieved Top 100 status. By the mid-1950’s, Brian was a crowd-pleaser. The name enjoyed “high” esteem for half a century, reaching his peak popularity during the 1970s (when Brian was a Top 10 favorite nationwide). However, very recently, as we’ve turned in to this new century, Brian has been unable to hold onto his Top 100 ranking. After more than 60 years on America’s Top 100, Brian fell off his pedestal in 2010. Modern trends are now favoring Brandon, Brayden and Bryson over old-school Brian.
Popularity of the Boy Name Brian
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Brian

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Brian

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Brian

    Brian (Celtic Mythology) Brian is a foolhardy ruffian in Celtic legend. Story has it that this reckless warrior had the audacity to kill the father of an Irish god, Lugh of the Long Arm, and is forced to perform a series of impossible tasks in order to appease the god. Brian and his brothers must travel to faraway places collecting magical weapons for Lugh – which they actually accomplish – but return home somewhat worse for wear. They are pummeled in the last task, and plead for one of the magical instruments in order to save their lives. Lugh denies them, causing them all to bleed to death. Lugh reminds the poor saps that his own father was not granted the opportunity to defend himself, and nor shall they!

  • Popular Songs on Brian

    Popular Songs on Brian

    Brian and Robert - a song by Phish

    Brian Boru’s March - an Irish song by Cruachan

    Brian Song - a song by Monty Python

    Brian Wilson - a song by Barenaked Ladies

    Brian Wilson Said - a song by Tears For Fears

    Brian's Song - a song by Johnny Mathis

    What Would Brian Boitano Do? - a song by South Park

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Brian

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Brian

    Hatchet (Gary Paulsen) - An award-winning adventure story! Brian survives 54 days in the wilderness after his single-engine plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness while he is on the way to visit his father. He learns not only how to survive in the wilderness with only his clothes and a hatchet, but also that he can survive his parent’s divorce. Also part of this series of books by Gary Paulsen are “Brian’s Winter,” “Brian’s Hunt,” and “Brian’s Return.” Recommended for ages 10-12.

    I Was a Third Grade Science Project (Mary Jane Auch) - While trying to hypnotize his dog for the third grade science fair, Brian accidentally makes his best friend Josh think he's a cat. Recommended for ages 8-12.

  • Famous People Named Brian

    Famous People Named Brian

    Famous People Named Brian - Brian Dennehy (actor); Brian Mcknight (musician); Brian Setzer (musician); Brian Wilson (musician); Brian Boitano (ice skater); Brian Boru (Irish King); Brian De Palma (director); Brian Littrell (singer in the boy band The Backstreet Boys); Brian Piccolo (football player)

  • Children of Famous People Named Brian

    Children of Famous People Named Brian

    Famous People who Named their Son Brian - Art Carney (actor); Jim Henson (puppeteer); Marv Albert (sportscaster); Rodney Dangerfield (comic); Sandra Day O'Connor (Supreme Court Justice); Steve Allen (TV personality)

  • Historic Figures

    Brian - Boy Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Irish King Brian Boru (circa 941-1014) - Brian Boru was born Brian Mac Cennétig in Ireland around 941. He was perhaps the greatest military leader Ireland has ever known and his life deeds were legendary. In 978 he led his warriors to victory and took the kingship of all of Munster. Rulers of other provinces took note and worried he might want more territory. Brian did not back down and eventually took over most of the southern half of Ireland. Not content to stop there, Brian went about northern Ireland reinforcing his claim to it. The problem with building an empire is that you can’t watch your old territories when you’re going about conquering new ones. Eventually Dublin and Leinster rebelled which culminated into the Battle of Clontarf. Brian’s army still won, but Brian himself died. He earned his name as 'Brian of the Tributes' (Brian Boru) by collecting tributes from the minor rulers of Ireland and using the money to restore monasteries and libraries that had been destroyed during the invasions.

Personality of the Boy Name Brian

The number Eight personality has everything to do with power, wealth and abundance. Somehow, this personality has been blessed on the material plane, but their authoritative and problem-solving traits provide evidence that their good fortunes are not just the luck of the lottery. They are well earned. This is the personality of CEOs and high-ranking military personnel. Eights are intensely active, hard-driving individuals. Success is only meaningful to them after a job well-done.  They are remarkable in their ability to see the larger picture right down to the smallest details, and organize a strategy around success. They then have the ability to direct a group around them toward any goal, and realize individual potential to get the most out of their team.

Variations of the Baby Name - Brian

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