Boy Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Duncan

  • Gender:
  • Boy
  • Origin:
  • Celtic, English, Gaelic, Scottish
  • Number of syllables:
  • 2
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 821
Simple meaning:
Brown warrior

Characteristics of Duncan

  • Communicative
  • Creative
  • Optimistic
  • Popular
  • Social
  • Dramatic
  • Happy

Etymology & Historical Origin - Duncan

Duncan is the English form of the Scottish-Gaelic name Donnchadh from the elements “donn” meaning “brown” and “cha(dh)” meaning “warrior”. Donnchadh originated as an ancient Celtic nickname for a brown-haired Scottish warrior. The name was famously borne by an 8th century Scottish saint and two medieval Kings of Scotland (one of whom was famously murdered by Macbeth). Duncan is also a clan name originating in southwestern Scotland where the Celtic Scotti (Scots) first settled in the 4th century. In fact, Dúnchad mac Conaing was a 7th century king of western Scotland (known then as Dál Riata) until being defeated by the Picts (another Celtic tribe). It is uncertain if he’s considered the ultimate patriarch of the Duncans, but their clan motto is “Disce Pati” (Learn to Suffer or Endure). Sounds a little masochistic if you ask us. Probably the most famous Scottish Duncan, however, would have to be 11th century King Duncan I of Scotland (Alba) who was highly fictionalized in William Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth” (c. 1606). In essence the real King Duncan had a relatively uneventful and short-lived reign; although he was indeed murdered by Macbeth who would then assume the High Throne of the Scots after him. King Duncan II of Scotland was Duncan I’s grandson by his elder son Malcolm III. Although he reined only briefly (seven months) his story is interesting as well (see historical references below). Duncan is one of those super-Scottish male names along the lines of Malcolm, Colin, Bruce, Kenneth and Donald. Ironically, though, it’s really not that common in Scotland anymore.

Popularity of the Name Duncan

Duncan has managed to achieve regular (yet sporadic) usage since the 19th century. Most likely back then the name was primarily used among Scottish immigrants. As we turned into the 20th century, Duncan was bestowed on baby boys with only the lightest of moderation. The name became pretty unpopular by the late 1970s and came awfully close to falling off the charts altogether. Fortunately, this little Scottish charmer reversed his course on the charts and would achieve his peak popularity in the late 1990s at position #377 on the Top 1000 list (1997). In other words, Duncan has never been trendy and certainly never overused. Today the name is back down to rare usage. Unfortunately too many people associate this name with “Dunkin’ Donuts” or Duncan Hines. When in reality Duncan is one of the oldest Scottish names out there of Celtic/Gaelic origin. It has manly, “warrior”-like roots and a lot of Scottish pride. A great choice for a little brown-haired baby boy!
Popularity of the Boy Name Duncan
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Duncan

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Duncan

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Duncan

    King Duncan (Macbeth) King Duncan is the first victim of the merciless husband and wife team in William Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth, believed to have been written between 1603 and 1607, and superstitiously referred to in the theater as “the Scottish play”. Although based upon an historical figure, Shakespeare fictionalizes our Duncan, the King of Scotland, into a fair and kindly ruler who has one fatal flaw – he is unable to distinguish among those who are true to him and those who are not. It is his misfortune to believe in his distant relative and trusted captain, Macbeth, a trust ill-placed. Once tempted by the three witches to believe he might be king, Macbeth, and his wife beside him, will not rest until Duncan is put to death in order to make the prophecy come true. Even more dastardly is the fact that Macbeth kills Duncan while the king is visiting his household in order to praise him for his successes in battle. The gracious and unsuspecting Duncan is led to the chambers of hospitality that become chambers of horror. With the benevolent king’s death, anarchy reigns and more and more blood is shed in order to stabilize Macbeth’s rule. It is not until Duncan’s son, Malcolm, regains the throne, that the order and peace that were Duncan’s legacy are restored. In the meantime, we may be sure that the death knell that tolled summoned Duncan not to hell, but heaven.

  • Popular Songs on Duncan

    Popular Songs on Duncan

    Duncan - a song by Paul Simon

    Duncan and Brady - a song by Geoff Bartley

    Duncan and Brady - a song by The Johnson Mountain Boys

    I Love To Have A Beer With Duncan - a song by Botany Bay Singers

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Duncan

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Duncan

    Duncan & Dolores (Barbara Samuels) - Dolores learns to curb some of her more smothering tendencies and wins the affection of her new pet cat, Duncan. Recommended for ages 3-6.

    Duncan Rumplemeyer's Bad Birthday (Alexander Stadler) - It isn't easy being Duncan Rumplemeyer. Duncan doesn't mean to get in trouble, but sometimes he can't help it. And there's one thing in particular that keeps him in the doghouse: He can't quite get the hang of sharing. On his seventh birthday Duncan finds himself in the biggest trouble of all. Will this be Duncan's last birthday party? Will his friends speak to him again? Will his parents ever let him out of his room? Duncan Rumplemeyer's Bad Birthday introduces an irrepressible character who will charm picture book readers everywhere. Alexander Stadler has created a story that's part funny, part tender, and all true. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Duncan the Dancing Duck (Syd Hoff) - An irrepressible dancing duck leaves his pond to find fame in the big city, but after receiving a Golden Duck Award he wants only to return to his family. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Duncan the Punkin (Scott Nicholson) - Kindle edition. A magical bedtime story for all ages. Halloween is coming, and Duncan the Punkin's mom teaches him to hide in the pumpkin patch so he doesn't get turned into a jack-o-lantern. Being good is boring, and Duncan's not afraid of any old farmer. But someone else has been keeping an eye on the pumpkin patch. Skeerdy-Cat-Crow has been hanging on a pole all summer, and now he's hungry. He's heard nice little pumpkins are just right. But Mom knows a trick that will teach both Skeerdy-Cat-Crow and Duncan something new. Features 30 color pages. Recommended for ages uncertain.

    Duncan's War (Douglas Bond) - In Scotland in 1666, fourteen-year-old Duncan learns the value of being true to his faith while fighting against supporters of England's King Charles II, who oppress the Covenanters--those who believe that only Jesus can be king of the church. Recommended for ages 11-15.

    Duncan, Son of Sagira (E. C. Holley) - Hunted by both humans and cats alike, The Children of Sagira remain hidden, even from their own brothers and sisters... Born into the present age of house cats, Duncan learns that he is one of the last remaining Children of Sagira. When he must leave his family for his new home, Duncan struggles to keep his identity a secret from the resident house cat, Whiski. The two embark on a journey in pursuit of answers, but they find themselves caught in the middle of an ancient battle made dangerous by a mysterious clan of feral cats and a ruthless purebred guard. In the end, the ultimate question Duncan must face is whether the greatest danger to the ones he loves comes not from others, but from himself... Recommended for ages 13+

    Duncan: A Brave Rescue - A Pet Tales Story (Liam O'Donnell) - Duncan, a Dalmatian, is a playful dog who lives in a firehouse. One day he accidentally climbs onto a fire truck right before it races off to a fire. Will Duncan save the day? Children will love this story which is based on a real Dalmatian, and has been approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association. This book includes an audiobook CD. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Little Dog and Duncan (Kristine O'Connell George) - The endearing characters from Little Dog Poems are back—and this time the little girl and her little dog have a very large overnight visitor. Duncan is so big that he plays fetch with a log instead of a stick, his head alone fills Little Dog’s bed, and he takes up way more than his share of the backseat. But even though he and Little Dog are very different, they have lots in common, too—both love cookies and scratches and mud and mischief. Thirty short, playful poems, narrated by the little girl and illustrated with delicate watercolors, affectionately observe the contrasting canines and are an appealing introduction to poetry for very young readers. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman (Meg Wolitzer) - Friendship, family, and high-stakes Scrabble come together in this compelling novel from a bestselling author. Duncan Dorfman, April Blunt, and Nate Saviano don't seem to have much in common. Duncan is trying to manage his newfound ability to "read" with his fingers. April is striving to be accepted by her family of jocks. And Nate is struggling to meet his father's high expectations. But when a Scrabble Tournament brings them together, their stories intertwine. Driven by competition, drama, and just a touch of magic, the story will have readers flying through the pages, anxious to discover who will be the real winners…Recommended for ages 8-11.

  • Famous People Named Duncan

    Famous People Named Duncan

    Famous People Named Duncan - Duncan I (11th century King of Scotland); Duncan II (11th century King of Scotland); Duncan Hines (namesake of food products); Duncan Keith (hockey player); Duncan Sheik (singer/songwriter and musician); Duncan Ferguson (Scottish footballer); Duncan James (English singer)

  • Children of Famous People Named Duncan

    Children of Famous People Named Duncan

    Famous People Who Named Their Son Duncan - Alfre Woodard (actress); David Bowie (musician); Anthony Quinn (actor)

Personality of the Boy Name Duncan

The Three energy is powerful and enthusiastic. These personalities are cheerful, full of self-expression, and often quite emotional. They have an artistic flair and "gift-of-gab" that makes them natural entertainers. Their joyfulness bubbles over, and their infectious exuberance draws a crowd. The Three personality is like a child - forever young and full of delight. They are charming, witty, and generally happy people. The Three personality lives in the "now" and has a spontaneous nature. Threes seem to live with a bright and seemingly unbreakable aura that attracts others to them. In turn, they are deeply loyal and loving to their friends and family. Luck also has a tendency to favor number Threes.

Variations of the Baby Name - Duncan

  • No Variations Found.
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