Boy Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Ian

  • Gender:
  • Boy
  • Origin:
  • Gaelic, Scottish
  • Number of syllables:
  • 2
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 80
Simple meaning:
God is gracious

Characteristics of Ian

  • Humanitarian
  • Community-minded
  • Family-oriented
  • Loving
  • Affectionate
  • Compassionate
  • Sensitive

Etymology & Historical Origin - Ian

Ian is the Scottish-Gaelic form of John. In Wales, Euan (yew-an) and Evan are more commonly used, in Ireland, the name Sean is the Irish-Gaelic equivalent to John, while the Manx on the Isle of Man use Ean. All of these names are respective linguistic equivalents to the English John, ultimately derived from the Hebrew “Yochanan” meaning "Yahweh (God) is gracious" or "God is generous, merciful". John is a name that originated in the Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible) as one of King David’s mighty men. However, John owes most of its popularity in usage to two prominent New Testament figures: John the Baptist and John the Apostle. Therefore, John has traditionally been a name of great importance since early Christianity. The name was reintroduced to Western Europeans after the First Crusade (11th century) by the Eastern Christians from the Byzantium Empire. From that point on, John became a wildly popular choice among the English, bestowed upon one in every five boys by the later Middle Ages. Ian is merely the Scottish form of this name. Ian was borne by several distinguished families in Scotland, but none so tragic as the clansmen MacIains of Glencoe (descendants of Ian), a sect of the MacDonalds, who were victims of one of the most infamous massacres in Scottish history, the 1692 Massacre of Glencoe. Apparently, the MacIains didn’t pledge their allegiance quick enough to the new British monarchs, William and Mary. While other clan chiefs were converting to the Saxon feudal lord system, the MacIain chiefs presided in the old Celtic way, living among their people more like a father than a feudal lord. Unfortunately, this would be their downfall. But all we have to say is good for them for standing their ground! Ironically, Ian is no longer on Scotland's Top 100 list of baby boy names.

Popularity of the Name Ian

The name Ian debuted on the U.S. popularity charts for the first time in 1935 at position #946. From that point on, the name slowly and quietly increased in usage. The name finally hit the Top 100 list in 1982, and it hasn’t left in over 30 years. Reaching its peak of popularity around the turn of the 21st century (#65 in 2003), Ian is enjoying some attention right now. The name has definitely risen along with American parents growing interest in names with a distinctly Gaelic (Celtic) flavor, and Ian certainly fits the bill. It’s unpretentious and wistful. It’s manly and intellectual. It’s strong and easy-going.
Popularity of the Boy Name Ian
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Ian

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Ian

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Ian

    Ian Malcolm (Jurassic Park) Ian is the mathematician who warns of impending disaster in Michael Crichton’s 1990 novel, Jurassic Park, made into a highly successful movie in 1993. Jurassic Park, of course, is an elaborate theme park featuring cloned dinosaurs, who are gradually gaining control over their environment. As portrayed by Jeff Goldblum, Ian is an intense and pessimistic character who correctly predicts the cataclysmic outcome of this genetic tampering. He is rewarded for his diligence by serious injuries sustained during a tyrannosaurus attack.

    Ian Miller (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) Ian is the Wasp-Protestant vegetarian school teacher (played by John Corbett) who woos the very Greek Toula in the 2002 movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. This is a delightfully warm-hearted take on the intermingling of cultures in our society, with gentle zingers and lovable characters. This includes our Ian, who is the genuine article, struggling to adapt to the overwhelming size and force of his beloved’s family and good naturedly handling the inevitable jokesters who teach him basic Greek “phrases”. His name, Ian, is particularly indicative of a divide – every male in Toula’s family is named either Nick or Gus.

    Ian O’Shea (The Host) Ian O’Shea is a character in Stephanie Meyer’s 2008 science fiction/romance novel, The Host, about a race of aliens who take over Earth’s inhabitants. Ian is a rebel human. He is a tall, blue-eyed, gentle, strong and handsome man in his mid-twenties whose initial resistance to the “Souls” is tempered by his growing love for Wanda, one of them. He is the ultimate heart-throb romantic hero – not really too good to be true, but edging up there. After reading about him, most teen-aged fans will want to become “Souls” in order to better enjoy his company!

    Ian Rider (Alex Rider Series) Ian is the uncle/guardian of teen-aged spy Alex Rider in the popular British series of novels by Anthony Horowitz. An agent for the Special Operations division of MI6, Ian is a perfect example of the smooth English gentleman - a product of Cambridge University, a devotee of fine wines, multi-lingual, well-travelled, handsome and physically fit. In addition, this paragon of virtue takes on his nephew after the infant’s parents die, and teaches him everything he knows. We should all have such an “Uncle Ian”! His portrayal by Ewan McGregor in the 2006 movie, “Stormbreaker”, is right on the money.

  • Popular Songs on Ian

    Popular Songs on Ian

    Ian - We cannot find any well-known or significantly popular songs featuring the name Ian.

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Ian

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Ian

    Ian's Walk: A Story about Autism (Laurie Lears) - Julie can’t wait to go to the park. But she's not sure she wants to take her little brother, Ian, who has autism. Ian does things differently. At the local diner, he doesn't care about the sandwiches and ice cream. Instead, he wants to watch the ceiling fan slowly turn. At the park, he doesn't like the tickle of a soft feather, but he loves to lie down and press his cheek against the hard sidewalk. It's hard for Julie to understand Ian. But when he gets lost at the park, Julie discovers that seeing the world differently - through Ian's eyes - is the very best way to find him. Recommended for ages 4-8.

  • Famous People Named Ian

    Famous People Named Ian

    Famous People Named Ian - Ian Fleming (author/creator of James Bond); Ian McEwan (author); Ian McLellan (actor); Ian Wilson (author); Ian Anderson (musician); Ian Astbury (musician); Ian Baker-Finch (golfer); Ian Brown (singer); Ian Gillan (singer); Ian Hill (musician); Ian McCulloch (singer); Ian McDonald (musician); Ian Paice (musician); Ian Donald Calvin Euclid Zappa (birth name of Dweezil Zappa, musician); Ian Ziering (actor)

  • Children of Famous People Named Ian

    Children of Famous People Named Ian

    Famous People who Named their Son Ian - Barbara Cartland (author); John Lithgow (actor); Kate Mulgrew (actress); Nicholas Coster (daytime actor)

  • Historic Figures

    Ian - Boy Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Ian - We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Ian.

Personality of the Boy Name Ian

Romance is the hallmark of the Six personality. They exude nurturing, loving, and caring energy. Sixes are in love with the idea of love in its idealized form - and with their magnetic personalities, they easily draw people toward them. Like the number Two personality, they seek balance and harmony in their life and the world at large. They are conscientious and service-oriented, and a champion for the underdog. These personalities naturally attract money and are usually surrounded by lovely material objects - but their human relationships are always primary. They thrive in giving back to others rather than being motivated by their own desires. This is when they achieve great things. Sixes are natural teachers, ministers and counselors.

Variations of the Baby Name - Ian

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