Boy Baby Name


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Quick Facts on Owen

  • Gender:
  • Boy
  • Origin:
  • Celtic, Greek, Welsh
  • Number of syllables:
  • 2
  • Ranking popularity:
  • 38
Simple meaning:
Well-born; Born of the yew tree; Youthful

Characteristics of Owen

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

Etymology & Historical Origin - Owen

Owen is most often considered the Celtic/Welsh equivalent of Eugene from the Latin Eugenius, ultimately derived from the Greek “eugenēs” (Ευγενιος) meaning “well-born”. The Welsh first developed Ougein/Owain from the Old Irish-Gaelic Eogan (Owen is the modern Welsh form of the name). It was the Norman-French who brought the name Eugene to England after the Conquest of 1066. Eugenius was borne by a few early saints and four popes who helped popularize the name in earlier medieval times (see Eugene for more detail). Owen is also theorized to be derived from Eòghann, an Irish name connected with an older Celtic meaning “born of the yew”. The yew tree was sacred to the ancient Celts and revered almost as highly as the oak. They believed the yew symbolized immortality and had certain mystical power (which is perhaps why we often see the word “youth” associated with Owain in our research – from the Proto-Indo-European root *i̯eu- meaning "vital force, youthful vigor"). Indeed, Owain is an illustrious name in Welsh history borne by several royal members of various kingdoms. The most familiar Owain, however, is the one who appears in Arthurian legends – Sir Owain was one of the famed Knights of the Round Table and the husband of the Lady of the Fountain (see literary references below). Sir Owain’s legends were drawn from a real historical figure named Owain mab Urien, a Celtic prince of a northern English kingdom who battled against the Angles in the late 6th century. No matter what the etymology, one thing we can say for certain: Owen is all Welsh. Today Owen remains a top choice in Wales, but it is actually most popular in Canada. It’s also a crowd-pleaser in the United States and Ireland.

Popularity of the Name Owen

Owen was popular in the early 20th century but slowly and quietly fell from favor as the decades progressed. Enter the 21st century. Now Owen is enjoying a revival, recently weighing in at a very respectable #38 on the U.S. charts. This increase in popularity is likely a result of exposure via the personages of actor Owen Wilson and soccer player Owen Hargreaves. Also in its corner is the near impossibility of being diminished to a nickname. Charming, youthful and well-born, Owen is a gift from the spirited Welsh people.
Popularity of the Boy Name Owen
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Owen

  • Literary Characters of the baby name Owen

    Literary Characters of the Baby Name Owen

    Owen Glendower (Henry IV) Owen Glendower, Prince of Wales mounts the last great effort to overthrow English rule in William Shakespeare's Henry IV.

    Owen Meany (A Prayer for Owen Meany) This title character of this 1989 novel by John Irving is afflicted with a physical condition which stunts his growth and compels him to shout when speaking, but he is clever and determined, and believes himself to be an instrument of God. As his life’s fate works its way through the years, he may be proven right.

    Sir Owain (Celtic Mythology) Sir Owain is one of the Knights of the Round Table of Arthurian legend, one of the earliest of that fine band of men. Although not as well known as Lancelot or Gawain, Sir Owain holds his own in the knightly endeavors department, setting off the lightning bolt from the magic spring, which kills the master of the spring, which impels the maid of the lady of the nearby castle to save his life by way of a ring that renders him invisible; while invisible Owain falls in love with the widow of the dead master, who is persuaded to marry him as a suitable replacement for her erstwhile master. All well and good, but then Sir Gawain implores Owain to return to his knightly rounds, which Owain does, with his wife’s permission, promising to return in a year. Wouldn’t you know, Owain loses track of time, fails to return within the year, is spurned by his wife, goes mad, regains his senses, proves his knightly chops via an obliging lion and gets the girl back again. Only, it is all done is much more flowery language, language of an order that is right and fitting for a good knight named Owain.

  • Popular Songs on Owen

    Popular Songs on Owen

    Owen! - a song by Lohio

    Song for Owen - jazz instrumental by Harris Eisenstadt

  • Children's Books on the Baby Name Owen

    Children's Books on the Baby Name Owen

    Giant Hug (Sandra Horning) - How do you give your granny a hug when she lives far away? Send it through the mail, of course! Owen's hug travels across the country in a series of hilarious, sometimes awkward, always heartfelt embraces between animals of different shapes and sizes. Valeri Gorbachev's adorable artwork pairs beautifully with Sandra Horning's charming text, and makes for a fun, funny, and educational read-aloud. An unexpected twist at the end will delight readers and have kids asking for this book again and again. Recommended for ages 3-7.

    Owen (Kevin Henkes) - A Caldecott Honor book. Owen loves his baby blanket he calls Fuzzy and can't bear the thought of parting with it. His mother comes up with the perfect solution when he heads off to kindergarten! Recommended for ages 3 and up.

    Owen and the Mountain (Malachy Doyle & Giles Greenfield) - When Owen goes to visit his grandfather in the country, neither is sure how to behave. The little boy wants to climb the mountain, but the old man doesn’t feel up to it. When eventually they set off on the adventure to reach the peak, they are slightly unsure, but when they come back down, they return as friends. They have learned something—not only about each other, but also about themselves. Recommended for ages 5-9.

    Owen Foote Series (Stephanie Greene) - Short chapters, large print, and frequent illustrations make this collection an appealing choice for early book readers. Children will love the kid-friendly humor, the fast-moving plot, and irrepressible Owen, himself. Owen’s interests, fears, and embarrassing moments will ring true with primary grade students. The series includes a set of five titles: Owen Foote, Second Grade Strongman; Owen Foote, Frontiersman; Owen Foote, Super Spy; Owen Foote, Money Man; and Owen Foote, Soccer Star. Recommended for ages 7-11.

    Owen's Marshmallow Chick (Kevin Henkes) - A wonderful book from Kevin Henkes! Come and explore Owen's Easter basket, delight in all his favorite things, and share his enjoyment of the marshmallow chick which is just exactly the same color as his favorite blanket. Simple Easter fun! Recommended for ages baby to preschool.

  • Famous People Named Owen

    Famous People Named Owen

    Famous People Named Owen - Owen Wilson (actor); Owen Hargreaves (soccer player)

  • Children of Famous People Named Owen

    Children of Famous People Named Owen

    Famous People who Named their Son Owen - Phoebe Cates (actress); Kevin Kline (actor)

  • Historic Figures

    Owen - Boy Baby Name - Historic Figures

    Owen Glendower (c. 1355 - 1416) - Owain Glyndŵr is the old Welsh name anglicized by William Shakespeare as Owen Glendower. Owen was a Welsh ruler and the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales. He instigated an ultimately unsuccessful but long-running revolt against English rule of Wales at the beginning of the 15th century (under the King Henry IV’s rule of England). Initially successful, the uprising was eventually put down. He was never captured (despite high bounties placed on his head) and disappeared in 1412. Considered one of the greatest Britons of all time, he is celebrated in Wales as a hero on par with King Arthur.

Personality of the Boy Name Owen

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 - Owen

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