Quick Facts on Sullivan
- Gaelic, Irish
- Number of syllables:
- Ranking popularity:
One-eyed; Hawk-eyed; Dark-eyed
Characteristics of Sullivan
- Highly Intuitive
- Spiritual Teacher
- Extremely Bright
Etymology & Historical Origin - Sullivan
Sullivan is the transferred use of an anglicized Irish surname which originally came in the Gaelic form of O'Súilleabháin from the Irish nickname Súilleabháin with variable meanings of either “one-eyed”, “hawk-eyed” or “dark-eyed”. All scholars are in agreement that the root word “súil” means “eye” but the remainder is in question. The O’Sullivans (along with the MacCarthys, O’Keefes and O’Callaghans) are old kinsmen descended from an ancient 3rd century King of Munster (which pretty much covered all of southern Ireland). The distinguished O’Sullivans were a part of the legendary Eóganachta dynasty which dominated southern Ireland for over eight centuries. In other words, Sullivan is not only an ancient Irish family name, but it’s one of notable importance. Furthermore, the O’Sullivan Clan also claimed to be direct descendents of the Milesians who, according to Irish mythology, were the first Celts to arrive in Ireland – a place they believed to be their land of destiny. Sullivan continues to be the most common surname in the province of Munster (mainly in counties Cork and Kerry), and it’s the third most popular surname in all of Ireland (after Murphy and Kelly). Sullivan is also extremely widespread in other English-speaking countries where the Irish immigrated. Some notable name bearers include Eoghan Rua Ó Súilleabháin (anglicized as Owen Roe O'Sullivan) who was an important 18th century Irish-Gaelic poet and Arthur Sullivan (of the Gilbert and Sullivan opera fame) was of Irish descent. Anne Sullivan was Helen Keller’s teacher and Ed Sullivan is a memorable American entertainer. As a given name, however, Sullivan is used primarily in the United States.
Popularity of the Name Sullivan
Sullivan had a relatively rare history as a given name dating back to the 19th century in America; however, the name promptly fell off the charts during the 20th century. It remained unused for over 100 years before being revived in the 21st century in the year 2002. Since that time, Sullivan has been climbing the charts as the moniker is used more and more by American parents. Sullivan fits two naming trends currently. One, it’s a surname turned first name, and second, it’s of Irish heritage. It reminds us other Irish surnames like Donovan or Finnegan which have become charming three-syllable given names for American baby boys. The nickname “Sully” is likewise charismatically cool. Although the etymology is up for debate, the possible origins are interesting nonetheless. There is a story of an Irish chieftain who lost an eye in battle and became known as “One-Eye” which is one way the byname may have developed. The “hawk-eyed” meaning may have signified a great quick thinking warrior or the “dark-eyed” etymology could have been bestowed in reference to a physical attribute. Whatever meaning is correct, they all make us think of great Irish warriors adding flavor to the name.
Popularity of the Boy Name Sullivan
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Cultural References to the Baby Name - Sullivan
Literary Characters of the Baby Name Sullivan
Sullivan We cannot find any significant literary characters with the first name Sullivan.
Popular Songs on Sullivan
Mr. Sullivan - a song by Meganoidi
Sullivan - a song by Caroline's Spine
Sullivan Street - a song by Counting Crows
The Legend of Pegleg Sullivan - a song by Allister
Children's Books on the Baby Name Sullivan
O'Sullivan Stew (Hudson Talbott) - Someone has stolen the witch of Crookhaven's horse, and there will be no peace in the village until it is returned. So bold, brassy Kate O'Sullivan takes matters into her own hands. But instead of saving the day, she manages to land herself--and her family--in trouble with the king. So Kate sets out to save their hides the only way she knows how--with a good story. Filled with imagination, wit, and a healthy helping of good old-fashioned Irish blarney, this is a hilarious tale that will keep readers coming back for more. Recommended for ages 5-8.
Famous People Named Sullivan
Famous People Named Sullivan - Sullivan Sweeten (actor); Sullivan the Whisperer (horse tamer); The Fighting Sullivans (five brothers who died together on a battleship during WWII)
Children of Famous People Named Sullivan
Famous People Who Named Their Son Sullivan - Patrick Dempsey (actor); Tom Waits (musician)
Sullivan - Boy Baby Name - Historic Figures
Sullivan - We cannot find any historically significant people with the first name Sullivan.
Personality of the Boy Name Sullivan
The number 11 is a Master Number, and embodies heightened traits of the Two. This personality is on a life journey to find spiritual truth. They are extremely idealistic and intuitive. Elevens have a rare and exceptional spiritual energy that brings a sense of obligation to illuminate the world around them. It's a very powerful responsibility, but these people have far more potential than they know. It's important that they surrender to higher ideals. They have the capacity to see the bigger picture, and they possess the skills to inspire others spiritually. Elevens have strong diplomatic skills and can become great peacemakers. Master numbers can be both a blessing and a curse, as they walk the fine line between greatness and the potential for self-destruction.
Variations of the Baby Name - Sullivan