Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Boy Name of the Week: Ewan

The Boy Name of the Week is the Scottish form of a Gaelic name: Ewan. It is pronounced YOO-un.

It comes from the Gaelic name Eoghan. There were several legendary Irish figures with the name Eoghan, which possibly means "born from the yew tree" in Irish. Some say it may be derived from Eugene which comes from Greek words meaning "well born."  I've also seen some sites say that Ewan means "Youth" but I'm not sure where they got that information from.


So while I can't seem to get a clear picture on what it really means, it is still a very handsome name. Ewan can also be spelled Euan, Ewen, Ewyn or even Ouen, depending on where you live.  Sometimes it is said to be a variation of names like John, Owen, Evan, Hugh and again Eugene. Owen is actually the Welsh spelling of the name, also spelled Owain.

If you do more research on Eoghan, you'll see that it also has various spellings and that its true meaning is heavily debated.  The encyclopedia of Irish Names (1981, 1990) disputes any connection with Eugene and derives the name from Old Irish: Eógan meaning "born of the yew". So I think I'll go with that!

As you can see, Ewan has plenty of possible roots and brother-names.  What I think makes it so special is its unique sound, spelling and the fact that it isn't super popular. Sure, you've heard of the Scottish Actor Ewan McGregor, but how many others do you know? I can't say I've met one.

You may need to click the image to see it better.  Source
Let's look at the stats! This name wasn't heard of in the US until 1972. It did not catch on at all until 1997. The most usage that Ewan has received was in 2006 when there were 148 babies born. That wasn't enough for the name to crack the Top 1000 though.

In 2012, there were 140 baby Ewans born, ranking the name at #1245. Compare that to the 7,851 baby boys named Evan (#47), and the 8,630 baby boys named Owen (#38).

I like Ewan for how under-the-radar it still is.  What do you think of it?

Sibling Name Ideas:
Sisters: Ainsley, Caitlin, Clara, Fiona, Isla, Maeve, Rosalie, Siobhan
Brothers: Aiden, Callum, Finn, Gavin, Kellan, Lachlan, Ronan, Teague

Middle Name Ideas: 
Ewan Bryant
Ewan Cashel
Ewan Dempsey
Ewan Flannerry
Ewan Malone
Ewan Rafferty
Ewan Reilly

2 comments:

Caitie said...

I love Ewan. It is one of my top choices for a boys name. The only problem I have is that my married name is an Irish name starting with an O'. Do you think Ewan is too Scottish leaning to pair with a very Irish last name?

Kara Cavazos said...

If you live in Ireland or Scotland, perhaps. I don't live there so I'm not sure if it would be totally obvious and be a huge deal or not. But if you're in the states, I don't think anyone would notice.

Plus, Ewan comes from Gaelic, and there were several legendary Irish figures with the name Eoghan, which Ewan comes from. To many people, it is all so similar that these Celtic/Gaelic/Irish/Scotish names just "go together" and many don't know the difference between them.

The encyclopedia of Irish Names (1981, 1990) derives the name from Old Irish: Eógan meaning "born of the yew". So according to that, Ewan IS Irish.

Ewan O'Donaghue or Ewan O'Neill would sound fine to me if you really like it. I'm sure there's plenty of Ewan's with non-Scottish last names out there. :)

There is also Eoin or Eamon that are Irish and similar. I hope that helps.

- Kara @ The Art of Naming

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