Wales is a country in southwest Great Britain known for its hilly coastline, mountainous national parks, distinctive Welsh language, and Celtic culture. Welsh baby names have really taken off in recent years with a renewed interest in these traditional names in Wales and beyond. In the US, there are several baby names for boys with Welsh origins in the US top 1000 most popular baby names from last year. Names like Owen, Evan, and Dylan all have Wales to thank for popularizing them.
Most of these baby names do honor their Celtic tradition but some were imported from elsewhere and adopted into the Welsh lexicon with style and fashion to match. We wanted to discover the best Welsh baby names for boys and also wanted to highlight some current favorites to give expecting parents a good mix of popular and unique baby names. If you would like to honor your Welsh heritage or just like whimsical-sounding appellations, you should definitely scroll through the list below to find some options for your son. Here are 25 Welsh baby names for boys that new parents should totally consider.
The Greek name Eugene transformed into Owain in Welsh and Celtic Eoghan. Owen is a bridge between the two that means “young warrior” or “well-born.” The name became a Welsh patronymic name during the Renaissance. Owen has always been a popular name in the US but today, it is nearly in the top 20 most popular choices.
Evan was derived from Iefan, a Welsh version of John. John is ultimately a derivative of the Hebrew name Yochanan, comprised of the elements yo, meaning “God” and chanan, “to be gracious.” Evan is another name that’s been very popular for a long time, but it’s much more popular today than ever before. Aside from being popular around the UK and in the US, the name is popular in many European countries notably France and the Netherlands.
Maddox, a previously obscure Welsh family name with a powerfully masculine image, suddenly came into the spotlight when Angelina Jolie chose it for her son in 2003. Maddox means “son of Madoc” as a family name and can also take its meaning directly from Madoc which means “fortunate.”
Gael is a boy’s name of Welsh and Breton origin meaning “Gaelic.” You will find the name in Wales, Brittany, and Spain and more often in Latin America now. We have Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal to thank for this name’s popularity in the US. It was the 133 most popular names for boys last year!
Dawson was scarcely heard as a first name before the debut of Dawson’s Creek in 1998, at which point it leaped up more than 550 places in one year. It’s been a top 500 performer every year since then. Dawson simply means “son of David.”
In Welsh mythology, Dylan was a legendary sea god who made all the waters of Britain and Ireland weep when he died. Dylan Thomas, a famous Welsh poet, was adopted by Bob Dylan in tribute. Dylan is a Welsh baby name that means “son of the sea.” The name has been in the US top 500 since 1972 and is now more popular than ever before.
Reese has emerged as a popular spelling for this name for baby girls while the traditional Welsh spelling Rhys has maintained favor for boys. Both are in the US top 500 today. Always ubiquitous in Wales, where it has historic roots, Rhys is also a high-ranking name in England, Ireland, and Scotland. Rhys means “ardor.”
Idris Hawr “the Giant” was a legendary seventh-century Welsh giant and magician who gave his name to a well-known mountain, “Idris’s Fort.” We most associate this name with actor Idris Elba today and he has helped propel the name to the top 1000 in the US. As a Welsh baby name, Idris means “lord.” You will also find the name in Arabic tradition as a prophet’s name meaning “to study.”
Pronounced EYE-ron, Aeron will most likely be confused with the more recognized Aaron. Aeron was possibly a minor Celtic god of war. As a Welsh baby name, this one means “berry.” Because of Aaron’s massive popularity in the US, you almost never encounter Aeron here.
If you’re looking for a Biblical name and a Welsh baby name in one, consider the Welsh form of Daniel, Deiniol. The name shares its meaning with its Hebrew roots in “God is my judge.” Daniel is obviously the more favored option in the US.
The name Gareth first appeared in Malory’s Morte d’Arthur, as the lover of Eluned, the brother of Gawain and nephew of King Arthur. This modest and sensitive Welsh baby name means “gentle.” Gareth is often paired with the nickname Gaz.
Iwan is a Welsh baby name that came by way of Ifan a name that actually comes from the Latin appellation Johannes. All of that to say, Iwan is the Welsh form of Ivan, a Slavic name that’s the more popular of the two in the US. Iwan is pronounced EYE-wahn in Wales and you will find it YOU-enne in England, where it is also very popular.
Armel is a Welsh baby name that means “bear prince.” Armel is also used in France, as it was the name of a 6th-century saint who went to Brittany and established abbeys. Armel has a gentle and familiar sound, making it easily used outside of Wales and France. However, very few American parents have discovered it.
There’s no mistaking the fact that Llewelyn is a distinctly Welsh name. This name has never been popular in the US in this form or the traditional Welsh spelling, Llywelyn. Llywelyn ap Iorwerth was the best of the Welsh rulers of the Middle Ages. This is a favored patriotic name, with nicknames Llelo and Llew, which is also Welsh all of which mean “lion.”
This name of the famous fifth-century sorcerer and mentor of King Arthur may or may not be to fantastic for a baby boy. That’s up to you! Merlin is a Welsh baby name meaning “sea fortress.” The name used to be a popular choice for babies in the US until it stopped being a possibility in the seventies.
Nye is a blunt little name that we realize is not going to appeal to a ton of parents as a first name but it could be a short yet sweet middle. Wherever you are thinking of placing in your son’s name, this Welsh baby name means “honor.” A perfect way to honor that Welsh heritage!
Price was once a fairly popular name in the US reaching the height of its popularity in 1896 as a top 500 baby name. Price fell from favor by the twenties and we think a hundred years is more than enough time passed to bring back this gem. Price is a Welsh baby name that means “son of Rhys.”
Pronounced SIL-yen, Sulien is a traditional Welsh baby name that means “sun born.” The sunny name belonged to the legendary, most learned man in ancient Wales, an eleventh-century abbot of Llanbadarn. Most Americans will try and make this name rhyme with Julien which is annoying but not a dealbreaker for us. This name has never found broad favor in the US but we’re into it!
Tarian is a unisex Welsh baby name and though it used more for girls in Wales, would be perfectly acceptable in the US for a boy. Just ask country singer Travis Tritt who gave this name to one of his sons. Tarian could be a great alternative to the immensely popular Tristan. Tarian means “shield.”
Straightforwardly pronounced RHOD-ree, Rhodri still trips up many Americans. Rhodri is a beautiful Welsh baby name that’s similar to Rory. Rhodri, the name of an important ninth-century Welsh king known as Rhodri the Great, a renowned warrior who was the ancestor of many of the following dynasties of Wales. This name is popular in England but not so much in the states. It means “wheel” or “circle.”
Names with X’s and Z’s are super hot right now as they can give an appellation some edge. Maxen, also spelled Macsen, is a very ancient name that manages to sound fresh. The earliest Welsh genealogies give Maximus (referred to as Macsen/Maxen Wledig, or Emperor Maximus) the role of founding father of the dynasties of several medieval Welsh kingdoms. We think Maxen would be welcome in the US.
Jevon is another Welsh form of John that’s related to Evan. Jevon is sometimes spelled Jevan or Yevan. It takes its meaning from Hebrew origins meaning “gift of God.” Jevon has been sporadically popular in the US bouncing on and off the top 1000 list from the seventies to the early aughts.
Gentle and poetic and often heard in Wales, Emlyn joins Emrys as soft, interesting alternatives to popular Em- names like Emmett and Emery. Emlyn has both Welsh and Latin origins and can mean a few different things: “charming,” “flattering,” or “rival.” We would love for this name to come to play with the others in the US.
Celyn, which starts with the hard K sound and rhymes with Helen, is a top 100 name in Wales although largely unknown outside that small, beautiful country. Celyn could be the perfect choice for your son as it has not been adopted often in the US but sounds accessible, similar to the Irish name Kellen. Celyn is a Welsh baby name that means “holly.”
You will find the name Edan in both Irish and Welsh tradition where it means “little fire.” It’s an easy spelling alternative to Aiden. Edan is pronounced EE-dan which means it could be confused for Eden. In Hebrew tradition, the name means “era” and is extremely popular in Israel today. A true cross-cultural hit in this baby name. We predict this name will blow up in coming years in the US. Get ahead of the trend, parents!
There you go! We hope you enjoyed these Welsh baby names for boys that would perfectly pay tribute to your Welsh heritage. Aside from that, these baby names are beautiful, unique appellations that sound both familiar and exotic to most Americans. We shared with you the most popular options at the top of the list and then moved on to more obscure possibilities for your baby boy Happy baby name hunting!
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
- 1 25. Owen
- 2 24. Evan
- 3 23. Maddox
- 4 22. Gael
- 5 21. Dawson
- 6 20. Dylan
- 7 19. Rhys
- 8 18. Idris
- 9 17. Aeron
- 10 16. Deiniol
- 11 15. Gareth
- 12 14. Iwan
- 13 13. Armel
- 14 12. Llewelyn
- 15 11. Merlin
- 16 10. Nye
- 17 9. Price
- 18 8. Sulien
- 19 7. Tarian
- 20 6. Rhodri
- 21 5. Maxen
- 22 4. Jevon
- 23 3. Emlyn
- 24 2. Celyn
- 25 1. Edan
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