Gender Masculine
Pronounced Pron. BRIE-ən(English) BRYEEN(Irish)  [key·IPA]

Meaning & History

Meaning uncertain, possibly related to the old Celtic root *brixs "hill, high" (Old Irish brií) or the related *brigā "might, power" (Old Irish briíg). It was borne by the Irish king Brian Boru, who thwarted Viking attempts to conquer Ireland in the 11th century. He was slain in the Battle of Clontarf, though his forces were decisively victorious. This name was common in Ireland after his time, and it was introduced to northern England by Norse-Gael settlers. It was also used in Brittany, and was brought to England by Bretons in the wake of the Norman Conquest. Though it eventually became rare in the English-speaking world, it was strongly revived in the 20th century, becoming a top-ten name for boys in most regions.

Related Names

VariantsBrion, Bryan, Bryon(English)
Other Languages & CulturesBrajan(Polish) Brayan(Spanish)
Surname DescendantsBryan, Bryant(English) Ó Briain, O'Brian, O'Brien(Irish)

People think this name is

classic   mature   common   natural   wholesome   strong   simple   nerdy  

Name Days

Norway: September 5


Depiction of Brian BoruDepiction of Brian Boru


Sources & References

  1. O'Brien, Kathleen M. Index of Names in Irish Annals, available from
Entry updated June 9, 2023