Gender Masculine
Pronounced Pron. NEEL(English)
  [key·IPA]

Meaning & History

From the Irish name Niall, which is of disputed origin, possibly connected to the old Celtic root *nītu- "fury, passion" or the (possibly related) Old Irish word nia "hero" [1][2]. A derivation from Old Irish nél "cloud" has also been suggested. This was the name of a few early Irish kings, notably Niall of the Nine Hostages, a semi-legendary high king of the 4th or 5th century.

In the early Middle Ages the name was adopted by Norse raiders and settlers in Ireland in the form Njáll. The Norse transmitted it to England and Scotland, as well as bringing it back to Scandinavia. It was also in use among the Normans, who were of Scandinavian origin. A famous bearer of this name was American astronaut Neil Armstrong (1930-2012), the first person to walk on the moon.

Related Names

VariantsNiall(Irish) Neal, Nigel, Nigellus(English)
Feminine FormNeilina(Scottish)
Other Languages & CulturesNjáll(Icelandic) Njål(Norwegian) Niall(Old Irish) Njáll(Old Norse)
Surname DescendantsNeal, Neil, Nelson, Nielson, Nigel, Niles(English)

Popularity

People think this name is

classic   mature   wholesome   strong   refined   strange   simple   serious   nerdy  

Categories

Sources & References

  1. Pokorny, Julius. Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. Francke, 1959, page 760.
  2. Matasović, Ranko. Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic. Brill, 2009, page 291.

Entry updated January 21, 2022