Gender Masculine
Pronounced Pron. O-wien(Welsh)
  [key·IPA]

Meaning & History

From an Old Welsh name (Ougein, Eugein and other spellings), which was possibly from the Latin name Eugenius. Other theories connect it to the Celtic roots *owi- "sheep", *wesu- "good" or *awi- "desire" combined with the Old Welsh suffix gen "born of". This is the name of several figures from British history, including Owain mab Urien, a 6th-century prince of Rheged who fought against the Angles. The 12th-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes adapted him into Yvain for his Arthurian romance Yvain, the Knight of the Lion. Regarded as one of the Knights of the Round Table, Yvain or Owain has since appeared in many other Arthurian tales, typically being the son of King Urien of Gore, and the errant husband of Laudine, the Lady of the Fountain.

Other notable bearers include Owain the Great, a 12th-century king of Gwynedd, and Owain Glyndwr, a 14th-century leader of the Welsh resistance to English rule.

Related Names

VariantsOwen(Welsh) Yvain, Ywain(Arthurian Romance)
Feminine FormOwena(Welsh)
Other Languages & CulturesOwen(English) Ougein(Old Welsh)
Surname DescendantsBowen, Owen, Owens(Welsh)

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Entry updated January 21, 2022