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Updated April 16, 2024

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Girl name origins & meanings

What does Ryan mean and stand for as a girl's name?

  • Gaelic: King
  • Irish: King, little king

Gender: Male (traditionally), but increasingly unisex/female

Syllables: 2

Pronunciation: The name Ryan is pronounced ry-anThe name Ryan is derived from the Old Irish name Rían, meaning "king" or "little king," reflecting a regal and noble status. In Irish culture, names often encapsulate a wish or intent for the individual's character or life path, with Ryan projecting qualities of leadership and distinction that are ideal for girls, boys, or gender-neutral names.

Girl name variations

Boy name origins & meanings

What does Ryan mean and stand for as a boy's name?


  • Irish: Little king; Illustrious
  • Gaelic: Descendant of the king

Gender: Male (traditionally), but increasingly unisex/female

Syllables: 2

Pronunciation: The name Ryan is pronounced ry-an

The name Ryan is of Irish origin and means "little king." Ryan originated from the Irish surname O’Riain, meaning “son of Rían.” While it's been a popular boys name, in recent years, Ryan has become unisex with various spellings topping the charts

Boy name variations

How Popular Is The Name Ryan

Family name origins & meanings


Irish: simplified form of Mulryan.

Irish: reduced form of O’Ryan, an Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Riagháin (modern Irish Ó Riain) "descendant of Rian"; Ó Maoilriain "descendant of Maoilriaghain", or Ó Ruaidhín "descendant of the little red one." Ryan is one of the most common surnames in Ireland; there has also been considerable confusion with Regan.

American: Americanized spelling of German Rein.


Famous people with this first name

Famous people with this last name

Famous people who gave their babies this name

Ryan in Pop Culture

Do you know these fictional characters that share this first name?

  1. Ryan Atwood from The O.C. - A troubled teenager from Chino who is taken in by a wealthy family in Orange County, California.
  2. Ryan Howard from The Office - A salesman at Dunder Mifflin with a unique sense of humor and ambition.
  3. Ryan Evans from High School Musical - A talented and fashionable student who loves singing and dancing.
  4. Ryan King from Go On - A sports radio host trying to move on after the death of his wife.
  5. Ryan Wilder from Batwoman - A skilled martial artist who takes up the mantle of Batwoman in Gotham City.

Popularity of the Name Ryan

According to the Social Security Administration data, the name Ryan has been consistently popular in the United States. It has maintained a strong presence, often ranking within the top 50 names since the year 1970. Historic figures, actors, writers, and an array of fictional characters have been adorned with the name, enhancing its popularity and familiarity across various domains.

Notable persons with the name Ryan include Ryan Gosling, an acclaimed actor known for his roles in La La Land and The Notebook. Additionally, Ryan Reynolds, another prominent actor recognized for his performances in Deadpool and The Proposal, has further contributed to the name's recognition. In literature, the name Ryan has appeared in various works, including characters like Ryan O'Neal from the novel Love Story by Erich Segal. These cultural references have solidified the name Ryan's enduring popularity and appeal across different media platforms.

Where Is the Name Ryan Popular?

This name is most popular across certain states in the U.S., including those highlighted on the map below.

Nicknames for Ryan

These shortened names can make great nicknames for your baby.

  • Ry
  • RyRy

Ryan Pairs Well With These Middle Names

Looking for a middle name that fits perfectly? Consider these!

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