Gender: Masculine
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: “strong; enduring; solid.”
Eng (EE-then); Heb (ay-TAHN)

Currently the 3rd most popular male name in the United States, Ethan is a Biblical Hebrew name that is mentioned eight times in the Bible.

Not much is known about the Biblical Ethan, other than that it was the name of a possible magi or cymbal player of King David.

The name’s popularity is relatively recent. It was not used much outside the Jewish community until after the Protestant Reformation, even then, the name was still very uncommon.

In 1880, Ethan did not appear in the U.S. top 1000, in 1884, he suddenly appeared coming in at # 613, then fell out of the top 1000 the next year, coming in again at # 846 in 1886.

For the next 80 or so years, Ethan had had a history of disappearing from the top 1000 every few years, and then reappearing, but never ranking very high. It wasn’t until, starting in 1956, that Ethan remained steadily in the top 1000 each year.

For ’56, he was the 948th most popular male name.

Ethan jumped several places towards the end of the 1980s. He came in at # 236 in 1988 and then jumped a couple hundred spots the following year, cracking the top 100, he came in at # 87 for 1989.

In 2002, he hit the top 10, coming in at # 5.

His popularity in other countries are as follows:

  • # 10 (Australia, 2007)
  • # 36 (Belgium, 2006)
  • # 1 (Canada, B.C., 2008)
  • # 15 (England/Wales, 2008)
  • # 24 (France, 2006)
  • # 46 (Ireland, 2007)
  • # 31 (Scotland, 2008)

Other forms of the name include:

  • Etan (German/Polish)
  • Aithan Αιθαν (Greek: Biblical)
  • Eitan/Eytan אֵיתָן (Hebrew: Modern)

The name is also borne American revolutionary Ethan Allen (1738-1789) and by actor, Ethan Hawke (b. 1970).

It is also the name of the protagnostis in Edith Wharton’s novel Ethan Frome (1911)

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