Brian of is of debated meaning, but is most definitely Celtic in origin. It is borne by a few characters in Irish folklore, the most notable being the legendary 10th-century king, Brian Boru. It is also borne by one of the sons of Tuireann in Irish mythology.
The name seems to have had some in usage in certain parts of Britain during the Middle Ages. In North-west England for example, the name was introduced by Breton settlers.
In recent history, the name has experienced widespread popularity throughout the English speaking world. Currently, Brian is the 87th most popular male name in the United States, (2008). He has peaked as high as # 8 between 1970 and 1977. In other countries, his rankings are as follows:
- # 51 (Ireland, 2008)
- # 197 (the Netherlands, 2009)
The name has been linked to the Celtic root bre meaning “hill” which was often used in Celtic names as a euphemism for nobility or eminence.
The name is occasionally used in German-speaking, French-speaking and Spanish-speaking countries.
Briana is often linked as a feminine form of Brian, but was actually an invention by Edmund Spencer for his Faerie Queen.
The name was borne by Beach Boy member, Brian Wilson (b. 1942)