The name can have several different meanings. Its legitimate use comes from the Frisian, Ronne, which is a diminutive form of any name beginning with the Germanic element, hraban (raven). Roan is currently 62nd most popular male name in the Netherlands (2016).
The name has also been used in Scandinavia for centuries, being an offshoot of Jerome.
In the English-speaking world, the name is most likely used in reference to the color and the type of hair color pattern found in animals, especially horses. Its etymology is unknown, but is believed to come from an Anglo-Norman word, which in turn comes from a Spanish word, raudano, which likely comes from a Visigothic word meaning “red.”
In the English-speaking world, there are records of Roan going as far back as the 18th-century in England, but is unclear if this was used in reference to the color or was an early Dutch import.
Roan is also found as the name of several places throughout the world.
It is the name of a mountain in Tennessee, the highest point in the Roan-Unaka mountains, which forms a part of the Southern Appalachians. How the range got its name is unknown.