St. Finian.jpgOrigin: Irish, Gaelic
Meaning: “white”
Gender: masculine

Finnian is an anglicized form of the Gaelic, Fionán or Fionnán, which is derived from the Celtic element, fionn (white).

The name is borne by 2 early Irish saints:

  • St. Finnian of Clonard, an Irish saint who is considered one of the founders of Irish monasticism and tutor of many his contemporary saints (470-549).
  • St. Finnian of Moville, another Irish monastic who brought back St. Jerome’s Vulgate from Rome to Ireland, started a monastary and eventually became the tutor of St. Columba (495-589).

Other forms of the name include:

  • Finnien (French)
  • Finnan/Finnén (Irish)
  • Fionán/Fionnán (Irish)
  • Vennianus (Latin)
  • Vinniaus (Latin)
  • Finian (Polish, appears on the Polish name-day calendar, but is seldom used)
  • Ffinan (Welsh)

A short form is Finn or Finny.



Gender: Masculine
Origin: Old Norse or Irish
Meaning: “Finnish”, or “blonde; white; fair; bright.”
Eng/Germ/Swe (FIN)

The name could either be from the Old Norse, Finnr, meaning “Finnish” or it could be an anglicized form of the Gaelic male name, Fionn meaning, “blonde; fair; white; bright.”

In Irish legend, the name was borne by Fionn mac Cumhail (English: Finn McCool) who became all-wise after eating a magical salmon. There are several different stories attributed to him, one of which was that his real name was Deimne but came to be known as Finn after his hair had turned prematurely white.

The name also appears in Beowulf as the name of a Frisian king.

Currently, Finn is the 4th most popular male name in Germany, (2011). His rankings in other countries are as follows:

  • # 15 (Netherlands, 2010)
  • # 35 (Fionn, Ireland, 2010)
  • # 39 (German-speaking, Switzerland, 2010)
  • # 46 (Ireland, 2010)
  • # 52 (Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 74 (Australia, 2010)
  • # 80 (Fionn, Northern Ireland, 2010)
  • # 81 (Scotland, 2010)
  • # 300 (United States, 2010)

Other forms of Fionn include:

  • Finnagán (Irish)
  • Finnán (Irish)
  • Fionnán (Irish)
Other forms of the Old Norse Finn, include:
  • Finn (Dutch/English/Frisian/German/Scandinavian)
  • Finnur (Faroese/Icelandic)
A feminine form is Finna.

Fionntán, Fintan

Gender: Masculine
Origin: Gaelic
Meaning: “white fire.”
Ir (fin-TAHN); Eng (FIN-tun).

The name is composed of the elements fionn meaning “white; fair” and tine meaning “fire.” It has been anglicized as Fintan. In Irish legend, Fionntan Mac Bochra was a great seer and druid advisor who supposedly arrived in Ireland, along with Noah’s granddaughter, Cessair. His wives and daughters died during God’s cursed flood but he survived by transforming himself into a salmon and taking refuge in an undersea cave. He later transformed himself into an eagle, then into a hawk and then back into his true form. Supposedly, he lived 5500 years, until the arrival of Christianity into Ireland, where he was baptized and died immediately after. It has been borne by several Irish saints, and its designated name day is July 13. The name might be especially appealing to parents who are considering Connor or Aidan, but find them too popular. Finn or Finty are possible nickname options.