Dylan Name Meaning

Toddler boy holding a ball

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Dylan is a Welsh name traditionally given to boys. It means “son of the sea” or “born from the ocean.” Dylan is derived from the Welsh words “dy”, which means great, and “llanw”, which means flow.  Dylan’s popularity as a first name is owed greatly to the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. His most famous work you might recognize is the poem "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night." 

Dylan is also a common surname. Bob Dylan, an American composer, and performer is one of the most famous people with the surname Dylan. Interestingly, his surname was originally Zimmerman. (Contrary to popular belief, he did not change it to Dylan because he was inspired by the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.) Dylan is also a popular name in Welsh mythology. He was the legendary god of the sea who was accidentally killed by his uncle Govannon. Although Dylan is a traditionally masculine name, it’s picking up some traction as a unisex name. 

  • Origin: Dylan is a name of Welsh origin.
  • Gender: Although Dylan is a typically masculine name, it can be given to any gender.
  • Pronunciation: dul-an (Welsh) or dil-an (English)

Although many baby names are separated by gender, Verywell Family believes that sex does not need to play a role in your name selection process. It’s important to select a name that you feel suits your new baby the best.

How Popular is the Name Dylan? 

Dylan has consistently been one of the most popular names for boys in the United States. In the 90s the debut of Dylan McKay, the main character in the teen drama series “Beverly Hills 90210,” contributed to its popularity.

Although Dylan was an already popular name, it witnessed a sharp increase in popularity in 1992. That year, 15,979 male babies were named Dylan. The name experienced a slight dip in 1995 before rising again in 1999. In 2001, 16,496 male babies were named Dylan. However, because the national birth rate declined in 2003 and 2004, those are the years when the name Dylan officially peaked in popularity, ranking #19 despite fewer babies being given that name overall.

There has been a steady decline in its popularity since then, but it remains a great pick for anyone looking for a masculine Welsh name or a strong name that begins with the letter D. According to 2020 data from the Social Security Administration, Dylan is the 43rd most popular name for boys in the United States.

Name Variations 

Dillan and Dillon are the most common variations of the name Dylan. They are both of English origin. Other name variations include: 

  • Dillen
  • Dilloyn
  • Dylen
  • Dylin
  • Dylun
  • Dylahn
  • Dyllan 
  • Dyllon 

Similar Names

If you are considering the name Dylan for your baby, here are some other names of Welsh origin you could also consider: 

  • Aeron
  • Alun 
  • Andras
  • Bryn
  • Cadell
  • Dai
  • Delwyn 
  • Elgan
  • Gareth
  • Llew
  • Maldwyn
  • Marc
  • Osian
  • Owen
  • Price
  • Reese
  • Tristan 
  • Wynn

Common Nicknames

Dylan is a short and sweet name that doesn’t necessarily need any nicknames. However, Dill or Dyl are two nicknames you could give your baby Dylan. 

Suggested Sibling Names 

If you have multiple kids or are considering having other children apart from your baby Dylan, here’s a list of sibling names that will go well with Dylan: 

  • Ariana 
  • Bethan
  • Brad
  • Brian
  • Gladys
  • Glenda 
  • Gwyneth
  • Irving
  • Jennifer
  • Maddox
  • Megan 
  • Meredith 
  • Owen
  • Trenton

Famous People Named Dylan    

If you are thinking of naming your baby Dylan, here’s a list of famous people who will share the name Dylan with your child. 

Famous Men Named Dylan 

  • Dylan Baker, American actor 
  • Dylan Bruce, Canadian actor 
  • Dylan Cantrell, American football player 
  • Dylan Howe, English drummer, musician, and composer 
  • Dylan Kwasniewski, American NASCAR driver 
  • Dylan McDermott, American actor 
  • Dylan Minnette, American actor, singer, and musician 
  • Dylan Moscovitch, Canadian pair skater 
  • Dylan O'Brien, American actor
  • Dylan Riley Snyder, American actor and singer 
  • Dylan Sprayberry, American actor 
  • Dylan Sprouse, American actor 
  • Dylan Wynn, football player who has played in both the NFL and CFL

Famous Women Named Dylan 

  • Dylan Ceriani, American volleyball player 
  • Dylan Dreyer, American television meteorologist  
  • Dylan Gelula, American actress 
  • Dylan Lauren, daughter of fashion designer Ralph Lauren who’s also the owner of Dylan’s Candy Bar 
  • Dylan Penn, American model, and actress who is also the daughter of American actor, Sean Penn 

More Baby Names

Still searching for the perfect baby name? Check out these related baby name lists for even more options: 

1 Source
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Social Security Administration. Popular baby names.

By Toketemu Ohwovoriole
Toketemu has been multimedia storyteller for the last four years. Her expertise focuses primarily on mental wellness and women’s health topics.