Rowan Name Meaning

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Rowan is a historically masculine name of Irish and English origins. In Ireland, it’s derived from the Irish name Ruadhán, which means “red-haired.” Its English origins also can be traced to the Irish given name. It was first commonly used as an English surname before being adapted as a first name. It is still a common surname in Ireland and England. Rowan also has an Arabic origin. The Arabic version of the name is typically given to girls and means “a river in paradise.”

Rowan has also been thought to be inspired by the rowan tree, a small deciduous tree that fruits red berries. The name is strongly associated with the color red. If you have a little red-haired baby, then Rowan is a fitting name to give them. The use of the variation Rowena for girls most likely led to the decline of the use of the name Rowan as a girl’s name. 

  • Origin: Rowan is of English and Irish origins. 
  • Gender: Rowan is a historically masculine name, but in recent times it has become a traditionally unisex name, however it remains a more popular name for boys than girls 
  • Pronunciation: Row-ahn 

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 Rowan? 

Rowan did not reach the top 1000 names until the late 1990s. It started to climb in popularity in the early 2000s, peaking in 2020. Roughly 4,400 babies were given the name in that year. Based on currents trends, it’s expected that the name will continue to rise in popularity over the coming years. According to 2020 data from the Social Security Administration, Rowan is the 113th most popular name for boys and the 255th most popular name for girls in the United States.

Name Variations 

Rowan has a few spelling and cultural variations you might consider if you like the name. Here are some of them: 

  • Roan (Irish)
  • Rohan (Irish, French, Indian)
  • Rowanne (English) 
  • Rowen (English)
  • Roy (Dutch, Scottish)
  • Ruadh (Scottish)
  • Ruadhán (Irish)

Similar Names

Rowan is a strong and good-natured name for your baby. If you are considering other similar names, here’s a list you can pick from: 

  • Ash
  • Asher
  • Emmett
  • Everett
  • Flynn
  • Hudson
  • Jude
  • Nolan
  • Oliver
  • Olivia
  • Owen 
  • Reagan
  • Rory
  • Roland
  • Roman
  • Sawyer 
  • Wren

Suggested Sibling Names 

If you have a baby named Rowan or are considering the name Rowan for your baby here is a list of names that would be perfect fits for your baby’s siblings: 

  • Amber 
  • Cohen
  • Chloe
  • Dalton
  • Darcie 
  • Dylan 
  • Emily
  • Grace
  • Isabella
  • Harrison
  • Jasper 
  • Liam
  • Lily
  • Naomi
  • Stanley 
  • Tristan
  • Willow
  • Zachary 

Famous People Named Rowan    

Rowan is a great choice for your baby. If you are wondering who else would be sharing the name with them, here’s a list of some famous and inspiring people who are also named Rowan: 

  • Rowan Atkinson, English actor and comedian most popular for his role as Mr. Bean 
  • Rowan Alexander, Scottish footballer and manager 
  • Rowan Blanchard, American actress most popular for her role in the Disney movie "Girl Meets World"
  • Rowan Crothers, Australian swimmer 
  • Rowan Cronje, Rhodesian politician 
  • Rowan Jones, Australian footballer 
  • Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury 
  • Sir William Rowan Hamilton, Irish astronomer and mathematician 

Rowan has also been used in several works of fiction. It’s a popular option for many writers and artists for naming strong and dependable characters. Some of them include: 

  • Rowan Damisch, the main character in the book series, "Scythe" 
  • Rowan LaFontaine, a character in the American film "Jason X"
  • Rowan Mayfair, the main character in the trilogy of the "Lives of Mayfair Witches" novels 
  • Rowan Mills, a character in the American television series, "The Blacklist" 
  • Rowan Morrison, a character in the American film, "The Wicker Man" 
  • Rowan Whitethorn, a character in the book series, "Throne of Glass" 

More Baby Names

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

1 Source
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  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.