Ryan Name Meaning

Newborn baby girl and boy in pink and blue outfits laying on white carpet.

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Ryan is a classic Irish last name that has become a popular first name for both boys and girls. Ryan comes from the Gaelic words righ and an, which together mean "little king." It's also derived from the Irish surname O'Riain. Ryan was initially used mostly for baby boys but has become increasingly popular for girls as well.

  • Origin: Ryan is an Irish name that comes from the Gaelic words righ and an, which together mean "little king." It's also derived from the Irish surname O'Riain.
  • Gender: While Ryan used to be reserved for boys, it has recently become a popular gender-neutral option.
  • Pronunciation: ry-an

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 Ryan?

Although the name Ryan has never broken into the top 10 U.S. names, it's had a solid run as a moderately popular option. According to the Social Security Administration, Ryan made it into the top 20 names for boys in 1976, staying between the 11th and 20th spot for 33 years. (Its most popular year was 1991.) In 2010, it slipped to the 23rd spot, and its ranking has steadily declined since then. The latest data from 2020 has Ryan sitting at number 57 for boys and number 450 for girls.

Actors Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling have most likely played a role in the name's continued popularity, along with characters from well-known TV shows like "The O.C." and "The Office."

Name Variations

Variations of the name Ryan include:

  • Rayan (Arabic)
  • Rian (Gaelic)
  • Rion (Gaelic)
  • Ryann (Irish)
  • Ryen (Gaelic)
  • Ryne (Irish, American)
  • Ryon (Gaelic)

Similar Names

Other popular names for those who like Ryan are:

  • Avery
  • Blake
  • Dylan
  • Evan
  • Harper
  • Kyle
  • Parker
  • Peyton
  • Quinn
  • Riley

Other gender-neutral names starting with R:

  • Ramsay
  • Reagan
  • Reese
  • Reid
  • Remy
  • Robin
  • Rory
  • Rumi

Other Irish names for boys and girls:

  • Brady
  • Connor
  • Finley
  • Finn
  • Fiona
  • Keira
  • Kylie
  • Peyton
  • Ronan
  • Rowan
  • Sloane

Suggested Sibling Names

Popular sibling names for Ryan include:

  • Devon
  • Dylan
  • Emily
  • Emma
  • Liam
  • Olivia
  • Reid
  • River
  • Robbie
  • Ruby
  • Tyler

Famous People Named Ryan

  • Ryan Gosling, Canadian actor known for starring in the movies "The Notebook" and "La La Land"
  • Ryan Newman, NASCAR driver
  • Ryan Phillippe, American actor known for his role in the movie "Cruel Intentions"
  • Ryan Reynolds, Canadian-American actor known for his movie roles in "Van Wilder" and Marvel's "Deadpool"
  • Ryan Seacrest, American media personality known for hosting "American Idol" and co-hosting "Live with Kelly and Ryan" 

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. Get ready for baby: Popularity of a name.

By Alex Vance
Alex Vance is a freelance writer covering topics ranging from pregnancy and parenting to health and wellness. She is a former news and features writer for Moms.com and Blog Writer for The HOTH. Her motherhood-related pieces have been published on Scary Mommy, Motherhood Understood, and Thought Catalog.