Ryan Name Meaning, Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

Ryan Name Meaning and Origin

Derived from the surname O’Riain, Ryan is a classic last name of Irish origin. Meaning of the name Ryan is ‘little king.’ Pronounced ‘ree-an’ in Gaelic, the name is a composition of words ‘Righ’ and ‘An,’ which together mean “little king.” It’s a cheerful alternative to the immensely popular Kevin and Brian and consistently wins over the more modern Rylan and Ryland.

What Does Ryan Mean?

Inspired by the surname Ryan, Rían is composed of the Irish-Gaelic elements rí, meaning “king” and an, a diminutive suffix. Thus, in ancient Ireland, the meaning of Ryan implied a ‘royal’ stature within the chiefdoms and clans. In the US, Ryan is a unisex name and its variant spellings Ryann and Ryanne are also used to name girls. However, this name has been distinctly masculine in the rest of the English-speaking world. This stylish name with an imperial meaning gives your son to cultivate the values throughout his life.


Ryan originated from the Irish surname O’Riain, meaning “son of Rían” or “descendant of Rian.” As “Ri” in Irish means “King,” the name Rian means ‘little King.” The surname Ryan is an anglicized form of the name of the Irish king Rian who ruled over the South Leinster territory in the 10th century.




  • Ry-An
  • Ry-In
  • Rie-An


2 syllables


4 letters

Name Variations/Spellings

Name variations give a fashionable twist to a name with alternate spellings, abbreviations, and transcription errors. Here are some of the Ryan name variations with some other spellings that can distinguish them from others who share the same name:

Name Origin
Rayan Arabic
Rion Gaelic
Rian Gaelic
Ryann Irish
Ryen Gaelic
Ryne American
Ryne Irish
Ryon Gaelic
Rien Latin
Ryon Gaelic
Ryun Gaelic

How Popular Is the Name Ryan?

Between 1976 and 2006, Ryan appeared in the top 20 male given names in the US. After appearing in the top 1000 names for boys for the first time in 1946, it steadily gained popularity over the next three decades. Actors like Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Gosling, and Ryan O’Neal have boosted the popularity of this name in the US. It even appeared as a popular name for girls in the 1970s, first appearing in the top 1000 in 1974.

According to the Social Security Administration database, Ryan became a favorite in America from 1976 to 2009. It was most popular in 1991 but slipped to the 23rd spot in 2010. Ryan is sitting at number 57 for boys and number 450 for girls in 2020. The name is especially popular in the Gaelic-influenced nations of Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Ireland, where it ranked as one of the most favorite names within the Top 10. It also performs outstandingly well in countries like Canada, Netherlands, England, Australia, United States, and France.

Interest in Ryan – Worldwide

Consistent search popularity of over 26 has been recorded in terms of interest for the name Ryan, reaching 100 in June 2011. The lowest popularity index was recorded at 21 in March 2021.

Interest in Ryan – US

Search trends for the name Ryan show a search value of over 22 for six months, reaching 100 in June 2011. It scored the lowest position on the popularity scale at 22, approximately seven times throughout the decade.

Popularity of the name Ryan

URL: https://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/babyname.cgi

Where Is the Name Most Searched?

Search trends of Ryan – Worldwide

Interest in the name Ryan is seen to be highest in Ireland in the past ten years. United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia follow close. This concise Christian name, with a meaning that represents power, positivity, and confidence, makes it immensely popular among parents in the US.

Search trends of Ryan in the US

North Dakota is the sub-region in the US where the most searches for the name Ryan have been recorded the highest over the last ten years. District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Minnesota are the top 5 cities where search trends for Ryan have been registered to be the highest.

Middle Names That Go With Ryan

A middle name can carry the legacy of an ancestor, a loved one, or a spiritual role model. Here are some of the best suggestions for double names with Ryan that may help to lighten the load of a first name:

Harry Benjamin
Gary Jake
Jamie Fletcher
Harrison Harvey
Oscar Riley
Ellis Tyler
Kyle Cormac
Jack Matthew
Joel Lawrence
Thomas Luke
Scott Jonathan
Albert Jasper
Austin Bradley

Famous People Named Ryan

Celebrity names help to build a child’s persona in the later years. Here are some of the most popular personalities named Ryan who can have a positive impact on the name’s popularity chart:

Celebrity Name Profession/Famous For
Ryan Lochte Olympian Swimmer
Ryan Anderson Basketball Player
Ryan Reynolds Actor
Ryan Phillipe Actor
Ryan O’Neal Actor
Ryan Seacrest Radio and TV Personality
Ryan Newman NASCAR Driver
Ryan Tedder Singer
Ryan Newman Actress, Model
Ryan Murphy Screenwriter, Director
Ryan Leaf American Football Player
Ryan Howard Baseball Player
Ryan Anderson Basketball Player
Ryan Dunn Stunt Performer
Ryan Kesler Hockey Player
Ryan Adams Songwriter
Ryan Giggs Football coach
Ryan Getzlaf Ice-hockey player
Ryan Egglod Actor
Ryan Kelly Basketball Player
Ryan Bates Football player 
Ryan Nyquist Bicycle rider
Ryan Gosling Actor 
Ryan Cabrera Singer
Ryan Eggold Actor 
Ryan Palmer Golfer
Ryan Phillippe Actor
Ryan Thomas Actor
Elizabeth Ryan Tennis Player
Nolan Ryan Baseball pitcher 

Ryan in Pop Culture

Ryan Spalding A supporting character from the series “Grey’s Anatomy”.
Ryan Dunne A male love interest in “Summer Catch”.
Ryan Wolfe An officer and scientist from “CSI: Miami”.
Ryan Howard One of the cast on the series “The Office”.
Ryan Hardy The main character in “The Following”.
Ryan O’Reily A main character from HBO’s Oz
Ryan Lavery Actor from the popular soap opera “All My Children”.
Ryan Newman The main character in the comedy “Wilfred”.
Ryan Atwood Main character from “The O.C”.

Similar Names & Last Names

Baby names like Ryan can capture the essence of the forename. Family names like those suitable with Ryan can preserve the family name. Here are some of Ryan’s other names and suitable family names with a trendy vibe that may appeal to new-age parents.

Other Baby Names Suitable Family Names
Raanan Adams
Zion Anthony
Ruben Bailey
Rin Brooks
Raimi Raven
Ramona Dunn
Riley Kylen
Ranae Evans
Rumi Kent
Rhona Lewis
Rami Marks

Names That Sound Like Ryan

Names that rhyme with Ryan can sound melodically closer to the classic name. Here are some alternatives that sound twice as nice as Ryan:

Robin Aryan
Remy Dorian
Rory Floryan
Ramsay Byron
Reagan Orion
Ronan Lyon
Ryland Ion
Ryley Brian
Ryker Bryan
Rowan Ronan
Riley Roan
Royan Ryder
Rylan Rylee

Sibling Names Related to Ryan

Sibling names can take the rhyming route to form a coherent unit. Here are some of the well-thought-out sibling names that go with Ryan:

Sister Names for Ryan Brother Names for Ryan
Emily Dylan
Emma Liam
Olivia Reid
Ruby Tyler
Megan Robbie
Lauren Adam
Nicole Andrew
Amanda Kevin
Jessica Michael
Sarah Tyler
Shannon Alex
Maryan Lindsay

Nicknames for Ryan

Nicknames are modified variations of a name that symbolizes the bond of love between parents and children. Here are some of the adorable nicknames for the name Ryan:

Ry Ry-Ry
Ryan The Lion Ry-Guy
Rybo Rhino
Ry Bread Rizza
Rizza Rye-Pie
Lion Rynaso
Rynator King Ryan
Rivr Renzo
Ryham Ry Cry
Brian Ry Fry
Roro Rybee

The meaning of the name Ryan encompasses qualities like strong leadership skills, bravery, and a selfless heart fit for a king. No wonder it is seeing a resurgence of interest among parents looking for a unique name that always shines, notwithstanding its ranking in the popularity chart.


Social Security Administration: https://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/babyname.cgi
Ryan Name Popularity in the United States: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2011-01-01%202021-08-15&geo=US&q=Ryan
Ryan Name Popularity Across The World: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2011-01-01%202021-08-15&q=Ryan
Ryan Name Interest in the United States: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2011-01-01%202021-08-15&geo=US&q=Ryan
Ryan Name Interest Across The World: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2011-01-01%202021-08-15&q=Ryan

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