Brian is an Irish name of uncertain meaning though it’s been linked to Old Celtic element bre meaning “hill” which, by extension, also means “high, noble”. It could also be related to Celtic brig- or brigant- meaning “high”, briga- meaning “might” and “power”, or brigh- meaning “noble, strong, virtuous”. Brian is also a surname originating from the given name.

Brian Boru was a well-known Irish king in 10th century Ireland. Brian also features in Irish mythology in the tale of The Fate of the Children of Tuireann. Brian, Iuchar, and Iucharba are three brothers who come across Cian, the father of Lugh, whose families have been fighting for generations. Cian shapeshifts into a pig to get away from them but the brothers turn themselves into hounds and chase after him; they later kill him by pelting him with rocks. When Cian‘s son Lugh goes looking for his father, he finds his body and discovers who the perpatrators are. In order to make them pay, he sends them on a quest to retrieve seven magical objects  all across the world which he plans on using in an upcoming battle with the Fomor. The brothers retrieve all the objects but on their last mission they are mortally wounded and plea for Lugh to allow them to use one of the items, a magic pigskin which heals all wounds. He refuses and the brothers die, and their father Tuireann dies of grief over them.

Origin: Old Celtic, Proto-Indo-European



  • Bryan (English)
  • Bryon (English)
  • Brion (English)
  • Bryant (English)
  • Brien (English)


Female forms:

  • Briana (English)
  • Brianna (English)
  • Bryana (English)
  • Bryanna (English)
  • Breanna (English)
  • Brina (English)
  • Bryna (English)
  • Breann (English)
  • Brianne (English)
  • Breanne (English)
  • Breeanne (English)
  • Bryanne (English)


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