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December 10th, 2007

Welsh names for children

We've put together a list of the top twenty names for boys and girls in Wales. We've explained the meaning of every name, and included an English translation if appropriate.

Boys' Names:
RHYS
Rhys ap Gruffudd was lord of south west Wales in the twelfth century. The English translation is Rees or Rice.

DYLAN
Dylan was the son of Arianrhod and the brother of Lleu Llaw Gyffes in the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi. He disappeared into the sea as soon as he was born, and was named Dylan Eil Ton.

TOMOS
Tomos was one of the disciples of Jesus Christ. The English name is Thomas.

IEUAN
The name Ieuan comes from the Latin, Iohannes. The English translation is Evan or John.

DAFYDD
Dafydd was a popular name in the Middle Ages. Dafydd ap Gwilym was the most famous poet of the period, and Dafydd ap Gruffudd was the brother of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the last prince of Wales. The name comes from the Hebrew word for friend, and the English version is David.

SION
Siôn Cent was a poet in the fifteenth century, and Twm Siôn Cati was a character similar to Robin Hood in Welsh folk lore. The English version of Siôn is John.

STEFFAN
The name Steffan comes from the Greek word for 'crown'. Steffan was the fist Christian martyr, and his feast day is celebrated on 26 December. San Steffan is the Welsh name for Westminster. The English translation is Stephen.

IWAN
Iwan is a version of Ifan, which comes from the Latin name, Iohannes. The English versions are Evan or John.

OWAIN
Well bred is the meaning of the name Owain. Owain Glyndwr was a national hero and was the founder of the last Welsh Parliament in the fourteenth century. He led a revolt against the English.

ALED
Aled is a river in Denbighshire. Tudur Aled was one of Wales' most famous poets in the fifteenth century.

GARETH
The name Gareth could be a version of Geraint. Geraint was the hero of a legend in the middle ages. It is also possible that the name means 'civilized'.

ELIS
Elis is a translation of the English name, Ellis.

CAI
The name Cai comes from the Latin, Caius. Cai was one of King Arthur's knights in Culhwch and Olwen, from the Mabinogi.

JAC
A translation of the name Jack.

RHODRI
Rhodri Fawr was king of Gwynedd, Powys and the Deheubarth in the ninth century.

GETHIN
Rhys Gethin was one of Owain Glyndwr's knights in the fourteenth century.

HARRI
Harri is a translation of the name Harry, which is a version of Henry. It originally comes from the Latin name, Henricus.

MARC
Marc is a translation of the English name Mark.

CARWYN
The name Carwyn means loved and blessed.

OSIAN
Osian was a poet in Irish folklore.

GIRLS' NAMES
MEGAN
The name Megan is a version of Marged (Margaret)

BETHAN
Bethan is a version of Bet (Elisabeth).

BECA
The name Beca comes from the Biblical name, Rebeca, but may be better known in Wales because of the Rebecca Riots in the nineteenth century, when a group of men dressed as women burned tollbooths in south west Wales. The men called themselves Merched Beca (the women of Beca).

FFION
The name Ffion comes from the Gaelic, fionn, which means fair or white.

LOWRI
Lowri is a version of the English name Laura. Lowri was the mother of Bishop William Morgan, who translated the Bible into Welsh in the sixteenth century.

CERYS
The name Cerys comes from the word 'caru' (to love). It could be a version of the name Ceridewn.

CARYS
The name Carys comes from the word 'caru' (to love). It could be a version of the name Ceridwen.

RHIANNON
Rhiannon was the wife of Pwyll and the mother of Pryderi in the first branch of the Mabinogi. The name may be derived from Rigantona, who was a Celtic goddess.

NIA
The name Nia became popular following the success of T Gwynn Jones' lyrical 'awdl', Tir na n-Og, which was published in 1916. The 'awdl' is based on an old Irish legend, where the poet Osian falls in love with Nia Ben Aur.

CATRIN
The name Catrin is a version of the name Catherine, which originally came from the German and Latin.

ANGHARAD
The name Angharad means 'much loved'. Angharad was the name of the mother of Gerallt Gymro, one of the most famous Welsh Latin writers in the twelfth century. Angharad was also the name of the wife of Gruffudd ap Cynan, king of Gwynedd in the twelfth century.

ELIN
Elin is a version of the name 'Elen' or 'Helen'. It comes from the Greek word for very bright.

RHIAN
The name Rhian means 'maiden'

ELENOR
Elenor is a version of the name Eleanor.

ERIN
Erin is one of the Welsh names for Ireland.

SIAN
Siân is the Welsh translation of Jane.

SIONED
Sioned is a version of the name Siân. The English translation is Janet.

ALYS
The name Alys comes from the English name, Alice, which originally comes from the German language.

CERI
Ceri can be the name of a boy or girl. The village of Porth Ceri is close to Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan, and Ceri is also the name of a river in Ceredigion.

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