Rowan Name Meaning

Lastest Updated January 22, 2024
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Understanding Rowan name meaning is important if you have it on your current roster. If you’re a first-time parent, you should know that many contributing factors around a name can affect your decision.

As with Rowan, besides its meanings, it’s best to dig deeper into its gender-suitability, famous namesakes, and interesting stories. These pieces of information will help you choose with full confidence!

Rowan Name
If you’re drawn to the name Rowan, here are things you should know about it!

A Summary Of The Name Rowan

This table will provide general information about Rowan. You can check it out before getting the detailed explanation:

Meaning “Little red-head”, “red-haired”, “a river in paradise”, or “rowan tree”.
OriginIrish, Scottish, and Arabic.
GenderStarting as a masculine name, Rowan has adopted a gender-neutral nature and can now be worn by both boys and girls.  
PopularityRowan is a familiar name in the US. Compared to other unisex names, its popularity is split quite evenly between the two genders. 

Yet, with its strong sound, the name is fairly preferred for boys. It ranked 106th and 241th for boys and girls, respectively. 
VariationsRoy, Roan, Ruadhán, Rohan, Rowanne, Rowynn, Rowen, Rowina, Ruadh, Rowyn, Rowana, etc. 
NicknamesRoeie, Roe, Ro, Rowe, Rowi, Rowy, Roxy, Roo, Row, Rowie, Rowrow, Rowster, etc. 
Similar NamesFor Boys: Aidan, Arden, Roman, Ryan, etc. 

For Girls: Olivia, Reagan, Wren, Teagan, etc. 
Sibling NamesFor Boys: Cameron, Harrison, Declan, Liam, etc. 

For Girls: Amber, Chloe, Naomi, Willow, etc. 
Middle NamesFor Boys: Aaron, David, Eric, Philip, Victor, etc. 

For Girls: Belle, Dawn, Elise, Hope, Marie, etc. 

The History And Meanings Behind Rowan!

The name Rowan is of Irish and Scottish origin and primarily means “little red-head” or “red-haired”. It started as a surname first, in Ireland and England, before evolving into the given name as it is now.

In British traditions, people in the past often chose their surnames to reflect their settlement. Rowan can be a nice example. It first started as a choice of those dwelling around Rowan trees.

These people usually used the fruits and wood of these trees for their daily life. This use happened even before Rowan was adopted to represent red-haired people.

Rowan was also a surname from Scotland. It comes from “rone” – a Middle English word for “undergrowth” and “thicket”. This surname originates from the place name “Roan”, and there were some areas in Ayr, Roxburgh, and Berwick with this name.

Nevertheless, Rowan has more than one etymology. In Arabic, it is a feminine name and translates to “a river in paradise”. Another less-known root of this name is the Old Norse “raudnian”. In this case, its translation is “getting red”.

Rowan is not only attached to the red hue. The name also evokes the image of rowan trees – a small deciduous plant that bears red berries. In Celtic folklore, rowan trees symbolize courage, protection, and wisdom.

Is Rowan A Male or Female Name?

Rowan has been traditionally chosen for boys. The name is still more common with this role. Only in the 19th century did people increasingly use the name for girls. It is partially due to the rise of the female name “Rowena” around this time.

How Does Rowan Perform For Both Genders In The Us?

The waves of surnames turning into given names occurred in Britain during the 16th century. Rowan also jumped on this trend and has been circulated as a given name for males ever since.

This name is quite a newcomer on the popularity chart recorded by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Specifically, American parents only started frequently adopting Rowan as a male name in 1999. The name has shown promising performance so far.

It slides through the top 500 choices only five years later and then the top 200 after one decade. As a male title, Rowan seemingly heads towards the top 100 most used names very soon, as it already stood at 106th in 2021.

Not until 2003 did Rowan capture an impressive reputation as a girl name. From 2003 to 2015, the name was still in moderate use. It has become more familiar, but there’s still no breakthrough in popularity.

The name almost reached the top 200 most famous names in 2017 and 2018. However, these recent years have been slightly less successful for this feminine title. In 2021, as a result, it took some steps back to sit at 241th, as per SSA data (1).

Variants Of Rowan Across Cultures

Rowan is not a heavily used name, at least in recent years. However, it’s surprising that the name has adopted various variants across languages.

  • Roy (Dutch, Scottish)
  • Roan, Ruadhán (Irish)
  • Rohan (Irish, French, Indian)
  • Rowanne, Rowynn (English)
  • Rowen (English, French)
  • Rowina (German)
  • Ruadh (Scottish)
  • Rowyn (Gaelic)
  • Rowana, Rowena (Welsh)

Your Options Of Nicknames Or Similar Names For Rowan

Nicknames Or Similar Names For Rowan
Rowan surprisingly comes along with an endless list of nicknames.

Surprisingly, parents have devised multiple ways to abbreviate or alter Rowan to get catchy nicknames for their kids. This means you don’t have to invent a new one; just take your pick from these options:

  • Roeie
  • Roe
  • Ro
  • Rowe
  • Rowi
  • Rowy
  • Roxy
  • Roo
  • Row
  • Rowie
  • Rowrow
  • Rowster

Has Rowan already stolen your heart? If you’re searching for extra potential choices, why not think about these lovely names?

NamesPronunciation MeaningOrigin




Little and fiery, little fireGaelic, Irish





Great forest, valley of the eagle, highBritish 




From Rome, citizen of RomeLatin



/rahy-uh n/


Little king, illustrious, Gaelic, Irish

There are various girl names akin to Rowan in terms of pronunciation. Take a look, as some of them can catch your eyes, too!

NamesPronunciation MeaningOrigin




Olive, olive treeLatin




Little ruler, royal, regal, little queenIrish



Small brown songbird, small birdBritish



Worldly, attractive, philosopher, poetWelsh, Irish

Fantastic Sibling Names For Rowan To Consider!

Don’t forget about matching sibling names, as they can be the first bond between the kids.

For Sons:

When Rowan welcomes a lovely brother, she’ll be more glad to know that his name is intentionally chosen to match hers.

Cameron: Cameron’s main meaning – “crooked nose” – might not be the best selling point of this name. However, with its good look and lovely sound, this Scottish name has been in the top 100 choices since 1987.

It’s a flexible choice that works for boys and girls. Yet, most people will agree that it still leans on the masculine side.

Harrison: This British original means “son of Harry”. Thanks to American actor Harrison Ford, this H-starting name has become more familiar on the screen. Fans of the Beatles might be reminded of “the quiet Beatle” or George Harrison.

Declan: This masculine title comes from the Emerald Isle and derives from the Gaelic word “Deaglán”.

Formed by “lán” for “full” and “Deagh” for “excellent” or “good”, “Deaglán” and ultimately “Declan” means “full of goodness”. It’s a sweet boy name to reflect parents’ hope in their new arrival.

Liam: Liam has both classic and modern nature. The name is well on track to be this year’s most popular boy name.

If this happens, it will be a streak of 6 years straight that it crowns the SSA as the number 1 choice. While Liam is trendy, it’s not at all flashy. And you’ll love its interpretation, too – “strong-willed warrior”.

For Daughters

These girl names might come from separate origins from Rowan. Yet, pair them with Rowan, and you wonder why they sound too good together!

Amber: You can cherish your baby girl by giving her a precious name like Amber. It’s an Arabic word for “jewel”.

There are also other meanings that you can take note of. Notably, it translates to “amber-colored” as an Old French name or “the sky” in Sanskrit.

Chloe: Derived from the Greek “khlóē”, this female name goes with the meaning “young green shoot of a plant”. In Greek mythology, it’s the byname of the goddess of fertility and agriculture, Demeter (2).

Chloe, alongside other pals like Emma, Olivia, or Sophia, is an old name that has become new in recent years. It was the 24th most common name in 2021.

Naomi: Naomi translates to “pleasant” and “gentle”, and you might hope your girl grows up with these demeanors. It’s a Hebrew name strongly tied to Ruth’s mother-in-law in the Bible. So, you can honor your faith by choosing this name.

Willow: This whimsical name has many cool bearers, like American singer/actress Willow Smith or a character in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series.

As you might guess, this nature name is interpreted as “willow tree”. It has recently garnered a big spotlight in the US (39th in 2021).

Top Suggestions Of Middle Names For Rowan

Middle Names For Rowan
Rowan can flexibly pair with many middle names.

For your convenience, the section below offers some of the best middle names to pair with Rowan. Let’s see what can pique your interest:

For Sons

There is an abundance of male names to stand next to Rowan. Yet, two-syllable ones stand out in this case.

Aaron: Aaron tops the list of many soon-to-be parents thanks to its strong connection with the Bible.

In Abrahamic religions, this name is borne by the founder and head of the Israelite priesthood. Besides, the name also elicits a powerful and strong-willed man as it means “exalted”, “strong”, and “mountain of strength”.

David: You know your little boy is well-loved even when he’s still in the womb. This classic Hebrew name expresses that sweet message, as it translates to “beloved”.

David is quite an old yet evergreen name, dating back to the Old Testament times. The second king of Israel was named David (3).

Eric: Eric is an Old Norse that derives from “Eirik”, both of which mean “eternal ruler”. The name is in average circulation these days, standing at 213th in 2021.

It was first brought to England by Viking invaders and Scandinavian settlers around the Middle Ages. Yet, not until the 19th century did Eric take off in the English-speaking world.

Philip: Phillip is another classic name that feels polished and sophisticated. Its Greek translation is “lover of horses” or “horse-loving”.

Even when you’re not fond of this animal, it’s also worth mentioning many notable figures with this name. Philip Seymour and Philip Glass are just two examples.

Victor: This winning V-starting name means “winner” and “conqueror”. The name was widespread in the Middle Ages and shared by many saints and popes. This Latin word signifies Christ’s victory over death and sin, which hugely explains its popularity during ancient times.

For Daughters

Most of these choices are recommended by parents who already have a Rowan in their house. They’re tested and true, so why not take your time and pick the best one:

Belle: The heroine of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast might pop into your mind if you’re a Disney fan. This French name means “beautiful”, “lovely one”, or “fair” and sometimes goes as a short form of Isabelle, Isabel, or Annabel.

Dawn: Of British origin, Dawn straightforwardly translates to “sunrise” or “dawn”. If you like “Aurora” but prefer something more minimalistic, this one-syllable name is the right match. Plus, it’s also a way to tell your girl she’s the new sunray in your life.

Elise: Elise is not annoyingly trending but still effortlessly sophisticated (like many other French names). The name can be interpreted as “God’s promise” or “pledged to God”.

Hope: The meaning of this British name is easy to guess – “expectation” or “belief”. Yet, did you know the original use behind it? It once expressed the belief of Christians in salvation and eternal life.

Marie: Of French origin, Marie has several interpretations, including “beloved”, “drop of the sea”, and “bitter”. It’s known as the French variant of the Latin “Mary” – the name of the holy virgin mother of Jesus.

This is not to mention renowned namesakes like the physicist Marie Curie and French queen Marie Antoinette.

Fictional Characters Named Rowan

Several works of fiction or art have featured this Irish/Scottish name. It is typically the choice for powerful men, some of whom are listed below:

  • Rowan Damisch: the protagonist in the novels Scythe by Neal Shusterman.
  • Rowan Whitethorn: a warrior in the fantasy novel series Throne of Glass.
  • Rowan LaFontaine: a character in the American science fiction film Jason X.
  • Rowan Mills: a fictional character in the American TV series The Blacklist.
  • Rowan Morrison: a young girl in the 1973’s film The Wicker Man.
  • Rowan Mayfair: the 13th witch of the Mayfair clan in Lives of Mayfair Witches

Notable Personalities Named Rowan

Those named Rowan are often viewed as intellectual, charismatic, and athletic. If you wonder about famous namesakes of Rowan, here are a few examples:

  • Rowan Atkinson (born 1955): British actor, screenwriter, and comedian, best known as Mr.Bean.
  • Rowan Barrett (born 1972): former Canadian basketball player in the Israeli Basketball Premier League.
  • Rowan Blanchard (born 2001): American political activist and actress.
  • Rowan Crothers (born 1997): Australian freestyle swimmer.
  • Rowan Cronjé (1937–2014): Rhodesian politician – former Minister of Health of Rhodesia.
  • Rowan Pelling (born 1968): British columnist and broadcaster.
  • Rowan Vine (born 1982): British soccer player.


Are there any concerns I’ve yet to address about Rowan? If yes, check out these related queries to further understand the name:

Is Rowan a biblical name?

No, Rowan doesn’t come from the Bible. Yet, St. Ruadán mac Fergusa Birn, also known as Rowan, is quite well-known among the Christian community. He was one of the twelve Apostles of Ireland.

How popular is Rowan for a girl?

As mentioned, this androgynous name is fairly familiar for both genders in the US. For girls, it stood at 241th in 2021, which is quite impressive for a unisex name.

Is Rowan an unusual name?

Whether it’s about the meanings or popularity, Roman is not an eccentric choice these days. The name secured a solid spot on the SSA chart for both genders. Plus, with the meaning of “little red-head”, Rowan is a playful option if your kid gets this hair color.

Is Rowan a Viking name?

No, it’s not. However, you’re quite close; Rowan’s roots can be Irish or Scottish. However, there’s no need to be of Irish or Scottish descent to embrace this interesting name.

What can be the personality traits of people named Rowan?

Numerologically speaking, Rowan goes with 8. So, what does this number tell about their traits? Rowans are known for their determination and strength.

They have a lot of drive, and when using their problem-solving and strategic skills correctly, these individuals are well on their way to success.

Rowan Is Perfect For Your Little Red-Haired Baby!

There’s no doubt that Rowan fits nicely for a little red-haired kid. It also allows parents to honor their Celtic heritages, thanks to the name’s tie to the rowan tree.

Yet, if you don’t fall into either of these cases, it’s still a cool choice (especially if you love the letter “R”). So, have you decided yet? You can comment right below to share it with me. As always, every share of this post will be highly appreciated, so please hit the button!


  1. 2024. The Popularity Of A Name
  2. 2024. Demeter, Greek mythology
  3. 2017. King David
Helen Doanna

Helen Doanna

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