Skip to main content Skip to header navigation

Ian is a more sleek and stylish take on the classic baby name John, courtesy of Scotland, and it shares its meaning—“gift from God.”

You’ll find quite a few people sporting the name—including author Ian Fleming (who created James Bond), actors McDiarmid, McKellan, Somerhalder, and Ziering. It’s a name that’s been popular on TV shows and movies, as well, appearing in everything from Doctor Who to Shameless to My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Ian is a great way to pay homage to a family member named John, without reusing the name entirely. Other popular variations on John include Evan, Ivan, Giovanni, Hans, Jacques,
Jack, Jan, Jens, Johann, Juan, Jean, and Sean. (And their feminizations, like Giana, Jacqueline, Joanna, Seana, Jane, Evana, and Siobhan.)

Ian first appeared on the U.S. baby name charts back in 1935, and has slowly and steadily risen through the years, before steadying out in the top 80-ish baby names since the 1980s. That makes it a lovely short-and-sweet baby name that is in that sweet spot where it’s popular enough to find on goofy souvenirs, but not-so-popular that your child will be the fifth Ian in his class.

Ian in quotes:

“Never say ‘no’ to adventures. Always say ‘yes,’ otherwise you’ll lead a very dull life.” —Ian Fleming

“Try and understand what part you have to play in the world in which you live. There's more to life than you know and it's all happening out there. Discover what part you can play and then go for it.” —Ian McKellen


Hebrew Baby Names Meaning:

In Hebrew Baby Names the meaning of the name Ian is: Gift from God.

Scottish Baby Names Meaning:

In Scottish Baby Names the meaning of the name Ian is: Gift from God The Gaelic form of the name John.

American Baby Names Meaning:

In American Baby Names the meaning of the name Ian is: Gift from God.

Search by a specific category

Or search by baby name