If you fancy an unusual Scottish or Irish moniker for your baby, you should definitely consider a “Mac” or “Mc” name. These names are very common in Scotland and Ireland as surnames (Macdonald was the ninth-most common Scottish surname in 2016 according to the National Records of Scotland).
Both “Mac” and “Mc” are examples of a patronymic naming tradition, where part of the father’s name forms part of the child’s name, and means “son of” (i.e. Mcdonald means “son of Donald”; Macneil means “son of Neil”). However, more girls tend to have “Mac” or “Mc” first names nowadays than boys! One example is Mackenzie: Made famous by ’80s TV actress Mackenzie Phillips and chosen by Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling for her daughter, this name first entered the top 1,000 in 1976, has been in the top 100 since 1995 and was the 85th-most popular girl name in the U.S. in 2016.
Another “Mac” name that has attracted attention recently is Macallister. It was chosen by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and venture capitalist Zack Bogue for their son in 2012.
“Mac” and “Mc” names may be either Scottish or Irish in origin. It’s a myth that “Mac” is Scottish and “Mc” is Irish — the two prefixes may be used interchangeably, with “Mc” simply an abbreviated form of “Mac.” It’s also fine to capitalize the letter after the prefix (for example MacKenzie instead of Mackenzie) — the choice is yours!
Mackenzie and Macallister aside, there are also many lesser-known “Mac” and “Mc” options to choose from, regardless of the baby’s sex. These names can also be a fun way to pay tribute to a special family member, whether in the baby’s first or middle name.
Of course, you might just want to opt for Mac as a name in its own right. Pretty cute, right?
“Mac” or “Mc” names for baby boys
“Mac” or “Mc” names for baby girls