For many parents, it’s important to include a little family history when naming their child. If your family lineage hails back to Scotland, you may want to consider a Scottish baby name for your little one. Not only does this ensure that your family’s heritage is passed on to the next generation, but baby names from Scotland are on the rise.
One big reason for the rise in the popularity of Scottish names is the influence of TV shows, movies and books.
“We can expect to see Scottish names from ‘Outlander’ increase in popularity,” agrees Kim Grundy, a writer and editor who frequently covers parenting topics. For example, Gwyllyn and Gelleis are great options for girls, and Colum and Dougal are strong boys’ names.
“The TV show ‘Reign’ also has great names, such as Greer and Leith, that may start moving up the charts,” Grundy adds.
“Never underestimate the power of a name in the news to start a trend — even if parents-to-be don’t realize why they’re suddenly attracted to the name,” says Amanda Elizabeth Barden, author of “Baby Names Made Easy.” Two of Barden’s favorite Scottish names, she says, are Isla (for actress Isla Fisher) and Maisie (from actress Maisie Williams on “Game of Thrones.”)
Here are some top picks for Scottish baby names, including the traditional and classic, as well as the popular and unique.
Scottish baby names for boys
- Archie (AR-chee)
Popularized by Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, this cute name means “truly brave.”
- Brodie (BRO-dee)
A place in Moray, Scotland, it could be Gaelic for “little ridge.”
- Calum (KAL-um)
Signifying “dove,” it’s a Scottish form of Columba like the Irish St. Columba.
- Camdyn (CAM-den)
Meaning “from the winding valley,” the name Camden was chosen by both Nick Lachey and Kristin Cavallari, who chose a variant spelling.
- Finlay (FINN-lee)
From Fionnlagh, which means “white warrior.” Used for boys and girls, it’s popular with celebrities.
- Fraser (FRAY-zher)
Coming from either Clan Fraser in the Lowlands, or Clan Fraser in the Highlands, it was first recorded in 1160.
- Glenn (glenn)
This common name is based on the Gaelic word for “valley.”
- Lachlan (LOCK-lin)
Coming from the Gaelic word for Scandinavia, Lochlann, one of its meanings includes “from the land of lakes.”
- Leith (leeth)
Both a district of Edinburgh and the name of a river, this comes from a Gaelic term for “wet” or “damp.”
- Mackinnon (mack-KINN-non)
Clan Mackinnon is a Highland Scottish clan, and this name comes from the term for “son of the fair born.”
- Paden (PAY-den)
An alternative to Aidan, Kaden and Hayden, it’s from the word for “royal.”
- Rory (ROAR-ee)
Of medieval Irish and Scottish origin, Rory is a form of the Gaelic “red-haired king” (and also a character on “Doctor Who.”)
Scottish baby names for girls
- Ainslie (AINS-lee)
Named for the ancient Scottish family from Lanarkshire.
- Arabella (AIR-uh-bella)
A small village in Highland, Scotland, the name could be a twist on Annabella.
- Cullodena (cul-low-den-uh)
From the term for “from the broken mossy ground,” the Battle of Culloden was a major event in Scotland’s history.
- Elspeth (ELL-speth)
The Scottish form of Elizabeth, it means “chosen by God.”
- Finella (Fin-EL-la)
Meaning “white shoulder,” it’s the Scottish version of the Irish Finola.
- Greer (greer)
Meaning “alert” or “watchful,” it’s derived from the last name Gregor. Brooke Shields used the variation Grier for her daughter.
- Isla (EYE-luh)
This name comes from Islay, an island off the west coast of Scotland.
- Kirsty (KEER-stee)
A Scottish form of Kirsten or Christine, derived from the word Christ.
- Kyla (KY-luh)
This feminine version of Kyle means “narrow” or “slender” (referring to geography).
- Marcail (Mar-KALE)
From the word for “little pearl,” it’s similar in meaning to Margaret.
- Skye (sky)
This simple name is sourced from the Isle of Skye in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides.
Using last names as first names is a trend that shows no signs of stopping and has many benefits. Surnames like Campbell, Carson, Graham and Rowan “stand out as first names, yet everyone is familiar with them and knows how to spell and pronounce them,” says Barden.
This may be especially appealing for women who took their spouses’ last name when they married. “Many moms want to pass on their own family name, which makes their maiden names a perfect choice,” says Grundy.
That’s not the only trend out there. “For a while now, parents have been using names that are traditionally for boys for their daughters,” Barden says. “Cameron, Logan, Rory and Rowan are great examples. This is another way to stand out and be unique.”
Celebrities are joining in, too: Jessica Simpson named her daughter Maxwell, while Haylie Duff gave her girl the name Ryan.
Whether you want a name that’s trendy or one that’s offbeat, it’s clear that Scotland has a lot to offer, especially when it comes to great baby names.