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Nolan Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

Learn about the name Nolan including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Nolan Overview

  • Meaning: Nolan means champion or someone of noble blood.
  • Gender: Nolan is a unisex name, but is more commonly used for boys.
  • Origin: Nolan is of Gaelic origin, and was originally a popular surname in Ireland and Scotland.
  • Pronunciation: “NO-luhn”.
  • Popularity: Nolan is a consistently popular name and continues to grow in the charts. It has been in the USA’s top 100 boys’ names for the past decade.
  • Nicknames: Noel, Landy, and Nolie.
  • Variations: Nolin, Nolyn, and Nowlan.
  • Namesakes: Nolan Ryan, Nolan Gould, Nolan Bushnell.

What Does Nolan Mean?

Nolan comes from an old Irish word meaning “champion”. The name is associated with power and physical strength. Nolan was originally a common surname in Ireland, with clans using the surname for centuries.

Parents have recently begun using traditional Irish and Scottish clan surnames as first names. Nolan is one of the most popular iterations of this trend.

What Is the Origin of the Name Nolan?

The name Nolan has its origins in Ireland, specifically in the south and east provinces of Leinster and Munster. The name is an anglicized version of the Gaelic “Ó Nualláin”, referring to someone descending from Nulllalin or someone of noble blood.

How Popular Is the Name Nolan?

Nolan has been a consistently very popular name for boys but is a viable option for naming girls. It is mostly used for boys and has ranked in the top 100 names since 2011 in the United States. Since the late 1980s, the name Nolan has been climbing the rankings every year. In 2020, it ranked number 61 and has grown in popularity yearly (1).

Parents also use it as a girl’s name, especially in Ireland and Scotland. It is also growing in popularity for girls in Canada, Belgium, and France.

How Do I Pronounce Nolan?

The name Nolan is pronounced “NO-Luhn”

Is Nolan a Boy or Girl Name?

Nolan is a unisex name used in masculine and feminine names, but it is more common for boys.

Variations of Nolan

There are several variations for Nolan based on different Gaelic and Celtic traditions in Ireland and Scotland. These include:

  • Nolen
  • Nolin
  • Nolyn
  • Nowlan
  • Noland

Nicknames for Nolan

Nolan is already a handsome name, but there are plenty of cute nicknames that can perfectly complement it, including:

  • Noel
  • Nola
  • Nolie
  • Nolls
  • NoNo
  • Landy
  • Lando

Similar Names to Nolan

If you like the name Nolan and are looking for something with the same energy, try looking at other popular Irish and Scottish boy names. A few of our favorites include:

Middle Names for Nolan

If you’ve chosen the name Nolan for your child and are looking for a middle name, read on for some options that pair well. These names sound particularly good after Nolan based on both the sounds and the number of syllables:

Sibling Names for Nolan

If you already have a child named Nolan and are looking for some possible sibling names, here are some excellent options:

For a brother:

For a sister:

Famous People Named Nolan

The most famous person associated with the name Nolan has it for their last name: Christopher Nolan. Christopher Nolan is a world-famous film director known for movies such as The Dark Knight and Inception. There are plenty of other famous people with the first name Nolan:

  • Nolan Bushnell: American businessman and engineer. He established the videogame company Atart, Inc.
  • Nolan Gould: American television actor famous for the role of Lucas in Modern Family
  • Nolan Gerard Funk: American actor famous for his roles on Glee and Awkard
  • Nolan North: American voice actor featured in many popular video games
  • Nolan Ryan: American MLB pitcher who played for the Texas Rangers
  • The Nolans: An Irish band known for the song “I’m in the Mood for Dancing”

Nolan in Popular Culture

Nolan has become an increasingly popular character name in recent years. There are many movies, books, and TV shows that feature the name Nolan, including:

  • Bruce Nolan: Protagonist in the blockbuster film Bruce Almighty
  • Nolan Grayson: Otherwise known as Omni-Man, a superhero in the Image Comics Universe and the TV series Invincible
  • Nolan Hotchkiss: Character in the bestselling book and TV series Pretty Little Liars
  • Nolan Ross: Character on the TV series, Revenge
  • Nolan Sorrento: Main antagonist in the bestselling book Ready Player One

Nolan FAQs

We’ve covered a lot of information about the name Nolan. Here are the answers to a couple of frequently asked questions we may have missed.

Is There a Feminine Version of Nolan?

As stated above, Nolan is a unisex name used for girls and boys. However, some more feminine variations of the name Nolan are more common for girls in Ireland. These include Noeleen, Noelene, Noeline, and Noelynn.

Is Nolan a Name in the Bible?

Nolan is not a name that appears in the Bible. However, since Ireland is a predominantly Catholic country, Nolan is a common Christian name.

How Old Is the Name Nolan?

Nolan is an ancient name because of its Gaelic origins. It can first be traced back to the 12th century in Ireland where it was a common name for Irish clans. It was a name associated with honorable warriors that many people claimed for their families (2).

Is Nolan a Celtic or Gaelic Name?

Technically, the answer is both. The word Gaelic refers to a specific language spoken in Ireland and Scotland, whereas Celtic refers to a group of people with a shared culture that all speak Celtic languages (3).

Gaelic is one of these Celtic languages, among others. So, Nolan is a Gaelic boy’s name that is part of Celtic culture.

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