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Owen Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Owen Overview

  • Meaning: Owen means “young warrior,” “a well-born man,” and nobility.
  • Gender: Owen is traditionally a male’s name, but feminine versions like Eowyn and Owena exist.
  • Origin: Owen comes from Welsh. It was a surname in the Renaissance period but grew in popularity as a first name in Ireland.
  • Pronunciation: The pronunciation of Owen can vary depending on its origins. The Welsh roots spell it as Owain and pronounce it “OH-ween.” The Irish version is Eoghan but pronounced “O-wen.” In the United States, they pronounce the name as “OH-uhn.”
  • Popularity: The name was always very popular, ranking highly on the top 100 names before hovering around the top 20 names for boys since the early 2000s.
  • Nicknames: Ennie, O, Oh, Owie, and Wen.
  • Variations: Eugen, Eugène, Eugenio, Eugenius, Geno, Uxío, Yauhen, Yevheniy.
  • Namesakes: Owen Wilson (American actor), Owen Wister (American author).

What Does Owen Mean?

The name Owen means “young warrior” and is usually an anglicization of the Welsh “Owain” (1). When translated from Gaelic, it can also mean “a well-born man.” It also has meanings of nobility.

What Is the Origin of the Name Owen?

Owen comes from the Welsh name “Owain.” The origins of “Owain” are disputed, with some scholars suggesting that it is derived from Irish, Gaulish, or Latin.

Back in the Renaissance times, it was a Welsh surname but grew in popularity as a first name. In Ireland, this name became commonplace in the 1990s and remains a top choice.

How Popular Is the Name Owen?

Owen is a very popular name. In the United States, it has stayed in the top 100 boys’ names since 2002. Since 2010 it has been in the top 50 names, typically staying near the top 20 according to the Social Security Administration (2).

How Do I Pronounce Owen?

The pronunciation of Owen can vary. If you derived the name from its Welsh roots, you would likely spell Owen as Owain and pronounce it “OH-ween.” The Irish version was formerly spelled Eoghan but pronounced “O-wen.” Most people in the United States pronounce the name as “OH-uhn.”

Is Owen a Boy or Girl Name?

Owen is a boy’s name, but there are feminine versions. Eowyn and Owena are popular ways to use the name Owen for a girl.

Variations of Owen

There are variations of Owen from around the world. Here are some of the most common variations:

  • Eugen (Croatian, German, Romanian, Slovak)
  • Eugène (French)
  • Eugenio (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish)
  • Eugenius (Greek, Polish)
  • Geno (Bulgarian)
  • Uxío (Galician)
  • Yauhen (Belarusian)
  • Yevheniy (Ukrainian)

Nicknames for Owen

It can be hard to come up with a nickname for a name that’s already so short. You might choose names like:

  • Ennie
  • O
  • Oh
  • Owie
  • Wen

Similar Names to Owen

Owen is a name that sounds classic and timeless. If you like the name but want something different, check out these alternatives:

Middle Names for Owen

The middle name you choose for Owen can vary greatly. You might want one that starts with a vowel to get the repetitive sound in the name or a longer middle name since Owen is so short. You may also want something equally classic or trendy.

Here are some popular options for middle names:

Sibling Names for Owen

If you have an Owen in your family, you want a sibling name that sounds good with it. Timeless options include:

For a Brother:

For a Sister:

Famous People Named Owen

There are many famous people named Owen, ranging from musicians to politicians to writers. Check out this sampling of the most noted Owens:

  • Owen Bradley: American country music producer.
  • Owen Franks: New Zealand rugby player.
  • Owen Hatherley: British journalist.
  • Owen Jones: American politician.
  • Owen King: American author and son of Steven King.
  • Owen Lovejoy: American paleoanthropologist.
  • Owen Rineheart: American polo player.
  • Owen Wilson: American actor.
  • Owen Wister: American author who is credited with launching “western” fiction.

Owen in Popular Culture

Owen isn’t just a great name for someone you know. It’s also a good name for characters in books, movies, and TV shows. Check out this list of Owens in popular culture and see how many you recognize:

  • Owen Grady: Fictional character in the movie “Jurassic World.”
  • Owen Hunt: Fictional character in the TV series “Grey’s Anatomy.
  • Owen Lars: Fictional step-uncle of Luke Skywalker in the “Star Wars” franchise.
  • Owen Meany: Character in the John Irving novel “A Prayer for Owen Meany.”
  • Owen Mercer: Supervillain in the DC Comics world.
  • Owen Paris: Fictional character in the “Star Trek” series.
  • Owen Underhill: Character in Stephen King’s novel “Dreamcatcher.”
  • Owen the Incline Engine: Train in the “Thomas and Friends” world.

Owen FAQs

You know the basics of the name Owen, but you might want a little more information. Check out the answers to these frequently asked questions before choosing this name for your little one.

Is Owen an Old-Fashioned Name?

Some may see the name as old-fashioned. After all, it dates back to at least Medieval times. However, it’s only risen in popularity in recent years and ranks in the top 20 most used boys’ names in the United States.

What Does Owen Mean in the Bible?

In Irish culture, Owen is a version of the name John, making it biblical. Irish people consider figures like John the Baptist and John the Apostle to have the name Owen.

What Has Driven the Popularity of the Name Ireland?

While it might remain a mystery as to why it rose in prominence in Ireland in the 1990s, there’s little doubt as to why it became popular in the US. Owen Wilson’s career was taking off in the early 2000s. It’s no coincidence that the name soared into the top 20 choices for boys at the same time.

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