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Sean Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

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

Sean Overview

  • Meaning: Sean means “God is gracious” or “gift from God.” The Biblical meaning is “Yahweh is gracious.”
  • Gender: Sean is a unisex name, but it is much more popular as a boy’s name.
  • Origin: Sean is a name of Irish heritage. It is a version of Jean, the French version of the Hebrew name Yohanan. It is also a version of the Scottish name Ian.
  • Pronunciation: “Shawn”
  • Popularity: The name is popular in the United States but very popular in Ireland.
  • Nicknames: Evan, Giovanni, Hans, Ian, Jack, Jens, Johan, John, Shane, Zane.
  • Variations: Cian, Seann, Shaughn, Shaun, Shawn, Sion, Swain, Swayn, Swen, Syon.
  • Namesakes: Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Sean Combs, Sean Connery, Sean Hayes.

What Does Sean Mean?

Sean is a gender-neutral name that means “gift from God” or “God is gracious” and is an Irish variant of the word Jean. You may have heard the anglicized variations before, like Shaun, and Shawn.

What is the Origin of the Name Sean?

Sean is a name of Irish origin that likely reached the island after the Norman invasion of England, which saw the word Jean, or Jehan, anglicized into John. Jean is a variant of the Yiddish Yohann, so the word has a history that traces back through many different cultures (1).

The Old French form Jehan is the source of all the English spellings of John, Jon, Shawn, Shane, and Sean. Other forms of the name include Seaghan (Irish), Siùn (Scottish Gaelic), and Eoin (Gaelic).

How Popular is the Name Sean?

Sean used to be a very popular name for boys in the United States and peaked at rank 57 in 2000. Since then its popularity has dipped a bit, reaching the 102nd most popular name for boys in 2010, and the 363rd most popular name for boys last year in 2021 (2).

The name Sean is more uncommon for women than men in the United States, where according to the Social Security Administration it hasn’t placed in the top 1000 names for girls since 2000 (3).

How Do I Pronounce Sean?

Sean is pronounced as SHAW-NN. The Irish spelling Seán has the á pronounced as aww. Other versions of the name include Shaun, Shawn, and Seann.

One feminine version is Shóna, pronounced as SHOW-na.

Is Sean a Boy or Girl Name?

Sean has been used for both boys and girls, but in the United States, it is more popular as a boys’ name.

Variations of Sean

There are many variations of the name Sean used around the world. Some of the most common are:

  • Cian (Ancient Irish)
  • Seann (Hebrew, Irish)
  • Shaughn (Irish)
  • Shaun (Irish)
  • Shawn (Irish)
  • Shóna (Irish)
  • Sion (Hebrew)
  • Swain (Scandanavian)
  • Swayn (English)
  • Swen (Scandanavian)
  • Syon (Indian)
  • Xan (Greek)
  • Zan (Slavic)

Nicknames for Sean

Many fun nicknames exist for Sean across different cultures. We’ve compiled some of the most popular for you to pick from!

Similar Names to Sean

If you like the sound of the name Sean, but it doesn’t feel like the right fit for your child, you might also like some of these options that have a similar sound or feel to them.

Middle Names for Sean

Many middle names go well with Shawn, we put together a list of our favorites to choose from below.

Sibling Names for Sean

Parents have chosen many great names for siblings to a child named Sean. Here are some of the most popular.

Famous People Named Sean

There have been many famous Seans around the world you might want to choose as a namesake for your child. Take a look at the list we put together for you below and see how many you recognize.

  • Sean Astin: American actor.
  • Sean Bean: English actor.
  • Sean Combs: American hip-hop producer.
  • Sean Connery: Scottish actor.
  • Sean Gunn: American Actor.
  • Sean Harmon: American actor.
  • Sean Harris: British actor.
  • Sean Hayes: American comedian.
  • Sean Kinney: American musician.
  • Sean Lennon: American musician.
  • Sean Paul: Jamaican musician.
  • Sean Penn: American actor.
  • Sean Price: American singer.
  • Sean Young: American actor.

Sean in Popular Culture

Many characters from TV and film are named Sean. Here are some you might know:

  • Sean Archer: Character from the movie “Face/Off.”
  • Sean Brody: Character from the movie “Jaws 2.”
  • Sean Maguire: Character from the movie “Good Will Hunting.”
  • Sawn Spencer: Character from the TV series “Psych.”
  • Shawn Hunter: Character from the TV series “Boy Meets World.”

Sean FAQs

There are many questions people ask about the name Sean. Here are some of the most common:

Why Is Jack a Nickname for Sean?

Sean is Irish for John, and Jack is a nickname for John.

What Is the Biblical Meaning of Sean?

The Biblical meaning is “Yahweh is gracious,” referring to the Hebrew God.

Are Shaun and Sean the Same Name?

Shaun is the anglicized version of the Irish Seán. Shawn is another anglicized version of the name.

Why Is Sean a Popular Name?

There are a few possible reasons why the name Sean is becoming more popular.

One reason may be that it is a relatively unique name, so parents are looking for something to help their child stand out from the crowd.

Additionally, the meaning of the name Sean (God is gracious) will likely appeal to many parents.

Finally, the popularity of famous Seans (such as Sean Connery and Sean Penn) may also contribute to the name’s increasing popularity.

Where Is Sean a Popular Name?

Sean is popular in Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, the United States, and Canada. (4)

How Do You Say the Name Sean in Other Languages?

The name Sean means “God is gracious” in many different languages. Some common variations of the name include:

  • Irish: Séamus
  • Scottish Gaelic: Sìne
  • French: Jean
  • Spanish: Juan
  • Italian: Giovanni
  • German: Johannes
  • Dutch: Jan
  • Russian: Иван (Ivan)
  • Japanese: ショーン (Shōn)
  • Chinese: 申 (Shēn)
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