Best Scottish Baby Names

mom holding baby

With its rich cultural and linguistic heritage, Scotland has plenty of inspiration to offer when it comes to baby names! Choosing distinctive Scottish baby names for your child is a great way to honour a north-of-the-border background or just give your child a cool name they can be proud of…

While you wait for the big day to arrive, let’s explore some of the best Scottish baby names out there. We also included tips on how some of the more unfamiliar names should be pronounced! We’ve got your back!

Top 10 Scottish baby names for boys

Alastair (alas -t-air)

This is the Scottish Gaelic form of Alexander, an ancient Greek name meaning ‘defender of men’. Also spelt Alasdair and commonly abbreviated to Alec in Scotland.

Archibald

This is a Scottish form of an Old Germanic name meaning ‘true and brave’. Commonly abbreviated to ‘Archie’.

Callum

This is a Scottish Gaelic refashioning of the Latin name ‘Columba’, meaning dove.

Ewan (yoo-un)

Also spelt Euan, this name is a Scottification of the Biblical Greek name Iōannēs, more familiar to English speakers as ‘John’.

Fraser

This sturdily Scottish name has uncertain origins and may have begun a Norman French misspelling of a Gaelic name.

Gregor (greg-or)

This name is Greek in origin, originally meaning watchful.

Hamish

This very Scottish name comes to us from the Gaelic Seumas, which is in fact just the familiar Biblical name James.

Iain (ee-un)

Also (of course) spelt Ian, this is another Gaelic refashioning of the Biblical name John.

Scott

This name is actually distinct from the ‘Scot’ in Scotland. While the original Scots were a tribe who migrated across from Ireland, the ‘Scotts’ were a later clan especially active along the Anglo-Scottish border.

Stewart

This very Scottish name comes from an Old English term meaning ‘guardian of the hall’. Also spelt ‘Stuart’, under the influence of French.

Top 10 Scottish baby names for girls

Agnes

More popular in Scotland than other parts of the United Kingdom, this name ultimately comes from a Greek word meaning ‘holy’. This name is also spelt ‘Annis’.

Eilidh (ay-lee)

This is a Scottish Gaelic version of the more familiar name Helen. You will also see it spelt Ailidh, Aileen and Eileen.

Elspeth

This is a Gaelic take on the rather more familiar name Elizabeth.

Fiona

From an Irish word meaning ‘fair-haired’. The rarely-seen male version is Fionn.

Heather

The heather plant (Calluna vulgaris) is a Scottish icon.

Isla (aye-la)

This newly popular name comes from the Hebridean island Islay.

Kirstine

This is a Scottish version of Christine. Commonly abbreviated to ‘Kirsty’.

Mairi (mair-ee)

As you may have guessed, this is a Gaelic variation on ‘Mary’.

Rhona

This popular name has uncertain origins, but it may be derived from Norman French.

Una (oo-na) 

This name has Irish origins and may originally have meant ‘lamb’ 🐑

Popular Scottish baby names by year

The most popular names for babies in Scotland normally aren’t that different from those in other parts of the United Kingdom, with some old favourites repeatedly topping the charts. Looking back over the last five years we found:

2020: Jack and Isla

2019: Jack and Olivia

2018: Jack and Olivia

2017: Jack and Olivia

2016: Jack and Olivia

That’s a lot of Jacks! In fact, this name has been the most popular name for boys in Scotland for 13 straight years!

Medieval Scottish baby names

Some Scottish names first took root during the Middle Ages.

Examples include:

Cameron – This clan surname began as a nickname meaning ‘crooked nose’ (cam-shròn), in reference to the founder of the clan sometime before the 15th Century. More recently, it has gained popularity as a first name!

Duncan – From the Gaelic donn chabh, meaning ‘brown warrior’. Kings Duncan I and Duncan II reigned during the 11th Century 👑

Gavin – This name is a distinctive variation on the name ‘Gawain’, familiar with tales of King Arthur and his knights of the round table. The latter name may originally have meant ‘white hawk’ but its true origins have been lost in the mists of time.

Isobel – This is a distinctively Scottish variation of the name Isabel or Isabella, both ultimately derived from the Biblical name Elizabeth. Isobel reached Scotland during the Middle Ages.

Jean – A name that still has a Scottish flavour, Jean is a variation of the now rarely seen name Jeanne, a medieval import from France. Like Jane, it is a feminine form of John.

Malcolm – This old kingly name comes from the Gaelic phrase Maol Chaluim, meaning ‘devotee of St Columba’. King Malcolm I of Scotland from 943 to 954.

Mythological Scottish baby names

Other Scottish names owe their origin to Celtic mythology. For example:

Bridget – Spelt Brìghde in Gaelic, this is a very old Celtic name. Brigid was a pre-Christian goddess of healing, inspiration and poetry. Its root means ‘power’ or ‘strength’. This name used to be one of the most popular names for girls in Ireland too.

Gaelic Scottish baby names

Gaelic is a Celtic language – a close relative of Irish brought to Scotland by settlers from Ireland in the 5th Century. Many traditional Scottish names have roots in Gaelic. Here are a few more examples:

Angus – Aonghas in Gaelic, this old name means ‘only choice’.

Campbell – Another clan surname with a very similar origin to Cameron (cam beul, meaning crooked mouth), this too has become an increasingly popular given name.

Craig – This Gaelic name means ‘rock’ (creag).

Donald – Another old name, from Dòmhnall, which is thought to have originally meant ‘ruler of the world’. Also spelt ‘Donal’.

Dougal (doo-gal) – This name comes from Dubhghall, meaning ‘black stranger’.

Douglas – From the Gaelic for ‘black water’ (dubh glas). 

Fergus – From the Gaelic Fearghas, which originally meant ‘strong man’.

Gordon – Originally a surname, this is derived from a location on the Scottish borders and originally meant ‘spacious fort’.

Morag– The female name Mòrag means ‘big’ or ‘great’.

Rory – This ancient Celtic name, from the Gaelic Ruairidh, means ‘red king’.

Ross – One of many Scottish names to have migrated from surname to first name status – from an old Gaelic term for headland.

Parenthood has many joys – but comes with plenty of challenges too! One recurring issue is finding fun things to do with your children at weekends and during school holidays. Day Out With The Kids is an exciting guide to family-friendly days out across the UK. Why not find out just what’s on offer where you live?

Looking for more inspiration for baby names? No need to look further, we’ve got plenty:

 Cool Baby Names | Unusual Baby Names and What They Mean | Unique Baby Names | Baby Names Inspired by Animals | Baby Names Beginning with A

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