Welsh is one of the major Celtic languages, this is why Welsh names represent an important group among Celtic names.
Learning about Welsh names can be an entry point to the stories and culture of Wales. It can also provide an appreciation for the subtleties of the Welsh language.
Some Welsh names originate from Welsh mythology, while others are simply Welsh vocabulary words which have evolved into names. This article covers Welsh girl names, starting with the most common ones, then moving on to names which are rare.
Not every popular name used in Wales is of Welsh origin. But this list focuses on names which are either of Welsh origin or have been influenced by the Welsh language.Alys
Alys is a Welsh version of the name Alice, a similar version of which can be found historically in Old German and Spanish. The meaning of the name is “nobility” or “noble”.Cadi
The name Cadi is thought to have originated as a diminutive form of “Catrin”, although it has since become a name in its own right. It is also thought to be related to the Greek name Cady, meaning pure.Eira
Eira is the Welsh word for snow. However, something interesting to consider is that the same name has appeared based on the Norse goddess Eir, and that Sanskrit also possesses the female name Eira, originating from the Goddess of Wisdom.Eleri
The origin of the Welsh girl name Eleri is uncertain, but many think it comes from the river Eleri in Ceredigion, Wales. Eleri was also a Welsh princess; the daughter of the king Brychan the 5th.Elin
Elin is perhaps a deviation of the name Helen. Similar girls’ names in Welsh include Elen, Elena, and Eleni.
Saint Elen Luyddog of Caernarfon, according to Welsh legend, was the wife of Roman emperor Magnus Maximus: she ordered the construction of the roads connecting several key parts of Wales during the late 4th century.
Going even further back, the antlered female goddess Elen of the Ways potentially dates back to the Old Stone Age, making this an ancient name with powerful, mystical origins.Erin
The name Erin is more likely to be of Irish, than Welsh, origin; meaning "from the island to the west". However, linguists state that the name is also very similar to the old Welsh name for Ireland.Ffion
One explanation of the girl name Ffion is that it comes from a Welsh word meaning ‘foxglove’ (a poisonous, but beautiful, flower) or from the Irish name Fíona, derived from a word meaning “vine”.
Another explanation, however, is that this name originates from the Gaelic word ‘fionn’ meaning white or fair.Lowri
Lowri is a Welsh form of the name Laura, which in itself stems from the word laurel - the ancient tree on which you’ll find bay leaves.Mali
The name Mali seems to have many meanings, as well as being a country in Africa. It is thought to perhaps be a Welsh version of Molly or a nickname from the name Mair.
Keep in mind that Mali is a girl’s name in many languages; for example, in Arabic it means rich or full, and in Thai it refers to the jasmine flower.Megan
Originally a diminutive of Margaret, Megan has developed into a name in its own right.
Margaret comes from the Greek word margarites, meaning “pearl”. Another name that originates from this word is Mererid.
The name Megan is very popular in the US as well as in Wales.Nia
A very popular name in Wales, Nia does in fact originate from the Irish Niamh, meaning bright or radiant. This is another name that appears in multiple languages: in Swahili, Nia means resolve or purpose.
The name was perhaps made popular by the poem Tir Na n-Og by T. Gwynn Jones, in which the hero falls in love with Nia Ben Aur.Seren
Seren is, quite simply, the Welsh word for star. The name may have been made more popular by the tennis player Serena Williams, although the origin of the name is different.
Looking more broadly at names that have been popular over the last few decades, here you can learn more Welsh girl names. Several of these names are still used today, although are perhaps increasingly common as middle names.
You might notice that, compared to the most popular recent names, there are several names that are long and complex – perhaps demonstrating the beauty of the Welsh language more accurately.Alaw
The word ‘alaw’ refers to a melody or air, although the name could also refer to the River Alaw on the isle of Anglesey.Alwen
Thought to be the feminine version of the name Alwyn, meaning white, pure or beautiful. Similar names that you may enjoy include Alwenna, Arwen (meaning ‘noble maiden’), Anwen, or Olwen (‘white footprint’).
The Welsh girl name Awen is also popular; those who have studied Druidry may recognise Awen as the word for the Muse of inspiration that hits during a period of creativity or connection to the divine.Angharad
Angharad is a pretty Welsh girl name which means “much loved” – you can see here the root “câr”, from the word cariad (love).
The name is deeply connected to Welsh mythology and history, for example in Arthurian legends Angharad was the lover of the Knight Percival.
Angharad Golden-Hand appears in the Mabinogion, while many nobles have been named Angharad – for example, the daughter of Owain Gwynedd, King of Gwynedd (1100-1170).Bethan
The welsh name Bethan is derived from the name Elizabeth, which itself is thought to come from the Hebrew or Greek name Elisheba, meaning “oath of God”.
The form Bethan is more commonly found in Wales, while forms such as Beth, Liz, or Betty are more commonly found in English.Branwen
Branwen: This Welsh girl name comes from “bran” – raven – and “wen”, meaning white, fair/beautiful, or blessed.
In the Mabinogion, Branwen was considered to be the most beautiful maiden in the world – although the story ultimately ends in tragedy and heartbreak.
Variations of this name include Bronwen (meaning “white breast”).Carys
In the name Carys, you may recognise again the root term “car” from the Welsh word “cariad” (which means “love”), combined with the suffix “ys” which appears in many other Welsh names (e.g. Dilys, Glenys, Nerys).
Quite simply, this Welsh girl name means “love” and has a few variations, such as: Caryl, Cari, or Cerys.Ceridwen
In Welsh mythology, Ceridwen was the name of a powerful goddess (or witch) and the mother of the poet Taliesin.
This name originates from the Welsh word “cerdd”, which means “poem” or “song”, followed by the suffix “wen”, which appears at the end of many feminine Welsh names and means “fair”, “white” or “blessed”.Delyth
Similar to many Welsh girl names, Delyth can be thought to mean pretty or blessed - from the word “del”, meaning pretty.Dwynwen
Dwynwen – Instead of celebrating Valentine’s Day on February 14th, many Welsh celebrate Saintess Dwynwen’s day on the 25th of January, as she is the patron saint of lovers.
The word “dwyn” has many meanings, most likely the name comes from the meaning to bring, to bear, or to carry, although it can also refer to a sand dune – “wen” again meaning blessed or fair.Glenys
Glenys – Likely to mean pure and clean. Other deviations include Glynis, or the similar Gladys or Glenda – names not quite as popular today.Gwawr
The Welsh girl name Gwawr simply comes from the Welsh word “gwawr” which means “dawn” or “sunrise”.Gwenllian
Gwenllian is a pretty Welsh girl name which is often shortened to Gwen.
This name comes from the Welsh word “gwyn” which means “white”. The 2nd part of the name, “Llian” either comes from the word “lliant”, meaning “flood” or “flow”, or from “lliain” meaning “made of linen”, so the name could also refer to a fine cloth.Gwyneth
Gwyneth – Gwyn is the Welsh word for white, and the name Gwyneth means blessed, happy, or fair. It is also a feminine version of the name Gwynedd, one of the main counties of Wales.Haf
Haf is a Welsh girl name, and it is also the Welsh word for summer. This name is quite likely to appear as a middle name.Iola
The Welsh name Iola is the feminine form of Iolo, a shortened form of Iorweth – from the Welsh word “iôr” meaning “God” or “the Lord”, and “berth” meaning fine or handsome.
Interestingly, Iola is also a Greek name meaning “violet-coloured dawn”.Llinos
Llinos is a name thought to come from the bird linnet, or liniara.
This name starts with the notoriously tricky Welsh “ll” sound, so make sure you’re able to pronounce it correctly if you are naming your baby Llinos.Mair
Mair – similar to the name Mari, Mari is a version of the name Mary or Maria, which originate from the Hebrew meaning bitter, drop of the sea, or beloved.
The name Mair is used in the Welsh Bible to refer to Mary, mother of Jesus, and most likely became popular for its religious associations.Manon
Manon means “beautiful queen” or “wished-for-child”. It is also a popular name in France and Belgium, originating there from the name Marie.Meinir
The name Meinir is perhaps most famous from the legend of Meinir and Rhys, two lovers whose wedding day ended in tragedy.
The name comes from the Welsh word “meinir” which means “maiden”, or “tall and slender”.Myfanwy
Myfanwy – meaning “my fine one” or possibly “my woman” – from the prefix my (an older form of fy) meaning “my”, and either manwy ("fine, delicate") or banwy meaning "woman".
The name Myfanwy is most famously a popular Welsh song composed in 1875.Rhiannon
Rhiannon - Similar names include Rhian, Rhiain, and Rhianwen. The word “rhiain” is an old word for maiden, while the suffix “wen” again means fair or beautiful.
The Welsh girl name Rhiannon is also thought to mean “divine feminine” or “great queen”.
In Celtic mythology, Rhiannon was a Goddess, and the name Rhiannon also appears in the Mabinogi as the beautiful, magical woman who marries Pwyll.Siân
Siân – A Welsh form of the name Jane, deriving from the Hebrew meaning “God is merciful”. The name Sioned – which also corresponds to the English Janet or the Irish Sinéad – is an alternative.
Welsh has so many musical names that dance off the tongue and provide music to the ears. Here are some other Welsh girl names that you might like to consider, which tend to come in and out of fashion over the years.
You may prefer names that are rarer or have fallen out of use in Wales. Many have interesting historical and etymological origins, and there’s no reason why they can’t expect to become more popular in future.
Here are some rare Welsh girl names you may enjoy (it’s not to say you won’t find people with these names):
These are just a few of the names that you might find in Wales, although keep in mind that some of the most popular girls’ names in Wales right now are of English origin: Olivia, Amelia, Isla and Rosie were the top four names given in Wales in 2020.
Traditionally Welsh names have waxed and waned in popularity, but there is no reason why mythological and historical names can’t make a comeback.
We hope that this guide has given you some inspiration, whether you are looking for a Welsh name for your child, trying to name a character in a work of fiction, or just curious to learn about Welsh names.
This guide to Welsh girl names has a companion guide on Welsh boy names.