Welsh Girl Names

Are you looking for a Welsh name for your baby girl? Do you want to name a Welsh character in a book you’re writing? Whatever the reason you’re interested in learning about Welsh girl names, you can rest assured there are plenty of unique and beautiful names out there to choose from.

Learning about the origins and history of Welsh names can help you get a greater feel for the stories, culture and language of Wales, and can help you gain a deeper appreciation for the subtleties of the language.

Of course, some names are easier to pronounce than others, some have recognisable English counterparts, and some are rarely used at all these days.

This list aims to begin with the most popular current Welsh girl names along with some information about their etymology, but will also include a few older, historical and rare names. We hope you find something you like!

Most Popular Welsh Girl Names

The following list is taken from the Office of National Statistics’ 2020 list of the top 100 names for baby girls in Wales.

The majority of popular names in Wales at the moment are of non-Welsh origin, a trend that has fluctuated in Wales for at least the last 100 years: in the early 20th Century, it was common even for Welsh-speaking families to give their children English names, although this started to change again and favour Welsh names in later years.

From the list, names that are not of a Welsh origin have been excluded.

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 name Ffion is that it comes from a 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 it 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.

More Popular Welsh Girl Names

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

The name Angharad 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 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 the name include Bronwen (meaning “white breast”).

Carys

Carys – You may recognise again the “car” from the word “cariad”, combined with the suffix “ys” which appears in many other names (e.g. Dilys, Glenys, Nerys). Quite simply, the name means “love” and has a few variations, such as Caryl, Cari, or Cerys.

Ceridwen

In Welsh mythology, Ceridwen was a powerful goddess (or witch) and the mother of the poet Taliesin. The origin of the name comes from the word “cerdd”, meaning a poem or song, followed by the suffix “wen”, which appears at the end of many feminine 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

Gwawr simply means “dawn” or “sunrise”.

Gwenllian

Gwenllian – often shortened to Gwen, from the word “white”. “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 the Welsh word for summer, and is quite likely to appear as a middle name.

Iola

Iola is the feminine form of Iolo, a shortened form of Iorweth – from the 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 – thought to come from the bird linnet, or liniara. This name starts with the notoriously tricky “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

Perhaps most famous from the legend of Meinir and Rhys, two lovers whose wedding day ended in tragedy. Meinir 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 a 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.

Other Welsh Girl Names

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.

Rare or Older Welsh girl names

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):

Conclusion

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.

Editor's note: You can use our free language tool to make your own vocabulary lists, and record your own phrases.