25 Scottish Baby Names to Keep Tradition Alive

Fun Stuff

With the popularity of the series Outlander, the following names may seem familiar – Murtagh, Fergus, Marsali, Dougal, Jocasta, Laoghaire, Germain. Colum, Phaedre, and Magnus. There are so many cool Celtic and Scottish baby names with deep roots in the culture. A true Scottish name will set your wee one apart from all the Williams and Olivias.

What is in a Name?

A baby wearing a Scottish tam

Are you looking for Scottish baby names? Check this list of 25 out, curated from Care.com.

  1. Leith (leeth)

Not surprisingly, this Edinburgh district and a river’s name are both the Gaelic term for wet or damp.

24. Mackinnon (mack-KINN-non)

“Son of the fair born’, a famous Highland Scottish clan. Surnames are quite popular as first names!

  1. Paden (PAY-den)

Another name for Aidan, Kaden, and Hayden, all of which mean “royal.” 

  1. Cullodena (cul-low-den-uh)

Meaning “from the broken mossy ground,” which Outlander fans know the importance of the Scottish Battle of Culloden.

  1. Elspeth (ELL-speth)

Want a twist on Elizabeth? Elspeth, meaning “chosen by God.” is a fun variation. 

Other incarnations of Elizabeth include Elsbet, Elsbeth, and Elsa. While there are slight variations in its meaning, the name is profoundly religious. Scottish is ‘God is my oath,’ Greek and Hebrew it comes from Elisheba, meaning ‘God is satisfaction,’ and the English translation is ‘God of plenty”. 

  1. Alana (ah-LAH-nah)

Meaning: beautiful

Alana is a lovely name for a lass representing both inner and outer beauty. Also, there is a Gaelic term of endearment, similar to darling or honey, “a leanbh” (pronounced alanna), which means ‘O child.’ 

  1. Finella (Fin-EL-la)

 “White shoulder” or “fair shoulders,” the Scottish version of the Irish Finola. This name results from an old myth of the Children of Lir. Fionnuala, a daughter of Lir, loves her father deeply, which makes her stepmother Aoife jealous. Aoife tries to rid herself of Fionnuala and her brothers, but can’t go through with it, so she turns them into swans instead.

For 900 years, the swans wander until Lir discovers the truth. One end has the angry Lir turning Aoife into an air spirit for all eternity. It is a monk blessing of the swans to pass away peacefully from old age. 

Variations include Fionnghuala, Fen, Fenel, Fenell, Fenelle, Fennall, Fennella, Fennelle, Finel, and Finelia.

  1. Fingal: Meaning: ‘white stranger.’

A simpler of the Gaelic Fionnghall, literally translating as Fionn (white or fair) and Gall (a stranger).

The translation differs slightly in Irish, meaning foreign tribe, and refers to medieval Vikings settlers’ nickname.

  1. Calum (KAL-um)

The Irish St. Columba, known in Scotland as Calum, means dove. 

  1. Greer (greer)

The Scottish last name Gregor is the root of this first name, which means “alert” or “watchful.”

  1. Isla (EYE-luh)

Islay, an island off Scotland’s west coast, is where this name appears. This name has grown in modern times due to a few actresses in Hollywood bearing the name Isla. 

  1. Kirsty (KEER-stee)

Kirsten or Christine’s Scottish counterpart, from the word Christ.

  1. Lachlan (LOCK-lan)

Meaning: from the lakes

Dating back to the 13th century, this boy’s name Lachlan originates from the Irish Gaelic. Lochlann was the Scottish name for Norway. ‘Loch’ means lake, and ‘lann’ means land or enclosure.

  1. Alpin (AL-pin)

Does blond hair run in your family? Alpin, the meaning is white or blond, is the anglicized form of the Gaelic name Ailpein. 

  1. Kyla (KY-luh)

The female name for Kyle, Kyla, means a narrow or slender geographical unit.

  1. Lyall (LY-all)

Meaning: shield wolf

Not surprisingly, Shield Wolf comes from the old Norse language and is used generally as a surname and unisex as a littlin first name.

  1. Diarmid (Dear-mid)

Meaning: without envy or free man

Diarmid is an old, very popular boy’s name in Ireland and Scotland. The word breaks down in Gaelic as ‘di’ means without, and ‘arimait’ means envy.

  1. Marcail (Mar-KALE)

The word for “little pearl” is similar in meaning to Margaret.

  1. Skye (sky)

The Isle of Skye in Scotland gave rise to this name.

  1. Sorcha (surk-ha or sor-aka)

Meaning: radiant or bright

Common in both the Irish and the Scottish Gaelic languages, the name is Hebrew and Celtic origin. In Ireland, the name, commonly anglicized as Sarah, or Sally, due to the name’s sound. Sarah, the biblical wife of Abraham, means ‘Princess’ in Hebrew. Sarai, meaning ‘quarrelsome’, was her original name, but God commanded her to change it to Sarah, as she did not want a quarrelsome mother.

  1. Adair (U-dehr)

Meaning: happy spear or ford of the oaks

Although a unisex name, Adair is more common among boys. The more feminine version, Adaira is the girl’s version. 

Two stories surround the origin story. One, from the Anglo-Saxon Eadgar, meaning fortunate and powerful, or Edgard, meaning ‘Lucky spearman.’ The second is a Scott fugitive who assumed Adare, an Irish town, to hide. He later went on to regain favor. 

  1. Morag (MOR-ak or MAOR-aeG)

Meaning: various

In Gaelic, it means great or sun while the Latin meaning of Morag is ‘moor.’ Another definition is ‘star of the sea’.

  1. Cinead (KIN-naY)

Meaning: Born of fire

Do you have a feeling your lad is going to be a strong, independent force of nature? 

Two possible origins for Cinead. One being the Gaelic first names Ciniod or Cinadon, or from the Gaelic surname MacCoinneach (Mac-KON-yokh), which later became MacKenzie and means son of Kenneth. 

  1. Shona (SHOW-na)

Meaning: in the Grace of God

Shoina, a tribe in Zimbabwe, is the female anglicized version of Seonaidm, Scottish Gaelic for Jane or Janet. And the Hebrew word for red. 

  1. Fraser (FRAY-zher)

A list would not be complete without the Clan Fraser (either Lowlands or Highlands) dating back to 1160. Outlander fans know of this name well! Utilizing last names as a first name is a current and historical trend.

Scottish Baby Names

A baby wrapped in a red tartan blanket

As parents contemplate baby names, often family names are suggested. And by digging into your Celtic history, you may find one of the above. There is no stronger impression than remembering someone’s name, and with a traditional Scottish baby name, your bairn will be hard to forget!

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