Bronwyn: Baby Name of the Day

by appellationmountain on January 17, 2013

Flag of Wales Flag of Wales (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She’s a wearable Welsh name, familiar in the US but seldom heard.

Thanks to Lora for suggesting Bronwyn as our Baby Name of the Day.

Bronwyn is the kind of name that appears in every baby name book, even though you don’t meet a lot of girls by the name.  Strictly speaking, Bronwen is the feminine form of the name, from bron - breast – and gwen -blessed or fair.  Because the -y spelling tends to be associated with feminine names in English, Bronwyn is the more common spelling in the English-speaking world.

But only slightly more common.  Neither spelling has ever cracked the US Top 1000, and while she’s more often heard in Australia, she’s not topping their popularity charts, either.

The reason she’s heard down under?  That may be due to the Neighbours character Bronwyn Ramsay.  She first appeared on the show in 1988, and left the series two years later.  A two-year run might not seem like much, but it was apparently enough to put Bronwyn on parents’ radar.  While Rachel Friend, the unknown actress cast as Bronwyn, quit acting entirely in 1990, her character was popular.  She won “Most Popular Actress” in the Australian equivalent of the Emmys the same year she departed.

Another use?  Do you remember the Dilley sextuplets: Brenna Rose, Julian Emerson, Quinn Everett, Claire Diane, Ian Michael, and Adrian Reed?  Nope, not a Bronwyn among them.  But if you caught Half a Dozen Babies, the 1999 made-for-tv movie about the couple’s experience, then you saw Becki Dilley flipping through a baby name book, suggesting Bronwyn.

The Dilleys didn’t use Bronwyn, but they did end up with a Brenna.

In fact, Br- names are all over the US Top 1000 right now:

  • In the Top 100, there’s Brooklyn, Brianna, and Brooke.
  • Just beyond, we find Brielle and Brynn.
  • The Top 500 includes Brynlee, Brylee, Brittany, Braelyn, BristolBridget, and Briella.
  • Also in use are Brenna, Brinley, Brenda, Bria, Brisa, and Bree.

Factor in spelling variations of several of the names, and Br- is a popular element for girls.  So is -yn, from Kaitlyn to Jordyn.

It should spell success for Bronwyn in the US, but she’s remained rare.  From the 1990s on, she’s been given to between 50 and 80 girls annually.  Actors Courtney Vance and Angela Bassett welcomed a daughter named Bronwyn Golden in 2006.

File her under the category of names that we all like, but relatively few of us love enough to use.  Bronwyn often finds herself in-between: frills-free, but not as spare as Jane.  Modern, but not as stylish as Aderyn Tailored, but less established than Brooke.

If you’re after a Welsh heritage choice that isn’t widely used – but remains familiar as a given name – Bronwyn has promise.

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