With Finn racing up the charts, can this equally Irish appellation be far behind?
Thanks to Corinne for suggesting our Name of the Day: Flynn.
Determining the exact popularity of Finn is tricky. There’s Finn (#368 in 2008, or about 832 Finns). But there’s also Finnegan (another 370 newborns), the Kennedy-esque Finbar, Finley (264 boys plus twice as many girls) and the sort-of-kind-of-could-lead-to-Finn choice, Griffin (given to over 1400 boys). Throw in starbaby Phinnaeus and re-spellings like Finnaeus, and if you haven’t met one yet, you soon will.
On the other hand, determining Flynn’s popularity is simple. He’s never ranked in the US Top 1000.
Both choices are Irish. Flynn is linked to the surname Ó Flainn or Ó Floinn, traditionally bestowed on descendants of Flann Sinna – a ninth century High King of Ireland.
You might still find a Flann or three in Ireland. Flann O’Brien was the penname of a popular 20th century writer. His contemporary, Flann O’Riain, drew political cartoons and advanced the use of the Irish language. In the US, you might meet a Flannery, but Flann is probably too close to dessert for an American parent to consider.
Flann, Flannery and Flynn are all attributed to an Irish Gaelic word meaning red or ruddy, making them fitting choices for a little redheaded baby. And while Flannery leans feminine, thanks to novelist Flannery O’Connor, Flynn feels brisk and masculine.
It’s a fairly common surname, worn by:
- Actor Neil Flynn plays the janitor on Scrubs. He was also Lindsay Lohan’s anthropologist dad in Mean Girls;
- The cast of long-running British police drama The Bill included actor Daniel Flynn as Superintendent John Heaton for three seasons;
- In the 1960s, Joe Flynn played Captain Binghamton on McHale’s Navy. He’s the one who would shout: What is it, What, WHAT, WHAT?;
- In the 1930s, Edward Flynn was an American boxer – he scored an Olympic gold medal. At about the same time, Eddie Flynn was an Irish soccer star;
- Researcher James R. Flynn identified the Flynn Effect – the tendency of IQ scores to rise over time;
- Trash metal gives us Robb Flynn, the guitarist for Machine Head;
- Vince Flynn pens thrillers, and has served as a story consultant to 24.
And then there’s Errol Flynn. Born in Tasmania, the son of an academic, Flynn became one of Hollywood’s brightest stars in the 1930s. He headlined swashbuckling adventures like The Adventures of Robin Hood. Flynn’s characters always got the girl.
No wonder Flynn sounds active and exciting.
You’ll also find Flynn on the map. And gamers might think of Tales of Vesperia’s noble Imperial Knight by the name.
If there’s any real drawback to Flynn, it is that he’s so rarely worn as a first name. As Finn rises, your Flynn might find himself introducing himself as “Flynn. With an L. Rhymes with Lynn.”
But if you’re looking for a name that is short but complete, and masculine without sounding more like a GI Joe figure than a child, Flynn just might suit.