baby name FlynnThe baby name Flynn combines Irish roots with pop culture associations that make it feel quite dashing.

Thanks to Corinne for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.


One reason the baby name Flynn entered the US Top 1000 in 2011?

We’re living in the age of Finn.

It’s tough to nail down the exact popularity of Finn. There’s just Finn, plus Finnegan, Finley, Griffin, Phinnaeus – choose your spelling! – Finbar, Fintan, Finnick, and more. Nearly all of them are sometimes shortened to Finn, and a few of them are heard for girls, too.

Flynn, on the other hand, seems far more straightforward. It’s spelled just the one way, and ranked a solid, but not-too-common #779 as of 2018.


Both names come from Ireland. Finn is a legendary hero.

But Flynn started out as a surname, something like Ó Flainn or Ó Floinn. It means, roughly, descended from Flann – a ninth century High King of Ireland.

And Flann, of course, means red.

Just Flann is sometimes heard in Ireland. There’s a twentieth century author. Another Flann from the same era advocated for the use of the Irish language. In the US, Flann sounds too close to dessert. Literary Flannery seems more promising, though the author Flannery O’Connor puts the surname in the same category as Harper.

Plenty of people answer to the surname, including actors, athletes, and musicians.

If you know your Phineas and Ferb, it’s the family’s surname.

And the Flynn Effect was identified by researcher James R. Flynn. (It refers to the tendency of IQ test scores to rise over time.)

But two silver screen figures shaped the name’s image.


Born in Tasmania, the son of an academic, Errol 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 saved the day and got the girl.

While Errol is reserved for Wizarding World owls these days, Flynn still retains much of the actor’s bravado and style.


Then along came Tangled, Disney’s 2010 reboot of the Rapunzel story.

And it is a reboot – maybe even a reinvention. Rapunzel doesn’t just let down her hair. She wields a mean frying pan, and does an awful lot of the saving herself.

As for her dashing prince? He arrives with a name that screams action hero: Flynn Rider. Only he’s a thief, not a noble knight. And it takes some arm-twisting by Rapunzel to set their adventure in motion.

Oh, and he’s not actually Flynn Rider. But the story’s end we learn he’s actually Eugene Fitzherbert.

And, happily – because it is still a fairy tale – a good guy after all.

But the fact that Flynn chose the name as his alias? It signals that we’re right to perceive it as adventurous and handsome. The writers intentionally chose it in homage to Errol Flynn.


Tangled succeeded at the box office, and inspired a 2017 Disney Channel original series. Though now, Flynn is a reformed thief, husband to Rapunzel … and known as Eugene.

In 2011, Miranda Kerr and Orlando Bloom – no stranger to swashbuckling himself – named their son Flynn.

The combined attention helped push this handsome Irish name into the US Top 1000. But while Finn names have soared, the baby name Flynn has remained nicely under the radar.

All of this makes it a handsome Irish heritage pick that could suit a boy born today nicely.

Would you consider the baby name Flynn?

Originally published on September 29, 2009, this post was substantially revised and re-posted on November 11, 2013 and again on August 2, 2020.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. I named my son Flynn in July 2012 and we’ve had nothing but compliments. Everyone loved it right away and whenever we introduce him to someone they instantly say something like, “Wow, what a great name!”. If you’re considering this name, I highly recommend it! It’s very fun if you’re a nicknamey person, we call him Flynn, Fynnie, Flynnie Binny, Flynnsky, Flynnster, Flynnster MaGynster, etc. The only negative is that a few times people have thought I said Flynn, but not nearly as often as you might think. I love that it’s simple and clean, uncommon, but not weird. It fits my happy little guy to a T, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it grows with him.

    1. Hi! I know this is an old post but I was just wondering what people sometimes think you say when you say Flynn? You said Flynn but I think it may have been a typo. I just named my son Flynn so I’m trying to prepare myself for what people might think I’m saying! Anything else I should know about the name? Do people usually spell it correctly and know it’s a boys name? Thanks!

  2. We are thinking of the name Flynn if this baby is a boy. What I’ve found so far is that it means “son of a ruddy complected man” and similar meanings. My husband is a redhead and has fair skin so I think it would work, lol. Also, my husband is fond of this name because of the Disney movie Tron, where the main character is Kevin Flynn.

    A friend of mine told me she did not like it because it reminded her of phlegm.

  3. Interesting post! However, I don’t really see Flynn working very well here in Western Canada — there’s a city on the border of Saskatchewan and Manitoba called Flin Flon (incidentally, named for the lead character, Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin, in the science fiction novel The Sunless City).

    1. Now that is a fabulous factoid, Charlotte! Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin … I’d love to see the official minutes where the powers that be adopted Flin Flon as a city name!

      1. Haha, yes, that would be interesting! I think that the city sort of grew into the name, since it [I think] started off as a mine found by some guy who liked the book. It had to have been officially adopted at some point.

  4. Flynn sits around #66 here in NZ. Slightly less popular than Finn which is #55. Doesn’t mean terribly much for a country our size. I’m surprised it’s never once ranked in the US 1000.

    I knew the most hyper, cheeky and flighty Flynn a few years ago while tutoring. He’d be about 10 or 11 now.

    It’s adequate. Nice enough. Rather how I feel about Finn. I love the Manx Finlo though.

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is one of my favorite boys’ names and I’m only just becoming brave enough to try it in the first name slot.

    I just love it’s familiarity, yet unusual-ness. Flynn Flynn Flynn.

  6. I’ve never cared for this, it reminds me of phlegm and lint, I much prefer Finn. I know a girl named Flannery, she was named for Flannery O’Connor. I used to not like it but now it has really grown on me because I like the person I know with it. I also love Flannery O’Connor’s work, so that its a plus. Flann does sound too much like the dessert.