If your heritage is part Scots, part Norwegian, then this pick is perfect for you firstborn son.

Thanks to Sassy for suggesting Lachlan as Name of the Day.

Lachlan is one of those ever-so-Scottish appellations.  But dig in just a tiny bit, and you find yourself standing in another country entirely.

Loch is, of course, the Scottish for lake.  (The Loch Ness monster is thought to lurk beneath the waters of Lake Ness.)  Once upon a time, Norway was referred to as Lochlann – land of the lakes.  And so the name was bestowed upon those from Norway, or with Norwegian blood.

Over the years, the spelling morphed. Lachlann,  Lochlainn, Lauchlan and Laochailan are among the variants found.  That last one gave rise to a competing theory for Lachlan’s origins – the Gaelic word laochail, warlike.

There’s also Loughlin and Laughlin – they all share the pronunciation LAHK lan, but these two spellings are usually reserved for surnames.

Despite the link to Viking warriors of yore, most notable bearers of the name have been of Scottish descent.  There’s:

  • A string of chiefs of Clan Maclean between the 1300s and present day.  At least eight have been named Lachlan;
  • Scottish born Lachlan McIntosh became a leader in the American revolution from his adoptedhome in the state of Georgia;
  • Lachlan Macquarie left the Inner Hebrides back in the nineteenth century and became the visionary governor of New South Wales, Australia.

Doubtless that’s why Lachlan is a big name down under – he’s solidly in the Top Ten throughout Australia and hovers near the Top 25 in New Zealand.

That’s far more popular than the UK – he’s just outside of the Top 100.  In the US, Lachlan is a rarity.  Believe it or not, he has never ranked in the Top 1000.

His comparatively unknown status in the US could appeal to American parents searching for something unusual, but not outlandish.  Lachlan fits in with Top 50 choices like Logan, Liam and Landon while still sounding more distinctive.

And the nickname Lach – pronounced like the word lock – puts this choice up there with Cassius/Cash, Dashiell/Dash and other traditional picks with trendy short forms.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one more famous Lachlan – the developer of Baby Name Brainstorm, a truly sophisticated baby name search engine.

In the US, the only drawback to Lachlan is that he might read either too very Scottish, making him a less-than-perfect pick for parents from other backgrounds – or, possibly, the thought of Lachlan endlessly being mistaken for Logan or Landon.

But overall, he’s the right mix of perfectly valid historical choice and underused option, with a touch of nature name thrown in for good measure.

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. We just named our son Lachlan – Chose it because Lachie is a cute nick name to have when hes youger and Lachlan is so masculine and formal for when he enters the workforce. im also a school teacher and have never come across a naughty Lachlan. 🙂

  2. We used the name for the same reason, I’m all Norwegian and my husband is mostly Irish and a good chunk of his family in Ireland came there from Scotland. I met a guy from Ireland the other day whose father’s name was Lochlann and he was really happy to meet someone with the name, which he says you rarely hear in Ireland. He said that there were maybe a few in his father’s generation that he knew of. I really liked the “o” spelling over the “a”, so I was happy to hear his dad spelled it with an “o”! Being a stickler for original spellings and using the name Lochlan, taking into account all of its spellings was a bit daunting.

    Anyway, we have two boys and had a horrible time trying to find girl names, so I guess we just lucked out. My first son was going to be called Kaia if he was a girl, but if we had a girl this last time she would have been Elsa. Our girl picks were always more Scandinavian. There is also a Scottish name that is similar to Elsa: AILSA f Scottish, From Ailsa Craig, the name of an island off the west coast of Scotland, which is of uncertain derivation.

    Have you considered Isolde (Welsh) instead of Isobel? Isabel and all its variations are so popular, I just wouldn’t do it. Other names you might consider are Mattea/Mathea/Matea, just plain Tea/Thea, Freya, Maura, Anja, Elin (El-een), Laila, Kirsten, Maren, Nora, Siri, Siv (Seev, or Seef), Signy. These are mostly Scandinavian, but I’m sure there are some Scottish names that would be good to consider as well. Good luck!

  3. My background is Norwegian and my husband’s is Scottish. We thought Lachlan was a perfect name to honor that combination. And we kept the Scottish theme going with his twin brother Graham (my husband’s clan name). Now we’re ready to welcome baby #3, a girl, and I’m finding the process much harder. I’m loving Isobel, but it seems like she’ll just be one of hundreds of the Isabelle variety.

    1. We have got a Lachlan and we called his little sister Morven..Another Gaelic name meaning Mountain Peak…and no other Morven’s around…

  4. My son was born 3 days ago. We had called him Lochlan James (with an O) and so many people have told me they have never heard it before. But unamously love the name. It goes really well with our surname – McCauley. Found this a very interesting read.

    1. We’ve met one other Lochlan that lives near us and his name is Lachlan James. The two names flow nicely together. Congratulations! We chose the ‘o’ spelling, too.

  5. I’m posting waaay late on this, but this is so weird because my son is, in fact party irish/scottish and Norwegian, he was due on June 8th, 2009 (the date of this post!), though born before, and we named him Lochlan!! Weird.

      1. I know, isn’t that weird? I wanted to name my older son Lochlan and my husband hated it at the time- second time around he loved it, so I guess it was fated this way 🙂