He’s got history aplenty and could fit right in with single-syllable boys’ choices like Finn and Cole.
Thanks to Bewildertrix for suggesting Tadhg as Name of the Day.
Like many an Irish appellation, Tadhg can make your eyes cross and tongue tie up in knots. Caoimhe and Aoife, Eoin and Diarmaid are all appealing choices, but the unfamiliar will not automatically say KEE va, EE fa, OH in and DEER mid.
Tadhg’s sound is actually quite straightforward. He sounds like the first syllable of tiger – tieg. County Kerry-born Tadhg Kennelly is among the best known bearers of the name. He currently plays for the Australia Football League’s Sydney Swans. As I listened to sports announcers discuss Kennelly’s feats, I couldn’t help think that any accent other than my bland American one lent Tadgh a bit more presence.
Speaking of challenges, you might hear Tadhg pronounced tayg or teeg, too. Some of the confusion comes from various Anglicized versions of the name. There’s Tighe, but also Teague – and while Tighe seems straightforward, Teague doesn’t seem like the same name – or to indicate the same vowel sounds. (In an earlier era, Irish Tadhgs in the US became often became known as Tim.)
While Tadhg, Tighe and Teague are all no-shows in the US Top 1000, after some searching, I did find a YouTube video where a very much American mom introduces her son, Tadhg Thomas.
In Ireland, Tadhg is a Top 100 choice. He appears in Irish myth as Tadg mac Nuadat, grandfather to Finn MacCool. Several kings of Connacht wore the name from the ninth century through the eleventh.
While Tadhg fell out of use amongst the royalty, he can still be found in the historical record. In the late 1500s/early 1600s, writer Tadhg Og Ó Cianáin chronicled political events.
Tadhg was a fitting name for a writer. It means poet, and some have suggested that the meaning is broader – perhaps more akin to philosopher.
Like many an Irish appellation, the diminutive form is Tadhgán and you’ll come across surnames based on both versions. This muddies the pronunciation more, because Tadhgán has inspired a fairly popular given name in the US – Teagan.
Today, Teagan is in use for both genders and seems poised to keep climbing. In 2008, he ranked #657 on the boys’ side and #321 for girls. While some parents might settle on Teagan as a nod to their Irish heritage, it seems likely to appeal to parents embracing modern names like Jayden or Peyton.
While Tadhg might require you to repeat “sounds like tiger, without the -er” more times that you imagine, he has some serious advantages:
- He fits with the emerging preference for single-syllable boys names;
- The pronunciation isn’t difficult – once you know;
- Unlike some short names, like Jay, that feel more like diminutives than formal given names, Tadhg sounds complete.
So if you’re seeking an authentic Irish heritage choice, and don’t mind spelling out your son’s name again (and again), this could make for an interesting option.