I am an English native, yet the little country that shares the landmass of my motherland is very much a mystery to me. On the handful of times that I've heard Welsh being spoken 'in real life,' it's been an almost surreal experience, so far removed is it from what I'm used to.
As we are here to talk names, you might be thinking to yourself, 'is it okay to give my son a Welsh name even if I'm not from Wales and don't have any Welsh ancestry?' The answer to that is you're free to give your son whatever name you like, just be extra sure that you know the correct spelling and pronunciation before you do! You want to be able to correct people if they pronounce it wrong.
If you still find yourself worrying, even after you've discovered how to pronounce it and spell it, then choose another name. It's really not worth the trouble. You want your child to have a name that you feel comfortable speaking and spelling. But there's no reason why that can't be a Welsh name.
Fascinatingly, in 2010 there was a surge of parents in Wales dipping into ancient texts like the Mabinogion - the earliest folk tales in Great Britain which were composed in Welsh - to give their offspring original titles.
If you're looking for the perfect name for your little prince, we have 20 of the best lined up here for you to get to know and consider.
I am going to kick off with one of my favourite Welsh names. I've always thought David was a lackluster name. It doesn't have anything really going for it. But the Welsh version Dafydd has some punch behind it. I imagine a little boy called Dafydd to be hugely energetic and feisty, yet at the same time thoughtful and kind.
If you're looking for a princely name, you can't go far wrong with Dafydd. Pronounced Dav-ith (the TH is strong), it's held by Saint Dafydd, the patron saint of Wales, and means 'beloved.'
It was also borne by Dafydd ap Gruffydd, a 13th-century Welsh ruler, Dafydd ap Gwilym, a 14th-century poet, and, more recently, Dafydd Jones, the retired Welsh rugby player. It hasn't been in the top 100 names for boys in Wales for some time. In 2005, 426 boys in England and Wales were given the name.
This is one name I've heard used a lot, both in the British Isles and abroad, and it has a weighty history behind it. It's derived from Welsh aeron which means 'berry', however it could also be derived from The River Aero in Ceredigion, Wales. Interestingly, in the 1940's, Welsh poet Dylan Thomas lived on the banks of the river.
Aeron was also once a kingdom in what's now known as south-western Scotland. Aeron was, in addition, known as the Welsh form of Argona. In Welsh mythology Aeron was portrayed as the masculine god of battle.
You might be thinking to yourself 'I've heard that name on TV...where have I heard it?' the answer may be Aeron 'Damphair' Greyjoy from Game of Thrones, the uncle of the unfortunate Theon Grayjoy.
I've seen Aeron pronounced numerous ways, including EYE-run, AY-ron and ay-rin. Though perhaps the most commonly used pronunciation is Aaron.
Another favourite of mine, though I'm unable to put my finger on why exactly. I think it's the free spiritedness I get from it. Since finding out the way that the Welsh pronounce it DUL-an, I'm struggling to decide if I prefer it over the English pronunciation of DIL-an.
Dylan derives from the Welsh elemenst dy which means great, and llanw which means 'tide' or 'flow.' If we look to Welsh mythology, Dylan was a god - or hero - associated with the sea.
The three most famous bearers are the poet Dylan Thomas, Dylan the hippy, guitar playing rabbit from the Magic Roundabout, and American musician Bob Dylan. Though fascinatingly it isn't the musician's real name. He was born Robert Zimmerman and took a stage name partly inspired by the late Welsh poet. Because of those two bearers, the name spread in the latter half of the 20th century.
It seems George RR Martin found plenty of inspiration from Welsh names when he was writing Game Of Thrones. Bran is the second GOT name to get a mention here. Prince Bran is the second youngest son of Lord Eddard 'Ned' Stark.
I remember repeating the name to myself when I first heard it used all those years ago when I first watched GOT and I've loved it ever since. Pronounced BRAHN, it means 'raven' in Welsh. The name also plays a role in the Welsh legend Bran the Blessed, who was the son of the god Llyr. Welsh legends of later years describe Bran as a king of Britain who was killed attacking Ireland.
It would seem that he had his kingdom in Wales, however his head ended up in London where it is said to be buried under the hill on which the Tower of London stands.
I just love how this name looks. There's a masculine strength to it that I can't help but admire. I thought it looked royal even before I found out that it was given to no less than 3 Welsh kings, the most renowned being Rhodri the Great, who was also referred to as the 'King of the Britons,' and who ruled during the 9th Century.
Pronounced RHOD-ree, Rhodri means 'wheel,' or 'circle.' It's derived from the Welsh rhod which means 'circle, disk, orb' + rhi which means 'ruler'. It's probable that the 'circle' probably refers to a crown or another symbol of royalty.
Last year, the name Rhodri had a significant impact in England and Wales, and in 2001 when 484 boys were given the name. People called Rhodri are sociable and highly likeable. They aspire to succeed and can sometimes be overly ambitious in seeking wealth and power.
I will put it out there straight away. I haven't always liked this name, but the more time I spend looking at it, and now that I know the meaning behind it, the more attached I find myself getting.
Cai is the Welsh form of Kay. And, while it's extremely short and simple, there's something especially masculine about it. In England and Wales its ranked as the 445th most popular name for boys, which I actually found a bit surprising because I've seen it used a lot.
It can also be a female name, though I've only ever heard of boys bearing it. Pronounced Kye, it has several absolutely gorgeous meanings - as well as being known to mean 'sun' it means 'the one who brings the light in the dawn' and 'the one who brings knowledge.' Could you ask for more background to the name of your little prince?
Bryn is another of those names I wasn't so sure about when I first heard it, but I'm warming to it. Meaning 'hill mound' or 'high hill' in Welsh, it may also be derived from Old English and mean 'flame' or 'fire.'
Bryn, pronounced BRIN, it's also used as a feminine name. It's a cute name, while at the same time appearing strong, solid and manly. Some people argue that it's unimaginative because of the meaning behind it, and that it looks incomplete and harsh, but I have to strongly disagree. In Wales it's thought of as a common, masculine name, much like John, Henry or Mark in the US.
Since the 1880's, it hasn't appeared on the top 1000 list in the British Isles. But interestingly, in the US in 2015 Bryn was given to 213 girls and 14 boys. Alternative spellings of Bryn include Brin, Brinn and Brynn.
I love the spelling of this name, I love how it feels to say it, I love the pronunciation, both the Welsh HREES and the English REES. Meaning 'enthusiasm' in Welsh, Rhys has been borne by several Welsh rulers.
I've also read of it meaning 'hero' in Celtic. Two famous bearers of the name are Rhys Ifans, the Welsh actor who appeared in the movie Notting Hill. There's also John Rhys-Davies who portrayed the dwarf Gimli in Lord Of The Rings.
In the US, it's ranked as the 511th most popular name for boys, and in England and Wales, it's ranked as the 136th most popular name. In 2015, 511 boys in Great Britain were called Rhys. It's also a relatively popular choice in Ireland and Scotland. It's a name that works just as well on a little boy as it does on an adult man.
Descended from Arthurian Legend, this gorgeous name means 'hawk of battle' and is pronounced ga-WAYN or GOW-an. It's because it dates back so many centuries - when epics were told by word of mouth that the 'right' pronunciation varies. You may find it also spelt Gawan, Gawayn and Gawen.
Gawain was one of King Arthur's nephews, and one of the Knights of the Round Table. Gawain was an admired hero in medieval stories such as the 14th-century poem 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.' He was known for being a compassionate warrior, greatly loyal to his king and his family. This lends itself well to the name's reputation. It's difficult to imagine a Gawain as someone you'd want to avoid.
While some may think that the name ought to be left in legend, I disagree. It's a classy name with an air of sophistication about it that I really like.
I have a real soft spot for this distinctive name. Pronounced DUV-an, it's apparently the Welsh version of Damian (or Damon), a name I've never actually been particularly fond of actually. I think Dyfan is radically better! There's something exotic, almost fantasy-esque about the name, and I think that's what draws me to it.
Information for the name Dyfan is limited and hard to find, but I do know that it means Old Welsh name meaning 'Tribe Ruler.' I've also read that in Irish it means 'day,' or 'constant.'
People with the name Dyfan tend to be multi-talented and are driven to attain freedom in life. Quick thinking comes naturally, as does being clever and analytical. They are masters of change and adaptation. They work to understand and appreciate all kinds of people. The downside is that they can also be restless and impatient while they strive to achieve their goals.
I would adore the name Llewelyn if I didn't know who Laurence Llewlyn-Bowen was. The TV personality grinds on me, and has soured how I feel about the name. But if you don't know who I'm talking about and like this name, then that's brilliant! I can't argue that there is something cool about it.
Llewelyn - which has also become to be known as a surname in Wales - is influenced by the Welsh word llew which means 'lion.' And there has actually been a prince called Llewelyn. Llewelyn Fawr was a famous Welsh prince who united Wales in the thirteenth century.
As it has something of a strange pronunciation, hloo-ellen, you might find yourself faced with some issues should you not live in Wales. Lleweyln has many variant spellings and ways of pronouncing it because of the struggle non-Welsh people have with speaking the initial double ll.
Maddox first came to my attention when Angelina Jolie gave the name to her adopted son back in 2002. I think this is when the rest of the world heard about it, too. I had no inkling at the time that its origin was in fact Welsh. Pronounced MAD-əks, it's from a Welsh surname and means 'son of Madoc.' Despite it only recently coming into the public eye, it's actually a very old Welsh name.
Jolie's link with this classic name is probably the reason it's a more popular choice in the USA than it is in England. In the US, it's ranked as the 146th most popular name for boys and in England and Wales, it's ranked as the 485th most popular.
While I've read many gushing comments about Maddox, there's been plenty of damming ones too, including someone saying they hate it because it reminds them of maggots.
If you are English, the first Aled that comes to mind will most likely be Aled Jones because you hear his voice every Christmas time without fail. The TV/Radio personality shot to stardom in the mid 80's as a boy soprano with the song 'Walking In The Air' from the beautiful animated film 'The Snowman.' Aled - which you pronounce AH-led - in Welsh means winding river, though I've also read it means 'offspring.'
Aled tends to be borne by people who have a deep inner desire for a stable family, and a need to work with others and to be appreciated. It's a rare first name for boys, especially in the US where it's never made it inside the top 2,000 names. Neither is it a common choice in England, where it's never made it into the top 100. If you're looking for a unique choice, this will be excellent news!
If you know me, you'll know I'm attracted to things a bit quirky, stuff that's out of the ordinary. And this name is most certainly both of those. Pronounced like the word 'heaven,' Hefin is a Welsh word for 'summer.'
It's probably taken from the month name 'Mehefin' (June) which literally means 'midsummer' from the modern Welsh 'Me' (a prefix that means mid) and 'Haf' (summer) plus the suffix -in.'
I also love the feminine version of this name - Hefina. Hefin isn't a name you'll see used regularly. I'm 30 and I've never encountered anyone bearing the name. It's never been ranked highly in any lists of baby names, which for me, makes it all the more appealing! People called Hefin are charming and people are naturally drawn to them. They're grateful and respectful, cherishing their friendships. They're interested in the creative side of life as love and family.
I think this name is just as strong a contender a name for a boy as for a girl. Pronounced MAWR-gan, it's from the Old Welsh name Morcant. Morcant is possibly derived from the Welsh word 'mor' which means 'sea' and 'cant' which means 'circle.'
Since the 80's in the US it's been a more common choice for girls than boys. This may have something to do with the stories of Morgan le Fay, a powerful enchantress from Arthurian legend. If you're interested in seeing a good portrayal of Morgan le Fay, watch the 1998 film Merlin. Helena Bonham Carter does a fantastic job at portraying this fascinating character. Another famous - and more modern - bearer of the name is actor Morgan Freeman.
One woman on a pregnancy forum said she named her son Morgan because of its relationship to the sea, and to honour her Welsh paternal grandfather.
You hear the name Thomas here everywhere. No matter which country you visit, it's a name that follows you around. Or it has done in my experience at least. The name Tomos on the other hand, has never so much as crossed my path. But I like it. I really like it. And I'm not the only one with this opinion, others on baby name forums share my thoughts.
I think that Tomos has something of a Scandinavian vibe going on with it I think - perhaps Finnish or Swedish - and it's especially masculine. Pronounced TAW-maws, it is, as you will have guessed, the Welsh version of Thomas.
I think it's spunky and cool. It has a certain edge to it. It's currently the 456th most popular name for boys in the UK and Wales which is, if I'm being honest, actually higher than I thought it would be.
Owen is a name that you think will be overused, but even despite its increase in popularity, it's still unique enough that you won't bump into another Owen every five minutes. It's a sweet name for a little boy, and a strong name for an adult man.
Pronounced O-an it is more of a 'normal' name that many others featured here, and it's unlikely it will get misspelled or mispronounced. I can imagine an Owen being an intelligent and optimistic kind of guy, someone who always has a smile on his face and who loves to laugh.
It's meaning is particularly lovely too and is 'a youth well-born of the yew tree.' I've read many comments from people who dislike the name because of its connection to the actor and self-proclaimed troublemaker Owen Wilson. It's ranked as the 36th most popular name to give to boys in England and Wales.
I love coming across names I've never seen before, and falling in love with them at first sight. Wyn is one such name! It sounds cool but at the same time it has an old-fashioned feeling to it.
Pronounced win, Wyn means 'friend,' though it may also mean 'blessed,' 'fair' and 'white.' Apparently, people called Wyn tend to have a good impact on all whose lives they touch - something every prince ought to do! Alternative spellings include Wynn and Wynne.
It's a simple, cute name that I think would carry well throughout a boy's life. While it's an extremely popular choice in Wales, it's hardly used in the US making it a good option if you're after something unique. It has a joyful and happy ring to it, and from what I've read of parents who have called their little boy Wyn, it receives a highly positive response.
Iwan is the Welsh form of John, and is pronounced I-wan, though I've also read that it can be pronounced EE-wan or Ewan. I for one adore the pronunciation EE-wan. Unlike John, Iwan is a name that's somewhat exotic and thought-provoking. The last notable list of the name being used in England and Wales was in 2009 when it was given to 476 little boys.
The two meanings that I've found associated with the name are 'born of the yew' and 'God is gracious.' Related names include Euan, Ewen, Eoghan and Ivan. Fascinatingly, an iwan is a large, vaulted chamber with an enormous arched opening on one side. It's a fundamental design element in Islamic architecture.
One famous bearer of the name is Iwan Rheon, the actor known for his role as the god awful Ramsey Bolton in Game of Thrones. He also starred in the excellent TV show Misfits.
I have saved one of my favourite names until last. Even though the name Emrys, which is the Welsh version of Ambrose, only came to my attention when I started to research for this article, I've found myself becoming incredibly attached to it. I honestly never expected that I'd be falling for so many Welsh name!
Meaning 'immortal,' Emrys is pronounced EM-rees or EM-riss, depending who you ask. While several people have said that the only people they've met called Emrys have been old men, I think it's a name with spunk and potential.
One absolutely fascinating and magical thing about the name Emrys is that it was the title given to the wizard Merlin when he was born. Merlin was actually born in Wales, at a place called Caerfyrddin, the oldest town in Wales. The rich, exciting history that lies behind this name makes it all the more appealing.
Sources: behindthename.com, nameberry.com, babycenter.com