The origins of this handsome name take us in two directions. The first and most expected is back to medieval Ireland, where the Gaelic name Aodhán (or Áedán) was inspired by the name of an Irish mythological god, Aodh (or Áed). Aodh means "fire," thus the anglicized name, Aidan, means "little fire." (In the U.S., Aiden is more commonly spelled with the "en" ending.)
But there is another origin story here: a similar-sounding Turkish and Persian name, Aydin, has its own history and variants widely used among Islamic populations. This version means "bright" or "illuminated," and makes a few appearances in the Koran. Aydin is also the name of a city and province in Turkey.
According to Irish historical records, Áedán mac Gabráin was the first Irish king of note in the kingdom of Dál Riata (which included parts of modern Ireland and Scotland), from about 574 to 606. There was also a seventh-century Irish Saint Aodh, referred to as Saint Aidan of Ferns.
Despite the evidence of medieval use, this name seems to have dropped out of circulation by the 10th century, and didn 't get picked up again until the late 19th or early 20th century as Aidan – likely reinforced by the Latin name Aidanus.
Once limited to Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, Aiden has been widely embraced. In the United States, Aiden was in the top 25 names for baby boys between 2008 and 2020, according to data from the Social Security Administration.
Aiden started taking off in 1995, just after actor Aidan Quinn starred in the Academy Award–winning film Legends of the Fall. Then Sex and the City 's Carrie Bradshaw had a boyfriend named Aidan, and the rest is history
The name's popularity doesn 't stop at U.S. borders: Aiden has been among the top 50 most popular baby names in 18 countries.
Alternative versions of this peaceful-sounding name include but are not limited to Aidan (the original), Aidn, Aidin (Persian), Aaiden, Ayden, Aydan, Aydin, Aydn, Aydun, Aedyn, Aedin, Aedon, Aadan, Aeddan, Aodhan (Gaelic), Adan, Adon, Aden, Adin (Hebrew), Edan, and so on. Feminine iterations include Aidyn, Ayden, Aidnata or Ena, Enat, and Etain (pronounced ay-deen, but not actually from the same root as Aiden).
Aiden's popularity has inspired plenty of alternative and sound-alike names. Name trend watchers largely trace the popularity of names like Brayden, Jaden, Caiden, Hayden, and other variations back to Aiden.
Perhaps due to its incredible popularity, Aiden isn 't quite as on fire as it was ten years ago. But we think this storied, multicultural name and its variants are here to stay.
Saint Aidan of Lindisfarn : Seventh-century Irish monk famed for converting Anglo-Saxons to Christianity
Áedán mac Gabráin : The first Irish king of recorded importance
Adin Ballou : Nineteenth-century American minister and historian, Christian pacifist, advocate for abolition of slavery
Aidan Quinn : Irish-American actor; starred in Reckless, Desperately Seeking Susan, Benny & Joon, and Legends of the Fall
Aidan Turner : Irish actor best known for playing Ross Poldark in the BBC Poldark series, as well as Killi in The Hobbit
Aiden : American punk rock band from Seattle
Aiden Palmer : English professional football player
Aiden Samuel Grimshaw : English singer-songwriter of The X-Factor fame, better known as Butterjack
Aiden James Flowers : American actor; appeared in CW network TV drama The Originals
Aidan de Brune : Writer and long-distance walker; the first person to walk around the perimeter of Australia
Aidan Gallagher : child actor in Nickelodeon comedy series about quadruplets, Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn
Aidan Walsh : Irish boxer; bronze medal winner in Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Aidan McArdle : Irish actor known for Ella Enchanted and The Professor and the Madman
Aidan John Moffat : Scottish musician from Scottish indie rock band the Arab Strap
Aidan O'Rourke : contemporary Scottish folk music fiddle player
Adin Hill : Canadian NHL (National Hockey League) ice hockey goaltender
Aydin Karabulut : German Turkish professional football player