Ethan means "firm, enduring, strong, and long-lived" in Hebrew. The most notable, and perhaps the earliest Ethan, is mentioned in the Bible several times. He's thought to have authored a passage of the Bible (Psalm 89) and was known for his great wisdom. Some also hypothesize that Ethan was a musician in King David's court.
From Europe to Israel to the United States, Ethan is truly an enduring boy's name. It's one of those ancient, religious names that have withstood eras, generations, and cultures. Yet, it continues to appeal to modern parents – and popular culture.
In books and on screen, characters named Ethan are often handsome and mysterious heroes. Tom Cruise's infamous secret agent Ethan Hunt in the Mission: Impossible film series is just one example. But Ethans are more than smooth heroes, as the name has been given to actors, scientists, politicians, and athletes.
Around the world, Ethan is most commonly a boy's name. It may also be spelled Etan, Eitan, Eithan, and Eytan, depending on the country. In Israel, Ethan is also a common last name, though it's spelled Eitan or Eytan.
Ethan first appeared on the Social Security Administration's list of the 1,000 most popular baby names in 1901, but then fell out of favor until the 1950s. It's remained on the list ever since then, leaping into the top 100 in 1989. Ethan almost made it to the number-one spot twice – in 2009 and again in 2010 – but lost to Jacob both years. It's declined somewhat in popularity since then, but remains a top-20 name.
A name that conveys both wisdom and strength, with ties to the Bible and pop culture, Ethan has earned its place among the most popular names for boys in the U.S. – and it looks like it will stay there.
Ethan Beavers : American comic book artist whose work includes Teen Titans Go! and Justice League Unlimited
Ethan Coen : American film director and producer; one half of the Coen brothers, a sibling directing duo known for Fargo and No Country for Old Men
Ethan Embry : American actor known for Sneaky Pete and Grace and Frankie
Ethan Finlay : American professional soccer player
Ethan Hawke : American actor known for Hamlet, Training Day, and Before Sunrise
Ethan Peck : American actor who appeared in films The Sorcerer's Apprentice; grandson of actor Gregory Peck
Ethan Ringle : American race car driver
Ethan Russell : American photographer who captured album covers for rock bands The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Who
Ethan Hawke : actor
Ethan Allen : baseball player
Ethan Brooks : football player
Ethan Horton : football player
Ethan Phillips : actor