The name Reagan has a long history as a last name but only became popular as a given name in the 1970s. While Reagan means "little ruler," "regal" and "royal" are widely accepted meanings of the name as well. This is a name that has been given to leaders, both men and women, who have a strong drive to succeed.
O'Riagan is an Irish surname that dates back to a powerful sixth-century family that was one of the Four Tribes of Tara. This family played an important role in the eighth and ninth centuries, along with the other tribes of Tara, in defending Ireland against Viking invasions.
Like many Irish surnames, O'Riagan was anglicized – given a British spelling, O'Regan – after Britain colonized Ireland in the 17th century. This name came to America when many of the O'Regan families immigrated because of poverty and famine in Ireland.
It wasn't until 1975, however, that Reagan first earned a spot as a top-1,000 girl's name in the United States. And that's because of Ronald Reagan. Even though he wouldn't become president until 1980, Reagan was the governor of California until 1975, and was already popular in the American eye as a movie star, TV host, and politician.
Reagan is most commonly pronounced "ray-gun" but can also be pronounced as "ree-gun." In addition to being spelled like Ronald Reagan's last name, the name is also often spelled as Regan. (Regan, in fact, is a main character in one of Shakepeare's greatest plays, King Lear.)
A popular name for girls, Reagan has been on the Social Security Administration (SSA) list of top baby names in the U.S. for more than 30 years. In 2020, it ranked number 114 for girls.
Reagan is a gender-neutral name that can be given to boys and girls. However, it hasn't gained much traction for boys and is much more common for baby girls. On the SSA list, Reagan fell out of the top 1,000 names for boys in 2017.
Although Reagan hasn't been elected one of the most popular baby names for American girls, we think it will have staying power – like the man who inspired it. But only time will tell if Reagan will continue to rise in popularity in the coming years.
Reagan Gomez-Preston : Actress known for her roles in The Parent 'Hood and The Cleveland Show
Reagan Maui'a : Football player first drafted by the Miami Dolphins
Reagan Dale Neis : Actress known for her role in as the lead in Maybe It's Me
Reagan Wilson : Model and actress most famous for her role in Running with the Devil
Reagan Pasternak : Actress known for her roles in Sharp Objects and Being Erica
Ronald Reagan : 40th president of the United States
Reagan Gomez-Preston : actress
Reagan Dale Neis : actress
Reagan Pasternak : actress
Reagan Wilson : model