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Surname O'Brian - Meaning and Origin

all surnames with 'O'

O'Brian: What does the surname O'Brian mean?

The last name O'Brian is an Irish surname that originates from the Gaelic language. It is derived from the Old Gaelic phrase “O Briain” meaning “descendant of Brian”. The name Brian itself is derived from the Old Celtic name “Brigam” which comes from two words “breogam” and “brig” meaning “arm” or “strength”. In medieval times it was important for families to indicate who their ancestors were, so the O'Brians used the expression to distinguish their lineage from others.

The O'Brian clan derived from the larger royal family the Uí Briain, which was led by High King Brian Boru who reigned from 1002 to 1014. The O'Brian clan broke off from the Uí Briain in the 11th and 12th centuries and had a strong connection with Thomond, an area located in the province of Munster, where the O'Brian headquarters were located.

The O'Brian family was known for being a powerful and influential clan in Ireland during that era. They were a proud family and defended their people and lands zealously. Even today the O'Brian clan symbol is a golden hand that is seen in several Irish coat of arms and banners. This symbolizes the strong bond and sense of family that the O'Brian's have shared throughout the centuries.

The modern meaning of the name O’Brian is connected with courage and strength. It is a symbol of a strong lineage that has adapted and survived throughout Irish history. The name O'Brian is a reminder of brave ancestors, and it is honored to this day across the world.

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O'Brian: Where does the name O'Brian come from?

The last name O'Brian is most commonly found in Ireland and the United Kingdom. It is also found in the United States in small concentrations, but is less common in other parts of the world.

In Ireland, the name O'Brian is found mainly in the southern part of the island. In terms of the United Kingdom, the last name is generally found throughout the country, but there is a higher concentration of it in the larger cities such as London, Manchester and Birmingham.

In America, the last name O'Brian is most commonly found in the east coast states of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, but can also be found in other parts of the mainland as well as in Hawaii and Alaska.

The last name's roots go back to the Irish Gaelic language, where it was derived from the personal name Brian. It is estimated that as many as 25,000 people use this name on a regular basis today.

Though the name is less common in other parts of the world, there are still pockets of it - for instance it can be found in Australia, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Overall, the last name O'Brian is most common in the Ireland, United Kingdom and United States, but can still be found in smaller concentrations throughout the world. Given its Irish roots, this is likely to remain the case for many more years to come.

Variations of the surname O'Brian

The surname O’Brian has several variants, spellings, and alternate surnames. The most commonly seen variants, spellings, and alternate surnames include:



















The surname O'Brian is an Anglicized version of the Irish surname Ó Briain. This Irish surname derives from the Irish Gaelic personal name "Briain" meaning "noble," "exalted," or "high." This name is from the Gaelic word "breoghan," which means to "dazzle" or "illustrious." As a result, the surname includes "O', a common prefix used with Irish surnames. The surname is also associated with other clans in Ireland, specifically in the province of Munster.

The O’Brian family is a renowned and respected cultural family, and the surname continues to be celebrated in honor of their legacy. Variations of the name are widely seen and considered part of the same ancestry, and the legacy and spirit of the O’Brian family continue to live on in the hearts and minds of many people throughout Ireland and the world.

Famous people with the name O'Brian

  • Caitriona Balfe: actress, best known for her starring role in the Starz Outlander Series
  • Patrick O'Brian: novelist, writer of the Aubrey–Maturin series
  • Andy O'Brian: Canadian former professional soccer player
  • Conan O'Brien: American comedian, talk show host, and writer
  • J. William O'Brian: 41st Governor of Wisconsin and later a United States Supreme Court Justice
  • Ed O'Brien: English musician and singer, founding member of the rock band Radiohead
  • Paul O'Brian: American comic book writer
  • Aidan O'Brien: Irish racehorse trainer
  • Jack O'Brien: prolific American theater director and Tony Award winner
  • Charles O'Brian: British doctor and psychiatrist, author of the novel Touching the Void

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