Originating in Scotland, Ken is a popular given name for boys. While looking into its Scottish origins, I’ve discovered the meaning of the name Ken and what it represents.
Meaning of the name Ken: A diminutive of the given name Kenneth, the meaning of the name Ken is “handsome,” “attractive” or “good looking.” It’s been used in Europe, North America, and even Asia as a masculine name for centuries.
Origins of the Name Ken
The name Ken was derived from the Scottish names Coinneach and Caioneach. During the Middle Ages, these two Scottish names were anglicized to form Ken.
Etymologists believe that Ken is a diminutive or pet form of the given name Kenneth. In other words, Coinneach and Caioneach were first anglicized to form Kenneth, after which the name Ken was created. As more families began using the name Ken, it gradually spread throughout Scotland.
Born 810, Kenneth MacAlpin was the king of Scotland from 843 to 858. Also known as Kenneth I, he introduced the name to the Scottish people, many of whom had never seen or heard of it before. While his full name Kenneth, many people recognized and remembered him by the shortened pet form of his name, Ken.
The popularity of the Name Ken
Ken is a moderately popular masculine name in many English-speaking countries as well as Japan. In 1900, birth records show that just seven newborn boys in the United States were named Ken, making it the country’s 1,114th most popular boys’ name. In 1930, Ken climbed the charts to become the 729th most popular boys’ name in the country. In 1950, Ken was the 362nd most popular boys’ name in the United States.
The name Ken peaked in 1960 when it ranked as the 177th most popular boys’ name in the United States. Following its peak in 1960, the name Ken has been used less frequently. In 2000, it was the 1,132nd most popular boys’ name in the United States. In 2011, Ken was the 1,684th most popular boys’ name in the country.
Dozens of famous men have been named Ken, some of whom include American author Ken Kesey, American football player Ken Lutz, Canadian actor Ken Pogue, British actor Ken Russell, NASCAR driver Ken Schrader, British film producer Ken Loach, American lawyer, and politician Ken Duncan and English film director Ken Hughes.
Popular variants of the name Ken include Kenneth Kenny, Kendrick, Kendall, and Kevin.
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