Biblical name (meaning ‘firmness’ or ‘long-lived’ in Hebrew) of an obscure figure, Ethan the Ezrahite, mentioned as a wise man whom Solomon surpassed in wisdom (1 Kings 4:31). The name was sparingly used even among the Puritans, but became famous in the United States since it was borne by Ethan Allen (1738–89), leader of the ‘Green Mountain Boys’, a group of Vermont patriots who fought in the American Revolution. Since the mid 1990s the name has enjoyed a great surge in popularity in Britain.
Catalan, French, English, German (also Romann), Polish, Hungarian (Román), Romanian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian: from the Latin personal name Romanus, which originally meant ‘Roman’. This name was borne by several saints, including a 7th-century bishop of Rouen.