From the Irish surname, Gaelic Ó Riain ‘descendant of Rian’. Ryan is associated with the film actor Ryan O'Neal (b. 1941) and is one of several names of Celtic origin that have become very popular throughout the English-speaking world since the 1990s. It is also now well established in North America as a girl's name.
English and Welsh: patronymic from the Middle English personal name Jon(e) (see John). The surname is especially common in Wales and southern central England. In North America this name has absorbed various cognate and like-sounding surnames from other languages. (For forms, see Hanks and Hodges 1988).