Much ado about British names

My roots are African and I carry my Nigerian name proudly. I keep hearing variations of my name in the UK due to pronunciation difficulty but whenever I get the opportunity, I try to get whoever to pronounce my name correctly. In my time here, I have encountered some very unusual names and I believe that nothing irks like addressing someone with the wrong pronunciation of their name. Learning is an art and it can be a game changer if it becomes a habit. Imagine showing up for an interview and you ask to see your interviewer called Siobhan by pronouncing their name as spelt. Ideally it should be pronounced with the English  syllables in mind but where the name is actually called “Shi-von” even though it is spelt Siobhan then what do you do?

This post is to help you make a good impression always! Whether you are in Ireland, Scotland, Wales or good old England, we have a fair selection of these “special” names. Thank us later!!!


Name Real Pronunciation Origin Meaning/Comments
Liusaidh  Loo-sai  Gaelic version of the Italian name Lucia Graceful light
Isla  EYE-la  Scottish  The Queen of the Hebrides
Mairi  MAR-ee  Scottish inspired by Mary Beloved or wished for a child
Beathan  BAEY-un Scottish Life/for the lively and happy little boy
Caitriona  Ka-TREE-na Scottish Pure/kind-natured
Angus  ANG-oos Scottish one-choice/level headed leader
Deoiridh  DOR-ee Scottish Pilgrim
Eilidh  AY-lay Scottish inspired by Helen Torch
 Alban AL-bon Welsh  Mountain
Alec AL-ek Welsh  Defender
 Andreas AN-dray-ahs Welsh Man
Auryn EYE-rin Welsh Gold
Celyn KEL-in  Welsh Holly
 Cei KYE Welsh  Independent, ambitious
 Nia NEE-a  Welsh  Radiance and beauty
 Rowena ro-EE-na Welsh  Joy,Bliss
 Aoife  EE-fa  Irish  Beauty
Caiomhe KEE-va Irish  Gentle, precious
Ciara KEE-ar-a or KEE-ra Irish  Dark-haired
Maeve MAYV Irish She who intoxicates
Niamh NEE-av or NEEV Irish  Bright, radiant
Saoirse SEER-sha Irish  Freedom
Sinead shi-NAYD Irish  Jehovah has shown favour
 Cian  KEE-an  Irish  Ancient, enduring
Eoin O-in  Irish  God is gracious
Oisin UH-sheen  Irish  Little deer
Seamus SHAY-mus  Irish Irish supplanter
Sean SHAWN  Irish  Gift from God
 Cillian KIL-ee-an  Irish  Fierce
 Grainne Graw-Nya  Irish  Charming
 Siobhan Shi-Von  Irish  God is gracious


Other simple names that are still mispronounced are:

Yvonne – pronounced: ee-Vonne

Joaquin – pronounced: wah-Keen

Noel- pronounced: Knoll – who would have thought!?

Xander pronounced: Zander

Elias-pronounced : ee-Lahy-us






2 thoughts on “Much ado about British names

  1. Really interesting. That name Siobhan gave me the greatest embarrassment ever. Funny that this should come up after almost 9 years I experienced this as an undergrad. Well done DC people.

  2. This is an interesting post. I live in Toronto and since it’s very multi-cultural, I get to hear several names with different pronunciations.
    Most people always want to get the pronunciation right and I like the effort. So I try to do the same to others too. What most people tend to do is just use a nickname that’s easy for everyone to use and I think it helps in creating friendships.

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