Popular Scottish Forenames - C

This page is one of a series giving the origins of popular first names in Scotland. See the link at the end of the page if you wish to go to sections relating to other letters of the alphabet.

Callum / Calum
Derived from the Latin "columba" meaning "dove" and of course St Columba, the 6th century saint who established the Iona community and converted large parts of Scotland to Christianity. It was the 28th most popular name for a boy in 1999.

The 4th most popular boy's first name in Scotland in 1999, is also a surname (see below). The most likely origin of the name is from the Gaelic "cam-shron" meaning "crooked nose". Use as a first name dates back at least to the 15th century and may have arisen at a time when children were named after a new minister when he carried out his first baptism in a new charge.

This name is a form of the Latin word "Carolus" meaning Charles and is also derived from the Middle English word "carol" meaning a joyous Christmas song. In addition, the Irish names Cearbhall and Cearul (meaning courageous in war) were anglicised as Carol also.

Catherine / Katherine / Kathryn / Catriona
Derived from the Greek word "katharos" meaning "pure." Catherine is the patron saint of young girls, students and nurses. It has been popular in Scotland since being brought back by the crusaders. Catriona (pronounced "Katrina") is the Gaelic form of the name. In 1999, Catherine was the 61st most popular name, Katherine was 83rd and Kathryn was 100th. A sequel to Kidnapped entitled "Catriona" by Robert Louis Stevenson, helped to make that version more popular - it was the 83rd most popular name registered for a girl in 1999. If the variants were combined, it would be in the top 25.

Charles / Charlie
Derived from an Old German word "ceorl" meaning "man". Carolus Magnus (Charlemagne, who lived in the 8th century) ensured that the name was used throughout Europe. The Normans brought the name to Britain and Scotland but it was little used until King Charles I and II, who were nevertheless unpopular users of the name. But "Bonnie Prince Charlie" gave the name a more positive appeal. In 1864 it was the 10th most popular boys' name but in 1999 Charles had dropped to the 91st most used first name.

This was the most popular girl's name in Scotland in 1998 and 1999. It comes from the Greek meaning "green shoot" and was given to a Greek goddess who protected the green fields

The name is derived from the Greek words meaning "One who carries Christ in his heart" - according to legend, Christopher carried the infant Jesus across a river and later became an early Christian martyr. Hence Christopher becoming the patron saint of travellers. The name appears early in Scottish history - Barbour's epic poem on the life of King Robert the Bruce tells how in 1306 Christopher de Seaton rescued the newly-crowned king from the hands of the English. In the 20th century, Christopher Murray Grieve (1892-1978) was an influential writer (using the pen-name of Hugh McDiarmid).During the 1990s the name Christopher became very popular and was 8th in the "League Table" of boys' first names in that decade. By comparison, it was 50th in 1950. The name has also been popular as the female name Crystal or Chrystal. The Gaelic form of the name is Gillecroisd (Gilchrist).

From the Gaelic word "Ciarán" meaning "little dark one" the name has been popular for 1,500 years as the male first name Kieran and its variants but the feminine form Ciara (pronounced 'keera') has become popular in recent times and was the 85th most popular given name in 1998 but dropped out of the top 100 in 1999.

Claire / Clara / Clare
Clara and Clare are from the Latin "clarus" meaning bright or clear. The Italian order of the Sisters of St Clare (known as "Poor Clares"), was founded in the 13th century and through them the name become widespread across Europe. St Clare was a contemporary of St. Francis of Assisi. When she was too ill to attend mass, she could see visions of the mass on the wall of her cell - and later became the patron saint of television! The English spelling of the name was usually Clare. Claire, on the other hand, is from the French form of the word and has become more popular in more recent times. Another variation, Clarinda, was the nickname used by Robert Burns for Mrs Agnes (Nancy) McLehose, an Edinburgh lady with whom he corresponded and to whom he wrote nine songs over a space of five years. The most famous, the sad and pasionate "Ae Fond Kiss", is said to have been written as Nancy sailed from Greenock to the West Indies.

From the river which flows from Lanarkshire through Glasgow. The origins of the name are obscure. Some believe it is derived from the Brythonic (pre-Celtic) word "clut" or "clut" meaning "the cleansing one. There is also a British goddess named Clota and the Roman name for the river was Clota. Bank robber Clyde Barrow formed the basis of the popular movie Bonnie and Clyde. The name has become more popular in North America than in Scotland.

From the Gaelic "cailean" meaning "youth" this name has been popular in both Scotland and Ireland, especially amongst Gaelic speaking families. It was Sir Colin Campbell in the 13th century who gave his name to the Campbell chiefs (MacCalean Mor). At one time Colin was within the top fift most popular names in Scotland but is currently not in the top 100. Feminine forms of the name are Colleen, Colina and Collette. The name Colin in England was derived from a short form of Nicholas.

Connor / Conor
If the tow spellings of this name were combined, this would be the fifth most popular boys' name registered in Scotland in 1999. Connor may be from the Irish word "conairt" meaning "a pack of hounds" or "concobhar" meaning "high desire". There were two Irish kings named Connor.

19th most popular girl's name in Scotland in 1999, it is derived from the surname of an aristocratic family which originated in Courtney in France.

Originally a surname (Johannes del Craig witnessed a charter by William the Lion) it is from the Gaelic word 'creag' or 'carraig' meaning rock. It has been used as a forename in recent times and is now very popular (21st in the league table in 1999).

Cynthia / Cindy
Cynthia was originally the name of the Greek goddess of the moon, Artemis, who was sometimes called "Cynthia" because, according to legend, the goddess was born on Mount Cynthus, on the island of Delos. In the 17th century it became used by writers of literature, a tradition continued in the 19th century by Sir Walter Scott. Lady Cynthia in his "Peveril of the Peak" was a lady of "bewitching sorceries." In recent times, the short form Cindy is found far more frequently.

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