[ 2 syll. dun-can, du-nc-an ] The baby boy name Duncan is pronounced DAHNKahN in English †. Duncan's language of origin is Celtic, and it is used largely in the English and Scottish languages. The name's meaning is 'brown warrior; brown head'. The name is Anglicized from the Gaelic Donagh (Old Irish) and Donnchadh (Old Irish), of the elements donn and cath (meaning 'warrior, battle'). From the form Duncanus (Latinized), the name has sometimes been confused with and subsequently taken to contain the second element ceann. The name was borne by a 7th-century Scottish saint and a 10th-century Irish saint. Three 11th-century Scottish kings also bore the name, notably King Duncan I (Donnchadh mac Crìonain, -1040) who was slain by Macbeth and had his story retold in Shakespeare's tragedy, Macbeth (1603-1606). The name has traditionally been popular in Scotland, but it has also been generally adopted by the English speaker since the 20th century.
Duncan has 17 variant transcriptions that are used in English and foreign languages. Variation transcriptions used in English include Doncan, Dun, Dunc, Dunck, Dunckan, Dune, Dunkan, Dunkin, and Dunne. The short form Dunn, and the diminutive forms Dunk, Dunkie, and Dunky are other English variants.
See also the related form, Donn (English, Irish, and Scottish).
Duncan is an all-time favorite. Currently it is still somewhat popular as a baby name for boys, though to a lesser extent than it was previously. The name's popularity rose from the 1900s up to the 1990s. At the modest height of its usage in 1997, 0.032% of baby boys were given the name Duncan. It ranked at #377 then. The baby name has since fallen in popularity. In 2012, it ranked at #835 with a usage of 0.013%, but it was nonetheless the most commonly used within all boy names in its group.
Baby names that sound like Duncan include Doncan, Dong-Min, Dong-Sun, Dunckan, Dungan, Dunkan, Dunkin, Damijan, Danjuma, Dennison, Dingane, Domitian, Donatian, Donegan, Doonican, Dunican, Damaskeno, Damaskino, Dumisanee, and Dumisaney.
† Pronunciation for Duncan: D as in "day (D.EY)" ; AH as in "mud (M.AH.D)" ; N as in "knee (N.IY)" ; K as in "key (K.IY)"
Details of famous persons named Duncan:
Painter Duncan Grant, born Duncan James Corrowr Grant, 21 January 1885 - 8 May 1978, Northern Scotland.
Swimmer Duncan Goodhew, born Duncan Alexander Goodhew, May 27, 1957, England.