Killian may be a fairly new baby name for parents in the United States, but it has deep roots in Europe, thanks to a 7th-century saint. An anglicized version of the name “Cillian,” it has grown in popularity in recent years and we expect it to continue to do so. It pairs well with many middle names, both classic and modern, and there are several ways to spell it without losing the integrity of the name.

Meaning of the name Killian:

Irish: Little church

Origin of the name Killian:

Killian is the modernized English version of the classic Irish name “Cillian.” Cillian comes from the Gaelic words “cill,” which means “church,” and “an,” which means “little.”

Symbolism of the name Killian:

If you break down the name's Gaelic roots, it literally means “little church.” Combined with the popularity of Saint Killian, the name is often equated with religious symbolism.

Style of the name Killian:

Modern in the United States with traditional European roots

Gender of the name Killian:

Killian is a boy's baby name.

Pronunciation of the name Killian:


Number of syllables in the name Killian:


Emotion evoked from the name Killian:

As a baby name, Killian evokes the image of someone who is happy and kind.

Alternative spellings for the name Killian:

Nicknames for the name Killian:

Popularity of the name Killian:

Killian first made the list of top baby names in the United States in 1995. While it fell out of favor for a while, it's back and ranked at number 351 in 2020, according to the Social Security Administration.

Related names for the name Killian:

Great middle names for Killian and their meanings:

Famous people with the name Killian:

Killians in popular culture:

  • Captain “Hook” Jones (character on the TV show “Once Upon a Time”)
  • Killian Gottesheim (character in the book “Prince Otto”)
  • Killian Gardiner (character on the TV show “Witches of East End”)
  • Killian MacEwan (character in the book series “Sweep”)