Van is a short and sturdy baby name for boys. International in scope, this name resonates proudly in popular culture. Van Fanel is the main male protagonist in the anime Escaflowne, Van Montgomery was a likeable character in the sitcom Reba, and Van Wilder was the titular protagonist of the movie National Lampoon's Van Wilder. Keep reading to learn more about this baby name.

Meaning of the name Van:

English: Marsh, fen
Welsh, Russian: God is gracious
Vietnamese: Cloud
Chinese: Knowledge, culture
Dutch: From, of, via

Origin of the name Van:

Van is an international baby name with several etymologies. A common etymology is Van as the diminutive of longer names like Vance, Evan, or Ivan. Vance originates from an Old English surname that meant “marsh” or “fen.” Evan is the Welsh form of the name John, and Ivan is the Russian form of the same name. Both Evan and Ivan mean “God is gracious.”

Van has various meanings in other parts of the world. For example, Vân (雲) is the Vietnamese word for “cloud.” The name Văn (文) means “knowledge” or “culture” in Chinese. Finally, Van is also a Dutch prepositional name that means “from,” “via,” or “of” (as in the surnames van Gogh, van der Beek, and van der Veer).

Symbolism of the name Van:

Van is a masculine name with multiple meanings. One of the most common meanings is the Old English word for “marsh” or “fen.” In the Old English dialect, the letters “f” and “v” produced the same sound, and the word fenn gradually evolved into the surname Vance. This surname indicated individuals who lived near marshland. Symbols for marshland included water and nutrient-rich soil.

Style of the name Van:


Gender of the name Van:

Van is a boy's name.

Pronunciation of the name Van:


Number of syllables in the name Van:


Emotion evoked from the name Van:

The name Van evokes feelings of vogue style and inner vitality.

Alternative spellings for the name Van:

Nicknames for the name Van:

  • Vanny
  • Vanni

Popularity of the name Van:

According to the Social Security Administration index, Van was the 870th most popular baby name for boys in 2020.

Related names for the name Van:

  • Vaughn
  • Von
  • Val
  • Vic
  • Vernon
  • Vern
  • Virgil 
  • Vondell
  • Vinny

Great middle names for Van and their meanings:

  • Ambrose (immortal)
  • Benjamin (son of my right hand)
  • Cameron (bent river, crooked nose)
  • Christoff (bearer of Christ)
  • Frederick (peaceful ruler)
  • Hayden (hedged valley, hay hill)
  • Montgomery (mighty mountain)
  • Reuben (behold, look, see)
  • Sullivan (little dark eye)
  • Tobias (God is good)

Famous people with the name Van:

  • Van Alexander (composer)
  • Van Thomas Barfoot (military officer)
  • Van Daley Bell, Jr. (naval colonel)
  • Van Harold Green (football player)
  • Van Dell Johnson (actor)
  • Van Jones (political commentator)
  • Van Morrison (songwriter)
  • Van Giovanni Partible (animator)
  • Van Leigh Tiffin (football player)
  • Van Winitsky (tennis player)

Van in popular culture:

  • Van Fanel (main male protagonist in the anime Escaflowne)
  • Van Montgomery (character in the television series Reba)
  • Van Wilder (titular protagonist of the movie National Lampoon's Van Wilder