I have always, always been interested in etymology. Even as a little kid, I loved looking through the big baby names books and looking to see what my favorite names meant. So, after I became obsessed with Wales and all things Welsh, I knew that I was going to use Welsh names for my children…all I had to do was convince my husband!
Rhys was an all-time favorite Welsh name of mine. It is easy to say, sounds smooth, and has a proud heritage. Many princes and warriors have been named Rhys in Welsh history. The most famous of all is Prince Rhys ap Gruffydd. He held Wales together while the Norman kinds, especially ruthless Henry II, tried to bring Wales under their rule. Rhys stood up for the rights of the Welsh and kept them united. He ruled most of Southern Wales. Prince Rhys was a smart tactician and politician. He was very witty and wise. He also is the ancestor of Henry VII, who began the Tutor Reign.
Rhys is also in many fantasy books and videogames. They all happen to be red-headed warriors. Well, I knew I wanted my son to be a red-headed warrior who was proud of his Welsh heritage, as I am. It helps to now know that Justin’s family tree includes many Dark Age Irish, Scottish, and Welsh kings and princes, including King Arthur himself!
When I brought up to my husband my burning desire to name our firstborn son Rhys, he was ok with it. Mainly because one of his favorite characters from his favorite series of videogames, Fire Emblem, had a red-headed warrior healer named Rhys.
The true etymology of Rhys is “enthusiasm”, and our son Rhys definitely has an enthusiasm for life!
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Some other famous Rhyses are John Rhys-Davies (Gimli on Lord of the Rings) and Rhys Ifans the actor.
We have decided to have Welsh names be part of all our kids’ names, either the first or middle name. If this baby #2 happens to be a girl, we already have a name picked out: Irish first name and Welsh middle name.
Do you have any Welsh names or know someone who does? What is it and what does it mean?
Make sure you check out Llinos’s post to see what her very Welsh name means!