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Brian (M)>

Brian (male)

Synonym(s):Bernard (M)
Diminutive(s):Bri (M)
Pet Name(s):Beano (M)
Can be spelt:Brien (M) Bryan (M)
Feminine form:Brianne (F)
Source(s): The Oxford Names Companion, OUP
"Scottish Forenames" - Donald Whyte, FGH, FSG

Rootsweb Y-IRL Discussion Group [BM2 & KD]

English and Irish, origin uncertain; possibly from Celtic "high/noble (hill)" [ONC], maybe from Brittany [Whyte].

A correspondent [BM2] has noted that Brian and Bernard can be interchangeable, especially in Irish Catholic families.  A correspondent [KD] suggests the reason is that Bernard is a recognized Catholic saint whereas Brian is not.