(m) Gaelic Gillandreis, ‘servant of St
Andrew.’ Once a favourite personal name in Scotland,
as were many names beginning with gille. This word
originally meant ‘youth,’ later ‘servant,’
‘devotee.’ It was
prefixed to the names of popular saints (Gilbride, St Bridget;
Gilzean, St John; Gillecalum, St Columba;
Gillemartin, St Martin; Gilleonain, St Adamnan). It is
also found in Gilchrist, Gillies (for gille losa, ‘servant
Jesus’), Gilmore, Gilmour, ‘servant of the Virgin
In Gillespie we have ‘the bishop’s servant,’
while in names
like Gilroy, gille retains its original meaning of ‘youth’
and the complete name means ‘red-haired boy.’ Most
the names quoted will be familiar as Scottish surnames,
and all are occasionally used as Christian names.
Gillean (m) Also Gilian, Gilleon, Gillian, Gilzean,
Gellion. These forms also occur as Scottish surnames,
pronounced with a hard g as in give. They derive from
Gaelic Gill’ Eoin, ‘servant of St John.’ Use
of Gillian as a
Christian name is said to be especially frequent in the Clan Maclean.
Gillian (f) This name is a form of Juliana, itself a
feminine form of Julius (see Julia). Gillian was an immense
success in England and Wales in the 1950’s, though it has
now faded away dramatically. In Scotland it seems to have arrived
late, reaching only 59th position in the table of girls’
names by 1958, but it has continued to be widely used in the 1970’s.
The diminutive Jill is often given as an independent name. The
spellings Jillian and Gilliane also occur occasionally in Scotland.
To Scottish Christian Names