Meaning and Origin of Tristan

The meaning of Tristan comes from the Celtic language where it means noise.

Tristan and Isolde
Tristan and Isolde

One of the earliest uses of Tristan was for Sir Tristan of Lyoness, a knight in King Arthur’s court. He had an illicit love affair with Princess Isolda before being mortally wounded on the battlefield. Princess Isolda could not get to her lover’s side before he died giving rise to the Latin meaning of the name which is sad. The story was set to music in the opera Tristan und Isolde.

In James Herriott’s All Creatures Great and Small, Tristan is the name given to Sigfreid’s zany brother. Additionally, Brad Pitt played a character named Tristan in the 1994 movie Legends of the Fall.


The popularity of Tristan was at its highest in the 1950s. Tristan is the 138th most popular name in the United Kingdom. It is said that those choosing this name often do so because they want a different name ending with the popular ‘stan’ letters.

Famous People called Tristan

  • Tristan da Cunha
  • Tristan Davies
  • Tristan Evans
  • Tristan Gemmill
  • Tristan Plummer

Variations of the Name

Other popular formats of the name Tristan include Tristen, Tristin, Triston and Tristian.

Useful Resources

Discover the meaning and popularity of other English boys’ names.