Friday, February 22, 2013

Diverted by a Name: Colm

Actor Colm Meaney via

Go ahead... call me a geek. :) The inspiration for this post came as I was watching a TV show called Stargate Atlantis, on which actor Colm Meaney had a small role. But I remember him from his role on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. His character name was Miles O'Brien, but his real name has had me diverted for years.

According to Behind the Name, Colm is Irish and a variant of Colum, which is an Irish form of the Roman name Columba. Columba is a saint's name and is said to be the saint that converted Scotland to Christianity. Its meaning is "dove." I've seen Colm pronounced "CULL-um", but I've also heard it pronounced like "culm." Other variations of the name include Coleman and Callum.

Colm is not very common in the United States. Here are the numbers of boys given the name Colm since 2000:

2000 - 22
2001 - 18
2002 - 16
2003 - 26
2004 - 20
2005 - 19
2006 - 19
2007 - 28
2008 - 11
2009 - 10
2010 - 15
2011 - 10

The 28 Colms born in 2007 were the most in any year recorded, and the name has been recorded pretty regularly since 1962. In Northern Ireland, it was tied at #245 in 2011 with 7 boys given the name. Callum was much more popular at #24 with 104 boys given the name. Colm is not a top 100 name in Ireland.

Besides Mr. Meaney, another famous bearer of the name is Colm Wilkinson, an Irish tenor who originated the role of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables and also performed as the title character in The Phantom of the Opera. There is also actor Colm Feore, who was in the seventh season of 24 and was King Laufey in Thor .

Colm could also be a great nickname for Malcolm, which means "disciple of Columba."

There are many Irish boy names that should cross the pond more than they have and I think Colm is definitely one of them. What do you think of Colm?



  1. I want to like Colm, but the pronunciation just sounds too weird to my American tongue. I never realized it could work so well as a nickname for Malcolm!

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