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This name is currently worn by actor Idris Elba, whose birth name was Idrissa. He was born in the U.K. and his birth name name is of Krio African origin, chosen by his parents who came from countries in Africa. Guinean professional footballer Idrissa Sylla is an example of the African name as well.

Idris, as he shortens it, happens to be an ancient Welsh name meaning "ardent lord," pronounced IDD-riss. In legend, Idris Gawr was a leader of giants, and a mountain in Snowdonia was given his name - Cadair Idris, or "Idris's Chair." As a name it can be found as far back as the 6th century, but it was not really used in Britain until the 19th century.

Alternately, Idris is also an Arabic name meaning "lengthy learning," although some say it means "interpreter." It is most commonly pronounced idd-REES. This form of the name is worn by one the second prophet of Islam. He is sometimes identified as Enoch, from the Bible, because of his character description: "trustworthy," "patient," and "exalted."

Many people have had this name in real life, from all over the world. Idris of Libya was a Libyan politican, religious leader, and King of Libya from 1951 to 1969. General Idriss Déby Itno is a Chadian politician who is currently President of Chad. Two other politicians include Idris Waziri of Nigeria, and Idris Naim Sahin of Turkey. Idris Seabright was used as a pseudonym for author Margaret St. Clair. Idrees Sulieman was a trumpet player who was born Leonard Graham, and he changed his name upon converting to Islam. Idris Muhammad was a jazz drummer who did the same, changing his name from Leo Morris. The poet Idris Davies and the activist Idris Cox are two examples of namesakes from Wales.

There was also a royal line in Morocco, where Idris I and Idris II ruled the Idrisid Dynasty from 788 to 791, 791 to 828. Idris I, great-grandson of the prophet Muhammad, is credited with bringing Islam to Morocco. Idris II was born a couple months after the death of his father, so his Berber mother Kenza raised him among the Berbers, where he became very accomplished. As sultan, he refounded the city of Fez, unified Morocco through Islam, and left behind a legacy of monarchy that was continued for over a thousand years.

Used since at least 1914 in the U.S., the spelling Idris was given to 138 boys in 2015 and 175 in 2016. The spelling Idriss was only given to 11 boys in 2015, 13 in 2016, and the name Idrissa was given to 8 boys in 2015, 7 in 2016.

Idris has also been used in Mary Shelley's The Last Man, but as the name of a woman. The character is described as very loving. There are other delightful names in this book as well, such as Perdita, Merrival and Evadne.


  1. Love the name & actor who is the well-known wearer of the name :D However, I get confused on the pronunciation: E-dris or Id-dris? I always pronounce it the 1st way.

  2. The actor pronounces his name IDD-riss, but the Arabic pronunciation is idd-REES. I added that in above. Thanks for the question!


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