Brian \b-rian\ as a boy's name is pronounced BRY-en. It is of Celtic, Irish and Gaelic origin, and the meaning of Brian is "high, noble". Could also mean "strength". Historical: Brian Boru (10th century) was a warrior who became high king of Ireland and one of its greatest national heroes. He liberated the country from the Danes in 1014. Actor Brian Dennehy; film director Brian De Palma.