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Dan may be one of two names. In modern English, especially spoken English, it is more likely to be the first.

  • Dan is a short form of the forename Daniel. There are two main types of such shortenings: they are convenient for writing, e.g. in lists; or they are essentially spoken pet-names, and thus informal. (See Conventional abbreviations for forenames.)
Short form Long form Informal or written Other short forms Remarks
Dan Daniel informal Danny (informal)
Danl (written)

There is a list of similar names at Conventional abbreviations for forenames, as well as the category:short names

Note that any informal form may be spelled in different ways. Notably, any spelling listed that ends in '-ie' may be written with the ending '-y', and vice versa.
  • In the Bible, Dan is one of the Twelve tribes of Israel: that is, Dan was one of the sons of Jacob (the fifth; his mother was Bilhah, Rachel's maid). He was the founder of one of the twelve tribes of Israel, who in turn gave their name to a city . According to Gary N. Knoppers' article on 'Dan' in The Oxford Companion to the Bible "The name Dan seems to be derived from the Hebrew verb meaning 'to judge or vindicate'." (Daniel means 'God is my judge' in Hebrew.) This is the name borne by the prophet whose story is told in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament. The two are obviously etymologically connected, but should not be confused.