- Cowan appears to originate from the Gaelic Gobhainn, meaning a smith, and from Gowan, a Scottish word for a wild flower.
- The following spelling variants are thought to be alternative spellings of the same underlying surname
- Cowon (rarely encountered)
- The following spelling variants are similar in pronunciation to "Cowan", but probably represent a fundamentally different surname origen.
- ↑ Arthur, William. Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names, pg 105