Meaning and origin are uncertain. Edward MacLysaght (The Surnames of Ireland, 1999, 6th Ed., Irish Academic Press, Dublin, Ireland and Portland, Oregon, USA) states that this surname is of Huguenot (French Protestant) origin, and found mainly in Ireland's northern province of Ulster. In Ireland, the surname may also stem from CULBHEART
, which is a Gaelic form of "crafty". Crafty is related to "wisdom," which is a Gaelic form of CUTHBERT
. Early surname records are also found in Scotland, where it is associated particularly with County Fife. It is a variant of Old English CEOLBEORHT
according to Dr. George F. Black (Surnames of Scotland: Their Origin, Meaning and History, 1946, New York Public Library, 12th printing (1999), p. 190, ISBN 0-87104-172-3).