Means "son of NICHOLAS
". A famous bearer was the American president Richard Nixon (1913-1994).
NOEL French, English
Either from the given name NOËL
, or else derived directly from Old French noel
"Christmas" and given to a person who had a particular connection with the holiday.
Referred to a person who was originally from Scandinavia or Normandy. Even before the Norman Conquest, Scandinavians were settling the north and east of England. The Normans who participated in the Conquest were originally from Scandinavia, but had been living in Normandy, France for over a century and spoke French.
NORRIS (1) English, Scottish
Means "from the north" from Old French norreis
. It either denoted someone who originated in the north or someone who lived in the northern part of a settlement.
Originally taken from a place name meaning "north town" in Old English.
Originally taken from a place name meaning "north wood" in Old English.
Means "dweller at the river" from Middle English atten eye
meaning "at the river".
From a place name meaning "oak clearing" in Old English. It was borne by American sharpshooter Annie Oakley (1860-1926).
Originally denoted a person who was from Odell (Bedfordshire), England.
Means "(dweller in the) oak valley" from Old English âc
"oak" and denu
Derived from the Old English given name Uhtric
which was composed of the elements uht
"dawn" and ric
Denoted a person who hailed from one of the various places in England called Overton or Orton.
Denoted a person who came from any one of the places in Britain called Ouston or Owston.
PAGE English, French
Occupational name meaning "servant, page". It is ultimately derived (via Old French and Italian) from Greek παιδιον (paidion)
meaning "little boy".
Means "pilgrim", ultimately from Latin palma
"palm tree", since pilgrims to the Holy Land often brought back palm fronds as proof of their journey.
PARISH (1) English
Originally denoted a person who came from the French city of Paris, which got its name from the ancient Celtic tribe known as the Parisii.
PARK (2) English
From Middle English parc
, this was a name for someone who worked in or lived in a park.
Means "keeper of the park" in Middle English. It is an occupational name for a man who was the gamekeeper at the medieval park.
PATERNOSTER English, French, German, Italian
Occupational name for a maker of rosaries, also called paternosters. They are derived from the Latin phrase pater noster
"our Father", the opening words of the Lord's Prayer.
PAYNE Irish, Scottish, English
Means "villager, rustic" and later "heathen" from Middle English Payn
, Old French Paien
which was often given to children whose baptism had been postponed or adults whose religious zeal was lacking.
From the Middle English words pecok
which mean "peacock". It was originally a nickname for a proud or haughty person.
Means "dweller by the pointed hill" from Old English peac
. It could also denote a person from the Peak District in Derbyshire, England.
PECK (2) English
Occupational name for a maker of pecks (vessels used as peck measures) from Middle English pekke
From a place name composed of elements meaning "hill", "barley" and "town".
PENDER (1) English
From Middle English pind
"to pen up". This was an occupational name for someone who penned animals.
Means "penny (the coin)" from Old English pening, penig
PERRY (1) English
Derived from Middle English perrie
, Old English pyrige
meaning "pear tree". A famous bearer was Matthew Perry (1794-1858), the American naval officer who opened Japan to the West.
PETIT Catalan, English, French
Means "small, little" derived from Old French petit
. It was perhaps used for a short, small person or to denote the younger of two individuals.
PHILIPS English, Dutch
Means "son of PHILIP
". Famous bearers of this surname are Frederick Philips and his son Gerard, the Dutch founders of the company Philips.
From the name of a town in Yorkshire, derived from Old English Piceringas
, the name of a tribe.
Originally given to a person who played on a pipe (a flute).
Means "dweller by the pit, hollow" from Old English pytt
. It could also indicate a person from Pitt (Hants) or Pett (East Sussex) in England.
PLANK German, English
Means "plank" from Latin plancus
. This could have referred to a person who lived by a plank bridge over a stream, someone who was as thin as a board, or a carpenter.
Means "dweller by the swampy meadow" from Old French plasquet
Habitational name from Platt or Platt Bridge in Lancashire, named in Middle English with Old French plat
"flat, thin", in the dialect sense "plank bridge".
From the Jèrriais surname Poingdestre
, possibly meaning "spur steed".
From Old English pol
meaning "pool". It referred to a person who lived by a small body of water.
From a nickname which originally designated a person who played the part of the pope in a play or pageant. Otherwise the name could be used as a nickname for a man with a solemn, austere, or pious appearance.
Occupational surname meaning "doorkeeper", ultimately from Old French porte
"door", from Latin porta
Occupational name for a potter, one who makes earthen vessels.
Occupational name for a person who kept animals, from Old English pund
POWER (2) English
Means "poor" from the Middle English and Old French word povre, poure
. Could be used as a nickname for a miser as well.
Means "cunning, trick" from Old English prætt
. This was a nickname for a trickster.
Originally derived from a place name meaning "priest town" in Old English.
Belonged to one who was a prior (a religious official), or one who worked fro a prior.
Means "swineherd" or perhaps just "piglet" from Old French pourcel
Means "from Putnam (Herts, Surrey), England". The place name means "Putta's homestead".
QUEEN English, Irish
Means "woman" from Old English cwen
which was sometimes used as a given name. In some occurrences the meaning could simply have been "queen" derived from Old English cwene
. Occasionally it could be a shortened form of MACQUEEN
Derived from Middle English quik
or Old English cwic
, which both mean "lively".
QUICKLEY (1) English
Derived from Middle English quiklich
or Old English cwiclic
, which both mean "lively".
Originally from various place names in Normandy which were derived from the given name QUINTUS
From various place names in England which mean "red cliff" in Old English.
Originally denoted a person from Rayne (Essex), England or from Rennes, France.
Means "dweller on a narrow pass or hillside" from Old English hraca
RAMSEY Scottish, English
Means "garlic island", derived from Old English hramsa
"garlic" and eg
"island". The surname was brought to Scotland by the Norman baron Simundus de Ramsay.
Derived from a Germanic name which was short for longer names beginning with the element ragin
meaning "advice, counsel".
READ (1) English
Means "red" from Middle English read
, probably denoting a person with red hair or complexion.
READ (2) English
Means "dweller in a clearing in woodland" from Old English ried
. It is also derived from various English place names with various meanings, including "roe headland", "reeds" and "brushwood".
Occupational name for a sheriff, from Middle English reeve
REY (1) English, Spanish, French, Catalan
Means "king" in Old French, Spanish and Catalan, ultimately from Latin rex
), perhaps originally denoting someone who acted like a king.
REY (2) English
Means "female roe deer" from Old English ræge
, probably denoting someone of a nervous temperament.
Either a topographical name derived from Old English rod
meaning "a clearing in woodland", or a locational name from any of the locations named with this word.
Denoted a person who hailed from one of the various places in England with that name.
Originally derived from a place name meaning "ridge farm" in Old Norse.
RILEY (1) English
Originally derived from a place name meaning "rye clearing" in Old English.
From Middle English and Old French roche
meaning "rock", from Late Latin rocca
, a word which may be of Celtic origin. It indicated a person who lived near a prominent rock, or who came from a town by this name (such as Les Roches in Normandy).
ROMILLY English, French
Originally denoted a person who came from any of the various places in northern France called Romilly or Remilly, or from Romiley in England.
ROSE (1) English, French, German, Scottish, Jewish
Means "rose" from the Middle English, Old French and Middle High German rose
. All denote a person of a rosy complexion or a person who lived in an area abundant with roses. It is also found derived from the Yiddish royz
, which always referred to the flower.
ROSS English, Scottish
From various place names (such as the region of Ross in northern Scotland) which are derived from Scottish Gaelic ros
meaning "promontory, headland".
Means "son of the fat person" from the Middle English and Old French rond, rund
Means "dweller in the overgrown valley" from Old English ruh
"rough, overgrown" and boðm
ROWE English, Scottish, Irish
Means "dweller by a row of hedges or houses" from Middle English row
. Some examples of the name are derived from the medieval name Row
, which is either a variant of ROLLO
Given to a person who lived near a rowan tree or mountain ash.
Originally derived from the medieval given name Royse
, a variant of ROSE
Originally derived from a place name meaning "rye hill", from Old English ryge
"rye" and dun
Originally derived from a place name meaning "rye hill" from Old English ryge
"rye" and hyll
Originally taken from an Old English place name meaning "Royse's town". The given name Royse
was a medieval variant of ROSE
Refers to a rush
, the grasslike plant that grows in a marsh.
From a Norman French nickname which meant "little red one", perhaps originally describing a person with red hair.
Occupational surname for a mounted forest officer, from Old English ridere
Topographic name. It could be a misdivision of the Middle English phrases atter ye
meaning "at the island" or atter eye
meaning "at the river". In some cases it merely indicated a person who lived where rye was grown or worked with rye (from Old English ryge
Indicated a person from Sandford, England, which means simply "sand ford".
From the English word, meaning the person lived near or on a beach.
From the city of Sapperton, England, from Old English sapere
meaning "soap maker" and ton
meaning "town, farm, settlement".
English nickname meaning "wild, uncouth", derived from a Middle English form of Old French salvage
Occupational name meaning "sawer of wood" in Middle English. Mark Twain used it for the main character in his novel 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' (1876).
Occupational name for a leaper, acrobat, or dancer, from Old French sailleor
Denoted a person who sold or made clothes made of scarlet, a kind of cloth, ultimately derived from Persian سقرلاط (saghrilat)
SCHOOL Scottish, English
Derived from either the Old Norse given name Skúli
, the Old Danish Skuli
or the Old Swedish Skule
which probably all mean "to protect".
SCOTT English, Scottish
Originally given to a person from Scotland or a person who spoke Scottish Gaelic.
From the name of a village which meant "willow farm" in Old English.
Occupational name for a sexton (Middle English sexteyn
), a person who is a caretaker for a church or graveyard.
SEYMOUR (2) English
From an English place name, derived from Old English sœ
"sea" and mere
Originally given to a person who lived near a sceaga
, Old English meaning "thicket".
From the name of various English towns, meaning "shelf wood".
Denoted a person hailing from any of the various places called Sherborne or Sherburn in England.
SHERMAN (1) English
Literally "shear man", referring to someone who used shears in his line of work, such as a sheep-shearer.
From a nickname for a short person, from Middle English schort
From the name of various English towns, derived from Old English sid
"wide" and halh
Originally derived from various place names in England meaning "wide island", from Old English sid
"wide" and eg
"island". Another theory holds that it comes from the name of a town in Normandy called "Saint DENIS
", though evidence for this is lacking.
From a diminutive of the given name SIMON
. It was first found in the county of Suffolk where the family was established.
Occupational surname indicating that an early member worked as a person who covered roofs with slate.
From a nickname for a small person, from Middle English smal
From an unidentified place name probably meaning "smooth clearing" in Old English.
Means "metal worker, blacksmith" from Old English smiþ
, related to smitan
"to smite, to hit". It is the most common surname in most of the English-speaking world. A famous bearer was the Scottish economist Adam Smith (1723-1790).
Means "tailor" from Middle English snithen
"to cut", an occupational name for a person who stitched coats and clothing.
Derived from the Old Norse nickname sparkr
From Middle English spere
"spear", possibly an occupational name for a hunter or a maker of spears.
Occupational surname for the person at the manor who dispensed the Lord's provisions to those who lived on his land and worked at his estate.
Means "maker of spoons" from Middle English spoon
or "maker of shingles" from Old English spon
Means "little sparrow" from Middle English sparewe
plus the diminutive suffix -(l)ing
Means "big" from Middle English stack
From the English place name Staffordshire
, which was adopted by the man who lived near a river or creek at a crossing point, which was called a ford
. The particular crossing point was a "stony ford", or "ford by a landing place".
Originally indicated a person from Staindrop (Durham), England, which means "valley with stony ground" from Old English stæner
meaning "stony ground" and hop
Originally denoted a person from Etampes (Seine-et-Oise), France.
Derived from a place name meaning "stone ford" in Old English.
From a place name meaning "stone clearing" in Old English. A notable bearer was the British-American explorer and journalist Sir Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904).
Means from one of the many places named Stanton, Staunton in Britain. The place name means "farmstead on stony ground".
STARK English, German
From a nickname meaning "strong, brave" in Old German and Old English.
From Middle English sterre
"star". This was usually a nickname, but it was also a rare given name. It could also occasionally be a sign name from the name of an inn called The Star.
From the name of a village in the English county of Lancashire, near Manchester, Liverpool, and Warrington. The name literally translates as something like "town of the staves (poles or staffs) near the river".