Scottish Surnames

Scottish names are used in the country of Scotland as well as elsewhere in the Western World as a result of the Scottish diaspora. See also about Scottish names.
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ACHESONScots
Scots form of ATKINSON.
AINSLEYScots
From a place name: either Annesley in Nottinghamshire or Ansley in Warwickshire. The place names themselves derive from Old English anne "alone, solitary" or ansetl "hermitage" and leah "woodland, clearing".
AITKENScots, English
Derived from the medieval given name Atkin, a diminutive of ADAM.
ALANEnglish, Scottish
Derived from the given name ALAN.
ALLANEnglish, Scottish
Derived from the given name ALAN.
ALLAWAYScottish
From a Scottish place name, itself derived from alla "wild" and mhagh "field".
ALLENEnglish, Scottish
Derived from the given name ALAN.
ANGUSIrish, Scottish
From the given name AONGHUS.
ATCHISONScots
Scots form of ATKINSON.
BAIRDScottish
Anglicized form of MAC AN BAIRD.
BARBEREnglish, Scottish
Indicated a barber, one who cut hair for a living.
BEATTIEScottish
From the medieval name Battie, a diminutive of BARTHOLOMEW.
BEGBIEScottish
From the name of a town in East Lothian, Scotland. It is derived from the Old Norse given name BAGGI and býr "farm, settlement".
BLACKWOODEnglish, Scottish
From an English place name meaning "black wood".
BLAIRScottish
From any one of several places of this name in Scotland, which derive from Gaelic blár meaning "plain, field, battlefield".
BOYDScottish
From the name of the Scottish island of Bute (Bód in Gaelic), which is of unknown meaning.
BRECKENRIDGEScottish, English
Originally indicated someone from Brackenrig in Lanarkshire, derived from northern Middle English braken meaning "bracken" (via Old Norse brækni) and rigg meaning "ridge" (via Old Norse hryggr).
BRODIEScottish
Originally derived from a place in Moray, Scotland. It is probably from Gaelic broth meaning "ditch, mire".
BRUCEScottish
Possibly from the name of the town of Brix in Normandy, which is of unknown meaning. It was brought to Scotland in the 12th century by the Anglo-Norman baron Robert de Brus. It was later borne by his descendant Robert the Bruce, a hero of the 14th century who achieved independence from England and became the king of Scotland.
BUCHANANScottish
From the name of a region in Stirlingshire, Scotland, which means "house of the canon" in Gaelic.
BURNS (1)English, Scottish
Derived from Old English burna "stream, spring". A famous bearer was the Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796).
CAMERONScottish
Means "crooked nose" from Gaelic cam "crooked" and sròn "nose".
CAMPBELLScottish
From a Gaelic nickname cam béul meaning "wry or crooked mouth". The surname was later represented in Latin documents as de bello campo meaning "of the fair field".
CARRScottish
Variant of KERR.
CARSONScottish
Meaning uncertain, possibly from the town of Courson in Normandy.
CLACHERScottish
From Scottish Gaelic clachair meaning "stonemason".
COCKBURNScottish, English
Originally indicated someone who came from Cockburn, a place in Berwickshire. The place name is derived from Old English cocc "rooster" and burna "stream".
COLQUHOUNScottish
From a place name meaning "narrow corner" or "narrow wood" in Gaelic.
COUTTSScottish
From the name of the town of Cults in Aberdeenshire, derived from a Gaelic word meaning "woods".
CRAIGScottish
Derived from Gaelic creag meaning "crag, rocks", originally belonging to a person who lived near a crag.
CRUICKSHANKScottish
From a nickname meaning "bent leg" in Scots.
CUMMINSEnglish, Scottish, Irish
From an Old Breton given name, a cognate of CUIMÍN, introduced to Britain at the time of the Norman Conquest.
CUNNINGHAMScottish
From the name of place in the Ayrshire district of Scotland. It possibly comes from Gaelic cuinneag meaning "milk pail".
DARROWScottish
Habitational name from Darroch near Falkirk, in Stirlingshire, said to be named from Gaelic darach meaning "oak tree".
DAVISEnglish, Scottish
Means "son of DAVID". This was the surname of the revolutionary jazz trumpet player Miles Davis (1926-1991).
DONNEScottish, Irish
From Gaelic donn meaning "brown", a nickname for a person with brown hair.
DOUGLASScottish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Dubhghlas, which meant "dark river" from dubh "dark" and glais "water, river" (an archaic word related to glas "grey, green"). This is the name of various places in Scotland, such as a tributary of the River Clyde.
DRUMMONDScottish
From various place names in Scotland which are derived from Gaelic druim meaning "ridge".
DUBHGHLASScottish
Gaelic form of DOUGLAS.
DUFFScottish
Derived from Gaelic dubh meaning "dark".
DUNBARScottish
From the name of a town in East Lothian, Scotland, derived from Gaelic dùn meaning "fort" and barr meaning "summit", so called from its situation on a rock which projects into the sea.
DUNCANScottish
From the given name DUNCAN.
DUNCANSONScottish
Means "son of DUNCAN".
DUNNEnglish, Scottish, Irish
Derived from Old English dunn "dark" or Gaelic donn "brown", referring to hair colour or complexion.
FAIRBAIRNScottish, English
Means "beautiful child" in Middle English and Scots.
FAULKNEREnglish, Scottish
Occupational name for a keeper of falcons, from Middle English and Scots faulcon, from Late Latin falco, of Germanic origin.
FERGUSONIrish, Scottish
Means "son of FERGUS".
FINDLAYScottish
Derived from the given name FIONNLAGH.
FINLEYScottish
Derived from the given name FIONNLAGH.
FRASERScottish
Meaning unknown, originally Norman French Fresel, possibly from a lost place name in France.
GIBBSEnglish, Scottish
Means "son of GIB".
GIBSONEnglish, Scottish
Means "son of GIB".
GLENScottish
Variant of GLENN.
GLENNScottish
Derived from Gaelic gleann "valley". A famous bearer was American astronaut John Glenn (1921-2016).
GORDONScottish
From the name of a place in Berwickshire, Scotland, derived from Brythonic words meaning "spacious fort".
GRAHAMScottish
Derived from the English place name Grantham which probably meant "gravelly homestead" in Old English. The surname was first taken to Scotland in the 12th century by William de Graham.
GRANTEnglish, Scottish
Derived from Norman French meaning "grand, tall, large, great".
GREERScottish
Derived from the given name GREGOR.
GRIERScottish
Derived from the given name GREGOR.
GRIEVEScottish
Occupational name meaning "steward, farm manager" in Middle English, related to the German title Graf.
HAIGEnglish, Scottish
From Old English haga or Old Norse hagi meaning "enclosure, pasture".
HAMILTONEnglish, Scottish
From an English place name, derived from Old English hamel "crooked, mutilated" and dun "hill". This was the name of a town in Leicestershire, England (which no longer exists).
HARDIEScottish
Scots variant of HARDY.
HENDRYScottish, English
Derived from the given name HENRY.
HEPBURNEnglish, Scottish
From northern English place names meaning "high burial mound" in Old English. It was borne by Mary Queen of Scot's infamous third husband, James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwall. Other famous bearers include the actresses Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003) and Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993).
HOLMEEnglish, Scottish
Referred either to someone living by a small island (northern Middle English holm, from Old Norse holmr) or near a holly tree (Middle English holm, from Old English holegn).
HOLMESEnglish, Scottish
Variant of HOLME. A famous fictional bearer was Sherlock Holmes, a detective in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's mystery stories beginning in 1887.
HOUSTONScottish
Means "HUGH's town". The original Houston is in Scotland near Glasgow.
HUGHES (2)Scottish, Irish
Anglicized form of MAC AODHA.
HUMEScottish, English
Variant of HOLME. A famous bearer was the philosopher David Hume (1711-1776).
HUNTEREnglish, Scottish
Occupational name which referred to someone who hunted for a living, from Old English hunta.
INNES (1)Scottish
From a place name derived from Gaelic inis meaning "island".
INNES (2)Scottish
From the given name AONGHUS.
IRVINGScottish, English
Originally derived from a Scottish place name (in North Ayrshire) meaning "green water".
JACKEnglish, Scottish
From the given name JACK.
JARDINEScottish, English
Means "garden", denoting someone who worked as a gardener.
JOHNSTONScottish
From the name of a Scottish town, which meant "JOHN's town".
KEIRScottish
Variant of KERR.
KEITHScottish
From a place name which is probably derived from the Brythonic element cet meaning "wood". This was the surname of a long line of Scottish nobles.
KELLY (2)Scottish
From a Scottish place name derived from coille "grove".
KERRScottish
From Scots kerr meaning "rough wet ground", ultimately from Old Norse kjarr.
KIDDEnglish, Scottish
From a nickname meaning "young goat, kid" in Middle English.
KINNAIRDScottish
From the name of a place in Scotland. The area concerned is high and occupies a vantage point and may have been named in Gaelic as Ceann Ard meaning "high end or head". In the 12th century a Norman nobleman received a charter of land here from King William the Lion (King of Scots), and was thereafter known by this name.
KYLESScottish
Derived from Gaelic caol meaning "narrows, channel, strait", originally given to a person who lived by a strait.
LENNOXScottish
From the name of a district in Scotland, called Leamhnachd in Gaelic, possibly meaning "place of elms".
LESLIEScottish
From a Scottish place name, probably derived from Gaelic leas celyn meaning "garden of holly".
LINDSAYEnglish, Scottish
From the region of Lindsey in Lincolnshire, which means "LINCOLN island" in Old English.
LISTERScottish
Anglicized form of the Gaelic Mac an Fleisdeir meaning "son of the arrow maker".
LITHGOWScottish
Habitation name meaning "pool, damp, hollow". A famous bearer of this name is actor John Lithgow (1945-).
LOGANScottish
From a Scottish place name meaning "little hollow".
LOWEnglish, Scottish
Variant of LAW.
LOWRYScottish, English
From a diminutive of LAURENCE (1).
LUSKScottish
Possibly means "cave" in Gaelic.
LYNEScottish
Habitational name for someone who lived in places of this name in Ayrshire, Peeblesshire, and Wigtownshire.
MAC AN BAIRDScottish
Scottish form of Mac an Bhaird (see WARD (2)).
MAC AN FLEISDEIRScottish
Scottish Gaelic form of LISTER.
MACANGUSScottish
Means "son of ANGUS" in Gaelic.
MAC AODHAScottish, Irish
Means "son of AODH" in Gaelic.
MACASLANScottish
Means "son of ABSALOM" in Gaelic.
MACBETHScottish
Derived from the Gaelic given name Mac Beatha meaning "son of life", which denoted a man of religious devotion. This was the name of an 11th-century Scottish king, and the name of a play based on his life by William Shakespeare.
MAC CÁBAIrish, Scottish
Irish Gaelic form of MCCABE.
MACCAILÍNIrish, Scottish
Means "son of CAILEAN" in Gaelic.
MACCALLIONScottish
Anglicized form of MACCAILÍN.
MACCALLUMScottish
From Gaelic Mac Coluim meaning "son of COLUMBA".
MACCANCEScottish
Variant form of MACANGUS.
MACCHRUIMScottish
Means "son of Crum", where Crum is a Gaelic byname meaning "bent".
MAC CIONAODHAScottish
Irish Gaelic form of MCKENNA.
MAC COINNICHScottish
Irish Gaelic form of MACKENZIE.
MACCRUMScottish
Anglicized form of MACCHRUIM.
MACCRUMBScottish
Variant form of MACCRUM.
MACDONALDScottish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Domhnaill meaning "son of DONALD". It originates from the Highland clan Donald.
MACDOUGALLScottish
Means "son of DOUGAL" in Scottish.
MAC DUIBHSHÍTHEScottish, Irish
Means "son of Duibhshíth" in Gaelic. The given name Duibhshíth means "black peace".
MACEACHTHIGHEARNAScottish
Means "son of Eichthighearn", where the personal name Eichthighearn means "horse lord" in Gaelic.
MAC EOGHAINIrish, Scottish
meaning "son of EOGHAN" in Gaelic.
MAC GILLEAINScottish
Scottish Gaelic form of MCLAIN.
MAC GILLE FHAOLAINScottish
Scottish Gaelic form of MCCLELLAND.
MACGREGORScottish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Griogair meaning "son of GREGOR". It originates from the Highland clan Gregor. A famous bearer was the Scottish folk hero Rob Roy MacGregor (1671-1734).
MACKAYScottish, Irish
Anglicized form of MAC AODHA.
MACKENZIEScottish
Anglicized form of the Gaelic Mac Coinnich meaning "son of COINNEACH". It originates from the Kintail area of Scotland on the northwest coast.
MAC LEÒIDScottish
Gaelic form of MCLEOD.
MAC NAOIMHÍNIrish, Scottish
Means "son of NAOMHÁN" In Gaelic.
MAC NEACHTAINIrish, Scottish
Means "son of NECHTAN" in Gaelic.
MACQUEENIrish, Scottish
Anglicized form of MACSHUIBHNE.
MACSHUIBHNEIrish, Scottish
Means "son of SUIBHNE" in Gaelic.
MACWILLIAMScottish
Means "son of WILLIAM" in Gaelic.
MAGEEScottish, Irish
Anglicized form of MAC AODHA.
MASTERSEnglish, Scottish
Means "son of the master" from Middle English maister.
MATHESONScottish
Means "son of MATTHEW".
MAXWELLScottish
From a place name meaning "Mack's stream", from the name Mack, a short form of the Scandinavian name MAGNUS, combined with Old English wella "stream". A famous bearer was James Maxwell (1831-1879), a Scottish physicist who studied gases and electromagnetism.
MCADAMSScottish, Irish
Means "son of ADAM" in Gaelic.
MCALISTERScottish, Irish
From Gaelic Mac Alastair meaning "son of ALISTAIR".
MCARTHURScottish
Means "son of ARTHUR" in Gaelic.
MCCABEIrish, Scottish
Means "son of Cába", where Cába is a given name meaning "cape".
MCCAIGIrish, Scottish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Thaidhg meaning "son of TADHG".
MCCALLUMScottish
Variant form of MACANGUS.
MCCLELLANDIrish, Scottish
From Gaelic Mac Giolla Fhaoláin meaning "son of the servant of FAOLÁN".
MCCONNELLScottish, Irish
Derived from Gaelic Mac Domhnaill (see MACDONALD).
MCCORMICKIrish, Scottish
From Gaelic Mac Cormaic meaning "son of CORMAC".
MCCOYScottish
Anglicized form of MAC AODHA.
MCCRACKENIrish, Scottish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Reachtain, Ulster variant of MAC NEACHTAIN.
MCCRAEIrish, Scottish
From the Gaelic Mag Raith meaning "son of Rath", a given name meaning "prosperity" or "grace".
MCCRORYIrish, Scottish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Ruaidhrí meaning "son of RUAIDHRÍ".
MCEWANScottish
Anglicized form of MAC EOGHAIN.
MCFARLANEIrish, Scottish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Pharlain meaning "son of PARTHALÁN".
MCGEEIrish, Scottish
Anglicized form of MAC AODHA.
MCGILLIrish, Scottish
Means "son of the foreigner" in Gaelic, derived from gall "foreigner".
MCINNESScottish
Scottish form of MCGUINNESS.
MCINTYREScottish
From Scottish Gaelic Mac an tSaoir meaning "son of the carpenter".
MCIVERIrish, Scottish
Means "son of IVOR" in Irish.
MCKAYScottish, Irish
Anglicized form of MAC AODHA.
MCKELLARScottish
From Gaelic Mac Ealair meaning "son of EALAIR".
MCKENDRICKScottish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Eanraig meaning "son of HENRY".
MCKENNAScottish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Cionaodha meaning "son of CIONAODH".
MCKINLEYScottish
Anglicized form of the Gaelic Mac Fhionnlaigh meaning "son of FIONNLAGH".
MCLAINScottish, Irish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Giolla Eoin meaning "son of the servant of EOIN".
MCLEODScottish
From Gaelic Mac Leòid meaning "son of Leod", a given name derived from Old Norse ljótr "ugly".
MCNABIrish, Scottish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac an Aba meaning "son of the abbot".
MCNEILIrish, Scottish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Néill meaning "son of NIALL".
MCQUEENIrish, Scottish
Anglicized form of MACSHUIBHNE.
MCREYNOLDSScottish, Irish
Means "son of REYNOLD" in Gaelic.
MCWILLIAMScottish
Means "son of WILLIAM" in Gaelic.
MELVILLEScottish
From the place name Malleville meaning "bad town" in Norman French.
MILLIGANIrish, Scottish
From the Gaelic given name Maolagán, a derivative of maol meaning "bald" or "tonsured".
MILNEScottish
From Scots and Middle English milne (a variant of mille) meaning "mill".
MITCHELL (1)English, Scottish
Derived from the given name MICHAEL.
MOFFETTScottish, Irish
From a place name in Scotland meaning "long field".
MONROEScottish
Designated a person who had originally lived near the mouth of the Roe River in Derry, Ireland.
MONTGOMERYEnglish, Scottish
From a place name in Calvados, France meaning "GUMARICH's mountain". A notable bearer was Bernard Montgomery (1887-1976), a British army commander during World War II.
MORRISEnglish, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Derived from the given name MAURICE.
MURDOCHScottish
Scottish form of MURDOCK.
MURRAY (1)Scottish
Derived from the region in Scotland called Moray meaning "seaboard settlement". A notable bearer of this surname was General James Murray (1721-1794), who was the first British Governor-General of Canada.
NEILIrish, Scottish, English
Derived from the given name NEIL.
NESSScottish, English, Norwegian
Means "headland" in Middle English, originally referring to a person who lived there.
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.
NORRIS (2)English, Scottish
Means "wet nurse, foster mother" from Old French nurise, norrice.
OLIVERCatalan, English, French, German, Scottish
Derived from the given name OLIVER.
PATTONEnglish, Scottish
Diminutive of the medieval name Pate, a short form of PATRICK.
PAYNEIrish, 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.
POTTINGERScottish
Occupational name for an apothecary.
RALSTONScottish
Originally denoted a person from Ralston, Scotland, which was derived from the given name RALPH combined with Old English tun meaning "enclosure, yard, town".
RAMSEYScottish, 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.
RATTRAYScottish
From a Scottish place name meaning "fortress town", from Gaelic ráth meaning "fortress" and a Pictish word meaning "town".
READY (2)Scottish
Originally denoted a person from Reedie farm in Angus, Scotland.
REIDScottish
Scots variant of READ (1).
ROSSEnglish, Scottish
From various place names (such as the region of Ross in northern Scotland) which are derived from Scottish Gaelic ros meaning "promontory, headland".
ROY (2)Scottish
From Gaelic ruadh meaning "red-haired".
RUSKIN (1)Scottish
From Gaelic rusgaire meaning "tanner".
RUTHERFORDScottish
From the name of places in southern Scotland and northern England, derived from Old English hryðer meaning "cattle, ox" and ford meaning "ford, river crossing".
SANGSTEREnglish, Scottish
Occupational name or nickname for a singer, from Old English singan "to sing, to chant".
SCOTTEnglish, Scottish
Originally given to a person from Scotland or a person who spoke Scottish Gaelic.
SHEACHScottish
From the Gaelic given name SÍTHEACH.
STARRETTScottish
Originally indicated a person from Stairaird, an estate in Scotland.
STERLINGScottish
Derived from city of Stirling, which is itself of unknown meaning.
STEWARTScottish
Occupational name for an administrative official of an estate or steward, from Old English stig "house" and weard "guard". The Stewart family (sometimes spelled Stuart) held the Scottish crown for several centuries. One of the most famous members of the Stewart family was Mary, Queen of Scots.
SUTHERLANDScottish
Regional name for a person who came from the former county by this name in Scotland. It is derived from Old Norse suðr "south" and land "land", because it was south of the Norse colony of Orkney.
TAGGARTIrish, Scottish
Anglicized form of Irish Mac an tSagairt meaning "son of the priest". This name comes from a time when the rules of priestly celibacy were not strictly enforced.
THORBURNEnglish, Scottish
Derived from the Old Norse given name ÞÓRBJÖRN.
TURNBULLEnglish, Scottish
Nickname for someone thought to be strong enough to turn around a bull.
URQUHARTScottish
Derived from Brythonic ar "by" and cardden "thicket". This is the name of several places, the most famous being north of Loch Ness.
WALLACEScottish, English, Irish
Means "foreigner, stranger, Celt" from Norman French waleis (of Germanic origin). It was often used to denote native Welsh and Bretons. A famous bearer was the 13th-century Sir William Wallace of Scotland.
WATSONEnglish, Scottish
Patronymic derived from the Middle English given name Wat or Watt, a diminutive of the name WALTER.
WOODEnglish, Scottish
Originally denoted one who lived in or worked in a forest, derived from Old English wudu "wood".