Browse Submitted Surnames
This is a list of submitted surnames in which the person who added the name is babycrookston
Submitted names are contributed by users of this website. The accuracy of these name definitions cannot be guaranteed.
Means (i) "person from Alloway, Alloa or Alva", the name of various places in Scotland ("rocky plain"); or (ii) from the medieval male personal name Ailwi
(from Old English Æthelwīg
, literally "noble battle").
Means "person from Anstey or Ansty", the name of numerous places in England (either "single track" or "steep track"). F. Anstey was the pen-name of British barrister and author Thomas Anstey Guthrie (1856-1934).
Means "person from Argyll", a region of south-western Scotland ("coastland of the Gaels").
From a medieval nickname for a ne'er-do-well (from Middle English harlot
"vagabond, base fellow"; "prostitute" is a 15th-century development). This surname was borne by Jack Arlott (1914-1991), a British journalist, poet and cricket commentator.
From the medieval female personal name Ayleve (from Old English Æthelgifu
, literally "noble gift"), or from the Old Norse nickname Eilífr
, literally "ever-life".
Either (i) from the medieval French personal name Babel
, apparently adopted from that of St Babylas
, a 3rd-century Christian patriarch of Antioch, the origins of which are uncertain; or (ii) an invented Jewish name based on German or Polish Babel
From a medieval nickname in Scotland and northern England for the (alleged) father of an illegitimate child (from northern Middle English bairnes
"child's" + father
). This surname was borne by British cartoonist and author Bruce Bairnsfather (1888-1959).
English and Scottish: derogatory nickname from a derivative of bald
‘bald-headed’ (see also Bald
Meant "person who makes or is armed with a crossbow" (from a derivative of Middle English baleste
"crossbow", from Old French).
Means "person from Banwell", Somerset ("killer spring (perhaps alluding to a contaminated water source)").
Originally meant "person from Bardwell", Suffolk ("Bearda's spring"). A fictional bearer of the surname is Mrs Bardell, Mr Pickwick's widowed landlady in Charles Dickens's 'Pickwick Papers' (1837), who misconstrues an innocent remark about having a companion as a marriage proposal, which leads to her suing Pickwick for breach of promise.
Meant "person who works in a tannery" (from Middle English barkhous
"tannery" - bark was used in the tanning process). A fictional bearer is Barkis, a carrier in Charles Dickens's 'David Copperfield' (1849) who sends a message via David to Clara Peggotty that "Barkis is willin'" (i.e. to marry her).
Either (i) means "person from Barnaby", Yorkshire ("Beornwald's settlement"); or (ii) from the medieval male personal name Barnaby
, the English form of Barnabas
, a biblical name ultimately from Aramaic Barnabia
"son of Nabia".
Means "son of Baske
", a Yiddish female personal name (a pet-form of the Biblical name Bath Seba
). Baskin-Robbins is a US chain of ice-cream parlours founded in Glendale, California in 1945 by Burt Baskin (1913-1969) and Irv Robbins (1917-2008).
From the German male personal name Behn
, a shortened form of Bernhard
. A famous bearer was the English novelist and dramatist Aphra Behn (1640-1689).
From a medieval nickname applied probably to an effeminate man (from Old French blanche flour
"white flower"). This surname was borne by Northern Irish footballer Danny Blanchflower (1926-1993).
From a medieval nickname for a fortunate person. This surname is borne by British actor Brian Blessed (1936-).
From a medieval nickname for a blue-eyed person or one who habitually wore blue clothing (from Middle English bleuet
"cornflower" or bluet
A different form of Blessed
. A bearer of this surname is Luther Blissett (1958-), a Jamaican-born English footballer ("Luther Blissett" has been used since 1994 as a cover name for activists engaging in anti-cultural establishment polemics and spoofs on the internet and elsewhere).
From a medieval nickname for someone with a pale complexion (from Middle English blowe
"pale"). This surname was borne by English composer John Blow (1649-1708) and British fashion editor Isabella Blow (original name Isabella Delves Broughton; 1958-2007); additionally, "Joe Blow" is a name used colloquially (in US, Canadian and Australian English) as representative of the ordinary uncomplicated unsophisticated man, the average man in the street (of which the equivalent in British English is "Joe Bloggs").
BOGLEScottish, Northern Irish
From a medieval Scottish and Northern Irish nickname for someone of scary appearance (from Middle Scots bogill
BONARScottish, Northern Irish
From a medieval nickname for a courteous or good-looking person (from Middle English boner
"gentle, courteous, handsome"). A notable bearer of the surname was Canadian-born British Conservative politician Andrew Bonar Law (1858-1923), prime minister 1922-23.
A "translation" of Irish Gaelic Ó Cnáimhsighe
"descendant of Cnáimhseach
", a nickname meaning literally "midwife" and ostensibly a derivative of Gaelic cnámh
Means "son of Brayne", Brayne
being a short form of the Yiddish feminine name Brayndl
, literally "little brown one" (cf. Breindel
From a Spanish and Portuguese nickname for a fierce or violent man (from Spanish and Portuguese bravo
"fierce, violent"). This surname was borne by Charles Bravo (1845-1876), a British lawyer and possible murder victim.
From a medieval nickname for someone who had achieved notable success in jousts or in battle. Nicholas Breakspear (?1100-1159) was the original name of Pope Hadrian IV, the only English pope.
Probably from a medieval nickname for a likable or popular person (from Middle English breden
"to produce" + love
). This surname is borne by Craig Breedlove (1937-), US land-speed record holder.
From the Old Norse nickname Buggi
, literally "fat man", or from a medieval nickname for an eccentric or strangely behaved person (from Middle English bugge
From a medieval nickname for a "good chap" or amiable companion (from Old French bon enfant
, literally "good child").
(i) from a medieval nickname for a vigorous walker (from Old French bon
"good" + pas
"pace"); (ii) perhaps "person who lives by a place through which travel is easy" (from Old French bon
"good" + pas
From the Welsh male personal name Cadog
, a pet-form of Cadfael
(a derivative of Welsh cad
From the Welsh male personal name Cadwgan
, literally probably "battle-scowler". Cadogan Estate is an area of Chelsea and Belgravia, including Cadogan Square, Sloane Street and Sloane Square, owned by the earls of Cadogan, descended from Charles Sloane Cadogan (1728-1807), 1st Earl Cadogan.
From a medieval nickname for someone with a snub nose (from Old French camus
Means "singer in a chantry chapel", or from a medieval nickname for someone who was continually singing (in either case from Old Northern French cant
Means "person from Canteleu, Canteloup, etc.", the name of various places in northern France ("song of the wolf").
Means "singer in a chantry chapel" (from Old Northern French capelain
, a variant of standard Old French chapelain
Probably means "spice merchant" (from Middle English carewei
From a medieval nickname for a dark-haired or swarthy person, from Anglo-Norman carbonel
, literally "little charcoal".
From Manx Gaelic Mac Asmuint
"son of Ásmundr
", an Old Norse male personal name meaning literally "god-protection". The surname was borne by Sir Roger Casement (1864-1916), an Irish-born British consular official and rebel.
Either (i) "person from Cassel", northern France, or "person from Kassel", Germany ("fort"); or (ii) a different form of Castle
("person who lives by or lives or works in a castle"). Cassell & Company is a British publishing company, established in 1848 by John Cassell (1817-1865).
Meant "bailiff, especially (originally) one who could seize domestic animals in lieu of tax or debt" (from Anglo-Norman cachepol
, from cacher
"to chase" + pol
Means "person from Cawthorn or Cawthorne", both in Yorkshire ("cold thorn bush").
Probably from a medieval nickname for a touchy or quarrelsome person (from a derivative of Middle English chalangen
"to challenge"). A fictional bearer is Professor George Challenger, irascible scientist and explorer, leader of the expedition to Amazonia in Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The Lost World' (1912).
A Hindu name meaning literally "holder of the moon" (an epithet of the god Shiva). A notable bearer of this surname was the Indian-born US physicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1910-1995); the Chandrasekhar limit, i.e. the upper limit for the mass of a white dwarf star beyond which the star collapses to a neutron star or a black hole, is named after him.
Means "singer in a chantry chapel" or "one who lives by a chantry chapel". A chantry
was a type of chapel, one endowed for the singing of Masses for the soul of the founder (from Old French chanterie
, from chanter
Means "goatherd", or from a medieval nickname for someone thought to resemble a goat (e.g. in capriciousness) (in either case from Anglo-Norman chivere
"goat"). It was borne by American author John Cheever (1912-1982).
Means "person who lives in or by a white house" (from Cornish chy
"house" + gwyn
Means "son of Chilver
" (probably from the Old English male personal name Cēolfrith
, literally "ship-peace").
An invented Jewish name based on Yiddish tsitrin
A Scottish surname of unknown origin and meaning. A clerihew is a humorous or satirical verse consisting of two rhyming couplets in lines of irregular metre about someone who is named in the poem. It was invented by the British author Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956; Clerihew was his mother's maiden name)... [more]
Probably means "person from Cleveley", Lancashire ("woodland clearing by a cliff").
From Irish Gaelic Mac Caochlaoich
"son of Caochlaoch
", a personal name meaning literally "blind warrior".
From the medieval male personal name Cubald
(from Old English Cūthbeald
, literally "famous-brave").
Means "seller of rabbits", or from a medieval nickname for someone thought to resemble a rabbit (in either case from Middle English cony
Probably from a medieval nickname, perhaps applied to a domineering person. This surname is borne by the British poet, historian and critic Robert Conquest (1917-).
From a medieval nickname for a proud man (from Old French cuer de roi
"heart of a king").
From Manx Gaelic Mac Thorliot
"son of Thorliot
", a male personal name derived from Old Norse Thórrljótr
, literally "Thor-bright".
Meant "person from Crèvecoeur", the name of various places in northern France ("heartbreak", an allusion to the poverty of the local soil).
Means "coroner" (from Anglo-Norman corouner
"coroner", a derivative of Old French coroune
Originally meant "person who plays the crowd (an ancient Celtic stringed instrument)". It was borne by British entertainer Leslie Crowther (1933-1996).
Means "person from Croy", the name of various places in Scotland.
From a medieval Scottish nickname for someone with a crooked leg (from Scots cruik
"bent" + shank
"leg"). This was the surname of British caricaturist George Cruikshank (1792-1872) and British actor Andrew Cruikshank (1907-1988).
Variant of Culpepper
. Known bearers of this surname include: Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1664), an English herbalist, physician and astrologer; and English colonial administrator Thomas Culpeper, 2nd Baron Culpeper (1635-1689), governor of Virginia 1680-1683... [more]
Means "person who collects, prepares and/or sells herbs and spices" (from Middle English cullen
"to pick" + pepper
Means "person who keeps or looks after doves", or from a medieval nickname for someone thought to resemble a dove (e.g. in mild disposition) (in either case from Middle English culver
Originally meant "person from Cunliffe", Lancashire ("slope with a crevice" (literally "cunt-cliff")).
From Irish Gaelic Mac Conduibh
"son of Condubh
", a personal name meaning literally "black dog".
Probably from a shortened form of Cuosëmo
, a Neapolitan variant of the Italian male personal name Cosimo
From a medieval nickname (roughly equivalent to "precious") applied to a dearly loved person (from Middle English deinteth
"pleasure, titbit", from Old French deintiet
Means "person from Daventry", Northamptonshire ("Dafa's tree"). The place-name is traditionally pronounced "daintry".
From a medieval nickname meaning "handsome, pleasant" (from Middle English deinte
, from Old French deint
). This was borne by Billy Dainty (1927-1986), a British comedian.
Meant "person from Dalhousie", near Edinburgh (perhaps "field of slander").
Meant "person from Dallaway", West Midlands (perhaps from a Norman personal name, "person from (de
) Alluyes", northern France). A fictional bearer of the surname is Mrs Dalloway, central figure of the eponymous novel (1925) by Virginia Woolf.
Means "person from Dalyell", in the Clyde valley (probably "white field"). The name is standardly pronounced "dee-el". A fictional bearer is Detective Superintendent Andrew Dalziel, one half of the detective team of 'Dalziel and Pascoe' in the novels (1970-2009) of Reginald Hill.
Means "person from Darley", Derbyshire ("glade frequented by deer").
(i) from the medieval personal name Day
) or Dey
), which may go back ultimately to Old English dæg
"day", perhaps as a shortening of such names as Dægberht
; (ii) a pet-form of David
; (iii) from Irish Gaelic Ó Deághaidh
"descendant of Deághadh
", perhaps literally "good luck" (cf... [more]
Meant "person from Dearden", Lancashire ("valley frequented by wild animals"). It was borne by British film director Basil Dearden (original name Basil Dear; 1911-1971).
From a medieval nickname apparently based on Middle English derth
Probably a deliberate respelling of Death
(i), intended to distance the name from its original signification.
(i) "death" (perhaps from the figure of Death as personified in medieval pageants); (ii) "person who gathers or sells wood for fuel" (from Middle English dethe
Means "person from Denby", Derbyshire or Yorkshire ("farmstead of the Danes").
DOS SANTOSPortuguese, Spanish
From a Spanish and Portuguese name applied originally to a child born or baptized on All Saints' Day (from Spanish and Portuguese, literally "of the saints"). A famous bearer of this surname is Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo.
Either a patronymic surname derived from the given name Dow
, a medieval variant of Daw
(which was a diminutive of David
), or else a metronymic form of the medieval feminine name Dowce
, literally "sweet, pleasant", from Old French dolz
Probably "do good", from a Scottish nickname for a well-intentioned person or (ironically) a do-gooder.
A different form of Dearden
. A fictional bearer is Tyler Durden, a character from Chuck Palahniuk's 'Fight Club' (1996) and its subsequent film adaptation (1999).
From a pet-form of the Yiddish female personal name Dvoyre
, from Hebrew Devorah
(source of English Deborah
), literally "bee". The surname was borne by US feminist Andrea Dworkin (1946-2005).
Means "person from Earnshaw", Lancashire ("Earn's nook of land" - Earn
from an Old English personal name meaning literally "eagle"). In fiction this surname is borne by Catherine Earnshaw, her brother Hindley and her nephew Hareton, characters in Emily Brontë's 'Wuthering Heights' (1847).
Meant "son of Edmede
", from a medieval nickname for a self-effacing person (literally "humble", from Old English ēadmēde
Means "person from Elwell", Dorset (probably "spring from which omens can be read").
From Irish Gaelic Indreachtach
, literally "attacker". The surname was borne by British poet D.J. Enright (1920-2002).
English: nickname meaning ‘handsome’, ‘beautiful’, ‘fair’, from Middle English fair
, Old English fæger
. The word was also occasionally used as a personal name in Middle English, applied to both men and women.... [more]
From a medieval nickname probably meaning either "better-looking of two brothers" or "brother of a good-looking person", or perhaps in some cases "father's brother".
Either (i) meant "person from Fairy Farm or Fairyhall", both in Essex (Fairy
perhaps "pigsty"); or (ii) from a medieval nickname meaning "beautiful eye". This was borne by Fairey Aviation, a British aircraft company, producer of the biplane fighter-bomber Fairey Swordfish... [more]
From a medieval nickname for someone with beautiful hair, from Old English fæger
"fair" and feax
"hair". It was borne by the English general Thomas Fairfax, 3rd Baron Fairfax of Cameron (1612-1671), commander of the Parliamentary army during the Civil War... [more]
From a medieval nickname for a well-disposed person (from Old English fægen
"glad, willing"), or from a medieval Welsh nickname for a slim person (Welsh fain
). This is the family name of the earls of Westmorland.
Meant "person from Featherstonehaugh", Northumberland (now known simply as "Featherstone") ("nook of land by the four-stones", four-stones
referring to a prehistoric stone structure known technically as a "tetralith")... [more]
From Irish Gaelic Ó Fearadaigh
"descendant of Fearadach
", a personal name probably based on fear
"man", perhaps meaning literally "man of the wood". A famous bearer was British chemist and physicist Michael Faraday (1791-1867).
(i) from an Old Norse personal name denoting literally a seafarer or travelling trader, brought into English via French; (ii) "itinerant trader, pedlar", from Middle English fareman
(i) "someone who lives on a 'farthing' of land" (i.e. a quarter of a larger area); (ii) from a medieval nickname based on farthing
"1/4 penny", perhaps applied to someone who paid a farthing in rent; (iii) from the Old Norse male personal name Farthegn
, literally "voyaging warrior"
From the Old Norse male personal name Fastúlfr
, literally "strong wolf". It was borne by Sir John Fastolf (1380-1459), an English soldier whose name was adapted by Shakespeare as "Falstaff".
From the Norman personal name Faulques
, which was derived from a Germanic nickname meaning literally "falcon". A famous bearer of the surname was Guy Fawkes (1570-1606), the English Catholic conspirator... [more]
Means "person from Fazakerley", Liverpool ("glade by the borderland").
From a medieval nickname meaning literally "fine love" (from Old French fin amour
Means "person from Fenwick", Northumberland, Strathclyde and Yorkshire ("dairy farm in fenland"). The name is pronounced as "Fennick". It belongs to a chain of department stores, founded in Newcastle in 1882 by John Fenwick (1846-1905).
From a Middle English form of February
, probably used as a nickname either for someone born in that month or for someone with a suitably frosty demeanor. In fiction, this surname was borne by the central character of George Meredith's novel 'The Ordeal of Richard Feverel' (1859).
From a medieval nickname for a trustworthy person (from the Anglo-Norman form of Old French fichais
Means either (i) "person from Filkins", Oxfordshire ("settlement of Filica's people"); or "son of Filkin
", a medieval personal name meaning literally "little Phil
", from Philip
From a medieval nickname derived from Anglo-Norman fitz le rei
"son of the king" (see also Fitzroy
), probably applied mainly (and ironically) to an illegitimate person or to someone who put on quasi-royal airs.
Means "person who lives near a pool" (Middle English flasshe
Originally meant "person from Fortune", Lothian ("enclosure where pigs are kept").
From a medieval nickname based on Old French foi
"faith", applied either to a notably pious person or to one who frequently used the word as an oath; also, from the medieval French female personal name Foy
, from Old French foi
A different form of Fahy
(from Irish Gaelic Ó Fathaigh
"descendant of Fathach
", a personal name probably based on Gaelic fothadh
From the Middle English personal name Frewine
, literally "noble or generous friend".
Means "person from Frisby", Leicestershire ("farmstead of the Frisians"). A frisbee is a plastic disc thrown from person to person as a game; the trademarked name, registered in 1959 by Fred Morrison, was inspired by the Frisbie bakery of Bridgeport, Connecticut, whose pie tins were the original models for the plastic discs.
From the Old English personal name Frōda
or Old Norse Fróthi
, both meaning literally "wise" or "prudent". A variant spelling was borne by British historian James Anthony Froude (1818-1894).
From a medieval nickname applied to a merry or sportive person (from Middle English gamen
"game"), or to someone who walked in a strange way or had some peculiarity of the legs (from Anglo-Norman gambon
Means "son of Garabed
", an Armenian personal name meaning literally "leader, precursor" and traditionally used as an epithet of John the Baptist in the Armenian church.
Either (i) from the via del Garbo
, the name of a street in Florence that in former times was the place of work of spinners, weavers, etc. of lana del Garbo
"wool from the Algarve" in Portugal; or (ii) probably from a medieval Italian nickname for an urbane or well-mannered person (from Italian garbo
"polite, kind")... [more]
(i) "grower or seller of garlic"; (ii) perhaps from a medieval personal name descended from Old English Gārlāc
, literally "spear-play"; (iii) an anglicization of the Belorussian Jewish name Garelick
, literally "distiller"
A different form of Gadsby
("person from Gaddesby", Leicestershire ("Gaddr's farmstead")). A fictional bearer is Jay Gatsby, the central character of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel 'The Great Gatsby' (1925).
Means either (i) "person from Gilby", Lincolnshire ("Gilli's farm"); or (ii) "little Gilbert
From the Norman personal name Gillebrand
, of Germanic origin and meaning literally "hostage-sword".
Either (i) from a shortened form of the Germanic personal name Gangulf
, literally "walking wolf"; or (ii) a different form of Gingold
An invented Jewish name, from Yiddish, literally "fine gold". Hermione Gingold (1897-1987) was a British actress.
From a medieval nickname applied to a brave man (or, with heavy irony, to a cowardly one), from Old French cuer de lion
Means either "sword-maker" or "sword-seller", or else from a nickname applied to a skilled swordsman (in either case from Middle English gleyve
Meant "person who lives by a church bell-tower or in a house with the sign of a bell", "bell-ringer" or "town crier" (German Glocke
"bell"). It was borne by Sir William Glock (1908-2000), a British music administrator.
From a medieval nickname probably applied either to someone of average abilities or to an easily satisfied person; also, perhaps from a medieval nickname meaning "good servant".
Means "digger of ditches or graves" (from a derivative of Middle High German graben
"ditch"). A famous bearer was US actress, dancer and singer Betty Grable (1916-1973).
From the Middle English personal name Gullake
, a descendant of Old English Gūthlāc
, literally "battle-sport".
Means "person from Harrow", the district of northwest Greater London, or various places of the same name in Scotland ("heathen shrine").
Means "person from Hassall", Cheshire ("witch's corner of land").
Either (i) "person from Hayling", Hampshire ("settlement of Hægel's people"); or (ii) from the Old Welsh personal name Heilyn
, literally "cup-bearer" (see also Palin
Means "person from Hazelden", the name of various places in England ("valley growing with hazel trees").
An invented Jewish name based on Hebrew chefets
"pleasure". Lithuanian-born US violinist Jascha Heifetz (1901-1987) was a known bearer.
From Irish Gaelic Ó hIarfhlatha
"descendant of Iarfhlaith
", a personal name meaning literally "lord of the west".
, a medieval personal name of uncertain origin: perhaps an alteration of Annabel
, or alternatively from a Germanic compound name meaning literally "bear-cub brave" (i.e. deriving from the elements hun
"warrior, bear cub" and bald
Means "son of Hosea
", a personal name that was originally probably Osie
, a pet-form of Oswald
, but came to be associated with the biblical personal name Hosea
Means "person from Huccaby", Devon (perhaps "crooked river-bend"), or "person from Uckerby", Yorkshire ("Úkyrri's or Útkári's farmstead").
From the Old Norse female personal name Idunn
, literally probably "perform love" (cf. Idony
From the medieval French personal name Imbert
, of Germanic origin and meaning literally "vast-bright".
, the name of various places in England, derived from Old English *imphaga
"sapling enclosure". Alternatively it could have indicated a person who lived near an enclosure of young trees.
From the medieval male personal name Ingebald
, brought into England by the Normans but ultimately of Germanic origin and meaning literally "brave Ingel" (Ingel
was a different form of Engel
- a shortened form of various Germanic compound personal names (e.g. Engelbert
) that begin with Engel
-; the two main sources of that were Angel
"Angle" (the name of the Germanic people) and Ingal
, an extended form of Ing
(the name of a Germanic god)).
Means "person from Inverarity", Angus ("mouth of the Arity
", perhaps a Celtic river-name meaning literally "slow").
Means "son of Ive
", a medieval male personal name, brought into England by the Normans but ultimately of Germanic origin, a shortened form of any of a range of compound names beginning with īv
"yew" (cf... [more]
From a pet-form of Jessop
(a medieval male personal name - a different form of Joseph
). A literary bearer is Miss Jessel, the governess who has charge of the two troubled and enigmatic children in Henry James's ghost story 'The Turn of the Screw' (1898).
From the medieval male personal name Jowet
or the female personal name Jowette
, both literally "little Jowe
", a pet-form of Julian
. This was borne was British theologian and classical scholar Benjamin Jowett (1817-1893).
KAPOORIndian, Punjabi, Hindi
Punjabi Kshatriya name derived from Sanskrit कर्पूर (karpūra)
meaning "camphor" (referring to a white crystalline substance used in medicine), itself possibly of Proto-Austronesian origin.
From the medieval personal name Kenewi
, from Old English Cynewīg
, literally "royal war", or Cēnwīg
, literally "bold war".
Means "person from Ketley", Shropshire ("glade frequented by cats").
Probably from an Old Norse personal name Ketilfrith
, literally "cauldron peace". The surname was borne by British clergyman and diarist Francis Kilvert (1840-1879).
English occupational name for a Latinist, a clerk who wrote documents in Latin, from Anglo-Norman French latinier
. Latin was more or less the universal language of official documents in the Middle Ages, displaced only gradually by the vernacular—in England, by Anglo-Norman French at first, and eventually by English.
Means (i) "person from Leire", Leicestershire ("place on the river Leire
", a river-name that may also be the ancestor of Leicestershire
); or (ii) "person from Lear", any of several variously spelled places in northern France with a name based on Germanic lār
From a medieval nickname for someone with very fair hair (literally "lily-head").
From a medieval nickname for someone with very fair hair or complexion. It was borne by English cricketers James Lillywhite (1842-1929), first captain of England, and William Lillywhite (1792-1854), pioneer of overarm bowling, uncle of James... [more]
Means "maker or seller of metal items of a horse's harness and associated equipment (e.g. bits and spurs)" (from Anglo-Norman loremier
, a derivative of Old French lorain
Means either (i) "person particularly associated with a 'loveday'" (a day when, by custom, old differences were settled and reconciliations were made); or (ii) from the medieval female personal name Loveday
, a descendant of Old English Lēofdæg
, literally "beloved day"... [more]
From a medieval nickname for a woman-chaser or lothario (from Old English lufulēas
, literally "without love", hence "fancy-free"). The English poet Richard Lovelace (1618-1657) was a famous bearer.
From a medieval nickname for a dandy or a man conceited about his appearance (from lovelock
, a term for an elaborately curled lock of hair). This surname is borne by British scientist James Lovelock (1919-), formulator of the "Gaia" concept.
Either (i) "person from Lundie", the name of various places in Scotland (meaning "place by a marsh"); or (ii) a different form of McAlinden
An invented Jewish name based on German Lustgarten
"pleasure garden" (perhaps alluding to the Garden of Eden). It was borne by British barrister, writer and broadcaster Edgar Lustgarten (1907-1978), presenter of television crime reconstructions.
From a pet-form of the medieval female personal name Mabbe
, a shortened form of Amabel
(ultimately from Latin amābilis
"lovable"). See also Mapp
Means "son of Meytl
", a Yiddish female personal name, literally "little Meyte
", a Yiddish female personal name derived from Middle High German maget
From a medieval nickname for a skilled conciliator. It was borne by English cricketer Harry Makepeace (1881-1952).
Either (i) from the Old French male personal name Malhard
, brought into England by the Normans but ultimately of Germanic origin and meaning literally "council-brave"; or (ii) from a medieval nickname for someone thought to resemble a male wild duck.
From a variant of the medieval female personal name Mabbe
, a shortened form of Amabel
. A fictional bearer is Elizabeth Mapp, busybodyish spinster in the 'Mapp and Lucia' novels of E.F. Benson.
From the Jewish female personal name Margolis
, literally (in Hebrew) "pearls".
Reputedly from the name of a Scottish estate (Ratho-Marjoribankis
) bestowed on Robert the Bruce's daughter Marjorie
on her marriage in 1316. A fictional bearer is Lucilla Marjoribanks, the heroine of Margaret Oliphant's novel 'Miss Marjoribanks' (1866).
Either (i) from a medieval nickname (often ironic) for someone regarded as a prodigy; or (ii) "person from Merville", the name of two places in northern France ("smaller settlement" and "settlement belonging to a man with a Germanic name beginning with Meri
-, literally 'famous'")... [more]
Perhaps means "brewery worker" (from Middle English mash
"fermentable mixture of hot water and grain" + rudder
Perhaps from a medieval nickname for someone with an auburn or reddish beard (from Middle English massing
"brass" + berd
From the French male personal name Maturin
, from Latin Mātūrīnus
, a derivative of Mātūrus
, literally "timely". It was borne by the Irish "Gothic" novelist Charles Maturin (1782-1824).
From the medieval female personal name Maudeleyn
, the English form of Greek Magdalēnē
, the sobriquet in the New Testament of the woman Mary who was cured of evil spirits by Jesus... [more]
From Irish Gaelic Mac Giolla Fhiontáin
"son of the servant of (St) Fiontán
", a personal name derived from fionn
From Gaelic Mac Cruitín
"son of Cruitín
", a nickname for a hunchback.
From Gaelic, "son of Shitrig
", a personal name adapted from Old Norse Sigtryggr
, literally "victory-true".
A Scottish distinguishing name for identifying the larger or eldest (Older Scots meikle
"large") or elder of two men called John
. (See also Mickle
A different form of Meredith
(from the Welsh personal name Meredydd
, perhaps literally "lord of splendour"). It occurs in Wilkie Collins' 'The Moonstone' (1868) belonging to Mrs Merridew, widowed sister to Sir John Verinder.
(i) from the medieval personal name Merewine
, literally "fame-friend"; (ii) from the Old English personal names Mǣrwynn
, literally "famous joy", and Merefinn
, from Old Norse Mora-Finnr
; (iii) from the Welsh personal name Merfyn
, literally probably "marrow-eminent"
From a medieval nickname for an inoffensive person (literally "mild maiden").
Means "person from Moffatt", Dumfries and Galloway ("long plain").
Probably from a medieval nickname for a rich person or a miser. A fictional bearer is Miss Moneypenny, secretary to M (the head of MI6) in the James Bond novels of Ian Fleming and in the films based on them.
From a medieval nickname for someone thought to resemble a moorcock (the male of the red grouse). It is borne by British author Michael Moorcock (1939-).
From the Old French personal name Morant
, perhaps from a nickname meaning "steadfast", or alternatively of Germanic origin and meaning literally "courage-raven". A known bearer was the British-born Australian soldier and poet Breaker Morant, original name Edwin Henry Murrant (?1864-1902).
Perhaps from a Norman nickname based on Old French mort
"dead", possibly referring to someone with a deathly pallor or otherwise sepulchral appearance.
Means "person from Motherwell", North Lanarkshire ("Our Lady's well"). American artist Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) was a known bearer.
A Scottish name of uncertain origin. British poet Andrew Motion (1952-) is a known bearer.
Means "son of Magge
", a pet-form of Margaret
, a female personal name which came into English via French from Late Latin Margarita
, literally "pearl".
From the medieval personal name Moise
, a vernacular variant of Moses
(the biblical name of the Hebrew prophet who led the Children of Israel out of captivity).
Either (i) "person who lives in a muddy area"; (ii) from the medieval female personal name Mudd
, a variant of Maud
, vernacular versions of Anglo-Norman Matilda
); or (iii) from the Old English personal name Mōd
, a shortened form of various compound names beginning with mōd
A different form of Moffatt
. 'Little Miss Muffett' is a traditional nursery rhyme: Little Miss Muffett
/ Sat on a tuffet,
/ Eating her curds and whey;
/ There came a big spider,
/ Who sat down beside her
/ And frightened Miss Muffet away.
It has been speculated that 'Miss Muffett' is Patience Muffet, the daughter of the physician and entomologist Dr Thomas Muffet (1553-1604).
From Irish Gaelic Ó Maoldúin
"descendant of Maoldún
", a personal name meaning literally "chief fortress".
From Irish Gaelic Ó Maoilearca
"descendent of the follower of (St) Earc
", a personal name meaning literally either "speckled one" or "salmon".
From Irish Gaelic Ó Maolmhuire
"descendant of Maolmhuire
", a personal name meaning literally "servant of (the Virgin) Mary
From the medieval personal name Myat
, literally "little Mihel
", an Anglo-Norman variant of Michael
Means either "nail-maker" (from Old English nægelsmith
) or "knife-maker" (from Old English cnīfsmith
Means "person from Nancarrow", Cornwall (either "valley frequented by deer" or "rough valley"). It was borne by US composer Conlon Nancarrow (1912-1997).
Either (i) from a medieval nickname for someone of a sunny disposition (noon being the sunniest part of the day); or (ii) from Irish Gaelic Ó Nuadháin
"descendant of Nuadhán
", a personal name based on Nuadha
, the name of various Celtic gods (cf... [more]
Either (i) from the medieval male personal name Noye
, the English form of the Hebrew name Noach
"; or (ii) an invented Jewish name based on Hebrew noy
Means either (i) "scribe, clerk" (from Middle English notere
, ultimately from Latin notārius
); or (ii) "person who keeps or tends oxen" (from a derivative of Middle English nowt
Variant of ODOM
, altered by folk etymology as if derived from a place name formed with -ham
Means "elephant" (from Middle English, Old French and Middle High German olifant
"elephant"), perhaps used as a nickname for a large cumbersome person, or denoting someone who lived in a building distinguished by the sign of an elephant.
From the medieval personal name Oppy
, pet-forms of such names as Osbert
. John Opie (1761-1807) was a British portrait and history painter; other bearers of this surname include Peter Opie (1918-82), and his wife Iona Opie (née Archibald; 1923-), British authors and folklorists.
Means "herbalist" (from Middle English orpin
"yellow stonecrop", a plant prescribed by medieval herbalists for healing wounds). A variant spelling was borne by British painter Sir William Orpen (1878-1931).
From the Norman male personal names Otoïs
, of Germanic origin and meaning literally "wealth-wide" or "wealth-wood", and Otewi
, of Germanic origin and meaning literally "wealth-war".
(i) "person from Palling", Norfolk ("settlement of Pælli's people") or "person from Poling", Sussex ("settlement of Pāl's people"); (ii) from the Welsh name ap Heilyn
"son of Heilyn
", a personal name perhaps meaning "one who serves at table"
Means "maker of palings and fences" (from a derivative of Old French palis
"palisade"). In fiction, the Palliser novels are a series of six political novels by Anthony Trollope, beginning with 'Can You Forgive Her?' (1864) and ending with 'The Duke's Children' (1880), in which the Palliser family plays a central role.
From a medieval nickname based on the Old French oath par Dieu
"by God" (cf. Purdie
Either (i) from a medieval nickname for someone who crossed marshy moorland (e.g. who lived on the opposite side of a moor, or who knew the safe paths across it); or (ii) perhaps from an alteration of Passemer
, literally "cross-sea", an Anglo-Norman nickname for a seafarer... [more]
Either (i) from the medieval female personal name Pavia
, perhaps from Old French pavie
"peach"; or (ii) "person from Pavia", Italy.
Originally meant "person from Penhaligon", Cornwall ("willow-tree hill"). It is borne by Susan Penhaligon (1950-), a British actress.
Originally meant "person from Penycuik", near Edinburgh (probably "hill frequented by cuckoos").
From the medieval personal name Pepis
, a form of Old French Pepin
, brought into England by the Normans. It may have been based on an earlier nickname meaning "awesome". It is standardly pronounced "peeps"... [more]
From Welsh ap Hew
or ap Hugh
"son of Hugh
" (see Pugh
). A fictional bearer is Blind Pew, the blind pirate in Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Treasure Island' (1883).
From the medieval French male personal name Filibert
, of Germanic origin and meaning literally "very bright, very famous".
From the name of a beautiful immortal bird which appears in Egyptian and Greek mythology. After living for several centuries in the Arabian Desert, it would be consumed by fire and rise from its own ashes, with this cycle repeating every 500 years... [more]
From a medieval nickname for an enthusiastic competitor in sports and games (from Middle English pleyfere
"companion in play, playmate"), or else a different form of Playford
(from a Suffolk place-name meaning "ford where sports are held")... [more]
Either (i) from the medieval female personal name Plaisance
, literally "pleasantness"; or (ii) "person from Piacenza", Italy (from Latin Placentia
, literally "pleasing things").
From a medieval nickname for a vain or flamboyantly dressed person (from Old Norse pá
"peacock"). American author and poet Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was a famous bearer.
Means "person from Prideaux, earlier Pridias", Cornwall (perhaps based on Cornish prȳ
"clay"). The modern Frenchified spelling is based on the idea that the name comes from French près d'eaux
"near waters" or pré d'eaux
"meadow of waters".
From the name of Primrose in Fife, Scotland, a place originally named Prenrhos
, literally "tree-moor" in Welsh. This is the family name of the Earls of Rosebery.
From a medieval nickname for someone with a roly-poly physique (from Middle English puddy fat
Probably means "person in charge of buying supplies for a large household" (from Middle English purveys
From a medieval nickname for an elegantly or flamboyantly dressed person (from Middle English quointerel
"dandy, fop", from quointe
"known, knowledgeable, crafty, elegant").
From a medieval nickname for a very dextrous person, or for someone who habitually wore gloves (from Old French quatremains
, literally "four hands"). A fictional bearer of the surname is Allan Quartermain, the hero of 'King Solomon's Mines' (1886) and other adventure novels by H. Rider Haggard... [more]
From the medieval female personal name Quenilla
, from Old English Cwēnhild
, literally "woman-battle". This was borne by Peter Quennell (1905-1993), a British poet, critic and historian.
Means "person from Rackham", Sussex ("homestead or enclosure with ricks"). This surname was borne by British watercolourist and book illustrator Arthur Rackham (1867-1939).
From the Old French male personal name Rainbert
, of Germanic origin and meaning literally "counsel-bright" (cf. Raginbert
). The modern form of the name has been influenced by English rainbird
From the Old French male personal name Rainbaut
, of Germanic origin and meaning literally "counsel-brave" (cf. Raginbald
). The modern form of the name has been influenced by English rainbow
From a medieval Scottish nickname for a hot-tempered or unpredictable person (from Old French ramage
"wild, uncontrollable" (applied to birds of prey)).
From the Old French male personal name Rainbert
). It was borne by Dame Marie Rambert (original name Cyvia Rabbam, later Miriam Rambach; 1888-1982), a Polish-born British ballet dancer and choreographer.
Perhaps "person from Reikie", Aberdeenshire, or from a different form of the Scottish male personal name Rikie
, literally "little Richard
From the Old French male personal name Riulf
, of Germanic origin and meaning literally "power-wolf" (cf. Riculf
Means "person from Restowrack", farm in Cornwall ("watery hill-spur").
From a medieval nickname for someone who is full of noisy enthusiasm and energy (from Middle English revel
A different form of Reddick
("person from Rerwick or Rerrick", Dumfries and Galloway (perhaps "robbers' outlying settlement")). A fictional bearer of the surname is Richard B. Riddick, (anti)hero of the 'Chronicles of Riddick' movies.
Means "outrider (a municipal or monastic official in the Middle Ages whose job was to ride around the country collecting dues and supervising manors)".
Means "maker, seller or carrier of baskets" (from a derivative of Middle English rip
Means "person from Rochester", Kent (probably "Roman town or fort called Rovi"). A fictional bearer of the surname is Mr Rochester, the Byronic hero of Charlotte Brontë's 'Jane Eyre' (1847).
Means "person from Rockwell", Buckinghamshire and Somerset (respectively "wood frequented by rooks" and "well frequented by rooks"). Famous bearers include American illustrator Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) and Utah pioneer Porter Rockwell (1813-1878).
From a medieval nickname for someone thought to resemble a rook (e.g. in having black hair or a harsh voice).
From the medieval French male personal name Ruffin
, from Latin Rūfīnus
, a derivative of Rūfus
(literally "red-haired one"). A known bearer of the surname is US soul singer Jimmy Ruffin (1939-).
Means "person from Rumbelow", the name of various locations in England ("three mounds").
A different form of Rumbold
(from the Norman personal name Rumbald
, of Germanic origin and probably meaning literally "fame-bold"). A fictional bearer of the surname is Horace Rumpole, the eccentric QC created by John Mortimer (originally for a 1975 television play).
Either (i) "player of the rote (a medieval stringed instrument played by plucking)"; or (ii) from a medieval nickname for a dishonest or untrustworthy person (from Old French routier
"robber, mugger")... [more]
From a medieval nickname for a fool (from Middle English samwis
"foolish", literally "half-wise").
From a medieval French nickname for a swarthy person, or for someone who had gone on a Crusade (from Old French sarrazin
"Saracen"). It was borne by American golfer Gene Sarazen (1902-99), original name Eugene Saraceni.
Means "person from Scobie", an unidentified place in Perth and Kinross ("thorny place"). A fictional bearer is Henry Scobie, the conscience-wracked and ultimately suicidal deputy commissioner of police in Graham Greene's West Africa-set novel 'The Heart of the Matter' (1948).
(i) "person from Scotland"; (ii) "person from Scotland or Scotlandwell", Perth and Kinross; (iii) from the Norman personal name Escotland
, literally "territory of the Scots"
From a Muslim personal name based on Arabic shakūr
Means "person from Shallcross", Derbyshire ("place by the Shacklecross", an ancient stone cross in the High Peak, its name perhaps denoting a cross to which people could be shackled as a penance).
From a medieval Scottish and northern English nickname for someone with a strange or awkward way of walking (literally "sheeplegs").
Probably from a medieval nickname based on Middle English shere
"bright, fair", with the derogatory suffix -ard
(i) perhaps "person from Shocklach", Cheshire ("boggy stream infested with evil spirits"); (ii) perhaps an anglicization of Swiss German Schoechli
, literally "person who lives by the little barn"
A different form of Carbonell
. Shrapnel (i.e. metal balls or fragments that are scattered when a bomb, shell or bullet explodes) is named after General Henry Shrapnel (1761-1842), a British artillery officer who during the Peninsular War invented a shell that produced that effect.
A different form of Shillito
(which is 'a name of unknown derivation and meaning, probably originating in Yorkshire'), borne by British novelist, short-story writer and poet Alan Sillitoe (1928-2010).
Means "son of Simke", Simke
being a diminutive of the Yiddish feminine name Sime
(from Hebrew Simcha
, literally "joy").
Means "son of the son of Sore
", a Yiddish female personal name (from Hebrew Sara
, literally "princess"), with the addition of the Slavic possessive suffix -in
and German Sohn
From the medieval male personal name Spileman
, literally "acrobat" or "jester" (from a derivative of Middle English spillen
"to play, cavort").
Means (i) "operator of a springald (a type of medieval siege engine)" (from Anglo-Norman springalde
); or (ii) from a medieval nickname for a youthful person (from Middle English springal
From the medieval personal name Stanhard
, literally "stone-strong" or "stone-brave".
From a medieval nickname for someone thought to resemble a starling, especially in constantly chattering.
From the Old Norse nickname Stóri
, literally "large man". A literary bearer is British novelist and playwright David Storey (1933-).
From a medieval nickname for a youthful or inexperienced person (from Middle English stripling
From a medieval nickname for someone of childlike appearance or childish character (from Middle English suckling
"infant still feeding on its mother's milk"). Sir John Suckling (1609-1642) was an English poet and dramatist.
Probably means "person living by a summer enclosure (where animals were grazed on upland pastures in the summer)" (from Middle English sumer
"summer" + hay
From Irish Gaelic Ó Somacháin
"descendant of Somachán
", a nickname meaning literally "gentle" or "innocent".
From the medieval personal name Seric
, a descendant of both Old English Sǣrīc
, literally "sea power", and Sigerīc
, literally "victory power".
Originally meant "person from Surridge", Devon ("south ridge").
Meant "person from the south" (from Old French surreis
Either (i) from the medieval nickname Swetesire
(literally "sweet sir, amiable master"), applied sarcastically either to someone who used the expression liberally as a form of address or to someone with a de-haut-en-bas
manner; or (ii) an anglicization of Schweitzer
(from Middle High German swīzer
From a shortened variant of the male personal name Andrew
, with the suffix -cock
(literally "cockerel", hence "jaunty or bumptious young man"), that was often added to create pet-forms of personal names in the Middle Ages.