Maitland
This is my husband's surname & his family is from Scotland, any information?
Tags:  Maitland
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Maitland is usually explained as being from the Old French Maltalent, which is then translated as "bad wit" or "little wit." However, Dauzat, in his dictionary of French surnames, explains Mautalent (the same name) as meaning "bad grace." Either way an uncomplimentary nickname. I also have a vague recollection of seeing the meaning of this name given as bad, or unproductive, land. Take your pick.
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If it were my choice ...I'd go with bad, or unproductive land (though the actual etymology is usually undeniable) ...families carry on uncomplimentary names when they're ignorant of the source, but more often the term evolves slightly into a something "not so bad" meaning sometimes, this allows people to actually look positive for succeeding despite a substantial challenge ...just a thought ...
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Good point, though in this case the Norman-French origin of Maltalent might have hidden the negative aspect of the name to most people.
The website www.clanmaitland.org.uk gives two possible meanings for Maltaent - "foul tempered", and "evil genius." The first is really a more emphatic version of "bad grace"; the second, in my opinion relies on the Modern English sense of the word talent, and is unlikely.
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in the form of "maitland" the "mal talent" origin is indeed hidden... but in the "maltaent" and "maltaulent" forms the word "mal" is pretty obvious to those who speak latin-based languages for "mal" means "bad" or "wrong" and, as an adjective, "evil"... however in the sense of "bad land" it could be a compliment, as to mention that those are able to survive and/or harvest in a bad land implis that they are crafty or anything possitive... "bad wit" or "bad grace" would however be trully negative, implying they were evil or dumb... However as such it could be backfire... I mean, those who got this surname might have been those who originally used it to name others being these others who, after hearing them say it too much, but really being unable to understand it, gave them that as their distinctive name... Or maybe it was given to them 'cause they were great warriors whose pillaging earned that name... Maybe the even didn't pillaged, however jealous people called them that way... Of course this is pure speculation... We can only limit to the meaning... *change the plural for a singular form wherever wanted
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Well... the obvious "land" has the same meaning as modern English "land" now "mait" I would leave it for the pros... but it makes me think about the word "mother" ("maitre" in portuguese if I'm not wrong)... If it does not means "mother land" it's different might be far from my blind guess...
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Another good point ...
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