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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ACHESON Scots
Scots form of ATKINSON.
AINSLEY Scots
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".
AITKEN Scots, English
Derived from the medieval given name Atkin, a diminutive of ADAM.
ALAN English, Scottish
Derived from the given name ALAN.
ALLAN English, Scottish
Derived from the given name ALAN.
ALLAWAY Scottish
From a Scottish place name, itself derived from alla "wild" and mhagh "field".
ALLEN English, Scottish
Derived from the given name ALAN.
ANGUS Irish, Scottish
From the given name AONGHUS.
ATCHISON Scots
Scots form of ATKINSON.
BAIRD Scottish
Anglicized form of MAC AN BAIRD.
BARBER English, Scottish
Indicated a barber, one who cut hair for a living.
BEATTIE Scottish
From the medieval name Battie, a diminutive of BARTHOLOMEW.
BEGBIE Scottish
From the name of a town in East Lothian, Scotland. It is derived from the Old Norse given name BAGGI and býr "farm, settlement".
BLACKWOOD English, Scottish
From an English place name meaning "black wood".
BLAIR Scottish
From any one of several places of this name in Scotland, which derive from Gaelic blár meaning "plain, field, battlefield".
BOYD Scottish
From the name of the Scottish island of Bute (Bód in Gaelic), which is of unknown meaning.
BRECKENRIDGE Scottish, 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).
BRODIE Scottish
Originally derived from a place in Moray, Scotland. It is probably from Gaelic broth meaning "ditch, mire".
BRODY Scottish
Variant of BRODIE.
BRUCE Scottish
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.
BUCHANAN Scottish
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).
CAMERON Scottish
Means "crooked nose" from Gaelic cam "crooked" and sròn "nose".
CAMPBELL Scottish
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".
CARR Scottish
Variant of KERR.
CARSON Scottish
Meaning uncertain, possibly from the town of Courson in Normandy.
CLACHER Scottish
From Scottish Gaelic clachair meaning "stonemason".
COCKBURN Scottish, 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".
COLQUHOUN Scottish
From a place name meaning "narrow corner" or "narrow wood" in Gaelic.
COUTTS Scottish
From the name of the town of Cults in Aberdeenshire, derived from a Gaelic word meaning "woods".
CRAIG Scottish
Derived from Gaelic creag meaning "crag, rocks", originally belonging to a person who lived near a crag.
CRUICKSHANK Scottish
From a nickname meaning "bent leg" in Scots.
CUMMINS English, Scottish, Irish
From an Old Breton given name, a cognate of CUIMÍN, introduced to Britain at the time of the Norman Conquest.
CUNNINGHAM Scottish
From the name of place in the Ayrshire district of Scotland. It possibly comes from Gaelic cuinneag meaning "milk pail".
DARROW Scottish
Habitational name from Darroch near Falkirk, in Stirlingshire, said to be named from Gaelic darach meaning "oak tree".
DAVIS English, Scottish
Means "son of DAVID". This was the surname of the revolutionary jazz trumpet player Miles Davis (1926-1991).
DONNE Scottish, Irish
From Gaelic donn meaning "brown", a nickname for a person with brown hair.
DOUGLAS Scottish
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.
DRUMMOND Scottish
From various Scottish place names that are derived from Gaelic drumainn, a derivative of druim meaning "ridge".
DUBHGHLAS Scottish
Gaelic form of DOUGLAS.
DUFF Scottish
Derived from Gaelic dubh meaning "dark".
DUNBAR Scottish
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 that projects into the sea.
DUNCAN Scottish
From the given name DUNCAN.
DUNCANSON Scottish
Means "son of DUNCAN".
DUNN English, Scottish, Irish
Derived from Old English dunn "dark" or Gaelic donn "brown", referring to hair colour or complexion.
FAIRBAIRN Scottish, English
Means "beautiful child" in Middle English and Scots.
FAULKNER English, Scottish
Occupational name meaning "keeper of falcons", from Middle English and Scots faulcon, from Late Latin falco, of Germanic origin.
FERGUSON Irish, Scottish
Means "son of FERGUS".
FINDLAY Scottish
Derived from the given name FIONNLAGH.
FINLEY Scottish
Derived from the given name FIONNLAGH.
FRASER Scottish
Meaning unknown, originally Norman French Fresel, possibly from a lost place name in France.
GIBBS English, Scottish
Means "son of GIB".
GIBSON English, Scottish
Means "son of GIB".
GLEN Scottish
Variant of GLENN.
GLENN Scottish
Derived from Gaelic gleann "valley". A famous bearer was American astronaut John Glenn (1921-2016).
GORDON Scottish
From the name of a place in Berwickshire, Scotland, derived from Brythonic words meaning "spacious fort".
GRAHAM Scottish
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.
GRANT English, Scottish
Derived from Norman French meaning "grand, tall, large, great".
GREER Scottish
Derived from the given name GREGOR.
GRIER Scottish
Derived from the given name GREGOR.
GRIEVE Scottish
Occupational name meaning "steward, farm manager" in Middle English, related to the German title Graf.
HAIG English, Scottish
From Old English haga or Old Norse hagi meaning "enclosure, pasture".
HAMILTON English, 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).
HARDIE Scottish
Scots variant of HARDY.
HENDRY Scottish, English
Derived from the given name HENRY.
HEPBURN English, 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).
HOLME English, 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).
HOLMES English, Scottish
Variant of HOLME. A famous fictional bearer was Sherlock Holmes, a detective in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's mystery stories beginning in 1887.
HOUSTON Scottish
From a place name meaning "HUGH's town". The original Houston is in Scotland near Glasgow.
HUGHES (2) Scottish, Irish
Anglicized form of MAC AODHA.
HUME Scottish, English
Variant of HOLME. A famous bearer was the philosopher David Hume (1711-1776).
HUNTER English, Scottish
Occupational name that 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.
IRVING Scottish, English
Originally derived from a Scottish place name (in North Ayrshire) meaning "green water".
JACK English, Scottish
From the given name JACK.
JARDINE English, Scottish
Means "garden", denoting someone who worked as a gardener.
JOHNSTON Scottish
From the name of a Scottish town, which meant "JOHN's town".
KEIR Scottish
Variant of KERR.
KEITH Scottish
From a place name that 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 meaning "grove".
KERR Scottish
From Scots kerr meaning "rough wet ground", ultimately from Old Norse kjarr.
KINNAIRD Scottish
From the name of a place in Scotland, in Gaelic An Ceann Ard, meaning "high headland". 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.
KYLES Scottish
Derived from Gaelic caol meaning "narrows, channel, strait", originally given to a person who lived by a strait.
LENNOX Scottish
From the name of a district in Scotland, called Leamhnachd in Gaelic, possibly meaning "place of elms".
LENOX Scottish
Variant of LENNOX.
LESLIE Scottish
From a Scottish clan name, earlier Lesselyn, derived from a place name in Aberdeenshire, itself probably from Gaelic leas celyn meaning "garden of holly".
LINDSAY English, Scottish
From the region of Lindsey in Lincolnshire, which means "LINCOLN island" in Old English.
LISTER Scottish
Anglicized form of the Gaelic Mac an Fleisdeir meaning "son of the arrow maker".
LITHGOW Scottish
Habitation name meaning derived from Celtic roots meaning "pool hollow". A famous bearer of this name is actor John Lithgow (1945-).
LOGAN Scottish
From a Scottish place name meaning "little hollow", derived from Gaelic lag "hollow, pit".
LOWRY English, Scottish
From a diminutive of the given name LAURENCE (1).
LUSK Scottish
Possibly means "cave" in Gaelic.
LYNE Scottish
Habitational name for someone who lived in places of this name in Scotland.
MAC AN ABA Irish, Scottish
Gaelic form of MCNAB.
MAC AN BAIRD Scottish
Scottish form of Mac an Bhaird (see WARD (2)).
MAC AN FLEISDEIR Scottish
Scottish Gaelic form of LISTER.
MACANGUS Scottish
Means "son of ANGUS" in Gaelic.
MAC AODHA Scottish, Irish
Means "son of AODH" in Gaelic.
MACASLAN Scottish
Means "son of ABSALOM" in Gaelic.
MACBETH Scottish
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 CÁBA Irish, Scottish
Irish Gaelic form of MCCABE.
MACCAILÍN Irish, Scottish
Means "son of CAILEAN" in Gaelic.
MACCALLION Scottish
Anglicized form of MACCAILÍN.
MACCALLUM Scottish
From Gaelic Mac Coluim meaning "son of COLUMBA".
MACCANCE Scottish
Variant form of MACANGUS.
MACCHRUIM Scottish
Means "son of Crum", where Crum is a Gaelic byname meaning "bent".
MAC CIONAODHA Scottish
Irish Gaelic form of MCKENNA.
MACCRUM Scottish
Anglicized form of MACCHRUIM.
MACCRUMB Scottish
Variant form of MACCRUM.
MACDONALD Scottish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Domhnaill meaning "son of DONALD". It originates from the Highland clan Donald.
MACDOUGALL Scottish
Means "son of DOUGAL" in Scottish.
MAC DUIBHSHÍTHE Scottish, Irish
Means "son of Duibhshíth" in Gaelic. The given name Duibhshíth means "black peace".
MACEACHTHIGHEARNA Scottish
Means "son of Eichthighearn", where the personal name Eichthighearn means "horse lord" in Gaelic.
MAC EOGHAIN Irish, Scottish
Means "son of EOGHAN" in Gaelic.
MAC GILLEAIN Scottish
Scottish Gaelic form of MCLAIN.
MAC GILLE FHAOLAIN Scottish
Scottish Gaelic form of MCCLELLAND.
MACGREGOR Scottish
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).
MACKAY Scottish, Irish
Anglicized form of MAC AODHA.
MACKENZIE Scottish
Anglicized form of the Gaelic Mac Coinnich meaning "son of COINNEACH". It originates from the Kintail area of Scotland on the northwest coast.
MAC LEÒID Scottish
Gaelic form of MCLEOD.
MAC NAOIMHÍN Irish, Scottish
Means "son of NAOMHÁN" In Gaelic.
MAC NEACHTAIN Irish, Scottish
Means "son of NECHTAN" in Gaelic.
MACQUEEN Irish, Scottish
Anglicized form of MACSHUIBHNE.
MACSHUIBHNE Irish, Scottish
Means "son of SUIBHNE" in Gaelic.
MACWILLIAM Scottish
Means "son of WILLIAM" in Gaelic.
MAGEE Scottish, Irish
Anglicized form of MAC AODHA.
MAG RAITH Irish, Scottish
Gaelic form of MCCRAE.
MATHESON Scottish
Means "son of MATTHEW".
MAXWELL Scottish
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.
MCADAMS Scottish, Irish
Means "son of ADAM" in Gaelic.
MCALISTER Scottish, Irish
From Gaelic Mac Alastair meaning "son of ALISTAIR".
MCARTHUR Scottish
Means "son of ARTHUR" in Gaelic.
MCCABE Irish, Scottish
Means "son of Cába", where Cába is a given name meaning "cape".
MCCAIG Irish, Scottish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Thaidhg meaning "son of TADHG".
MCCALLUM Scottish
Variant form of MACANGUS.
MCCAULEY Irish, Scottish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Amhalghaidh meaning "son of Amhalghadh". The given name Amhalghadh is of uncertain meaning.
MCCLELLAND Irish, Scottish
From Gaelic Mac Giolla Fhaoláin meaning "son of the servant of FAOLÁN".
MCCONNELL Scottish, Irish
Derived from Gaelic Mac Domhnaill (see MACDONALD).
MCCORMICK Irish, Scottish
From Gaelic Mac Cormaic meaning "son of CORMAC".
MCCOY Scottish
Anglicized form of MAC AODHA.
MCCRACKEN Irish, Scottish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Reachtain, Ulster variant of MAC NEACHTAIN.
MCCRAE Irish, Scottish
From the Gaelic Mag Raith meaning "son of Rath", a given name meaning "prosperity" or "grace".
MCCRORY Irish, Scottish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Ruaidhrí meaning "son of RUAIDHRÍ".
MCEWAN Scottish
Anglicized form of MAC EOGHAIN.
MCFARLANE Irish, Scottish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Pharlain meaning "son of PARTHALÁN".
MCFEE Scottish, Irish
Anglicized form of MAC DUIBHSHÍTHE.
MCGEE Irish, Scottish
Anglicized form of MAC AODHA.
MCGILL Irish, Scottish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac an Ghoill meaning "son of the foreigner", derived from gall "foreigner".
MCINNES Scottish
Scottish form of MCGUINNESS.
MCINTYRE Scottish
From Scottish Gaelic Mac an tSaoir meaning "son of the carpenter".
MCIVER Irish, Scottish
Means "son of IVOR" in Irish.
MCKAY Scottish, Irish
Anglicized form of MAC AODHA.
MCKELLAR Scottish
From Gaelic Mac Ealair meaning "son of EALAIR".
MCKENDRICK Scottish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Eanraig meaning "son of HENRY".
MCKENNA Scottish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Cionaodha meaning "son of CIONAODH".
MCKINLEY Scottish
Anglicized form of the Gaelic Mac Fhionnlaigh meaning "son of FIONNLAGH". This name was borne by the American president William McKinley (1843-1901), who was assassinated.
MCLAIN Scottish, Irish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Giolla Eoin meaning "son of the servant of EOIN".
MCLEOD Scottish
From Gaelic Mac Leòid meaning "son of Leod", a given name derived from Old Norse ljótr "ugly".
MCNAB Irish, Scottish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac an Aba meaning "son of the abbot".
MCNEIL Irish, Scottish
Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Néill meaning "son of NIALL".
MCQUEEN Irish, Scottish
Anglicized form of MACSHUIBHNE.
MCREYNOLDS Scottish, Irish
Means "son of REYNOLD" in Gaelic.
MCWILLIAM Scottish
Means "son of WILLIAM" in Gaelic.
MELVILLE Scottish
From the place name Malleville meaning "bad town" in Norman French.
MILNE Scottish
From Scots and Middle English milne (a variant of mille) meaning "mill".
MITCHELL (1) English, Scottish
Derived from the given name MICHAEL.
MOFFETT Scottish
From a the town of Moffat in Scotland meaning "long field" in Gaelic.
MONROE Scottish
Designated a person who had originally lived near the mouth of the Roe River in Derry, Ireland.
MONTGOMERY English, 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.
MORRIS English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Derived from the given name MAURICE.
MUNRO Scottish
Variant of MONROE.
MURDOCH Scottish
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.
NEIL Irish, Scottish, English
Derived from the given name NEIL.
NESS English, Scottish, Norwegian
From English ness and Norwegian nes meaning "headland, promontory", of Old Norse origin, 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.
PATTON English, Scottish
Diminutive of the medieval name Pate, a short form of PATRICK.
RALSTON Scottish
Originally denoted a person from Ralston, Scotland, which was derived from the given name RALPH combined with Old English tun meaning "enclosure, yard, town".
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.
RATTRAY Scottish
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.
REID Scottish
Scots variant of READ (1).
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".
ROY (2) Scottish
From Gaelic ruadh meaning "red-haired".
RUSKIN (1) Scottish
From Gaelic rusgaire meaning "tanner".
RUTHERFORD Scottish
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".
SANGSTER English, Scottish
Occupational name or nickname for a singer, from Old English singan "to sing, to chant".
SCOTT English, Scottish
Originally given to a person from Scotland or a person who spoke Scottish Gaelic.
SHAW (2) Scottish
From a given name or byname that was derived from Gaelic sithech meaning "wolf".
SHEACH Scottish
From the Gaelic given name SÍTHEACH.
STARRETT Scottish
Originally indicated a person from Stairaird, an estate in Scotland.
STERLING Scottish
Derived from city of Stirling, which is itself of unknown meaning.
STEWART Scottish
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.
SUTHERLAND Scottish
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.
TAGGART Irish, 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.
THORBURN English, Scottish
Derived from the Old Norse given name ÞÓRBJǪRN.
TURNBULL English, Scottish
Nickname for someone thought to be strong enough to turn around a bull.
URQUHART Scottish
Derived from Brythonic ar "by" and cardden "thicket". This is the name of several places, the most famous being north of Loch Ness.
WALLACE Scottish, 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.
WATSON English, Scottish
Patronymic derived from the Middle English given name Wat or Watt, a diminutive of the name WALTER.
WOOD English, Scottish
Originally denoted one who lived in or worked in a forest, derived from Old English wudu "wood".