Submitted names are contributed by users of this website. The accuracy of these name definitions cannot be guaranteed.
Means either "nail-maker" (from Old English nægelsmith
) or "knife-maker" (from Old English cnīfsmith
NANKERVIS Cornish, English (Australian)
From the name of a place in St Enoder parish in Cornwall, derived from Cornish nans
"valley" and an uncertain second element, possibly *cerwys
, an unattested plural of carow
NAPIER Scottish, English
Scottish occupational name for a producer or seller of table linen or for a naperer, the servant in charge of the linen in use in a great house from the Middle English, Old French nap(p)ier
, an agent derivative of Old French nappe
‘table cloth’ (Latin mappa
NARAMOR English, Welsh
Naramor, also Narramore or Naramore, is a corruption of Northmore, and has Welsh/English background. "More North"
NASMITH Scottish, English
This surname is derived from an occupation, "nail-smith", but may also mean "knife-smith".
NATES English, Jewish
It's probably from the given name Nate
, the origin is said to be Jewish*, but the ancestors immigrated to English speaking countries.
Most probably a variant of Nathan, altered by folk etymology under the influence of the English vocabulary word nation
Habitational name from a place in Suffolk, named in Old English with nafola meaning "navel" + tūn meaning "enclosure", "settlement", i.e. "settlement in the navel or depression".
NAVARRO Spanish, French, English
Describes a former member of the ancient kingdom of Navarre. Possibly means 'the treeless country' or 'the country above the trees'
1. English: possibly a metonymic nickname for a needy person, from Middle English ne(e)d ‘need’. ... [more]
French in origin, it is derived from the word "Noir," which is the equivalent of the English word "Black." It could have referred to a person with dark features, hair, or perhaps even one who was thought to engage in nafarious, or "dark," deeds.
NEEVE English, Scottish
An English surname, of Norman origin, meaning the nephew. One who was in care of their uncle. A surname first recorded in Perthshire.
From the Middle English word neighbor
, derived from neghebour
, which in turn comes from the Old English words neah
, meaning "near", and gebur
, meaning "a dweller". This may have been used as a nickname for someone who was a 'good neighbor', more likely it evolved from the term of address for someone living nearby.
Is the English for the Russian/Ukrainian Surname Nemirov
NESBITT Scottish, Irish, English
Derives from the hamlets of East Nisbet and West Nisbet, Berwickshire. Some bearers of Nisbet/Nesbitt (and variant) names may originate from the village of Nisbet in Roxburghshire.
NEVELS English, Scottish
(1) Variant of Neville
(2) Possibly variant of Dutch Nevens, which is derived from Neve, from Middle English, Old Norse, Middle Dutch neve ‘nephew’, presumably denoting the nephew of some great personage.
Nickname for a newcomer to an area, from Middle English newe meaning "new".
Habitational name from Newbourn in Suffolk or Newburn in Tyne and Wear (formerly part of Northumberland), both named with Old English niwe
"new" and burna
"stream", perhaps denoting a stream that had changed its course.
NEWBROUGH English (British)
Newbrough surname is thought to be a habitational, taken on from a place name such as from Newbrough in Northumberland, which is derived from the Old English words niwe, meaning "new," and burh, meaning "fortification."
Means "person from Newby", Newby being a combination of the Middle English elements newe
"new" and by
"farm, settlement" (ultimately from Old Norse býr
"farm"). British travel writer Eric Newby (1919-2006) bore this surname.
Topographic name for someone who lived at a "new enclosure", from Middle English newe
"new" and haga
Habitational name from any of the various places, for example in Northumbria and North Yorkshire, so named from Old English neowe
"new" and ham
Nickname for someone with a good voice, from Middle English nighti(n)gale
, Old English nihtegal
, from niht
"night" and galan
"sing" (cf. NACHTIGALL
NINE English (American)
Americanized spelling of German Nein or Neun, from Middle High German niun meaning "nine".
This surname is thought to be derived from nore
which could mean "shore, cliff." This could denote that someone might have lived in a shore or cliff. It may also be used as a surname for someone who lived in the now 'diminished' village of Nore in Surrey.
NOBLE English, Scottish, Irish, French
Nickname from Middle English, Old French noble
"high-born, distinguished, illustrious" (Latin nobilis
), denoting someone of lofty birth or character, or perhaps also ironically someone of low station... [more]
NOCK Celtic, English
Dweller at the oak tree; originally spelt as "Noake" evolved into "Nock".
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]
NORELL Swedish, English
Swedish ornamental name composed of norr
"north" or nor
"small strait" and the popular surname suffix -ell
, from Latin adjectival suffix -elius
. ... [more]
NORRELL English, German (?)
A locational surname from the Germanic (Old English/Old Norse) term for the north. It either refers to someone who lived in a location called Northwell, lived north of a well, spring or stream (Old English weall
Derived from the Old English words "norð," meaning "north," and "cot," meaning a "cottage," or "shelter."
NOTTINGHAM English (British)
A habitational name from the city of Nottingham in the East Midlands. Comes from the Old English name, meaning "homestead (ham) of Snot’s people". The initial S- was lost in the 12th century, due to the influence of Anglo-Norman French.... [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
English: habitational name from some place named with Old English hnutu ‘nut’ + h(e)alh ‘nook’, ‘recess’. In some cases this may be Nuthall in Nottinghamshire, but the surname is common mainly in Lancashire, and a Lancashire origin is therefore more likely... [more]
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
Topographic name for someone who lived near an oak tree or in an oak wood, from Middle English oke
This surname is derived from Old English āc
and it, obviously, means "oak land."
Variant of ODOM
, altered by folk etymology as if derived from a place name formed with -ham
Medieval nickname for someone who had climbed the social ladder by marrying the daughter of a prominent figure in the local community, from Middle English odam
‘son-in-law’ (Old English aðum
OGILVIE Scottish, English
From the ancient Barony of Ogilvie in Angus, Northeast Scotland. The placename itself is derived from Pictish ocel
, 'high' and fa
Location name meaning "lives near oak trees".
From Middle English old
, not necessarily implying old age, but rather used to distinguish an older from a younger bearer of the same personal name.
Originally "Oldknoll"; deriving from the word knoll
Derived from the two Old English pre 7th century words - "euld", meaning "old", and "royd", meaning "clearing".
OLIN English, Dutch
English or Dutch name meaning either "from a low lying area" or from the word Hollander meaning "one from the Netherlands" a country well known for a low lying landscape.
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.
Unexplained surname found in records of Bristol and Bath.
19th century name from the Cambridgeshire area. Probably derived from Oldfield. Variants include Opheld, Oful and Offel.... [more]
OPIE English, Cornish
From the medieval personal name Oppy
, a diminutive of such names as Osbert
, and Osbald
. Bearers of this surname include British portrait and history painter John Opie (1761-1807) and British authors and folklorists Peter Opie (1918-82) and his wife Iona Opie (née Archibald; 1923-).
ORANGE Medieval English, Medieval French, English
Derived from the medieval female name, or directly from the French place name. First used with the modern spelling in the 17th century, apparently due to William, Prince of Orange, who later became William III... [more]
From a village in Lincolnshire, England originally called Orby and later Orreby that is derived from a Scandinavian personal name Orri-
and the Scandinavian place element -by
which means "a farmstead or small settlement."
ORCHARD English, Scottish
English: topographic name for someone who lived by an orchard, or a metonymic occupational name for a fruit grower, from Middle English orchard
Perhaps a much altered spelling of Scottish Urquhart
used predominantly in Staffordshire, England.
Metonymic occupational name for a player of a musical instrument (any musical instrument, not necessarily what is now known as an organ), from Middle English organ (Old French organe, Late Latin organum ‘device’, ‘(musical) instrument’, Greek organon ‘tool’, from ergein ‘to work or do’).
From a rare medieval personal name, attested only in the Latinized forms Organus
(masculine) and Organa
ORLEY Dutch, Flemish, English
A surname of uncertain origin found among the Dutch, Flemish and English. In England the name is primarily found in Yorkshire and Devon. Orley may be an adapted form of a French name D'Orley
or a nickname for Orlando
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).
Possibly derived from Ostler
(from the the Norman 'Hostelier') meaning clerk or bookkeeper. First used in England after the Norman invasion of 1066. Surname of a 19th cent. Canadian doctor, Sir William Osler, widely viewed as the 'Father of Internal Medicine'.
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".
Derived from the Old French name Overson, meaning "dweller by the river-banks". The name was probably brought to England in the wake of the Norman conquest of 1066.
From English owner
meaning "a person who owns something".
Habitational name form a now lost place name in Southern England. Possibly derived from the name of the river name Ouse and Old English -leah
From an English place name meaning "valley of the oxen", which was derived from Old English oxa
"ox" (genitive plural oxena
) and denu
OYASKI English (American)
A surname created by Michael Oyaski (formally Michael O'Yaski). The surname is currently known to only be used by one particular branch of the O'Yaski family tree. The surname means "Dragon Rider of the West" according to members of the Oyaski family.
"Habitation name from Pacy-sur-Eure" which took its name from the Gallo-Roman personal name Paccius and the local suffix -acum.
Habitational name from a place in Warwickshire, so named from the Old English personal name Pac(c)a + wudu ‘wood’.
Believed to mean "Pada's farm", with the Anglo-Saxon name Pada
possibly coming from the Old English word pad
, meaning "toad".
A habitational name from a place named Padley, which was probably named with the Old English personal name Padda
meaning ‘glade, woodland clearing’. Alternatively, the first element may have been padde
, meaning ‘toad’.
From the Middle English personal name Pain(e)
(Old French Paien
, from Latin Paganus
), introduced to Britain by the Normans. The Latin name is a derivative of pagus
"outlying village", and meant at first a person who lived in the country (as opposed to Urbanus
"city dweller"), then a civilian as opposed to a soldier, and eventually a heathen (one not enrolled in the army of Christ)... [more]
PAINTER English, Medieval French, German
English: from Middle English, Old French peinto(u)r
, oblique case of peintre
‘painter’, hence an occupational name for a painter (normally of colored glass). In the Middle Ages the walls of both great and minor churches were covered with painted decorations, and Reaney and Wilson note that in 1308 Hugh le Peyntour
and Peter the Pavier were employed ‘making and painting the pavement’ at St... [more]
Locational surname derived from the village of Peyton in Essex, England; Variant of Peyton
Occupational name for a man responsible for the maintenance and provision of saddle-horses.
(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
PARHAM Irish, English
This name has been used amongst the Irish and English. This user's great grandmother came from Ireland and her maiden name was Parham. However, in English (London) it is a habitational name from places in Suffolk and Sussex, named in Old English with pere ‘pear’ + ham ‘homestead’.
Habitational name from a place in Greater Manchester (formerly in Cheshire) called Partington, from Old English Peartingtun 'settlement (tun) associated with Pearta', a personal name not independently recorded.
A place name meaning "pear field" from Old English 'per' with 'lee' or 'lea' meaning a field or clearing, perhaps where land was cleared to cultivate pear trees. Therefore this name denotes someone who lived near or worked at such a location or came from a habitation associated with the name... [more]
Variant of Parley
. This form is found more in northern England, specifically Cumberland and Durham, but is of like derivation.
English habitational name from Parnham in Beaminster, Dorset.
Habitational name from a place in Greater Manchester (formerly in Cheshire) called Partington, from Old English Peartingtun
Habitational name from any of various places called Parton
; most are named with Old English peretun
‘pear orchard’. A famous bearer of the surname is Dolly Parton
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]
Derives from the given name Pat
(t), a short form of the personal name Patrick
from the Latin Patricius meaning "son of a noble father".
Either (i) from the medieval female personal name Pavia
, perhaps from Old French pavie
"peach"; or (ii) "person from Pavia", Italy.
This surname means "son of Pack." Pack may be a survival of the Old English personal name Pacca
or it may have been a Middle English personal name derived from Paschalis
(meaning "relating to Easter"), the Latin form of Pascal.
Probably from a nickname for a showy dresser, from Middle English pe
"peacock" (see Peacock
) and body
"body, person". Alternatively it may be from the name of a Celtic tribe meaning "mountain men" from Brythonic pea
"large hill, mountain" combined with Boadie
, the tribe's earlier name, which meant "great man" (or simply "man") among the Briton and Cambri peoples... [more]
PEACH English (Rare)
Derived from the name of the fruit, which itself derived its name from Late Latin persica, which came from older Latin malum persicum meaning "Persian fruit."
Sir Stuart Edmond Pearks (1875–1931) served as the Chief Commissioner of the North-West Frontier Province of British India from 1930 until 1931. Sourced from Wikipedia.... [more]
Metonymic occupational name for a trader in pearls, which in the Middle Ages were fashionable among the rich for the ornamentation of clothes, from Middle English, Old French perle
(Late Latin perla
a British surname of French origin derived from the pre-9th-century word "pourcel", which described a breeder of animals or a farmer
This surname was given topographically to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. A famous bearer of this surname is actor, comedian, writer, producer, and director Jordan Peele.
PEEVEY Norman, English
Means "a place with a fine view". Composed of the Old French roots beu
, which means "fair" and "lovely", and voir
, which means "to see".
From the name of a place in Hertfordshire, which meant "Peotla
's homestead" in Old English.
PENDARVIS English (American)
The American English spelling of the Cornish surname Pendarves. Ultimately, the surname is traced back to Pendarves Island, Cornwall.
Likely originated from the area Pendlebury, in the Borough of Swindon and Pendlebury in Greater Manchester. Formed from the Celtic pen
meaning "hill" and burh
meaning "settlement".... [more]
From 'Pen Dragon' meaning head dragon or dragons head. This was the name of the king Uther Pendragon who was King Arthurs father
PENNING English, Dutch, Low German
From early Middle English penning
, Low German penning
, and Middle Dutch penninc
, all meaning "penny". It was used as a topographic surname or a nickname referring to tax dues of a penny.
Habitual surname for someone from Pennington, Lancashire; Pennington, Cumbria; or Pennington, Hampshire.
English habitational name from Pennywell in Tyne and Wear or from a similarly named lost place elsewhere.
From Old English pening, penig
meaning "penny (the coin)" and worþ
meaning "enclosure". A notable fictional bearer is Alfred Pennyworth, a DC Comics character notable for being the butler of the superhero Batman.
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]
In textile mills, woven fabric coming off the mill / loom would pass over a frame, or rod, called a 'perch'. It was the job of the 'Percher' to examine the cloth for defects, and repair them when they were found... [more]
PERDUE English, Irish, French
English and Irish from Old French par Dieu
‘by God’, which was adopted in Middle English in a variety of more or less heavily altered forms. The surname represents a nickname from a favorite oath... [more]
PEREGRINE English, Popular Culture
Derived from the given name Peregrine
. A fictional bearer is Alma LeFay Peregrine, a character from the novel "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" (2011) by Ransom Riggs.
A variation of the English name Parham
, based on the village of Parham (one in county Suffolk, another in county Sussex). From the Old English peru
, meaning "pear" (the fruit), and ham
, meaning "homestead".
PERPICH English (American)
Americanized spelling of Croatian and Serbian Prpić
was a term denoting young girls who, in the dry season, would visit houses in the village and pray for rain.
Patronymic surname that was derived from the first name Peter.
From the possessive or plural form of Middle English pytte
‘pit’, ‘hollow’, hence a topographic name for someone who lived by a pit, or a habitational name from a place named with this word, as for example Pett in East Sussex.
PETTY English, Scottish
Derived from Norman French petit
, 'small', thus a nickname for a small or insignificant individual.... [more]
A rare nickname given for someone's appearance of blonde and red hair just as a phoenix has colorful plumage and a tail of gold and scarlet.
From the medieval French male personal name Filibert
, of Germanic origin and meaning literally "very bright, very famous".
PHILLISKIRK English (Rare)
From a 'lost' medieval parish in England or Scotland, named with the Old Norse element kirk
meaning 'church' or 'place of worship'.... [more]
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]
of Norman origin, from the personal name "Pic", here with the diminutive suffixes "et" or "ot", and recorded as "Picot, Pigot" and Piket". The name is ultimately of Germanic derivation, from "pic", meaning "sharp", or "pointed", which was a common element in names meaning for instance, residence near a "pointed hill", use of a particular sharp or pointed tool or weapon, or a nickname for a tall, thin person.
This surnames origins lie with the Anglo-Saxons. It is a product of their having lived in the parish of Pitchford in Shropshire. ... [more]
English (of Norman origin): habitational name from any of various places, for example in Aisne and Calvados, so called from Old French pierre ‘stone’ + pont ‘bridge’.
PIKE English, Irish
English: topographic name for someone who lived by a hill with a sharp point, from Old English pic
‘point’, ‘hill’, which was a relatively common place name element.... [more]
From Middle English pilch
, a metonymic occupational name for a maker or seller of pilches or a nickname for a habitual wearer of these. A pilch (from Late Latin pellicia
, a derivative of pellis
"skin, hide") was a kind of coarse leather garment with the hair or fur still on it.
Occupational name for a maker or seller of pilches, from an agent derivative of Pilch
. In early 17th-century English, pilcher
was a popular term of abuse, being confused or punningly associated with the unrelated verb pilch
"to steal" and with the unrelated noun pilchard
, a kind of fish.
Nickname for a chirpy person, from Middle English pinch, pink ‘(chaf)finch’. Compare Finch. possibly a metonymic occupational name from Middle English pinche ‘pleated fabric’, from Middle English pinche(n) ‘to pinch (pastry)’, ‘to pleat (fabric)’, ‘to crimp (hair, etc.)’, also ‘to cavil’, ‘to be niggardly’.
PINCHES English (British, Rare)
This is one of the very earliest of surnames. This is an English name. First recorded in the 12th century it was a nickname of endearment for a bright, chirpy, person, thought by his peer group to be active like a finch... [more]