PASSMOREEnglish 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]
PAVEYEnglish Either (i) from the medieval female personal name Pavia, perhaps from Old French pavie "peach"; or (ii) "person from Pavia", Italy.
PAXSONEnglish 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.
PEABODYEnglish 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]
PEARKSEnglish 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]
PEARLEnglish 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).
PEARSALLEnglish a British surname of French origin derived from the pre-9th-century word "pourcel", which described a breeder of animals or a farmer
PEASEEnglish English: from Middle English pese ‘pea’, hence a metonymic occupational name for a grower or seller of peas, or a nickname for a small and insignificant person. The word was originally a collective singular (Old English peose, pise, from Latin pisa) from which the modern English vocabulary word pea is derived by folk etymology, the singular having been taken as a plural.
PEELEEnglish 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.
PEEVEYNorman, 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".
PENDLEBURYEnglish 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]
PENNINGEnglish, 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.
PENNINGTONEnglish Habitational surname denoting someone originally from any of the various locations in England named Pennington, derived from Old English penning meaning "penny" (used as a byname or from a tribute due on the land) and tun meaning "town".
PENNYWELLEnglish English habitational name from Pennywell in Tyne and Wear or from a similarly named lost place elsewhere.
PENNYWORTHEnglish 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.
PEPYSEnglish 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"... [more]
PERCHEREnglish 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]
PERDUEEnglish, 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]
PEREGRINEEnglish, 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.
PERHAMEnglish 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".
PETTISEnglish From the possessive or plural form of Middle English pytte, pitte ‘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.
PHOENIXEnglish 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]
PICKERSGILLEnglish This famous Yorkshire name is of early medieval English origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place in West Yorkshire called Pickersgill, or "Robber's Ravine". The placename is derived from the Middle English "pyker", thief, robber, and "gill", gully, ravine, deep glen.
PICKETTEnglish 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.
PICKFORDEnglish This surnames origins lie with the Anglo-Saxons. It is a product of their having lived in the parish of Pitchford in Shropshire. ... [more]
PIGGEnglish Derived from Middle English pigge meaning "young hog".
PIKEEnglish, 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]
PILCHEnglish 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.
PILCHEREnglish 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.
PINALEnglish, Spanish (Rare) The name is derived from when the family resided near a place where vennel grew. Vennel was a herb used for cooking. Other sources list the name as a local name derived from the term at the vennel.
PINCHEnglish 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’.
PINCHESEnglish (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]
PINCKNEYEnglish The surname Pinckney originally denoted someone from Picquigny, France, which derives from a Germanic personal name, Pincino (of obscure derivation) and the Latin locative suffix -acum... [more]
PINKEnglish, German Nickname, possibly for a small person, from Middle English pink penkg ‘minnow’ (Old English pinc).English (southeastern): variant of PINCH .Variant spelling of German PINCK, an indirect occupational name for a blacksmith, an onomatopoeic word imitating the sound of hammering which was perceived as pink(e)pank... [more]
PINKHAMEnglish habitational name from a lost or unidentified place in or bordering on Devon
PINNEnglish, German A metonymic occupational name for a maker of pins or pegs, which is from Middle English pin and Middle Low German pinne meaning ‘pin’ or ‘peg’. In some cases, the German name was an metonymic occupational name for a shoemaker.
PINNEnglish (British) A topographic or habitational name from a place named with Middle English pinne, meaning ‘hill’ (Old English penn).
PITCHEREnglish, German From an agent derivative of Middle English pich ‘pitch’, hence an occupational name for a caulker, one who sealed the seams of ships or barrels with pitch. English variant of Pickard... [more]
PLAYFAIREnglish 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]
PLAZAEnglish From the english word "plaza". A mostly famous bearer is actress Aubrey Plaza (1984-)
PLEASANCEEnglish Either (i) from the medieval female personal name Plaisance, literally "pleasantness"; or (ii) "person from Piacenza", Italy (from Latin Placentia, literally "pleasing things").
PLUMEnglish, German, Jewish English and North German: from Middle English plum(b)e, Middle Low German plum(e) ‘plum’, hence a topographic name for someone who lived by a plum tree, or a metonymic occupational name for a fruit grower... [more]
PLUMERGerman, English, Dutch North German (Plümer) and English: variant of PLUM, the suffix -er denoting habitation or occupation. Altered form of South German Pflümer, an occupational name for a grower or seller of plums, from an agent derivative of Middle High German pflume ‘plum’... [more]
PLUMMEREnglish 1. Occupational name for a worker in lead, especially a maker of lead pipes and conduits, from Anglo-Norman French plom(m)er, plum(m)er ‘plumber’, from plom(b), plum(b) ‘lead’ (Latin plumbum)... [more]
POBJOYEnglish From a medieval nickname for someone thought to resemble a parrot, from Middle English papejai, popinjay "parrot". This probably denoted someone who was talkative or who dressed in bright colours, although it may have described a person who excelled at the medieval sport of pole archery, i.e. shooting at a wooden parrot on a pole.
POEEnglish 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.
POLANDEnglish, German, French (Anglicized), Irish (Anglicized) English and German name is derived from the Middle High German Polan, which means "Poland". The surname originally signified a person with Polish connections.This French surname originated from an occupational name of a poultry breeder, or from a fearful person; it is derived from the Old French poule, which means "chicken".In other cases, particularly in Ireland, the English Poland is a variant of Polin,which is in turn an Anglicised form of the original Gaelic spelling of Mac Póilín, which translated from Irish means "son of little Paul"... [more]
PONCESpanish, English The Ponce name was carried into England after the migration from Normandy following the Norman Conquest of 1066.'Ponce' is derived from 'Ponsoby',a place in Cumberland, where the family settled. The Ponce motto is 'Pro rege, lege grege' meaning "For the King, law, and people"
POOLEnglish Topographic name for someone who lived near a pool or pond, Middle English pole (Old English pōl), or a habitational name from any of the places named with this word, as for example Poole in Dorset, South Pool in Devon, and Poole Keynes in Gloucestershire.
POOLEYEnglish Habitational name from Pooley Bridge in Cumbria, so named from Old English pol ‘pool’ + Old Norse haugr ‘hill’, ‘mound’. topographic name from Middle English pole ‘pool’ + ey ‘low-lying land’ or hey ‘enclosure’
POPPEnglish Derived from an Old English personal name, Poppa, of unknown origin and meaning.
PORTUGALSpanish, Portuguese, English, Catalan, French, Jewish Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, English, French, and Jewish surname meaning ethnic name or regional name for someone from Portugal or who had connections with Portugal. The name of the country derives from Late Latin Portucale, originally denoting the district around Oporto (Portus Cales, named with Latin portus ‘port’, ‘harbor’ + Cales, the ancient name of the city)... [more]
POSEYEnglish, French Derived from the Greek word "desposyni." The Desposyni is a term referring to a group of people that are allegedly direct blood relatives to Jesus. They are mentioned in Mark 3:21 and Mark 3:31. American actress Parker Posey is a famous bearer.
PRIOREnglish Occupational surname for a prior (a high-ranking official in a monastery), ultimately from Latin prior meaning "superior, first".
PRIVETTFrench, English, Welsh (?) French, from the given name Privat (see PRIVATUS). Also an English habitational name from a place so named in Hampshire, derived from Old English pryfet "privet".
PROCTOREnglish Occupational name from Middle English prok(e)tour "steward" (reduced from Old French procurateour, Latin procurator "agent", from procurare "to manage"). The term was used most commonly of an attorney in a spiritual court, but also of other officials such as collectors of taxes and agents licensed to collect alms on behalf of lepers and enclosed orders of monks.
PROPHETEnglish, Scottish, French, German Scottish, English, French, and German: nickname from Middle English and Old French prophete, Middle High German prophet ‘prophet’, ‘seer’, ultimately from Greek prophetes ‘predictor’, from pro ‘before’ + a derivative of phemi ‘to speak’... [more]
PROVOSTEnglish, French Derived from the Middle English provost; referring to the person who heads a religious chapter in a cathedral or educational establishment. It was also used as a nickname for a self-important person and is a French variant of Prevost.
PRUDEEnglish (American) This surname comes from the English word prude. The definition for the word prude is a person who is or claims to be easily shocked by matters relating to sex or nudity.
PRUDHOMMEFrench, English, Norman, Medieval French French (Prud’homme) and English (of Norman origin): nickname from Old French prud’homme ‘wise’, ‘sensible man’, a cliché term of approbation from the chivalric romances. It is a compound of Old French proz, prod ‘good’, with the vowel influenced by crossing with prudent ‘wise’ + homme ‘man’... [more]
PRUEEnglish, French English: nickname for a redoubtable warrior, from Middle English prou(s) ‘brave’, ‘valiant’ (Old French proux, preux).... [more]
PRUETTEnglish Derived from the Middle English word "prou," meaning "brave," or "valiant," with the addition of either of two common diminutive suffixes: "-et" or "-ot." As such, this name is thought to have originally been a nickname for someone small, but brave.
PRYNNEEnglish Derived from an Anglo-Norman form of the Late Latin name PRIMUS. A fictional bearer is Hester Prynne, the protagonist of Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel 'The Scarlet Letter' (1850).
PUCKETTEnglish Of uncertain origin; perhaps a variant of Pocket(t), from a diminutive of Anglo-Norman French poque "small pouch", hence a metonymic occupational name for a maker of purses and pouches or a nickname... [more]
PUDDEPHATEnglish From a medieval nickname for someone with a roly-poly physique (from Middle English puddy fat "round-bellied vat").
PUSEYEnglish Habitational name from Pusey in Oxfordshire (formerly in Berkshire), so called from Old English peose, piosu ‘pea(s)’ + ēg ‘island’, ‘low-lying land’, or from Pewsey in Wiltshire, recorded in Domesday Book as Pevesie, apparently from the genitive case of an Old English personal name Pefe, not independently attested + Old English ēg ‘island’.
PUTTICKEnglish (British) A variant spelling of the Sussex surname Puttock from the Village of Puttock, which itself derives from the Old English "Puttocke" a bird of prey, the kite. ... [more]
PYBURNEnglish (?) Apparently from some lost or minor place so named. 1881 British census has 109; KH.
PYGALLEnglish (Hellenized, Rare) From ancient Greek for rump, associations with prostitution across Europe, commonly given to illegitimate children of prostitutes, found especially in North East England and Nottinghamshire.
PYKEEnglish Most likely originates from the words pike (the weapon or the fish), having to do with fishermen or soldiers, or pick, having to do with miners or somebody who tills the ground.
PYLEEnglish From the Middle English word pile, meaning "stake" or "post", which is derived via Old English from Latin pilum, meaning "spike" or "javelin". This was a topographic name for someone who lived near a stake or post serving as a landmark, a metonymic occupational name for a stake maker, or a nickname for a tall, strong man.
PYMEnglish Recorded in several forms including Pim, Pimm, Pimme, PYM, and Pymm, this is a surname which at various times has been prominent in the history of England... [more]
PYNEEnglish Means "pine" from the Old French pin. This was originally given as a topographical name for someone who lived by a conspicuous pine tree or in a pine forest.
QUAILEnglish, Manx A variant of Quayle, derived from various patronymics meaning "son of Paul". Alternately, an English nickname derived from the bird, perhaps given to a person who was timid, or known for being promiscuous.
QUANTRELLEnglish From a medieval nickname for an elegantly or flamboyantly dressed person (from Middle English quointerel "dandy, fop", from quointe "known, knowledgeable, crafty, elegant").
QUARRYEnglish From Middle English quarey "quarry", a topographic name for someone who lived near a stone quarry, or a metonymic occupational name for someone who worked in one. ... [more]
QUARTERMAINEnglish 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]
QUELCHEnglish (British) Mid 16th Century variant of the name Wels(c)he, Welsh or Welch, itself deriving from the Middle English "walsche", Celtic, foreign, (Olde English "woelisc", a derivative of "wealh", foreign), and originally given as a distinguishing nickname to a Celt... [more]
QUENBYEnglish English: of uncertain origin; perhaps a variant of Quarmby, a habitational name from a place so called in West Yorkshire.
QUENNELLEnglish 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.
RADFORDEnglish Habitational name from any of the various places so named, for example in Devon, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, and Hereford and Worcester. Most are named from Old English read "red" + ford "ford", but it is possible that in some cases the first element may be a derivative of Old English ridan "to ride", with the meaning "ford that can be crossed on horseback".
RAINBIRDEnglish From the Old French male personal name Rainbert, of Germanic origin and meaning literally "counsel-bright" (cf. RAGINBERT)... [more]
RAINBOWEnglish From the Old French male personal name Rainbaut, of Germanic origin and meaning literally "counsel-brave" (cf. RAGINBALD)... [more]
RAINWATEREnglish (American) Americanized form of the German family name Reinwasser, possibly a topographic name for someone who lived by a source of fresh water, from Middle High German reine ‘pure’ + wazzer ‘water’.
RAISBECKEnglish Raisbeck is a hamlet in the civil parish of Orton, in the Eden district, in the county of Cumbria, England. The surname Raisbeck originates from the hamlet. The name of the hamlet derives from Hrridarr, a personal name and beck, a stream or river.
RALPHEnglish From a Middle English personal name composed of Germanic rad "counsel, advice" and wolf "wolf". This was first introduced into England by Scandinavian settlers in the Old Norse form Ráðulfr, and was reinforced after the Conquest by the Norman form Ra(d)ulf... [more]
RAMBERTEnglish From the Old French male personal name Rainbert (see RAINBIRD). It was borne by Dame Marie Rambert (original name Cyvia Rabbam, later Miriam Rambach; 1888-1982), a Polish-born British ballet dancer and choreographer.
RAMSBOTTOMEnglish (British) Denoted a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. It is also a habitational name from a market town named Ramsbottom, located in Greater Manchester, England.
RANDOLPHEnglish, German Classicized spelling of Randolf, a Germanic personal name composed of the elements rand "rim (of a shield), shield" and wolf "wolf". This was introduced into England by Scandinavian settlers in the Old Norse form Rannúlfr, and was reinforced after the Norman Conquest by the Norman form Randolf.
RANGEREnglish, German, French English: occupational name for a gamekeeper or warden, from Middle English ranger, an agent derivative of range(n) ‘to arrange or dispose’.... [more]
RANNELLSEnglish Patronymic from the Middle English personal name Rannulf, Ranel, of continental Germanic origin.