Submitted names are contributed by users of this website. The accuracy of these name definitions cannot be guaranteed.
VERNEY English, French
The surname Verney was first found in Buckinghamshire, England, when they arrived from Vernai, a parish in the arrondissement of Bayeux in Normandy.
VICARY English (British)
There are a number of theories as to the origins of the name, Spanish sailors shipwrecked after the Armada and French Huguenots fleeing the Revolution are two of the more romantic ones. It is more likely to have come as someone associated with the church - the vicar, who carried out the pastoral duties on behalf of the absentee holder of a benefice... [more]
Means "son of the vicar". It could also be the name of someone working as a servant of a vicar.
Either (i) from a medieval nickname based on Anglo-Norman vis de leu
, literally "wolf-face"; or (ii) "violinist, fiddle player" (cf. Fiedler
Used as a name for someone who had played the part of Virtue in a medieval mystery play, or as a nickname for someone noted for their virtuousness or (sarcastically) for someone who parades their supposed moral superiority.
VIRTUOSO English (American), Spanish, Italian
This Italian surname could possibly be connected to those whose ancestors were involved in playing a musical instrument or somehow connected to the musical instrument industry.
Topographic name for someone who lived by a boundary, Old French devise
English surname of uncertain origin. May be Anglo-Norman from French vivace
meaning "lively, vigorous", however its pronunciation has led to its connection to various places in southern England called Five Ash Trees.
VIVIS English (Rare)
Found in the 1891, 1901 & 1911 British census, other Ancestry.co.uk records & FreeBMD. Could derive from Vivas from Spanish Catalan
Habitational name from any of various places called Waddington. One near Clitheroe in Lancashire and another in Lincolnshire (Wadintune in Domesday Book) were originally named in Old English as the "settlement" (Old English tūn) associated with Wada.
Location name from Yorkshire meaning "Wæddi's enclosure or settlement" with Wæddi
being an old English personal name of unknown meaning plus the location element -worth
. Notable bearer is Henry
(1807-1882) for whom the middle name was his mother's maiden name.
WAKE English, Scottish
From the Old Norse byname Vakr meaning "wakeful", "vigilant" (from vaka meaning "to remain awake"), or perhaps from a cognate Old English Waca (attested in place names such as Wakeford, Wakeham, and Wakeley).
WAKEHAM English, Cornish
A locational surname for someone who lived in one of three places called Wakeham in various parts of England, including Cornwall and/or Devon.
Habitational name from Wakeley in Hertfordshire, named from the Old English byname Waca
, meaning ‘watchful’ (see Wake) + Old English leah
From the Anglo-Norman male personal name Walquelin
, literally "little Walho
", a Germanic nickname meaning literally "foreigner".
WALD German, English
Topographic name for someone who lived in or near a forest (Old High German wald
, northern Middle English wald
WALDRIP English, Scottish
The name is derived from the Old Norman warderobe
, a name given to an official of the wardrobe, and was most likely first borne by someone who held this distinguished
Habitational name from a place in East Yorkshire named Walkington, from an unattested Old English personal name Walca + -ing- denoting association with + tūn.
WALLAS English, Scottish
A variant of Wallace
. The name originates from Scotland and its meaning is "foreigner" or "from the south", taken to mean someone from Wales or England.
WALLWORK English (British)
Anglo-Saxon name originating from Lancashire, first recorded in Worsley in 1278. May originate from the Old Warke area in Worsley, shown as "Le Wallwerke" in old documents. The surname Walworth
may be related.
Habitational name from Walmer in Kent, so named from Old English wala
(plural of walh
"Briton") + mere "pool", or from Walmore Common in Gloucestershire.
Either (i) from the Old English personal name Wealdwine
, literally "power-friend"; or (ii) perhaps from the medieval personal name Walwain
, the Anglo-Norman form of Old French Gauvain
From a medieval nickname for an ineffectual person (from Middle English wanles
English surname which was derived from a medieval nickname, from Middle English wann
"wan, pale" (see Wann
) and a diminutive suffix.... [more]
WARDEN English, Scottish, Northern Irish
From Norman French wardein
meaning "to guard". It coincides the English word warden
and can be used as an occupational surname for a warden.
Weard ora. Place name in Wilshire. Became Wardour ( see castle & village). Became Warder.
Northern English topographic name for someone living on the banks of the Washburn river in West Yorkshire, so named from the Old English personal name Walc
+ Old English burna
Derived from “gehaeg” meaning “hedge” in Old English which was later changed to Weysthagh then Wastie
Probably means "person from Watney", an unidentified place in England (the second syllable means "island, area of dry land in a marsh"; cf. Rodney
). This surname is borne by Watneys, a British brewery company.
Meaning, "from Waverley (Surrey)" or "from the brushwood meadow." From either waever
meaning "brushwood" or waefre
meaning "flickering, unstable, restless, wandering" combined with leah
meaning "meadow, clearing."
The surname Waycaster is German in origin. It means "roll-eater," and was likely derived from a derisive nickname on a baker.
WEARE English (British)
Derived from the Old English wer
, meaning a "weir, dam, fishing-trap". This was used as an occupational surname for fishermen. Originated in Devon, England.... [more]
Topographic name or a habitational name from a lost or unidentified place.
WEDMORE English (British)
Habitational name from Wedmore in Somerset, recorded in the 9th century as Wethmor, possibly meaning ‘marsh (Old English mor
) used for hunting (w?the)’.
Originally meant "person from Weekley", Northamptonshire ("wood or clearing by a Romano-British settlement"). British philologist Ernest Weekley (1865-1954) bore this surname.
WEINSTOCK English, German, Hebrew
This surname of WEINSTOCK is the English variant of the German surname WENSTOCK, an occupational name for a producer or seller of wine, derived originally from the Old German WEIN. The name was also adopted by Ashkenazic Jews, largely recollecting the prominence of wine in the Jewish Scriptures and its used in Jewish ceremonies... [more]
Habitational name from Welborne in Norfolk, Welbourn in Lincolnshire, or Welburn in North Yorkshire, all named with Old English wella ‘spring’ + burna ‘stream’.
Meant "one who lives in or near a forest (or in a deforested upland area)", from Middle English wold
"forest" or "cleared upland". A famous bearer is American actress Tuesday Weld (1943-).
English surname meaning "Lives by the spring by the ford"
Topographic name for someone who lived near a spring or stream, Middle English well(e)
(Old English well(a)
WELLER English, German
Either from the Olde English term for a person who extracted salt from seawater, or from the English and German "well(e)," meaning "someone who lived by a spring or stream."... [more]
Habitational name from any of the three places named Wellington, in Herefordshire, Shropshire, and Somerset. All are most probably named with an unattested Old English personal name Weola
+ -ing- (implying association with) + tun
Habitational name from any of various places named Welton, for example in Cumbria, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, and East Yorkshire, from Old English well(a)
‘spring’, ‘stream’ + tun
Habitational name from places in Cambridgeshire and South Yorkshire called Wentworth, probably from the Old English byname Wintra
meaning ‘winter’ + Old English worð
‘enclosure’. It is, however, also possible that the name referred to a settlement inhabited only in winter.
English British surname originating as a place name. There are several Westbury villages, parishes and even Manors across England that have given the name Westbury to people who take up residence in or come from those places... [more]
WESTEN English, Scottish
Habitational name from any of numerous places named Weston, from Old English west 'west' + tun 'enclosure', 'settlement'. English: variant of Whetstone.
The name is originated from a term meaning 'winds from the West'. The name could be given to someone who is born in the west.
WESTERMAN English, American
Derived from Old English westerne
meaning "western" and mann
meaning "man", thus making it a topographic surname for someone who lived west of a settlement, or a regional surname for someone who had moved to the west... [more]
Topographic name for someone who lived near a west gate in a city, or a habitual surname for someone from Westgate. It is derived from Middle English west
meaning "west" and gate
"gate" (or "street" in northern and eastern areas; from Old Norse gata
Combination of Old English west
"west" and tun
WESTROP English (British)
Viking name local to Somerset and several counties in the North East of England. Approximate meaning "place to the west of the village with the church".
WESTWOOD English, Scottish
Habitational name from any of numerous places named Westwood, from Old English west
"west" and wudu
Derived from an Olde English pre 7th Century river name Woefer
Old English location or occupational surname meaning "from the wheat meadow".
Habitational name from a place in Derbyshire named Wheeldon, from Old English hweol ‘wheel’ (referring perhaps to a rounded shape) + dun ‘hill’, or from Whielden in Buckinghamshire, which is named with hweol + denu ‘valley’.
Means "person from Whinneray", Cumbria, or "person who lives in a nook of land growing with gorse" (in either case from Old Norse hvin
"whin, gorse" + vrá
"nook of land"). It was borne by New Zealand rugby player Sir Wilson Whineray (1935-2012).
English surname of uncertain meaning. It might be a shortened form of “whippletree”; an early name for the dogwood. It may also be a variation of Whipp – an early surname for someone who carried out judicial punishments.
An English occupational surname, meaning "one who whistles."
English surname which was from either of two place names, that of a port in North Yorkshire (which comes from the Old Norse elements hvítr
"white" (or Hvíti
, a byname derived from it) combined with býr
"farm") or a place in Cheshire (from Old English hwit
"white" (i.e., "stone-built") and burh
WHITEHEAD English, Scottish
Nickname for someone with fair or prematurely white hair, from Middle English whit
"white" and heved
the origin of this surname started in England where people were called Whitehouse when they painted their houses white.
It is locational from any or all of the places called Whitfield in the counties of Derbyshire, Kent, Northamptonshire and Northumberland, or from the villages called Whitefield in Lancashire, the Isle of Wight and Gloucestershire.
Means "person from Whitgift", Yorkshire ("Hvítr's dowry"). This surname was borne by Anglican churchman John Whitgift (?1530-1604), archbishop of Canterbury 1583-1604 (in addition, Whitgift School is an independent day school for boys in South Croydon, founded in 1595 by John Whitgift; and Whitgift Centre is a complex of shops and offices in the middle of Croydon, Greater London, on a site previously occupied by Whitgift School).
From a medieval nickname for a mild-mannered person (from Middle English whit
"white" + lam
"lamb"). This surname is borne by Australian Labour politician Gough Whitlam (1916-), prime minister 1972-75.
This surname is derived from a place name composed of Old English elements hwit
meaning "white" and leah
meaning "clearing, grove."
Nickname for someone with white or fair hair, from Middle English whit
‘white’ + lock
‘tress’, ‘curl’. Compare Sherlock
. ... [more]
white hill” place name from east side of country in lower Northumbria perhaps? Or perhaps next lower shire.
From Middle English whit
‘white’ + man
‘man’, either a nickname with the same sense as White
, or else an occupational name for a servant of a bearer of the nickname White
English habitational name from Whitemarsh, a place in the parish of Sedgehill, Wiltshire, named from Old English hwit
‘white’ (i.e. ‘phosphorescent’) + mersc
‘marsh’. Compare Whitmore
From the medieval female personal name Wyburgh
, literally "war-fortress". (Cf. Germanic cognate Wigburg
WICK English, German
English: topographic name for someone who lived in an outlying settlement dependent on a larger village, Old English wic (Latin vicus), or a habitational name from a place named with this word, of which there are examples in Berkshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset, and Worcestershire... [more]
A habitational surname that originates from a lost medieval site or village of Norse origins.... [more]
Two separate surnames, joined together to form Wicksey, when the Vikings invaded England. The name means "Dairy Farmer on the Marsh".
From the Old English male personal name Wihtgār
, literally "elf-spear".
Either (i) from the Germanic male personal name Wīgant
, literally "warrior", introduced into England by the Normans; or (ii) from the Breton male personal name Wiucon
, literally "worthy-noble", introduced into England by the Normans.
"Wight" in Anglo-saxon could refer to a "soul," a "being," or to "courage." It is similar to the different meanings of the words "spirit" and "spirited." ... [more]
Means "person from Wilberfoss", Yorkshire ("Wilburh
's ditch"). This is borne by Wilberforce University, a university in Xenia, Ohio, USA, founded in 1856 and named in honour of the British philanthropist and anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce (1759-1833)... [more]
Denoted a person hailing from Wilbraham in Cambridgeshire, England. The place name itself means "Wilburg
's homestead or estate" in Old English, Wilburg or Wilburga allegedly referring to a 7th-century Anglo-Saxon princess who was given the lands later called Wilbraham by her father, King Penda of Mercia.
A habitation name of uncertain origin found in the East Midlands. Speculation includes the possibility of the meaning "well" and "burn, borne" therefore meaning one who lived near a well or spring by a waterway crossing.
WILD Medieval English, English, German, Jewish
English: from Middle English wild
‘wild’, ‘uncontrolled’ (Old English wilde
), hence a nickname for a man of violent and undisciplined character, or a topographic name for someone who lived on a patch of overgrown uncultivated land.... [more]
The former placename is composed of the Olde English pre 7th Century words "wilg", willow, and "denu", a valley; while the latter place in Worcestershire is derived from the Olde English personal name "Winela", plus the Olde English "dun", a hill or mountain.
Occupational name for a trapper or hunter, from Middle English wile
"trap, snare". It could also be a nickname for a devious person.
WILK Polish, Scottish, English
Polish: from Polish wilk
‘wolf’, probably from an Old Slavic personal name containing this element, but perhaps also applied as a nickname for someone thought to resemble a wolf or connected with wolves.... [more]
Habitational name from a place named Willingham, notably one in Cambridgeshire and one in Suffolk. The first is recorded in Domesday Book as Wivelingham
"homestead (Old English hām
) of the people of a man called Wifel
From the medieval male personal name Willoc
, a pet-form based on the first syllable of any of a range of Old English compound names beginning with willa
Perhaps a deliberate alteration of Impey
. It is borne by George Wimpey, a British construction company, founded in Hammersmith, London in 1880 by George Wimpey (1855-1913). A fictional bearer of the variant Wimpy
is J. Wellington Wimpy, a character in the 'Popeye' cartoons of Elzie C. Segar who is always portrayed eating a hamburger.
from Old English wencel ‘child’, perhaps used to distinguish a son from his father with the same forename or perhaps a nickname for a person with a baby face or childlike manner
WIND English, German, Danish
Nickname for a swift runner, from Middle English wind
"wind", Middle High German wint
"wind", also "greyhound".
Topographic name for someone who lived near a pathway, alleyway, or road, Old English (ge)wind
WINDHAM English, Irish (Anglicized)
English habitational name from Wyndham in West Sussex, near West Grinstead, probably named from an unattested Old English personal name Winda
+ Old English hamm
‘water meadow’; or from Wymondham in Leicestershire and Norfolk, named from the Old English personal name Wigmund
) + Old English ham
English location name meaning "from a white ford or water crossing" or "from a meadow ford".
From the Old English personal name Winfrith
, literally "friend-peace". A famous bearer of this surname is Oprah Winfrey (1954-), a US television talk-show presenter.
WINNE Dutch, English
Dutch: occupational name for an agricultural worker, Middle Low German winne ‘peasant’. ... [more]
Derived from an unattested Old English given name, *Wyngeofu
, composed of the elements wyn
"joy" and geofu
WINNICK English (Rare)
Habitational name for someone from a place called Winwick, for example in Northamptonshire or Cambridgeshire, both of which are named from the Old English personal name Wina + wic 'outlying dairy farm or settlement'.
Means "person from Winstanley", Lancashire ("Wynnstān's glade", Wynnstān
being an Old English male personal name, literally "joy-stone"; cf. Winston
). It was borne by English communist Gerrard Winstanley (?1609-60), leader of the Diggers.
WINTERBOURNE English (British)
Probably meaning "winter stream". A large village in Gloucestershire, From the Thomas Hardy novel "The Woodlanders".
Nickname for a wise or learned person, or in some cases a nickname for someone suspected of being acquainted with the occult arts, from Middle English wise
"wise" (Old English wis
). This name has also absorbed Dutch Wijs
, a nickname meaning "wise", and possibly cognates in other languages.
Topographic name for someone who lived by a water meadow or marsh, Middle English wyshe (Old English wisc). Americanized spelling of Wisch.
WITEK Polish, English (Rare)
from the personal name Wit
, a short form of Witold
, a derivative of Lithuanian Vytautas, a compound of vyti 'to guide' + tauta 'the people'. from a pet form of another personal name Wit
with a different etymology, namely a derivative of Latin Vitus
, from vita 'life'... [more]
"Withall" comes from the village of "Cornwall" called "Withiel." There is also a connection to an aristocratic level, in the 15th at Henry VII court a noble man and knight went under the family name "Wit-hall"... [more]
WOLFHARD English (Modern, Rare)
This name derives from the Old High German name “Wolfhard”, composed of two elements: the “*-wulfaz” (wolf) plus “*harduz / *hardu-” (hard, strong, brave, valiant, powerful one). In turn the name means “the one who is strong like a wolf”.
From the medieval male personal name Wolfet
(from Old English Wulfgēat
, literally "wolf-Geat" (the name of a Germanic people)). This surname was borne by Sir Donald Wolfit (1902-1968), a British actor and manager.
From the medieval male personal name Wulsi
(from Old English Wulfsige
, literally "wolf-victory"). A famous bearer of the surname was English churchman and statesman Thomas Wolsey (Cardinal Wolsey), ?1475-1530.
From the Middle English personal name Wolfstan
, Old English Wulfstan
, composed of the elements wulf
‘wolf’ + stan
stone or a habitational name from any of a large number of places called Woolston(e) or Wollston, all of which are named with Old English personal names containing the first element Wulf
(Wulfheah, Wulfhelm, Wulfric, Wulfsige, and Wulfweard) + Old English tun
Originated in old England and likely linked to the town of Woodbridge in Suffolk, East Anglia, United Kingdom. Well known Woodbridge's include the Australian Tennis player Todd Woodbridge. There was a famous lineage of six English John Woodbridge's in the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries, all Church ministers... [more]
surname used as a first name. The name means "dweller by a fold in the woods" - in this case, "fold" means "sheep-pen".... [more]
Occupational name for a woodcutter or a forester (compare Woodward
), or topographic name for someone who lived in the woods. ... [more]
From a rare Anglo-Saxon personal name meaning "bold as Wade" and meant to honor the legendary Germanic sea-giant named Wade