An Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language/Personal names and surnames

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An Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language  (1911)  by Alexander MacBain
Personal names and surnames


Adam, G. Adhamh, Ahū (Fer. MS.), Awzoe (D. of L.), E Ir. Adam, O. Ir. Adim (g); from Hebrew Adam, red. Hence Macadam, M'Caw, and from Dial. G. Adaidh (a diminutive from Sc.) M'Cadie, M'Adaidh.

Adamnan, G. Adhmhnan (pronounced Yownan or Yōnan), earlier Adhamhnan (Oghamhnan, M'V.), E. Ir. Adamnán, Lat. Adamnanus (seventh cent.), St Adamnan (died 704 a.d.), "little Adam," a Gaelic diminutive from Adam. Hence the personal name Gilleownan (1495), Giolla-Adhamhnáin, father of Somerled (twelfth cent.), Gilla-agamnan (1467 MS.), whence Skene deduces the Mac-lennans, q.v.

Alexander, G. Alasdair, Allexr (D. of L.), Alaxandair, (1467 MS.), M. Ir. Alaxandair; from Lat, Alexander, from Gr. Αλέξανδρος, "defending men." Hence G. M'Alasdair, Mac-alister; further Mac-andie (from Sandy).

Allan, G. Ailean, E. Ir. Ailéne, Adamnan's Ailenus, from al, rock? The Norman Alan, whence Scotch Allan mostly, is O. Br. Alan, Alamnus, Nennius Alanus, from Alemannus, the German tribe name—"All Men." Cf. Norman, Frank, Dugall, Fingall. Hence Mac-allan.

Alpin, G. Ailpein, E. Ir. Alpin (Dalriadic king 693): from Pictish or Welsh sources—M. W. Elphin, Elfin, which Stokes suggests to be from Lat. Albinus, from albus, white (or allied rather?). Hence G. M'Ailpein, Mac-alpine.

Andrew, G. Aindrea (Anndra, Dial.). Gilleanndrais, Eng. Gillanders, St. Andrew's gille, M. G. Andro (D. of L.), Ainnrias, Gille-ainnrias (1467 MS.), E. Ir. Andrias; from Lat. Andreas, g. Andreæ, from Gr. Ἀνδρέας, a reduced double-stemmed name now showing only ἀνδρ-, man (see neart). Hence Mac-andrew, Gillanders, Anderson.

Angus, G. Aonghas, Ir. Aonghus, g. Aonghusa, E. Ir. Oengus, O. Ir. Oingus, W., Cor. Ungust: Oino-gustu-s, "unique choice," from aon and gus, choice (Eng. choose, Lat. gustus, taste, as in G. tagh). Hence M'Aonghuis, Mae-innes: further M'Ainsh.

Archibald, G. Gilleasbuig, Bishop's gille (see easbuig in Dict.), M. G. Gillespik (D. of L.), Gilla-espic (1467 MS.). Hence Gillespie. The name Archibald, Ag. S. Arcebald, Arcenbald or Ercenbald, which vaguely means "right-bold" (O. H. G. erchen, right, real), has no apparent connection with Gillespie in meaning or origin (cf. similarly Ludovic and Maoldomhnuich).

Arthur, G. Artair, M. G. Artuir, E. Ir. Artuir, Artur, Ir. Lat. Arturius, son of Ædan (Adamnan), W. Arthur, to which the Lat. Artorius (Juvenal) has been compared and suggested as its source (it being maintained that the Gens Artoria of Yorkshire lasted from Roman to Domesday-Book times, where Artor appears in the days of Edward the Confessor). If native to Brittonic (which is probable), it is from *arto-s, a bear, W. arth, O. Ir. art, whence the names Art, Artgal, Artbran. Rhys prefers to render the *arto- as "cultor," from ar, plough (Arth. Leg., 40-48), allying Arthur to the idea of a "Culture God." Hence G. M'Artair, Mac-arthur.

Bain, from G. bàn, white. The Bains of Tulloch appear in the sixteenth century variously as Bay tie or Bane, with a contemporary near them called John Makferquhair M'Gillebane (1555). This last name is now M'Ille-bhàin', "Fair-gille," rendered into Eng. by Whyte; whence also M'Gilvane.

Bartholomew, G. Parlan, Ir. Parthalon, E. Ir. Partholón, Lat. Partholomœus or Bartholomœus (Nennius, ninth cent.), the name of a personage who is represented as the first invader of Ireland after the Flood (278 years after!). The p proves the name to be non-Gadelic; and as the historians take Partholon from Spain, the Spanish Bar Tolemon of legend has been suggested as the original. Prof. Rhys thought it came from the Ivernians or Pre-Celtic race in Ireland. Hence the Clan Mac-farlane, G. M'Pharlain.

Brown, G. M'A'-Bhriuthainn, M. G. M'abhriuin (1408 Gaelic Charter), from britheamhain, the former (Sc. Gaelic) genitive of britheamh, judge, q.v. Hence Mac-brayne.

Cameron, G. Camshron, Camaran, M. G. Cámsroin, g. (M'V.), Camronaich (D. of L.), Gillacamsroin (1467 MS.), Charter Eng. Camroun (1472); explained as from càm-sròn, "wry-nose," which is the most probable explanation (cf. caimbeul, E. Ir. cerrbél, wry mouth). Connection with camerarius or chamberlain (of Scotland) unlikely, or with the fourteenth century De Cambruns or Cameron parish in Fife.

Campbell, G. Caimbeul, M. G. Cambel (1467 MS.), Cambell (1266, etc.), from cambél, wry-mouthed (càm and beul; see Cameron). There is no De Cambel in the numerous early references, but De Campo-bello appears in 1320 as a Latin form and an etymology; this, however, should naturally be De Bello-campo as Norman-French idiom and Latin demand—a form we have in Beau-champ and Beecham. De Campello or De Campellis (little plain) has been suggested; but unfortunately for these derivations the earliest forms show no de: Cambell was an epithet, not a place-name.

Carmichael, G. M'Gillemhicheil, Son of the gille of St Michael, M. G. Gillamichol (1467 MS.), O.G. Gillemicel (B. of Deer). The name Carmichael is really Lowland—from the Parish name of Carmichael in Lanark (Michael's caer or cathair, q.v.).

Cattanach, Chattan, G. Catanach, M. G. plural Cattanich (D. of L.), "belonging to Clan Chattan," Clann Gillacatan (1467), which claims descent from Gillacatain (1467 MS.), servant of St Catan, whose name denotes "little cat" (see cat).

Charles, G. Tearlach, M. Ir. Toirrdhealbhach (Maclean Genealogy), Englished as Tirlagh and Turlough, E. Ir. Toirdelbach, Latinised and explained as Turri-formis, "Tower-shaped," but the toir in Gaelic took the phonetics of the prefix tair, super, and hence the modern G. form. Hence M'Kerlie.

Chisholm, G. Siosal, Siosalach, De Chesholme (thirteenth century documents), De Cheseholme (1254), a Border name, the placename Chisholm being in Roxburgh: Ches-holm (a holm, but Ches?).

Clark, G. Cleireach; see cléireach in Dict. Also M'A'-Chléirich, whence Galwegian M'Chlery.
Coll, G. Colla, M. G. Colla (M'V., 1467 MS.), E. Ir. Colla: *Col-navo-s, from col, cel, high, as in Celtæ (see above).

Colin, G. Cailean, M. G. Callane (D. of L.), Cailin (1467 MS.), Colinus (Lat. of 1292). This is a personal name, once more or less peculiar to the Campbells, the Chief being always in Gaelic M'Cailein. Its relation to Eng. and Continental Colin is doubtful. Cf. Coileán, "whelp," and personal name; the G. is a dialectic form of old coileán (see Fol.), cuilean, whelp.

Crerar, G. Criathrar, the name of a Lochtay-side clan who regard themselves as Mackintoshes, explaining the name as "riddler," from criathar (which see in Dict.): the derivation is right, but for the meaning compare the Eng. noun and name Sieve(w)right. See Celt. Mag.6, 38.
Cumming, G. Cuimein, Cuimeanach, earliest Eng. form Comyn, a Norman family dating from the Conquest, belonging to the Norman house of De Comines, a territorial designation.
David, G. Daibhidh (Classical), Dàidh (C.S.); hence Clann Dàidh or the Davidsons, a branch of the Clan Chattan. In C.S., Davidson appears as Déibhiosdan.

Dermid, G. Diarmad, M. G. Dermit (D. of L.), Diarmada, gen. (1467 MS.), E. Ir. Diarmait, O. Ir. Diarmuit, Diarmit, Ir. Lat. Diormitius (Adamnan). Zimmer explains the name as Día-ermit, “God-reverencing,” from dia and ermit: *are-ment‑, “on-minding,” root ment, as in dearmad, q.v.

Dewar, G. Deòir, Deòireach, documents Doïre (1487), Jore (1428); from deòradh, a pilgrim, q.v. Hence Macindeor.

Donald, G. Domhnall, M. G. Domnall (1467 MS.), gen. Donil (D. of L.), O. G. Domnall (B. of Deer), E. Ir. Domnall, Ir. Lat. Domnallus (Adamnan), Domnail (do., ablative), Early W. Dumngual, later Dyfnwal: *Dumnovalo‑s, from dubno- of domhan, and valo- (see flath), meaning “world-wielder, world-ruler,” much the same in meaning as Dumnorix, world-king, Caesar’s opponent among the Aedui. See domhan, flath. Hence M‘Dhòmhnuill, Mac-donald.

Duff, M. Ir. Dubh (Clann Dubh, Clan Duff, of which was Mac-beth, etc.), earlier Dub, King Duff in tenth century; from Gadelic dub, now dubh, black, q.v. As a personal name, it is a curtailment of some longer or double-stemmed name (cf. Fionn, Flann, red). Hence Macduff (Clen mc Duffe, 1384). The family name Duff is merely the adjective dubh used epithetically.

Duffy, Ir. Dubhthaigh; see Mac-phee.

Dugald, G. Dùghall, M. G. Dowgall, g. Dowle (D. of L.), Dubgaill, gen. (1467 MS.), thirteenth century documents give Dugald (1289), Dufgal (1261), M. Ir. Dubgall (first recorded Dubgall is at 912 a.d.), from Early Ir. Dubgall, a Dane, “Black stranger,” as opposed to Finngall, a Norwegian, “Fair foreigner.” See, for derivation, fionn and Gall. Hence M‘Dhughaill, Mac-dougall, Mac-dowel, etc.

Duncan, G. Donnchadh (Dial. Donnach), M. G. Duncha (D. of L.), Donnchaid, gen. (1467 MS.), O. G. Donchad (B. of Deer), E. Ir. Donnchad: *Donno-catu‑s, *Dunno-catu‑s, “Brown warrior,” from donn and cath, q.v. The Gaulish Donno- of personal names has been referred by De Jubainville to the same meaning and origin as M. Ir. donn, king, judge, noble—a word occurring in O’Davoren’s glossary.

Edward, G. Éideard (Éudard, Dial.), Imhear, Iomhar; the first is the Eng. Edward borrowed, the second is the Norse Ivarr borrowed (see Mac-iver). Hence M‘Éideard, M‘Edward.

Ewrn, G. Eoghann (Dial. Eoghainn), M. G. Eoyan, Eoghan, E. Ir., 0. Ir. Eoyan: *Avi-y<»w-s (*Avigenos, Stokes), "well born, good," from *avi, friendly, good, Skr. dvi (do.), Got. avi-liud, thanks, Lat. aveo, desire, possibly Gr. cv-, good (cf. here Evyevrjs, Eugenius), W. has Eu-tigirn, Eu-tut, 0. Br. Eu-cant, Eu-hocar, Gaul. Avi-cantus. Rhys ( I lib. Lect. 63) refers lr. Eoghan and W. Owen to *Esu-gen-, Gaul. Esugemis, sprung from the god Esus. Zimmer regards Owen as borrowed from Lat. Eugenius. Cf., however, the evo- of Ogmic Eva-cattos, now Eochaidh. Hence Mac-ewen.

Farquhar, G. Fearchar, M. G. Fearchar, Fearchair, Ir. Fearchair (F. M., year 848 a.d.): *Ver-caro-s, "super-dear one"; for fear, see Fergus, and for car see Diet, above. Hence M'Fhearchair, Mac-erchar, Farquhar son, J/' Farquhar.

Fergus, G. Fearghas, M. G. Fearghus, Fergus, E. Ir., 0. Ir. Fergus, g. Fergusso, W. Gurgust, 0. Br. Uuorgost, Uurgost : *Ver-gustu-s, "super-choice"; for ver- or fear-, see in Diet, far, air (allied to Lat. super), and for gustus, see under Aonghus above. Some regard Fer here as G. fear, man, *viro- or *vtr.

Fingal, G. Fionn, Macpherson's Gaelic Fionnghal, which really should mean "Norseman," or Fair-foreigner, M. G. Fionn- ghall, a Norseman (M'V.), ri Fionn-gal, king of Man and the Isles (M'V.), Fingal (Manx Chrun.), king of Man and the Isles from 1070 to 1077 : from fionn and Gall, q.v. Fingal as the name of the Gaelic mythic hero is an invention of Macpherson's, as likewise is his Gaelic Fionnghal. As a matter of fact the name is a Gaelic form of the female name Flora ! See Fionnaghal in the addendum to this list.

Finlay, G. Fionnla, Fionnlagh (misspelt Fionnladh), M. G. Finlay (D. of L.), Finlaeic, gen. (1467 MS.), Fionnlaoich, gen. (Duan Albanach), E. Ir. Findlasch (Lib. Leinster), Finn- loech and Finlaeg, gen. (Marianus Scotus). Those early forms and the Norse Finnleihr prove that the name means "Fair hevo" (fionn and laock). It is a popular (10th and 11th century) rendering of Finnlug, "Fair attractive one," the older name. It has been explained as " Fair calf," which would suit the phonetics also. Hence Finlayson, Mackinlay (M'Fhionnlaigh).

Forbes, G. Foirbeis, Foirbeiseach, early document form De Forbes (thirteenth cent.), so named from the place-name Forbes in Aberdeenshire.

Fraser, G. Friseal, Frisealach, circ. 1298 the patriot's name is variously Simon Eraser, Frasel, Fresel, Frisel, in Domesday B. Fresle, Battle Abbey Rolls (1) Frisell or Fresell ; usually referred to 0. Fr. freze, a strawberry, *frezele, from Lat. fragula, fragum, Fr. fraisier, strawberry plant. For sense, cf. the name Plantagenet (broom). Strawberry leaves form part of the Fraser armorial bearings. The word may also mean "curled" (Eng. frizzle, frieze).

Galbraith, G. M' A'-Bhreatnaich, son of the Briton (of Strath- clyde). The name appears in the thirteenth century in Lennox, etc., as Galbrait (from Gall and Breat- of Breatann above).

George, G. Se6ras, Seorsa, Deorsa, ultimately from Gr. yew/>yos, a farmer, " worker of the earth " (777, earth, Spy 6% Eng. work). Hence the Border M'George.

Gilbert, G. Gilleabart, Gillebride. Gilbert is from Ag. S. Gisle- bert, "Bright hostage" (see giall in Diet); Gillebride is St Bridget's slave, an exceedingly common name once, but now little used.

Gilchrist, G. Gillecriosd, M. G. Gillacrist, Ir. Gillacrist (several in eleventh century): "servant of Christ." Hence M l Gil- christ. It translates also Christopher.

Gillespie, G. Gilleasbuig; see Archibald.

Gillies, G. Gilliosa : " servant of Jesus." From M 4 A-Llos comes the " English " form Lees, M'Leish.

Glass, G. Glas, an epithet, being glas, grey. See M'Glashan.

Godfrey, G. Goraidh, M. G. Gofraig (1467 MS.), Godfrey (do.), Ir. Gofraidh (F.M.), M. Ir. Gothfrith, Gofraig, also Gofraig (Tigernach, 989), E. Ir. Gothfraid (Lib. Lein.), E. W. Gothrit {Ann. Camb.). The Norse name, for it is Norse-men that are referred to, is Go&rdd~'r or Gudrod (also Gorbfrr), but the earlier Gaelic shows rather a name allied to the Ag. S. Godefrid } Ger. Gottfried, " God's peace." Modern Gaelic is more like the Norse. The Dictionaries give G. Guaidhre as the equivalent of Godfrey; for which, however, see M'Quarrie.

Gordon, G. G6rdan, Gordon, Gordonach ; from the parish name of Gordon in Berwickshire. The De Gordons are well in evidence in the thirteenth century. Chalmers explains the place-name as Gor-dyn, "super-dunum" (see far and dun).

Gow, G. Gobha, a smith, now usually gobhainn, q.v. Hence Mac-cowan, Mac-gowan, Cowan.

Grant, G. Grannd, Grant (1258), an English family which settled about Inverness in the thirteenth century, Eng. Grant, Grand ) from Fr., Eng. grand.

Gregor, G. Griogair, Griogarach, M. G. M'Gregar (D. of L.), M. Ir. Grigoir, E. Ir. (Lat.) Grigorius (Gregory the Great, died 604), from Lat. Gregorius, Gr. Tfyq-yoptos, a favourite ecclesiastical name from the third century onward (cf. Gr. yprjyoptu), be watchful, Eng. care). Hence M'Griogair, Mac- gregor, Gregory.

Gunn, G. Guinne, Gunnach, early documents Gun (1601), Clan- gwn (1525), in Kildonan of Sutherland, originally from Caithness ; from the Norse Gunni (twelfth century), the name then of a son of Olaf, a Caithness chief (Ork. Saga). This Gunni is a short or "pet" form of some longer name of two stems, with gunn-r, war, as the first and chief one (cf. Gann-arr, which is an old Orkney name, Gunn-bjorn, Gunn- laugr, Gunn-dljr, war-wolf, Gunn-stein, Gunn-valdr).

Harold, G. Harailt, M. Ir. Aralt, from Norse Haraldr (same in roots and origin as Eng. herald). Hence Mac-raild.

Hector, G. Eachunn (Dial. Eachainn), M. G. Eachuinn, g. (M'V.), Eachdhuin, g. (M'V.), Eachdhonn, g. Eachduinn (1467 MS.), Ir. Eachdonn (year 1042): * Eqo-donno-s, "horse lord," like Each-lhighearna of Mac-echern. Of course " Brown-horse " is possible ; cf. Gr. Havdnnros. The phonetics are against *Each-duine, "horse-man," as an explanation.

Henry, G. Eanruig; from 0. Eng. Henric, now Henry, from Germanic Heim-rik, " home-ruler " (Eng. home and ric in bishop-ric, rich). Hence Mackendrick, Henderson.

Hugh, G. 'Uisdean (Huisdean), in Argyle Eoghan, M. G. Huisduinn, which comes from Norse Eysteinn, "J0y(1)-stone." The Dictionaries also give the G. Aodh (see Mackay) as equivalent to Hugh, which is itself from Germanic sources, Teutonic root hug, thought.

James, G. Seumas, M. G. Semus (M'V.) ; from the Eng. James, a modification of Hebrew Jacob.

John, G. Iain, older Eoin, in compounds Seathain, as Mac-Gille- Sheathainn, now M'llleathainn.

Kathel, G. Cathal, M. G. Cathal (M'V.), Ir. Cathal (common from seventh century onwards), 0. W. Catgual : *Katu-valo-s ; see cath, war, and val under Donald. Hence APAll, Mackail.

Kennedy, G. Ceanaideach, Ceanadaidh, Kennedy {Kenedy, John M'Kennedy, fourteenth century) is the family name of the old Earls of Carrick, now represented by the Marquis of Ailsa ; it is a famous Irish name borne by the father of Brian Boru in the tenth century — Ir. Ceinneidigh, E. Ir. Cennetich, gen. ; from ceann, head, and eitigh, ugly : "ugly head." Called also M'Ualraig from Walrick Kennedy (sixteenth century), who first settled in Lochaber : Walrick may be G. Ualgharg confused with Teutonic Vlrick, older Uodalrich, " rich patrimonially."

Kenneth, G. Coinneach, M. G. Coinndech, Coinnidh, g. Coinndigh, g. (M'V.), 0. G. Cainnech, g. Caennig (B. of Deer), E. Ir. Cainnig, gen., Ir. Lat. Cainnechus (Adamnan) : *Cannico-s, "fair one," from the same stem as cannach (root qas), q.v. The Eng. Kenneth is a different word : it is the old Scotch king name Cinoed (E. Ir. form), 0. G. Cinathd (B. of Deer), Ir. Cinaedh, " fire-sprung," from cin of cinn and aed of Mackay.

Lachlan, G. Lachlann (Dial. Lachlainn), Lachunn, M. G. Loch- linn, g. (M'V.), Lochloinn, n. and g., Lachlan, g. (1467 MS.), Ir. Lochlainn Mac Lochlainn (F.M., year 1060) ; probably from Lochlann, Scandinavia, possibly commencing as Mac- Lochlainne, a Scandinavian ("son of L."). Lochlann evidently means " Fjord-land."

Lamond, G. M'Laomuinn, Laman, M. G. Ladmann, early docu- ments Lawemundus (Lat. of 1292), Laumun (circ. 1230), M. Ir. Laghmand, Lagmand ; from Norse lagamatSr, logmaftr, lawman, pi. logmenn, " law-men," by meaning and derivation. Hence M l Clymont, D. of L. V'Clymont, Clyne lymyn.

Laurence, G. Labhruinn, M. G. Labhran (1467), Ir. Laurint (Saint), from Lat. Laurentius, St Laurence, the ultimate stem being that of Lat. laurus, a laurel. Hence M'Labhruinn, or Mac-laren.

Lewis, G. Luthais ; from Fr. Louis, from Chlovis, the Frankish king (fifth century), degraded from old German Chlodwig, now Ludioig (*Kluto-vigo-s, famed warrior, roots in cliit and Eng. victory). Hence Eng. Ludovic, which is rendered in G. by Maoldonuich, shaveling of the Church.

Livingstone, G. M'An-leigh ; see Mac-leay.

Luke, G. Lucais. Hence Mac-lucas.

Magnus, G. Manus, Manus, M. G. Magnus, Manuis, g. (1467 MS.), Ir. Maghnus, Norse Magnuss, from Lat. mo gnus, in the name of Charlemagne — Carolus Magnus.

Malcolm, G. Calum, earlier Gillecalum, M. G. Mylcollum (D. of L.), Maelcolaim, 0. G. Malcoloum, Malcolum, Gilliecolaim, ir. Maelcoluim : from maol, bald, and calum, a dove (Lat. columba), the particular Calum meant here being St Columba. Hence Maccallum.

Malise, G. Maoliosa, E. Ir. Maelisu, servant of Jesus. Hence also Mellis.

Matheson, G. M'Mhathan, Mathanach, M. G. Mac-Matgamna (1467 MS.), Macmaghan (Exchequer Rolls for 1264), the Ir. Mac-mahon, "son of the bear," for which see mathghamhuin. Matheson in Perthshire and Kintyre is, as elsewhere outside the Highlands, for Mathew-son, G. M'Mhatha.

Menzies, G. MMnnear, M&inn and Mfcinnearach locally, early documents de Mengues (1487), de Meyners (1249); De Meyneria would mean much the same as De Camera, that is, "of the household," from mesn-, masn-, giving Fr. men- (our menage, menagerie, menial), from Lat. mans- (our mansion), from maneo, remain. The root anyway is man of mansion and manor, and the name is allied to Manners and Main- waring.

Morgan, M. G. Clann Mhorguinn (M'V.), 0. G. Morgunn, g. Morcunt, W. Morgan, Cor. and 0. Br. Morcant : Mori-canto-s, "sea-white," from the stem of muir and root hid, burn, as in connadh (Lat. candeo, shine, Eng. candle). See Mackay.

Morrison, G. Moireasdan, earlier M'Gille-mhoire, Mary's servant, M. G. Gillamure, whence Gilmour. The name Morris is for Maurice, from the Latin saint's name Mauricius, "Moorish."

Munro, G. Rothach, Mac-an-Rothaich (Dial. Munro). In the fourteenth century the name is "of Monro," which shows it is a territorial name, explained as Bun-roe, the mouth of the Roe, a river in County Derry, Ireland, whence the family are represented as having come in the eleventh century.

Murdoch, G. Muireach, Murchadh ; the first is M. G. Muiredh- aigh, gen. (M'V.), Murreich (D. of L.), Muireadhaigh, g. (1467 MS.), Ir. Muireadhach, E. Ir. Muiredach, 0. Ir. (Lat.) Muirethachus, Adamnan's Muiredachus, " lord," allied to muirenn and muriucdn ; Ag. S. masre, clarus ; Br. cono- morios (1) (Stokes R. C. 1876.) The form Murchadh is in Ir. the same, E. Ir. Murchad : * Mori-catu-s, sea warrior. Hence (from the first) M'Mhuirich (in Arran, etc., becoming Currie), and from the second, Murchison, Murchie, and Ir. Murphy. See murrach above.

Murray, G. Moirreach ; from the county name Moray or Murray, early Gadelic forms being Moreb, Muref, and Norse Morhcefi (influenced by Norse haf, sea) : * Mor-apia, from mor of muir, sea, and *apia, the termination of several Celtic place-names. Andrew Morrich, Kiltearn, 1672.

Myles, G. Maolmoire, servant of Mary, an old and common name. Myles is from the Med. Lat. Mito, with a leaning on miles, soldier — a common name in the Middle Ages.

Mac-alister ; see Alexander.

Mac-andrew ; see Andrew.

M ac- arthur ; see Arthur.

Mac-askill, G. M'Asgaill ; from Norse ' Askell, for *'As-ketill, the kettle (sacrificial vessel) of the Arises or gods : " a vessel of holiness."

Mac-aulay, G. M'Amhlaidh, Ir. Mac Amhlaoibh, M. Ir. Amlaibh, E. Ir. Amldib, ' Alaib ; from Norse 'Oldfr, Anlaf (on coins), " the Anses' relic " (Eng. left).

Mac-bean, G. M'Bheathain, from Beathan, Englished as Bean (1490, Beane, 1481) or Benjamin : *Bitdtagno-s, life's son, from beatha, life, with the termination -agno-s, meaning " descendant of," Eng. -ing, now used like the Eng. to form diminutives. Also Mac-bain, Mac-vean.

Mac-beth, G. M'Bheatha (Dial. M'Bheathain and M'Bheathaig), M. G. Macbethad, 0. G. Mac-bead (B. of Deer), M. Ir. Mac- bethad, Macbeth 1058, 1041 a.d.) : "son of life," from beatha, life. It is a personal name originally, not patronymic. From Macbeth come M'Bey, M'Vey, M'Veagh.

Mac-caig, G. M'Caog, Ir. Mac Taidhg, son of Teague, E. Ir. Tadg, possibly allied to Gaul. Tasgius, etc. Tadg explained by O. CI. and Dav. as "poet."

Mac-callum, G. M'Caluim ; see under Malcolm.

Mac-codrum, G. M'Codrum ; from Norse Guttormr, GotSormr, Ag. S. Guthrum : "good or god serpent" (orm).

Mac-coll, G. M'Colla ; see Coll.

Mac-combie, G. M'Comaidh, M. G. M'Comie (D. of L.) : " son of Tommie," or Thomas.

Mac-oonachie, G. M'Dhonnchaidh, son of Duncan, which see. The Clan Donnachie are the Robertsons of Athole, so-named from Duncan de Atholia in Bruce's time : the English form of the name is from Robert, Duncan's great-grandson, who

helped in bringing the murderers of James I. to execution. Mac-cormic, G. M'Cormaig, from Cormac (Cormag), E. Ir. Cormac, Adamnan's Cormacus : *C orb-mac, charioteer, from corb, chariot, Lat. corbis, basket. See carbad. From corb also comes Cairbre, O. Ir. Coirbre.

Mac-corquodale, M'Corcadail, M. G. Corgitill, g. (D. of L.), early documents Mahcorquydill (1434) ; from Norse Thorketill, Thor's kettle or holy vessel (see Mac-askill).

Mac-crimmon, G. M'Cruimein ; from Rumun (on a Manx Rune inscription), from Norse Hromundr (for HrbtS-mundr, famed protector) % Ceannfaelad Mac Rumain, Bishop, d. 820 ; Human, the poet, d. 742; Ruman, the bishop, d. 919. Erig a n-agaid Rumuind, MS. Bodl. Lib. Laud. 610, fol. 10, a, a (O. Don's Gram.).

Mac-culloch, G. M'Cullach, early documents M'Culloch (1458), M'Cullo, M'Cullach (1431)— in Easter Ross: "son of the Boar " (cidlach) 1 M'Lulach, son of Lulach (little calf %), has been suggested, and this appears as M'Lulich.

Mac-dermid ; see Dermid.

Mac-donald ; see Donald.

Macduff ; see Duff.

Mac-echern, G. M'Eachairn, M. G. M'Caychirn (D. of L.), early documents Mackauchern (1499), Ir. Echthmhern (Annals 846 a.d.) : " Horse-lord," from each and tighearna. Also Englished as M'Kechnie (* MacEchthigema).

Mac-fadyen, G. M'Phaidein, early documents M'Fadzeane (1540); from Paidean, Pat, a pet form of Patrick.

Mac-farlane ; see Bartholomew.

Mac-gill ; from a G. M'Gille, used as a curtailment, especially of Mac-millan or M'Gille-mhaoil.

Mac-gillivray, G. M'Gillebhrath, son of the Servant of Judg- ment, from braih, judgment, q.v.

Mac-glasiian, G. M'Glaisein, a side-form of M'Ghilleghlais, the Grey lad, M. G. M'lllezlass (D. of L.), documents M'Gille- ylasch (1508). For the formation of this name, cf. Gille- naomh (Mac-niven), Gille-maol (Mac-millan), M'Gillebane (1555), M'Gille-uidhir (M'Clure, dun lad), Gilroy, red lad.

Mac-go wan ; see under Gow.

Mac-gregor ; see Greg or.

Mac-hardy, G. M'Cardaidh :

Mac-indeor ; see Dewar.

Mac-innes ; see Angus.

Mac-intyre, G. Mac-an-t-saoir, son of the carpenter ; see saor.

Mac-iver, G. M'lamhair, M. G. M'Inihair (1467 MS.), Ir. Imhar, E. Ir. Imair, g. ; from Norse ' Ivarr.

Mackay, G. M'Aoidh, from Aoidh, 0. G. Aed, 0. Ir. Aed, Adam- nan's Aidus, g. Aido : *Aidu-s, fire, E. Ir. aed, fire, Gr. afflos, fire, brand, Lat. aedes, house ( = hearth), aestus, heat, 0. H. G. eit, fire, pyre. Hence the Gaul. Aedui.

Mac-kellar, G. M'Ealair, M'Eallair, old documents Mahhellar (1518), Makalere (1476), M'Callar (1470), all "of Ardare " in Glassary, Argyle. Ellar M'Kellar, 1595, proves the name to be Ealair. M. Ir. Flair, the Gaelic form of Lat. Hilar ius borrowed.

Mac-kenzie, G. M'Coinnich ; from Coinneack, which see under Kenneth.

Mackerchar, G. M'Fhearchair ; see Farquhar.

Mackessack, for G. M'Isaac, son of Isaac. Also Mackieson, M'Kesek, 1475 ; Kessokissone, Kessoksone, 1488 ; Makesone, 1507 ; Makysonn, 1400 (mostly in Menteith and S. Perth), from Kessoc, Kessan, personal names circ. 1500, also St. Kessog or Kessock.

Mackillop, G. M'Fhilib, for Philip ( = Filip), where / ( = ph) is aspirated and disappears ; from Lat. Phillipus, from Gr. 4>tAt7T7ros, lover of horses (see gaol and each).

Mackinlay, G. M'Fhionnla(idh) ; from Finlay.

Mackinnon, G. M'Fhionghuin, M. G. Fiongkuine, g. (M'V.), in Macjingun (1400), 0. G. Finguni, gen. (B. of Deer), Ir. Finghin, M. Ir. Finghin, Finnguine, E. Ir. Finguine : * Vindo- gonio-s, " fair-born " (fionn and gin) ; of. for force and partial root Gr. KaAAiyei^s, and -yovos in proper names.

Mackintosh, G. Mac-an-toisich, the Thane's son (see tbiseach), M. G. Cla?ma-an-t6isaigh, Clans Mackintosh (M'V.), Toissich (D. of L.), Mackintoshes, Clann-an-toisigh (1467 MS.), early documents M'Toschy (1382).

Mackirdy, G. M ; Urardaig'h, M'Urarthie, 1632 ; M'Quiritei, 1626; Makmurrarty, 1547; Makiverarty, 1517; common in Bute and Arran of old, from Muircheartach, " sea-director " (muir and ceart) ; whence also M'Murtrie, M'Mutrie.

Mac-lachlan, G. M'Lachlainn ; see Lachlan.

Maclagan, G. M'Lagain (Lathagain in its native district of Strath tay), documentary Maklaagan (1525) : *M i Gillaagan, sed quid 1

Mac-laren, G. M'Labhruinn ; see Lawrence.

Mac-larty, G. M'Labhartaigh and Lathartaich, from Flaith- bheartach, Eng. Flaherty : " dominion-bearing " or " princely- bearing " (seejlat/i and beartach).

Mac-lean, G. M'llleathain, for Gill' Sheathain, John or Seathan's servant, M. G. Giolla-edin (M'V.), Gilleeoin (1467 MS.), documents Makgilleon (1390) ; from gille and Seathain {Iain) or Fbin, John, the latter being the classic G. for the name. John means in Hebrew "the Lord graciously gave."

Mac-learnan, so G. ; from GUI' Frnan, St Ernan's gille. The Latin name of this saint is Ferreolus, " Iron-one " ; from iarunn.

Mac-leay, G. M'An-leigh, or earlier M'An-16ibh, documents M^Conleif (1498 in Easter Ross), Dunslephe, gen. (1306-9, Kintyre), Dunslaf Makcorry (1505), M. G. Duinsleibe, gen., Ir. Donnsleibhe, E. Ir. Duindslebe, gen. : " Brown of the Hill," from donn and sliabh (not "Lord of the Hill," as other similar names exist in dubh, e.g. Dubhsleibhe ; see Mac-phee). Capt. Thomas regarded the M'Leays of the north-west as descended from Ferchar Leche, F. the physician, who gets lands in Assynt in 1386, being thus M l An-leigh, physician's son, Manx Cleg, Legge. The Appin M'Lea clan Englished their name as Livingstone, of whom was the celebrated traveller.

Mac-lellan, G. M'Gillf haolain, M. G. M'Gillelan (D. of L.), Gilla- faelan (1467 MS.), St Fillan's slave, E. Ir. Faeldn, 0. Ir. Fdilan, from fdil, now faol, wolf, q.v. Hence Giljillan.

Mac-lennan, G. M'lllinnein, Servant of St Finnan, Ir. Mac- Gilla-finnen (common in fourteenth and fifteenth century), M. Ir. Finden, E. Ir. Finnian, Adamnan's Vinnianus = Finnio, Finnionis = Findbarrus ; from Jinn, jionn, white : the full name, of which Finnan is a pet form, was Findbarr or "Fair- head," Eng. Fairfax. Skene deduced Mac-lennan from M. G. M'Gilla-agamnan, Adamnan's gille, documents Gilleganan Macneill (1545), Gilleownan (1427).

Mac-leod, G. M'Ledid, M. G. M'Cloyd (D. of L.), M'Leod (MS. 1540), documents Macloyde (fourteenth century), 0. G. Le'ot (B. of Deer), Norse Sagas Ljdtr, earl of Orkney in tenth century, and otherwise a common Norse name ; the word is an adj. meaning "ugly" (!), Got. liuta, dissembler, Eng. little.

Mac-mahon, G. M'Mhathain ; see Matheson.

Mac-martin, G. M'Mhairtinn, no doubt for earlier Gillamartain, gen. (1467 MS., an ancestor of the Cameron chiefs) : Eng. Martin, from Lat. Martinus, the name of the famous fourth century Gaulish saint; it means "martial."

Mac-master, G. M'Mhaighistir, son of the Master.

Mac-michael, G. M'Mhicheil, doubtless for earlier Gillamichol ; see Carmichael.

Mac-millan, G. M'Mhaolain, M'Grhille-mhaoil, son of the Bald gille (cf. M'Glashan). To Maolan must be compared the Ogmic Mailagni.

Mac-nab, G. M' An-aba, M. G. m< ynnab (D. of L.), M l An Aba (1467 MS.) : "son of the Abbot" j see aba.

Mac-nair, G. M'An-uidhir ; for Mac lain uidhir, son of dun (odhar) John (cf. Makaneroy, 1556, now Mac-inroy, and Makaneduy, 1526, now Mac-indoe). Such is the source of the Gairloch branch of the name. The Perthshire sept appears in documents as W'lnayr (1468), Macnayr (1390), which is explained as M l An-oighre, son of the heir. MNuirs in Cowal (1685), John Maknewar (1546, in Dunoon) ; Tho. M'Nuyer (1681, Inverness). Prof. Mackinnon suggested M l An-fhuibhir, son of the smith or faber ; nor should M l An-fhuidhir, the stranger's son, be overlooked as a possible etymology.

Mac-naughton, G. M'Neachdainn, M. G. M'Neachtain (1467), O. G. Nectan, Pictish Nation (Bede), from necht, pure, root nig of nigh, wash.

Mac-nee, G. M'Righ ; D. of L. M'onee, M'Nie, 1613; M'Knie, 1594 ; M'Kne, 1480 (Menteith and Breadalbane). From mac-nia, champion %

Nac-neill, G. M'Neill, documents Makneill (1427). See Neil.

Mac-nicol, G. M'Neacail, M. G. M'Nicail, from Lat. Nicolas, Gr. NiKoAa?, " conquering people." Hence Nicholson.

Mac-nish, G. M'Neis ; from M'Naois, the Naois being a dialectic form of Aonghus or Angus.

Maoniven, G. M'Ghille-naoimh, the saintly gille (cf. for form in Eng. Mac-glashan). Documentary form Gilneiv M'llwedy (1506). The M. G. and Ir. GUI a Nanaemh, servant of the saints (1467 MS.), is a different name. The Ir. M'Nevin is for M'Cnaimhin. Mac Nimhein (Oranaiche 520).

Mac phail, G. M'Phail ; son of Paul. See Paul.

Mac-phee, G. M'a-Phi, M. G. M'a ffeith (D. of L.), M'Duibsithi (1467), documents Macdujfie (1463), for Dub-shithe, Black of peace (dubh and sith).

Mac-pherson, G. M'Phearsain, son of the Parson, M. G. M'a pharsone (D. of L.), documents M'Inphersonis (1594 Acts of Pari.). Bean Makimpetsone (1490, Cawdor Papers), Mak- f arson (1481, Kilravock Papers), Archibald M 'Walter vie Doncho vie Persoun (who in 1589 has lands in Glassary of Argyle) ; Tormot M'Farsane (vicar of Snizort, 1526). The Badenoch M'Phersons are known as Clann Mhuirich ; the Skye sept are called Cananaich (from Lat. canonicus, canon).

Mac-quarrie, G. M'Guaire, M. G. Guaire, M'Guaire (1467 MS.), Macquharry (1481), M'Goire of Ulva (1463, Makquhory in 1473) ; from Gadelic Guaire, *Gaurio-s, E. Ir. guaire, noble ; Gr. yavpos, proud, exulting ; further Lat. gaudeo, rejoice, Eng. joy.

Mac-queen, G. M'Cuinn, documents Sween M'Queen (1609, Clan Chattan Bond), M'-Queyn (1543, Swyne then also as a personal name, in Huntly's Bond), Makquean (1502, personal name Soyne also appears), M. G. Suibne, gen. (1467 MS., Mackin- tosh genealogy), MSoenith (D. of L.), documents Syffyn (1269, the Kintyre Sweens), Ir. Suibhne (Sweeney), E. Ir. Subne, Adamnan's Suibneus : *Subnio-s, root ben, go : " Good going V The opposite Duibne (O'Duinn, etc.) appears in Ogam as Dovvinias (gen.). Cf. dubhach, subhach. Usually Mac-queen is referred to Norse Eng. Sweyn, Norse Sveinn, which gives G. Af'Suain, now Mac-Swan, a Skye name. Pronounced in Arg. Mac Cvi'ne or Cuibhne, for M'Shuibhne, which is the best spelling for Argyle.

Mac-rae, G. M'Rath, M. G. gen. Mecraith, documents M'Crath (1383 in Rothiemurchus), Ir. Macraith (years 448, onwards) : " Son of Grace or Luck," from rath, q.v. A personal name like Macbeth.

Mac-raild ; see under Harold.

Mac-ranald, G. M'Raonuill ; see Ranald.

Mac-rory, Mac-rury ; see Rory. Documents give Makreury in 1427.

Mac-taggart, G. M'An-t-Sagairt, son of the priest.

Mac-tavish, G. M'Thaimhs, for M'Thamhais, son of Thomas or Tammas, M. G. Clyne Tawssi (D. of L.), documents M'Cawis and M'Cause (1494, 1488, in Killin of Lochtay).

Mac-vicar, G. M'Bhiocair, documents Makvicar (1561, when lands are given near Inveraray to him) : " Son of the Vicar."

Mac-vurich, G. M'Mhuirich, M. G. Mhuireadhaigh (M'V) : the Bardic family of M'Vurich claimed descent from the poet Muireach Albanach (circ. 1200 a.d.). They now call them- selves Macphersons by confusion with the Badenoch Clann Mhuirich.

Neil, G. Niall, so lr., E. Ir. Mall, Adamnan's Nellis, gen. : *Neillo-s, *Neid-s-lo- ; see niata for root, the meaning being " champion." Hence Mac-neill. The word was borrowed into Norse as Njdll, Njal, and thence borrowed into Eng., where it appears in Domesday Bk. as Nigel, a learned spelling of Neil, whence Nelson, etc.

Nicholson, G. M'Neacail ; see Mac-nicol.

Norman, G. Tormoid, Tdrmod (Dial. Tormailt, for earlier Tor- mond), documents Tor mode (David II.'s reign) ; from Norse ThvrmdtSr, the wrath of * Thor, Eng. mood. The form Tormund alternates with Tormod (1584, 1560) : "Thor's protection ; " whence the Dial. Tormailt (cf. larmailt for phonetics). Cf. Gearmailt, Germany.

Patrick, G. Padruig, Paruig (with pet form Para), for Gille- phadruig, M. G. Gillapadruig, Ir. Pddraig, Giollaphdtraicc, 0. Ir. Patrice ; from Lat. Patricius, patrician. Hence Mac- phatrick, Paterson.

Paul, G. P61 (Classic), Pal (C.S.) ; from Lat, Paulus, from paulus, little, Eng. few.

Peter, G. Peadair ; from Lat. Petrus, from Gr. Tlhpos, rock, stone.

Philip, so G. ; see Mackillop.

Ranald, G. Raonull, M. G. Raghnall (M'V.), Ragnall, Raghnall (1467 MS.), Ir. Ragnall (common) ; from Norse Rbgnvaldr, ruler of (from) the gods, or ruler of counsel, from rogn, regin, the gods, Got. ragin, opinion, rule ; whence Reginald, Rey- nold, etc. Hence M'Raonuill, Mac-ranald, Clanranald.

Robert, Raibert, Robart, Rob, M. G. Robert (D. of L.), Roibert (1467 MS.) ; from Eng. Robert, Ag. S. Robert, from hro, htotS, fame, praise, and berht, bright, now bright, " bright fame." Hence Robertsons ( = Clann Donnchaidh), Mac-robbie.

Roderick, Rory, G. Ruairidh, M. G. Ruaidri (1467 MS.), 0. G. Ruadri, Ir. Ruaidhri, gen. Ruadrach (Annals at 779, 814), 0. Ir. Ruadri, E. W. Rotri, Rodri ; from ruadh, red, and the root of righ, king 1 The Teutonic Roderick means " Famed- ruler" (from hrotS and rik, the same root as G. righ). The terminal -ri, -reck (old gen.) is a reduced form of righ, king (Zimmer, who, however, regards Ruadri as from N. Brorehr, but this in Galloway actually gives Rerik, M^Rerik, M l Crerik, 1490, 1579, thus disproving Zimmer's view). M'Cririck still exists.

Ross, G. Rosach, Ros ; from the County name Ross, so named from ros, promontory.

Roy, G. Ruadh, red. Hence Mac-inroy, earlier Makaneroy (1555), for M'lain Ruaidh, Red John's son.

Samuel, G. Samuel, Somhairle. The latter raally is Somerled, M. G. Somuirle (M'V.), Somairli (1467 MS.) ; from Norse Sumarli&i, which means a mariner, viking, " summer sailor," from sumar and li&i, a follower, sailor.

Shaw, G. Seaghdh, Englished as Seth; evidently formerly Si'ach or Se'ach, Schiach M'Keich, Weem in 1637 ( = Shaw M'Shaw), Jo. Scheach, Inverness in 1451, Jo. and Tho. Scheoch, king's "cursors" 1455-1462, Sythach Macmallon in Badenoch in 1224-33, Ferchar filius Seth there in 1234, M'Sithig in B. of Deer : *Sithech, M. Ir. sidhach, wolf. The female name Sitheag was common in the Highlands in the 17th century (Shiak, Shihag). The Southern Shaws — of Ayrshire and Greenock — are from De Schaw (1296), from Sc. and Eng. shaw, shaws ; the southern name influenced the northern in spelling and pronunciation. In Argyle, the Shaws are called Clann Mhic-ghile- Sheathanaich.

Simon, G. Sim. This is the Lovat personal name ; hence M'Shimidh, Simmie's son, the name by which the Lovat family is patronymically known. Hence in Eng. Sime, Mac- kimmie, M i Kim, Simpson, etc.

Somerled ; see Samuel.

Sutherland, G. Suthurlanach ; from the county name.

Taggart; see Mac-taggart.

Thomas, G. T6mas, Tamhus (M'F.), M. G. Tamas (1467 MS.). Hence Mac-tavish, M ac-combie.

Tokquil, G. Torcull (Torcall) ; from Norse Thorkell, a shorter form of Thorketill, which see under Mac-corquodale.

Whyte, G. M'lllebhain ; son of the fair gille. See Bain above.

William, G. Uilleam, M. G. William (1467 MS.) ; the G. is bor- rowed from the Eng., 0. Eng. Willelm, Ger. Wilhelm, " helmet of resolution" (from ivill and helm). Hence Mac-ivilliam.


Beathag, Sophia, M. G. Bethog (M'V.), Bethoc (Chronicles of P ids and Scots : name of King Duncan's mother), for *Bethdc, the fern, form of Beathan, discussed under Mac-bean.

Bride, Bridget, E. Ii, 0. Ir. Brigit, g. Brigte or Brigtae : *Brgnti (Stokes), an old Gaelic goddess of poetry, etc. (Corm.) ; usually referred to the root brg, high, Celtic Brigantes, high or noble people ; Skr. brhati, high (fern.) ; further Ger. berg, hill, Eng. burgh. The Norse god of poetry was Bragi, whose name may be allied to that of Brigit. The name of the Gr. goddess A<t>po8iTrj (Bkrg-itd) and the Teutonic name Berhta (from the same stem as Eng. bright), have been compared to that of Bridget (Hoffman, Bez. Beit. 18 , 290) ; but this deriva- tion of Aphrodite ("foam-sprung" 1 ?) is unusual.

Diorbhail, Diorbhorguil, Dorothy, M. G. Derbhfdil (M'V.), Ir. Dearbhail, Dearbhforghaill, respectively translated by 0' Don- ovan "true request" (see hill) and "true oath" (E. Ir.forgall, 0. Ir. forcell, testimony, from geall). Hence the historic name Devorgilla.

Fionnaghal, Flora, M. G. Fionnghuala (1469 MS.), documents Finvola (1463), Fynvola (1409), Ir. Finnghuala : "Fair- shouldered " ; from fionn and guala.

Mor, Mdrag, Sarah, M. G. M or (M'V.), Ir. Mor (year 916) ; from mor, great, while Hebrew Sarah means "queen."

Muireall, Marion, Muriel, Ir. Muirgheal (year 852) : Mori-geld, " sea-white " ; from muir and geal.

Oighrig, Eighrig, Euphemia, M. G. Effric (D. of L.), med. documents Africa, Ir. Aithbhric, older Affraic (two abbesses of Kildare so called in 738 and 833) ; from Africa f

Raonaild, Raonaid, Rachel ; from Norse Raqnhildis, " God's fight." Cf. Ronald.

Sorcha, Clara, Ir. Sorcha ; from the adj. sorcha, bright, the opposite of dorcha, q.v.

Una, Winifred, Winny, Ir. Una ; usually explained as from Una (nuna, M. Ir. =gorta), hunger, famine, whence the Ir. proverb : " Ni bhion an teach a mbion Una la na leath gan niina " — The house where Una is is never a day or half one without hunger." W. newyn, Cor. naun, Br. naon, M. Br. naffin, *novengo-, Eng. need. Cf. E. Ir. uinchi, scarcity, Eng. want, wane. Una, daughter of the King of Lochlan, is repre- sented by Keating as Conn Cedcathach's mother (second century).