Cool last names

Below is a list of 30 surnames that are either sound cool or have very interesting meanings. Some of them have meanings that may seem completely unexpected. Some names just look funny. Others look strange and out of touch with today's world. Many of them are rare or even extinct in the United States and anywhere in the world. Enjoy!

NameOriginMeaning
ApeEnglishNickname: The ape. For a reason well understood this surname has not come down to modern times.
ApplebeeEnglishLocal: Of Appleby, parishes in county Westmshire, Lincoln, and Leicester. Many local surnames ending in 'by' are now found as 'bee.' The name was probably given to somebody who lived close by apple trees. I still cannot get it out of my head that the Applebee restaurant chain has nothing to do with this particular type of Apple bees;-)
ArmsteadEnglishThere are at least two possible definitions for the name. And they are very opposite to each other. The first one is 'The place of arms.' The second is local, meaning 'At the Hermitstead,' from residence at a hermitage or hermit-stead. 'A hermit' prononced 'armit.' This has been a Yorkshire surname for five centuries at least.'
ArmstrongEnglishA name given for strength in battle. Historians relate the following tradition: This family was anciently settled on the Scottish border; their original name was Fairbairn, which was changed to Armstrong on the following occasion: An ancient king of Scotland having had his horse killed under him in battle, was immediately re-mounted by Fairbairn, his armor-bearer, on his own horse. For this timely assistance he amply rewarded him with lands on the borders, and to perpetuate the memory of so important a service, as well as the manner in which it was performed (for Fairbairn took the king by the thigh, and set him on the saddle), his royal master gave him the appellation of 'Armstrong.' The chief seat of Johnnie Armstrong was Gilnockie, in Eskdale, a place of exquisite beauty. Johnnie was executed by order of James V., in 1529, as a "Border Freebooter." Andrew Armstrong sold his patrimony to one of his kinsmen, and emigrated to the north of Ireland in the commencement of the seventeenth century. The Armstrongs were always noted for their courage and daring. In the "Lay of the Last Minstrel," when the chief was about to assemble his clans, he says to his heralds: "Ye need not go to Liddisdale, For when they see the blazing bale Elliots and Armstrongs never fail."
BatmanEnglishThe son of Bateman. An old personal name. The suffix '-man' may be '-mond' or '-mund.' Nothing to do with the famous character we all know and love.
BestEnglishNickname: The beast, probably not in an uncomplimentary sense. May refer to the 'beast' in the Bible, especially in the Book or the Revalation. Many English surnames have their roots in the Bible. Some of the meanings look strange and unexpected for the Christian country England has become.
BigotEnglishWikipedia tells us that 'A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.' That most likely has nothing to do with the name! The word 'bigot' is derived from the term 'bigod' which probably arose from the oath 'by God.'
CaesarEnglishNickname: The kaiser, the emperor. Kaiser and Cayzer represent the early English form of the name; Caesar, generally speaking, being an immigrant. 'Julius Cesar, phisitian to Qeen Elizabeth, was a Venetian by birth. His son, Sir Julius Cesar, was Master of the Robes to James I and Charles I, and lived at Hackney, and the family ramified somewhat strongly.
CageEnglishLocal: At the cage, from residence therein - probably some building so called, possibly for prisoners.
CharityEnglishLocal: Of the charity. Possibly a dispensary or 'spittle' connected with an ecclesiastical foundation. The babtisimal Charity came far too late to obtain surnominal honours.
CheesandbreadEnglishNickname: The one who was notoriously fond of bread and cheese.
CotterellEnglishThe cotterel was an inferior tenant, probably holding in absolute villenage. There were 587 instances of that name in the United States in the year 2000. Seems surprising to me since the quality of the person the surname originated from is very questionable.
CrusoEnglishThimothy Cruso was a Presbyterian minister, born about 1656. His family resided at Newington Green, Middlesex. Studyin at Newington Green Academy, he had for a fellow-student Daniel Defoe, who immortalized his surname by the Adventures, published in 1719.
CuckoldEnglishNickname: The cuckold, i.e. a man with a false and untrue wife. The surname did not last long. Cuckoo faired better;-)
DuchovnyRussianNickname: A deeply spiritual man. David Duchovny seems to be the most famous person bearing the name. His relatives are known for dropping the 'h' from the name. Sadly, removing the 'sielent' 'h' renders the name meaningless.
EatonEnglishLocal: Of Eaton. There are townships so termed in counties Berksm Cheshire, Derby, and Salop; parishes in counties Derby, Stafford, Berks, etc. The place-name and surname are now all but invariably spelt Eaton. Why do I consider this name to be 'cool?' In the dot-com days company named 'Eaton' ran into some troubles and had to close a few offices. Just before the expected lay offs the employees of that company proudly wore t-shirts that said: 'Eaton today, starving tomorrow...'
FryEnglishNickname: The fry, i.e. the free. The last name Fry has double origin, in some cases meaning 'free' in a civil sense, in others free, tha is, frank, in desposition.
GentleEnglishNickname: The gentle. Originally one who was not a Christian; later, one of polished, well-bred manners, 'genteel.' Then, again, one of gentle, benign character.
GillottEnglishThe name has two distinct origins, one masculine, the other feminine, both of the baptisimal or personal class. The first is 'the son of William,' from the North French Guille (English Will), and diminutive Guill-ot (English Willott or Willett). In France the double diminutive Guillotin will be forever remembered as the surname of the doctor who invented the murderous instrument that bears his name. The second origin is 'the son of Juliana,' popularly Gilliam, nickname Jill or Gill, diminutive Gillot.
GrosvenorEnglishLe grosveneur, the head hunter. It is said that the family descend from an uncle of Rollo, the founder of Normandy, and that the first settler in England was Gilbert le Grosvenor, nephew of Hugh Lupus, earl of Chester, himself nephew of the Conqueror.
HollymanEnglishNickname: The holy man, i.e. the priest, the friar. Also local, 'the holly-man,' the man who dwelt by the holly bushes.
HoneylickerEnglishNickname: A curious sobriquet for one who was fond of licking honey. Not that the name is really important or anything. I am just truly surprised that some names became that specific.
JoblingEnglishThe son of Job, from the diminutive Jobelin. Jobelin seems to suggest the origin of Jobelin, a stupid man. Jobelin, a sot, a fool. 'As patient as Job'is even now not used complimentary. Job's patience has even seemed to imply want of energy, and the term would easily become a nickname for lethargy, but was not easily distinguished from sheer stupidity. Jogling may therefore belong to the nickname class without affecting the origin given above. The most curious thing here is that apparently England for a long time did not consider one of the most praised person from the Bible, Job, as a positive character.
KhrapovRussianNickname: There are two main meanings for this name, both are patronymic. The first on is 'the son of the man who snores.' The second one is much less obvious: 'the son of a prisoner,' more specifically, one sent out to Siberia. The meaning here again revolves around 'noses' and 'snoring' though. It is said that some of those people had their noses pierced by the guards. Sometimes the nostrils teared. The prisoner then ended up snoring a lot. What really makes the name worth mentioning here is its pronounciation in the USA. I have a friend who runs into that often and always has to stress to stranger that the name has nothing to do with the word 'crap' and its derivations.
TotillerEnglishNickname: The totiller, the whisperer. A totiller was a whisperer of secrets, an idle and rather mischievous chatterbox.
TravisEnglishLocal: French 'de la traverse,' from residence besides a crossway, a point where roads met. I just like this name;-) It always reminds me the famous Travis from Texas, the one who died defending the Alamo, and in whose honor Travis county in Texas was named.
VirginEnglishNickname: The virgin, probbaly given to some one who had taken the part of the Virgin Mary in one of the Miracle Plays.
WalkerEnglishThe walker, i.e. filler, a term applied to a fuller of cloth (from his stamping on or pressing it). It certainly was not the meaning I had expected.
WhaleEnglishNickname: The whale, probably affixed like Oliphant, i.e. the elephant, on account of the ponderous and ungainly build of the bearer.
WolfEnglishNickname: The wolf; concerning the extermination of wolves in England. Another option is the son of Wolf, or Ulf, a once very popular personal name.


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