Popular Scottish names and their meanings (part four)

Loch Stroan in Galloway. The surname derives from the town name
Loch Stroan in Galloway. The surname derives from the town name
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The G’s to I’s carry many classic Scottish surnames, such as Gordon, who lent their name to the famous gin and the Grant’s, who were some of the fiercest activists during the Jacobite Risings.


Deriving from the region and former kingdom of Galloway in south-west Scotland. The name comes from the Gaelic Gall-Gadal, meaning land of the Gaelic-Norse, in recognition of the Scandinavian influence of the region from the 9th to 11th century.


It derives from the Gaelic word gille meaning servant. The name thus means servant of Christ.


Derives from the Gaelic gille easbuig meaning servant of the bishop. This harks back to the pre-Reformation days when the Scottish church had bishops.

Glen, Glenn

Derives from the Gaelic glean meaning valley.


The Gordon family has been associated with the north-east of Scotland since the 13th century, but the name originates from a place name in the Borders that means either hill fort or great fort.

Gordon has given its name to the Scottish regiment the Gordon Highlanders, the Scottish dance called the Gay Gordons, and Gordon’s gin, which was first produced by one Alexander Gordon in 1769.

Graham, Grahame, Graeme

The name derives from the Anglo-Norman noble family di Graham who came to Scotland in the 12th century bringing a surname that may have originated from the Lincolnshire town of Grantham, which means gravel settlement.

The Grahams became established in Lothian, Strathearn and Montrose and have played a major part in Scottish history as supporters of the Stewarts.


The name derives from the French word grand meaning large and the Grant clan was concentrated in Banff. The Highland town of Grantown-on-Spey is named after the Grant family.

Scottish spelling of the English Grey. The name comes from the colour and means grey haired.


Scottish version of the name Gregory which means watchful in its original Greek and also occurs in the famous clan name MacGregor.


Originated from the Borders. The name does not derive from mourning or grave digging as expected, but rather from the English word greve meaning steward or estate manager.


Originated in Caithness and comes from the Norse word gunnar meaning warrior.


Originates from a village in Angus. The place name is derived from the Gaelic gaoth or gaothair and means windy place.


Became established in the Borders but originated as a Norman name. The origins of the name are in several places whose names include the Norse word Hagi meaning enclosure.


Derives from the Norman family of de Hameldon. They took their name from the Hamshire town of Hambledon, whose name derives from the Old English hamel dun meaning crooked hill.


Originated in Galloway and possibly derives from the Irish surname O’Hannaidh that means son of Annach.


Became established in Dumfries and Galloway. The name is of uncertain origin, but probably derives from an Old English first name Hereca combined with the Old English naess or Norse nes meaning headland.


Harris is the southern part of the Isle of Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides. The Gaelic name is Na Hearadh, but the name originally comes from the Old Norse Haerri meaning higher island, as Harris has more high hills than Lewis to the north.


Surname that means hedge, whether from the Old English word haeg or the French word haia. In the case of the French word, it was the Norman family of de la Haye who brought the name to Britain.


While this surname is found throughout Britain, it has been long popular in Scotland. The name derives from son of Henry or Hendry. The name Henry comes from the French name Henri meaning ruler of an enclosure.

Heriot, Herriot

Originates from the Midlothian village of Heriot, which takes its name from the medieval English word heriot. This is a complicated legal term meaning land or some other form of death duty paid or given to the lord on the death of his tenant.


The name comes from the Norse word hasl meaning hazel and the Old English word hope meaning hollow or grove.

Home, Hume

The name is either a variation of the English surname Holm, which means either island dweller or dweller on dry land, or else derives from a place called Home in Berwickshie.


Takes its name from the village of Houston in Renfrewshire. The village was named after a 12th-century Norman landowner Hugh de Padinam, which translates literally as Hugh’s town.


The surname is found throughout Britain and took its name from the occupation of huntsman or hunter. In Scotland, Hunters became established in Ayrshire.


Predominantly Scottish surname that is derived from the Old English hoh meaning ridge and ton meaning settlement.


Originated in the Lowlands. The name is derived from the Scots for an English person or an English speaking person.


Surname which originated in Shetland. The name comes from a Norse place name Ingsetter meaning Ing’s settlement.


The name means island dweller. It comes from the Gaelic word meaning inis, meaning islet. The name originated in Moray at a place meaning Innes.

Irvine, Irving

Irvine takes its name from the town in Ayrshire, which in turn takes its name from the River Irvine. The name either means white or brown river.