List of Presidents of The United States By Name - Last Name Origins

Last Name Origins

This is a list of presidents by the origin of their last names.

# President Last name origin
44 Barack Obama Patronymic from the president's great grandfather, Obama.
43 George W. Bush Topographic name for someone living in a bushy area or thicket.
42 Bill Clinton Habitational name, either from Glympton in Oxfordshire, named as ‘settlement (Old English tun) on the Glym river’, a Celtic river name meaning ‘bright stream’, or from Glinton in Cambridgeshire, recorded in 1060 as Clinton (named with an unrecorded Old English element akin to Middle Low German glinde ‘enclosure’, ‘fence’ + Old English tun).
41 George Herbert Walker Bush Same as above
40 Ronald Reagan Variant of Regan, which is a reduced form of O’Regan, an Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Ríagáin ‘descendant of Riagán’, a personal name of uncertain origin, perhaps akin to ríodhgach ‘impulsive’, ‘furious’.
39 Jimmy Carter Occupational name for a transporter of goods, Middle English cartere, from an agent derivative of Middle English cart(e) or from Anglo-Norman French car(e)tier, a derivative of Old French caret. The Old French word coalesced with the earlier Middle English word cart(e) ‘cart’, which is from either Old Norse kartr or Old English cræt, both of which, like the Late Latin word, were probably originally derived from Celtic.
38 Gerald Ford Topographic name for someone who lived near a ford, Middle English, Old English ford, or a habitational name from one of the many places named with this word, such as Ford in Northumberland, Shropshire, and West Sussex, or Forde in Dorset.
37 Richard Nixon Patronymic from the Middle English personal name Nik(k)e, a short form of Nicholas.
36 Lyndon B. Johnson Patronymic from the personal name John.
35 John F. Kennedy Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Ceannéidigh ‘descendant of Ceannéidigh’, a personal name derived from ceann ‘head’ + éidigh ‘ugly’.
34 Dwight D. Eisenhower Variant of Eisenhauer, an occupational name for a worker in iron, from Middle High German isen ‘iron’ + houwære, a derivative of houwen ‘to cut, chop, or hew’.
33 Harry S. Truman Variant spelling of Trueman, a nickname for a trustworthy man, from Middle English trewe, trow ‘faithful’ + man ‘man’.
32 Franklin D. Roosevelt A topographic name for someone living by an area of uncultivated land overgrown with roses, from Dutch roose + velt ‘open country’.
31 Herbert Hoover From Middle Dutch huve, a measure of land area (compare German Huber) + -er, suffix of agent nouns; a status name for a landowner or a prosperous small farmer.
30 Calvin Coolidge Probably an occupational name for a college servant or someone with some other association with a university college, for example a tenant farmer who farmed one of the many farms in England known as College Farm, most of which are or were owned by university colleges
29 Warren G. Harding From the Old English personal name Hearding, originally a patronymic from Hard, which means ‘hardy’, ‘brave’, or ‘strong'
28 Woodrow Wilson Patronymic from the personal name Will, a very common medieval short form of William.
27 William Howard Taft Topographic name or habitational name from a dialect variant of Old and Middle English toft ‘curtilage’, ‘site’, ‘homestead’, also applied to a low hillock where a homestead used to be.
26 Theodore Roosevelt Same as above
25 William McKinley Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Fionnlaigh, a patronymic from the early personal name Fionnlaoch.
23 Benjamin Harrison Patronymic from the medieval personal name Harry.
22/24 Grover Cleveland Regional name from the district around Middlesbrough named Cleveland ‘the land of the cliffs’, from the genitive plural (clifa) of Old English clif ‘bank’, ‘slope’ + land ‘land’.
21 Chester A. Arthur From the ancient Celtic personal name Arthur. In many cases it is a shortened form of Scottish or Irish McArthur, the patronymic Mac- often being dropped in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries under English influence. The personal name is most probably from an old Celtic word meaning ‘bear’.
20 James A. Garfield Probably a habitational name from a lost or unidentified place, generally from a field name denoting a triangular area, Old English gara at the corner of an open field after rectangular furlongs had been laid out.
19 Rutherford B. Hayes reduced Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó hAodha ‘descendant of Aodh’, a personal name meaning ‘fire’ . In some cases, especially in County Wexford, the surname is of English origin, having been taken to Ireland by the Normans.English: habitational name from any of various places, for example in Devon and Worcestershire, so called from the plural of Middle English hay ‘enclosure’, or a topographic name from the same word.English: habitational name from any of various places, for example in Dorset, Greater London (formerly in Kent and Middlesex), and Worcestershire, so called from Old English h?se ‘brushwood’, or a topographic name from the same word. Also a patronymic from Hay.
18 Ulysses S. Grant Nickname from Anglo-Norman French graund, graunt ‘tall’, ‘large’ (Old French grand, grant, from Latin grandis), given either to a person of remarkable size, or else in a relative way to distinguish two bearers of the same personal name, often representatives of different generations within the same family. Also from a medieval personal name, probably a survival into Middle English of the Old English byname Granta.
17 Andrew Johnson Same as above
16 Abraham Lincoln Habitational name from the city of Lincoln, so named from an original British name Lindo- ‘lake’ + Latin colonia ‘settlement’, ‘colony’.
15 James Buchanan Habitational name from Buchanan, a place near Loch Lomond, perhaps named with Gaelic buth chanain ‘house of the canon’.
14 Franklin Pierce From the personal name Piers, the usual Norman vernacular form of Peter. In the president's case, it probably comes from a variant of Percy.
13 Millard Fillmore From a Norman personal name, Filimor, composed of the Germanic elements filu ‘very’ + mari, meri ‘famous’.
12 Zachary Taylor Occupational name for a tailor, from Old French tailleur (Late Latin taliator, from taliare ‘to cut’).
11 James K. Polk Reduced form of Pollock, which is a habitational name from a place in Glasgow, apparently so named from a diminutive of a British cognate of Gaelic poll ‘pool’, ‘pit’.
10 John Tyler Occupational name for a maker or layer of tiles, from an agent derivative of Middle English tile ‘tile’.
9 William Henry Harrison Same as above
8 Martin Van Buren Habitational name for someone from any of the many places in the Netherlands named with Middle Dutch buur, buer ‘house’, ‘shed’, in particular Buren in Gelderland.
7 Andrew Jackson Patronymic from Jack.
6 John Quincy Adams Patronymic from the personal name Adam.
5 James Monroe According to tradition, this is a rare example of a Gaelic surname of topographic origin, the first element of which is probably Gaelic mun, a mutated form of bun ‘foot’, or British minit ‘hill’.
4 James Madison Metronymic from the medieval female personal name Madde, a form of Maud or Magdalen.
3 Thomas Jefferson Patronymic from Jeffrey.
2 John Adams Same as above
1 George Washington Habitational name from either of the places called Washington, in Tyne and Wear and West Sussex. The latter is from Old English Wassingatun ‘settlement (Old English tun) of the people of Wassa’, a personal name that is probably a short form of some compound name such as Waðsige, composed of the elements wað ‘hunt’ + sige ‘victory’. Washington in Tyne and Wear is from Old English Wassingtun ‘settlement associated with Wassa’.

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