50+ Traditional Scottish Last Names and Their Origins

Published September 7, 2021
Couple Admiring the View in Edinburgh

The Scottish people are a bold, fierce, and vibrant group who value their strong heritage and their fellow clansmen. Their love of who they are and where they came from runs deeply through their veins. These Scottish last names have different meanings and roots, but they all contribute to the beautiful and intricate fabric that comprises Scottish culture.

Cool and Unique Scottish Last Names

These Scottish surnames are cool and unique. They are rich with meaning, revealing there's much more behind a name than meets the eye.

  • Allane - Variation of the name Allen
  • Auchinleck - Means place of field with flat stones
  • Brush - Translates literally to a brush
  • Goodlad - Comes from Shetland. Lad means servant.
  • Loughty - Derived from the name Lauchair, meaning sedges or rushes.
  • MacMicking - Means son of Miadhachàin. The root word "miadhach," means "honourable."
  • MacQuoid - Derived from the name Aodh
  • Smellie - Means person who smiles, or a cheerful smile
  • Slora - Origins unknown. A possible derivative of the name Sluagdach, which means leader.
  • MacCaa - Means son of Aoh or champion
  • Tumbler - Means acrobatic dancer
Highland bagpiper in kilt

Popular Monikers That Come From the Bonnie Land of Scotland

Should you ever travel to Scottish soil, you will likely come across at least a few lads and lassies sporting these popular last names. In Scotland, these last names are about as common as red-hair, haggis, and bagpipes.

  • Abernathy - Means mouth of the river Nathy
  • Anderson - Meaning masculine or manly
  • Brown - Meaning with a deep reddish, ruddy hair color
  • Drever - Hails from Orkney, the second most common name on the island. Means driver
  • McDonald - Meaning ruler of the world
  • Robertson - Meaning son of Robert
  • Smith - Refers to a blacksmith or a person who works with metal
  • Stewart - Refers to a Highland Scottish clan
  • Wallace - Means foreigner or stranger

Scottish Last Names as Fierce and Strong as the People Themselves

The Scottish people have earned a reputation for their strength, their boldness, and their courageousness, so it is no great surprise that plenty of last names reflect these traits and characteristics.

  • Alexander - Protector of mankind
  • Arthur - Means strong king or strong as a bear
  • Duncan - Meaning dark-haired warrior
  • Grant - Referring to someone with a large build
  • MacCrimmon - Refers to a person who serves as a guardian
  • MacNicol - Means son of the conquering people
  • Mair - Means a steward, warden, or bailiff
  • McIntosh - Mean son of the chief
  • Ritchie - Means brave ruler
  • Toohey - Stems from the 10th-century Gaelic name, O' Tuathaigh. Means the descendant of the chief
  • Watt - Means ruler of the army
  • Wilson - Means vigilant guardian
Young woman and longhorn cattle on pasture Scotland

Scottish Surnames That are Rooted in Nature

There is nothing more serene than a name that pays homage to the natural world. These fine Scottish names come from various elements of nature.

  • Abercrombie - Means the mouth of a bendy river
  • Ainsley - Means woodland or clearing
  • Balfour - Refers to the village pasture
  • Banks - Means a hillside or riverside dweller
  • Blair - Means plain or field
  • Boyce - Refers to someone living in the woods
  • Brodie - Means a muddy place
  • Burns - Means someone living by a stream
  • Craig - Meaning crag or rock
  • Cowan - Means son of a yew tree
  • Drummond - Means ridge
  • Kern - Name given to people who lived near the wetlands
  • Lennox - Means elm tree
  • Lees - Means field or pasture
  • McCulloch - Derived from the Gaelic name Cullach, which means boar
  • McQuarrie - Means proud or noble
  • Moffett - Means long field
  • Muir - Refers to one living on a moor
  • Shaw - Means wolf

Where Does Your Last Name Take You?

Learning about your last name can lead you into a world you never knew before. The origins and history of your name may teach you about an undiscovered ancestry, a land far away and unbeknownst to you, and parts of your roots you haven't yet considered. Dive into who you are and learn about your lineage, starting with your Scottish last name.

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50+ Traditional Scottish Last Names and Their Origins