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Origin of the Last Name Smith


The surname Smith is one of the most common surnames in the English-speaking world. It is estimated that there are over 4 million people with the surname Smith in the United States alone. The name is also common in other English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. But where did the name Smith come from? In this article, we will explore the origin and history of the Smith surname.

Meaning of the Name Smith

The name Smith is an occupational surname, meaning that it originally referred to a person's profession. In this case, the name Smith is derived from the Old English word 'smitan', which means 'to strike' or 'to hit'. A smith was a skilled worker who worked with metal, particularly iron. The name Smith was therefore given to people who worked as blacksmiths, goldsmiths, silversmiths, or any other type of metalworker.

Early Origins of the Smith Surname

The Smith surname can be traced back to medieval England. In the Middle Ages, metalworking was an important trade, and blacksmiths were highly valued for their skills. As a result, many people took on the surname Smith to reflect their profession. The earliest recorded use of the surname Smith dates back to the 11th century, in the Domesday Book of 1086. The book lists several people with the surname Smith, including a blacksmith named 'Leofwine Smith'.

Variations of the Smith Surname

Over time, the Smith surname has evolved and developed into several variations. Some of the most common variations include Smyth, Schmidt, Schmitt, Smit, and Smeets. These variations are often the result of changes in spelling or pronunciation over time, or the influence of other languages. For example, the German surname Schmidt is derived from the same root word as Smith, and means 'smith' or 'metalworker'.

Famous People with the Smith Surname

The Smith surname is so common that it is not surprising that there are many famous people who share the name. Some of the most notable include: - Will Smith: American actor and rapper - Sam Smith: British singer-songwriter - Emmitt Smith: American football player - Maggie Smith: British actress - Adam Smith: Scottish economist and philosopher - Joseph Smith: Founder of the Latter Day Saint movement These are just a few examples of the many famous people with the Smith surname.

Smith as a Middle Name

In addition to being a common surname, Smith is also a popular middle name. This is often the result of family tradition, where the middle name is passed down from generation to generation. It can also be a way of honoring a family member or ancestor with the surname Smith. Some famous people with Smith as a middle name include: - John F. Kennedy: American president (middle name Fitzgerald) - J.K. Rowling: British author (middle name Kathleen) - Michael J. Fox: Canadian actor (middle name Andrew) Again, these are just a few examples of the many people with Smith as a middle name.


The Smith surname is one of the most common surnames in the English-speaking world, with a rich history and a variety of variations. Its origins can be traced back to medieval England, where metalworking was an important trade. Today, the name Smith is still associated with metalworking, but it is also a common surname and middle name. Whether you are a Smith by birth or by marriage, the name has a long and fascinating history that is worth exploring.