About Names: The name ‘Scott’ could be poised for a comeback

Sir Walter Scott

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his January 4th column, he looks at the history of the name Scott.

Scott is an English surname telling of one’s Scottish ancestry. The Scots were Gaelic speakers from Ireland who founded the kingdom of Dál Riata in western Scotland in the sixth century. In the ninth century, Dál Riata merged with the Pictish kingdom of eastern Scotland to form the modern nation. Linguists aren’t sure what “Scot” originally meant. The best guess is Pictish for “carved,” from the ancient Gaelic habit of tattooing with sharp knives.

Today, Scott is the 10th most common surname in Scotland and 42nd most common in England. In the 2010 United States census, there were 439,530 Scotts, making it the 39th most common family name. When the custom of turning surnames into boys’ first names took off in the late 18th century, men with Scott as a first name appeared. Many had mothers whose maiden name was Scott. Others were named after Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), famous author of novels such as “Rob Roy” and “Ivanhoe.”


Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Scotts in history!