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Surname Clifford - Meaning and Origin

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Clifford: What does the surname Clifford mean?

The surname Clifford is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is a locational name derived from various places named Clifford in England, such as in Herefordshire and West Yorkshire. The name Clifford is derived from the Old English words "clif", meaning a slope or riverbank, and "ford", meaning a river crossing or a ford. Hence, it collectively means "ford by a cliff" or "ford at the cliff". It was generally given to a person who lived near such geographical features. These places were recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Cliford" and "Clifort". Like many surnames, over centuries its spelling has changed and it was found as Cliford, Cliiford, and eventually, Clifford. The name spread across the world due to migration and the expansion of the British Empire. As with many surnames, it also became a popular given name.

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Clifford: Where does the name Clifford come from?

The surname Clifford has English origin, derived from a geographical location. It is thought to have originated from the Old English term "clif", meaning slope or river bank, and "ford", referring to a river crossing, essentially meaning "ford at the cliff". It is associated with places named Clifford in Herefordshire and West Yorkshire in England. Therefore, early occurrences of the name can be traced back to individuals who dwelt in or near these locations.

Today, the surname Clifford is commonly found in English-speaking countries. It is particularly prevalent in the United States, England, and Australia. Notable people with this surname include Mike Clifford, an American singer, and Max Clifford, a former British publicist. This name is also a popular first name, notably carried by Clifford "Cliff" Burton of Metallica or the famous literary crimson canine, Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Variations of the surname Clifford

The surname Clifford is English in origin and is a topographical surname that was initially given to someone who lived near a steep cliff. The name derives from Old English 'clif,' meaning ‘slope’ or ‘cliff’ and 'ford,' meaning 'ford.' Variants or different spellings of Clifford might include the older form, Clyfford, common during early medieval times. Other possible variants could be Cliffort, Clifforde, Cliford, and Cliffore.

In some cases, families may have changed the name slightly over centuries, resulting in additional variations. Additionally, geographical variations might exist; different regions will likely have various forms of the name. For example, in France, the surname might be spelt as Clifforde.

There are surnames similar to Clifford like Clifton, a name that also derives from Old English and refers to living near a town with a cliff. But is not considered a variant or origin surname of Clifford.

However, it’s important to note that while these names may be similar in spelling or pronunciation, their meanings and origins may be entirely unrelated to the name Clifford. Traditionally, Clifford has been a fairly stable name with few variances in spelling or form.

Famous people with the name Clifford

  • Michael Clifford: A member of the Australian rock band 5 Seconds of Summer.
  • William Kingdon Clifford: A famed English mathematician and philosopher in the 19th century.
  • Jane Clifford: An American model and actress, who was a known figure in the 1970s.
  • Martin Clifford: An English author of children's books in the mid-20th century.
  • Max Clifford: A British publicist and convicted sex offender.
  • Bede Clifford: A British politician who served as Governor of several British colonies in the mid-20th century.
  • Linda Clifford: An American R&B, disco, and house music singer and actress.
  • Nathan Clifford: A U.S. statesman, diplomat, and judge. He served on the U.S. Supreme Court in the 19th century.
  • Clark Clifford: An American lawyer who served as U.S. Secretary of Defense in the late 1960s.
  • Mike Clifford: An American pop and rock singer popular in the 1960s.
  • Graeme Clifford: An Australian film director and editor best known for his work in Hollywood.
  • Michelle Clifford: A British television news reporter and journalist.

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