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Surname Cline - Meaning and Origin

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Cline: What does the surname Cline mean?

The surname Cline is of English and German origin, originating from Lowland Scotland and Northern Germany in the 1500s / 1600s. Cline is thought to refer to people living near or at a slope of a hill, or to someone who operated a lime kiln in the past. The surname was likely derived from the Old English term “clinan” or the Old German term “klein,” both of which mean “to slope downward.”

The spelling of the surname may have been adapted from both English and German forms. In England, the spelling may have been influenced by the Latin root “climarus,” which describes a sloping pitch. In Germany, the name could have been adapted from the German root “klint,” meaning “to incline.”

The Cline family has been immortalized in literature and film, with the most notable example being John Steinbeck’s novel East of Eden, set in California’s Salinas Valley. The main character in the book is a man named Adam Trask, whose family changes its name from the German spelling Trask to the English spelling Cline after immigrating to the United States from England.

Today, Cline is a popular surname found all over the United States. It is a reminder that roots of family names can extend all the way back to the 1500s and 1600s, when immigrants from England and Germany first began appearing in the United States.

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Cline: Where does the name Cline come from?

The last name Cline is most commonly found in the United States, where it was first used by early settlers in the 1700s. It has since spread to other countries within the British Commonwealth, including Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Australia. In the United States, Cline is most common among families that have their roots in the Appalachian Mountains region, southwestern Pennsylvania, and southwestern Virginia, but can sometimes be found among other areas of New England, Middle Atlantic, and Midwest states.

Cline is a fairly common family name and usually originates from the German-language surname, Kline, which means "small church" or "small hill." As such, many Cline families can trace their heritage back to German immigrants who moved to America during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Today, the lastname can be found across many of the United States, including Alaska, California, Florida, Hawaii, and Texas.

The lastname Cline is also leading in popularity within Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. In the United Kingdom, it can be found in the greatest concentration in London, especially within the Greater London area. In Ireland, Cline is comparatively uncommon, but it has grown in popularity within Ireland’s urban centres.

Additionally, the lastname Cline has become increasingly more popular around the world due to the diffusion of German immigrants to many other countries, especially in the twentieth century.

Variations of the surname Cline

Cline is a surname of French and German origin, meaning “dweller near the incline”. Variants, spellings and surnames of the same origin include:

Kleine, Kleyn, Kleijn, Kleijnen, Kleynen, Kline, Kleine, Kleen, Klein, Kloin, Kleinen, Kleins, Kleyne, Klien, Clain, Clean, Claine, Clyn, Clayne, Claen, Clane, Cloin, Cloine, Clyne, Clein, Clean, Clien and Kleen.

In France, the variation, spelling and surname Cline is found in the Southwestern region, primarily in the Rhone – Alpes region, Ardèche department, and in the Bouches-du-Rhône department. In Germany, variants of the surname Cline are most commonly found in the Rheinland-Pfalz region, particularly the Palatinate area.

In the United States, the variants, spelling and surname Cline predominantly originated from German immigrants, and is most prevalent in the Midwest, particularly in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri.

The Cline surname is also found quite regularly in Scotland, with the most significant concentration being in Lanarkshire.

If you are looking for a unique variant or spelling of the surname Cline, some of these spellings may provide a great alternative for your family tree.

Famous people with the name Cline

  • Patsy Cline: The sultry, torch-singing country music legend who was one of the first female country music singers to become a major star in the 1950s and 1960s with hits such as "Walkin' After Midnight" and "Crazy".
  • Kurt Cline- An American film actor and producer best known for his starring roles in the films Beneath a Moonless Sky and Jim and Andy.
  • Alexandra Cline- The 2019 winner of Miss USA and Republican political activist who is a vocal critic of Donald Trump's policies.
  • Matt Cline- NFL linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks who played college football for the Virginia Tech Hokies.
  • Barbara Cline- A highly acclaimed author and biographer who contributed the critically acclaimed Frida Kahlo: A Biography to the tapestry of Kahlo studies.
  • Dave Cline- Bassist and founding member of the original line-up of the rock band Twisted Sister.
  • Larry Cline- Guitarist of the rock band The Waitresses who recorded the hit song "I Know What Boys Like".
  • Alex Cline- Jazz drummer, composer and improviser who was a member of the band trio The Cline Brothers.
  • Thomas Cline- A Grammy-nominated guitarist, composer, and music producer whose projects include film scores and children’s music.
  • Tony Cline- Former NFL running back who last played for the Baltimore Ravens in 2002.

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