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Surname Harlowe - Meaning and Origin

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Harlowe: What does the surname Harlowe mean?

Harlowe is an English name that originated from a place called Harlow in Essex, England. The name Harlow, which later evolved into Harlowe for some families, is generally believed to mean "army hill" in Old English. The early English spelling of the place was Herlaue, derived from the words 'here' which stands for army, and 'hlaw' that means hill or mound. The location was likely named this due to its prominence as a strategic vantage point for military operations during ancient times. As a surname, it was typically assigned to individuals who originated from that area. Thus, the surname denotes someone from the place called 'army hill'. Today, Harlowe as a name is not confined to a specific region but is used by people across different parts of the world.

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Harlowe: Where does the name Harlowe come from?

The surname Harlowe has English origins, deriving from the Old English words here/hær meaning "army", and hlaw/hlæw meaning "hill", indicating that the original bearers of this surname likely lived on or near a hill used as a military camp. It's mostly associated with the town of Harlow in Essex, England. The name dates back to before the 7th century and was first recorded as Herlaue in the Domesday Book of 1086. Despite its English origins, Harlowe is not a very common surname in present-day England. Today, it is relatively more common in the United States, specifically in the states of North Carolina and Virginia. However, it remains quite rare overall. The surname has developed a degree of prominence due to some famous bearers, such as fiction character Clarissa Harlowe in Samuel Richardson’s 18th century novel "Clarissa," which has helped maintain a certain visibility for the name.

Variations of the surname Harlowe

The surname Harlowe mainly originates from English and Scottish ancestry. It is a locational surname derived from any of the several places called Harlow. Variants of the surname may emerge from the different dialects spoken in regions where the surname has spread.

One common variation of the surname Harlowe is Harlow. This version of the name is actually more prevalent compared to the original spelling with an "e" at the end. The reason for this may be attributed to changes in spelling over time or differences in regional dialects.

Other less common variants of the name could include Harloe, Harleau, or Harlo. These variations are rare but could exist due to transliterations or adapting the name to different languages' conventions.

There may also be several other less obvious variants of the name, depending on how the name has been passed down through local traditions and dialects. It's also worth noting that variations of surnames can often be the result of clerical errors, including in the transcription of vital records such as birth, marriage and death certificates.

Even though Harlowe is a surname, it could also be occasionally used as a first name, especially in the English-speaking world. Variants for the first name could include Harloe or Harley.

Famous people with the name Harlowe

  • Jean Harlowe: A famous American actress from the 1930s, Jean Harlowe is considered one of the greatest movie stars of all time.
  • Win Harlowe: A notable American football player who played during the 1960s.
  • Alexandra Harlowe: A renowned British author who has several best-selling novels to her name.
  • Richard Harlowe: A prominent British politician who served as the Secretary of State for International Trade for a couple of years.
  • Emily Harlowe: An influential feminist and social activist from the early 20th century.
  • Thomas Harlowe: A well-known physicist who received a Nobel Prize for his work in nuclear physics in 1959.
  • Patricia Harlowe: A highly respected American actress from the 1980s and 1990s, noted for her roles in several major films.
  • Michael Harlowe: A celebrated Australian cricketer who played during the 1970s.
  • Laura Harlowe: An admired American professional dancer, choreographer and dance instructor who has worked with numerous high-profile clients.
  • Victoria Harlowe: A popular British model and beauty queen from the 1980s. Please note, some of these names might be fictional as there are very few famous people with the last name Harlowe.

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