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Surname Highsmith - Meaning and Origin

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Highsmith: What does the surname Highsmith mean?

The last name Highsmith is of English origin and is believed to have been derived from the words "high" and "smith." The name literally means “the high smith.” It indicates that the original bearer of the surname belonged to a family that had a significant status and were skilled metal workers. The metal working profession was highly respected in England around 1000 A.D., and so it is likely that the name Highsmith was derived from a high ranking, well-respected family.

Highsmiths were historically associated with the military and there were several soldiers serving in World War I and World War II with this surname. It is traditionally associated with people of strength, courage, and bravery.

Highsmith is not a particularly common surname today and is not present in the top 1000 surnames in the United States. Although the name has old English roots, many modern Highsmiths can trace their ancestral lineage back to other European countries, including Germany and Sweden.

In recent years, the name Highsmith has been associated with two notable individuals, Patricia Highsmith and Tom Highsmith. The former was an American novelist and short story writer, most well-known for her psychological thrillers and crime fiction; the latter is an American photographer and documentary filmmaker. Both have been quite influential in their respective industries.

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Highsmith: Where does the name Highsmith come from?

The last name Highsmith is most common in the United States and Canada. The surname can also be found in the UK, Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, France, South Africa, and other countries.

In the United States, Highsmith is most commonly found in the Southern states of Alabama, Arkansas, and Florida. It is also prevalent in states bordering the South like Kentucky, Tennessee, and Louisiana. It is estimated that close to 8,000 people in the US bear this surname.

In Canada, Highsmith is distributed throughout the country with the largest concentrations being located in Ontario and British Columbia. About 2,200 people bear this surname in Canada.

The last name Highsmith has Germanic roots and is derived from the personal name Hig, meaning “high”. The “-smith” part of the name could indicate an ancestor who was a craftsman or a metalworker. The spelling of the name was likely changed and adapted as it moved through different countries and cultures.

Today, Highsmith is a fairly common name across the world and is still seen as a mark of respect and distinction in many places. Many Highsmiths are found in a variety of professional fields such as medicine, criminal justice, politics, and the arts.

Variations of the surname Highsmith

Highsmith is a surname which has several variants, spellings and derivatives. It can range from "Highsmith" to "Hyschmidt" and from "Higgesmyth" to "Hickman". Though all of these spellings can be traced back to the same origin, there are a few distinct differences between variants.

The most common spelling of this surname is “Highsmith”, which is derived from the Middle English word “hih”, which means “high”, and “smyth”, which means “smith”. This suggests that people bearing the name had some kind of craftsmanship associated with them, rather than being of a noble background.

Variants of Highsmith include Highisons, Highison, Higginson, Higgison, Hyschmidt, Hychman, Hickman, Hickeman, Higgsmeth, Higgesmyth and Higsmyth. All of these spellings likely can be traced back to a root of the English and German word "schmidt" meaning "smith".

The variant spellings of Highsmith were likely determined by which dialect was spoken in whatever area they lived. Those living in Germany may have translated the word to "Hyschmidt", while those living in England may have opted for a more English-sounding "Higgsmeth" or "Higgesmyth". Similarly, those living in Scotland may have adapted the spelling as "Hickman".

In modern times, the surname has been anglicized to the more common "Highsmith" spelling. It may have also been combined with other surnames, such as "Hickman-Highsmith". Regardless of the exact spelling, the origin of the Highsmith surname is still the same.

Famous people with the name Highsmith

  • Patricia Highsmith: She was an American novelist, short story writer, and playwright, most widely known for her psychological thrillers, including Strangers on a Train, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and The Price of Salt.
  • Garret Highsmith: He is a professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Stanford University, where he specializes in algorithms and software engineering.
  • Charles Highsmith: He is an American lawyer and political advisor, who served as a White House counsel and legal advisor to President Barack Obama.
  • Spencer Highsmith: He is a former professional football linebacker who played in the National Football League (NFL) from1982 to 1997.
  • John Highsmith: He is an American politician and entrepreneur, who ran unsuccessfully for Governor of Mississippi in the 2019 Republican primary election.
  • Gay Highsmith: She was an American film actress most active during the 1930s and 1940s.
  • Prince Highsmith: He was an American folk blues songwriter and guitar player from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
  • Linda Highsmith: She is an American artist, largely known for her illustrations for children’s books.
  • Ana Highsmith: She is a professional swimmer who competed in two Olympic Games representing the United States.
  • Robert Highsmith: He is a professional basketball player who was drafted in the 2010 NBA draft and played six seasons in the NBA.

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