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Surname Howe - Meaning and Origin

all surnames with 'H'

Howe: What does the surname Howe mean?

The surname Howe is of English origin and it is a topographic name derived from the Old Norse term "haugr" which means hill, mound or barrow. This name was often given to individuals who resided near a prominent hill or mound. In the Middle Ages, these location-based names were quite common since residents commonly identified each other by their surrounding landscapes. In terms of its distribution, the name Howe is most prevalent in England, especially in the northern and eastern regions. Notable individuals with the surname include Elias Howe, inventor of the sewing machine, and Gordie Howe, a Canadian professional ice hockey player.

Howe: Where does the name Howe come from?

The surname Howe is of Anglo-Saxon origin, deriving from Old Norse word "haugr" which means hill, mound or barrow. It may have been a topographic name for someone who lived by a small hill or a mound, or a locational name from any of the places named with this word, spread across England.

This surname is present in several countries but is particularly common in English-speaking nations such as the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. In the United States, according to the 2000 census, Howe was the 946th most common surname. It is also fairly common in England, specifically in the regions of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. There are also records of this surname in Scotland and Ireland, although with less prevalence compared to England.

It's important to note that there are also several variations of the surname Howe, including How, Hough, and Houx, among others. Over time and through migration, these variations likely developed to better fit the phonetics or particularities of languages in different regions.

Variations of the surname Howe

The surname "Howe" has several variations and spellings due to its various origins in English and Germanic cultures. Some of its common variants include How, Howes, and Ho. It is believed to have originated from the Old Norse word "haugr," meaning "hill" or "mound."

In certain regions, it might appear as Haw, Hau, or Hoa. The name could also have variants that indicated a person’s dwelling or occupation, such as "de la Howe" meaning 'of the hill.' In English-speaking regions, it is not unusual to find it spelled as Howes, signaling patronymic origins (the 's' indicating 'son of Howe').

In the context of Germanic derivations, similar names associated with Howe include Hoh, Hau, Hough or even Hoch. The name has many spelling variations because scribes and church officials often spelled an individual's name as it sounded. This practice often led to the phenomenon of a single person being referred to by different spellings in different documents.

Overall, the name Howe and its variants belong to a class of topographic surnames given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, church, stream, etc.

Famous people with the name Howe

  • Gordie Howe: Legendary ice hockey player who spent most of his professional career with the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League from 1946 to 1971. He was the inaugural recipient of the NHL Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.
  • Sydney Howe: Elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966, he was a professional ice hockey player and coach. He participated in 1938 Olympics as an ice hockey player.
  • Gordie Howe Jr.: He is a retired ice hockey player and coach, who played fifteen seasons in the National Hockey League for five teams. He has been the assistant coach for the Stanley Cup winning Detroit Red Wings in 2008.
  • Emmy Howe: Emmy Howe is a prominent Australian businesswoman and venture capitalist. She is currently the Managing Director of the VC group The People’s Venture, that looks to scale up early-stage companies.
  • Katherine Howe: Katherine Howe is an American novelist and non-fiction author, whose works are primarily focused on early American and colonial history.
  • Rebecca Howe: Rebecca Howe is an American actress, most known for her role as Rebecca Howe on the popular television sitcom Cheers.
  • Ethan Howe: Ethan Howe is an American Paralympic athlete. He won a gold medal at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing.
  • John Howe: John Howe is an American fantasy illustrator, renowned for his illustrations for role-playing games, such as Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, and Middle-earth Roleplaying.
  • Don Howe: Don Howe was an establishment English footballer, most notable for his highly successful spell as an assistant manager of Arsenal.
  • Patrick Howe: Patrick Howe is an Australian rules football coach who has had a number of coaching roles at various clubs around Australia, including as senior coach of the Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne.

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