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Surname MacCabe - Meaning and Origin

all surnames with 'M'

MacCabe: What does the surname MacCabe mean?

The last name MacCabe is derived from an Irish Gaelic surname "Mac Cába," which originated from the county of Monaghan, located in the country of Ireland. The term “Mac” means “son of” in Gaelic and “Cába,” often associated the word “cape.” Thus, the surname MacCabe is believed to denote 'son of the one with a cape'. The MacCabes were gallowglasses (a kind of mercenary soldier) who originally came from Scotland to serve the O'Reillys and later frequently served under the O'Rourkes. They are known for their warrior behavior and their legacy as police of the region. During the late 16th century, their power began to decline majorly due to socio-political changes in the region. Despite it being an uncommon name, it has a rich history with a deep-seated cultural representation and heritage dating back to the medieval ages. People bearing this surname are found in many English-speaking countries today, but it is most common in Ireland.

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MacCabe: Where does the name MacCabe come from?

The last name MacCabe is of Scottish and Irish origins. It is derived from the Gaelic surname "MacCaba", which means "son of Caba", a byname meaning "cape". The MacCabes are popularly believed to have been a Scottish Gallowglass family (mercenaries) arranged by the O'Reillys in the 14th century to help defend their territories in Co. Cavan against the English. They adopted the Irish culture, customs and laws and became completely amalgamated with other Irish families in language and customs.

Today, the surname is common and widely distributed across Ireland, chiefly found in the counties of Cavan, Fermanagh, and Monaghan. There are also clusters of MacCabes in the USA, Canada, Australia, and the UK, owing to Irish emigration over centuries. Over time, variations of the spelling of the surname have come about due to an assortment of phonetic and regional influences; examples include McCabe, MacAbe, M'Cabe and others.

Variations of the surname MacCabe

The surname MacCabe is a patronymic name that originated from an old Gaelic surname MacCába. Variations and similar surnames are a result of migrations, translations, and phonetic spellings over the centuries. Its various forms include McCabe, MacCaba, McAbbe, MacAbe, MacCabe, McCaba, McKabe, and MacAbes. The surname is derived from the term "cabaidh", meaning "capped" in Gaelic, referring to an early ancestor’s trademark headgear.

In different regions and times, due to varied accents and languages, the same surname often had multiple spellings. So, it wouldn't be unusual to find the same individual carrying variations of the surname at different times.

Also, the prefix Mac, Mc and O are often used interchangeably or omitted. For example, McCabe could be written as O'Cabe, Cabe, or even just Abe.

Moreover, variations might also arise due to Anglicisation of the name, English being more phonetic in nature. Therefore, one could presume potential derivations like Kabe or Cabe. It should be noted though, surname derivations can significantly vary between different geographical and cultural contexts.

Famous people with the name MacCabe

  • Alan MacCabe: He is a notable musician and a member of the British band Kula Shaker.
  • Bernard MacCabe: A famous Irish actor known for his work in films and TV series like 'Fair City', 'Ballykissangel', and 'A Love Divided'.
  • Peter MacCabe: An American actor known for his role in the film 'The Execution of Private Slovik'.
  • John Wilson MacCabe: A renowned U.S. Navy admiral.
  • Alexander MacCabe: He served as a U.S. Ambassador to Haiti from 1987 to 1991.
  • Martin MacCabe: A Scottish actor known for his work in theatre, film, and TV shows with a particular emphasis on producing work through Gaelic.
  • Vincent MacCabe: An Irish actor known for his work in RTE drama series 'The Riordans'.
  • Ruth MacCabe: An Irish actress who works on stage, film, and TV who is known for her roles in 'Philomena', 'Breakfast on Pluto', and 'My Left Foot'.
  • Harold MacCabe: He was a notable Irish cricketer.
  • Patrick MacCabe: An Irish novelist and playwright, known for works like 'The Butcher Boy' and 'Breakfast on Pluto'. Please note that some surnames may have variations in spelling such as 'McCabe'.

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