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Surname McKnight - Meaning and Origin

all surnames with 'M'

McKnight: What does the surname McKnight mean?

The surname McKnight is of Scottish origin and is derived from the Gaelic "Mac Neachtain" which translates to "son of Nechtan". Nechtan is a personal name of unclear origin, which was borne by several historical and legendary figures, including an 8th-century Pictish king. As a result, the name translates to "son of the pure one" or "son of the serpent." The "Mc" or "Mac" prefix means "son of," indicating lineage. The surname McKnight is most common in Scotland and Northern Ireland. It could also be an Anglicised form of the Gaelic surname "Mac an Ridire" which translates to "son of the knight". Therefore, McKnight might also mean "son of the Knight". Like many surnames taken from the Engish language, it may have originally been a nickname or a status name. However, the exact meaning of the surname McKnight can vary based on the family's history.

McKnight: Where does the name McKnight come from?

The surname McKnight is of Scottish origin. It is derived from the Gaelic Mac Naughton, which translates to "son of the pure or holy one". This surname has various spellings, such as MacNeachtain and MacNaghten, among others. It made its way into English as MacNaught, McNaught, and eventually McKnight. The Mac or Mc prefix indicates "son of", showing a clear lineage.

Historically, clans bearing this surname were found in the region of Argyll, on the western coast of Scotland. Today, this surname is common in countries that have seen significant Scottish emigration. It's found in the United States, Canada, Australia, England, New Zealand, and Scotland. The United States and Scotland especially have higher concentrations of individuals with the McKnight surname. In the U.S., McKnight is more commonly found in states such as California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania. While in Scotland, it remains prevalent in areas like Glasgow city, and Renfrewshire. It's also worth mentioning that the name has scattered presence in many other countries around the globe, thanks to global diaspora over the centuries.

Variations of the surname McKnight

The surname McKnight belongs to Scottish and Irish origin and is a variation of the surname “Mac Naught,” which means son of Naught. It can also be traced back to Gaelic origin as MacNeachdainn which means son of Nechtan. Variants and similar surnames include: MacKnight, MacKnighty, McKnicht, McKnite, McNight, Mcknighte, or MacNeight.

Alternative spellings may include M'Knight, M’Knicht, or M'Knite. These spellings can be attributed to phonetic translations during immigration processes, as people often spelled their names as they sounded.

Related surnames that share the same root ("knight") or similar etymology include: Knight, Naight, Naughton, Naughten, Macnaughton, Macnaughten, and Knaght.

It is also common to find variations of names based on geographical location and dialects, especially in Scottish Highlands and Islands. Hence, some surnames can be specific to certain regions in Ireland and Scotland. For example, Nechtan is more prevalent in Scotland, while Naught is more common in Ireland.

Nonetheless, all these variations represent the same lineage or ancestry that traces back to the Gaelic term meaning ‘pure’, ‘clear’, or ‘passionate’.

Famous people with the name McKnight

  • Brian McKnight: award-winning American singer, songwriter, composer, and producer from Buffalo, New York
  • Justin McKnight: American singer and actor known for appearing on the first season of NBC’s ‘The Voice’
  • Kalila McKnight: American dancer and choreographer, best known for her work on famous music videos
  • Ronald McKnight: prolific American actor and comedian with appearances on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and ‘In Living Color’
  • Tevin McKnight: American actor and dancer who appeared in music videos for Beyoncé and Rihanna
  • Akira McKnight: American actor, writer, and producer most well known for her roles in American horror anthology television series ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’
  • Reginald McKnight: African-American writer who wrote several plays and books based on his extensive travels
  • Kato McKnight: American singing group member of the popular ‘90s R&B group ‘Hi-Five’
  • Troy McKnight: American model, actor, and television host featured on VH1, MTV, and the US version of ‘Big Brother’
  • Brandy McKnight: American singer-songwriter, and producer, best known for her debut single, ‘I Just Wanna Love You’

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