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Surname McNamara - Meaning and Origin

all surnames with 'M'

McNamara: What does the surname McNamara mean?

The last name McNamara is of Irish origin and comes from the Gaelic "Mac Conmara", which means "son of the hound of the sea". It refers to an ancient clan hailing from County Clare on the west coast of Ireland known for its seafaring skills and maritime prowess. The name suggests a lineage of seafarers or sailors, explicitly implying fearless and determined character traits. This Irish surname insinuates a long-standing connection with the sea and seafaring, tracing back to a time when clan names were originally formed. The McNamaras, as a clan, were significant contributors to Irish heritage and their ancestral castles and landmarks can still be seen in Ireland today.

McNamara: Where does the name McNamara come from?

The surname McNamara is of Irish origin and is believed to derive from two Gaelic words, "Mac Conmara," meaning "Son of the Hound of the Sea." This was a metaphorical term for a skilled mariner. The Family were a powerful noble family in the region of Clare and Galway, Ireland.

Today, the surname McNamara is common in various parts of the world where the Irish diaspora settled. It's particularly prevalent in countries like the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. However, the largest concentration of people with the McNamara surname is still found in Ireland, specifically in County Clare where the family was originally based.

Variations of the surname McNamara

The surname McNamara is of Irish origin and originated in the province of Munster in southwestern Ireland. Over the centuries, the surname took on different spellings depending on the region or country where the family settled. Variations of McNamara include MacNamara, McNamar, McNamer, McNameer, and MacConamarra. These variants have minor spelling differences but generally maintain the same pronunciation.

Slightly different versions include the surnames MacConmara, MacNamara, MacConamarra, and sometimes it's abbreviated to McNam. There are some who Anglicized the name further into “MacNamera” and "Namara."

In terms of surname origin, McNamara descended from the Gaelic Mac Conmara clan which notably refers to the “Hound of the Sea" or "Son of the Hound of the Sea." Other related Irish surnames like MacMahon or MacInerney also stem from the various clans that were present in the region during the period.

Moreover, because of immigration and anglicisation, the McNamara surname may intermingle with some Scottish or British surnames that have similar root meanings or sounds.

It's important to remember though that surname variations can be influenced by several factors including regional dialects, literacy levels, and individual preference. Therefore, they can be inconsistent and varied.

Famous people with the name McNamara

  • Robert McNamara (1916-2009): Former US Secretary of Defense, serving from 1961-1968. He was part of the infamous 'Best and Brightest' group of JFK's advisers and played a major role in escalating the US's military involvement in Vietnam.
  • Brian McNamara (1960-): An American actor, director, producer and writer. He is best known for his roles in Army Wives, The Outsiders and Beverly Hills 90210.
  • Kerry McNamara (1998-): American professional ice hockey player currently playing for the Calgary Flames.
  • John McNamara (1928-2006): American Major League Baseball manager and coach from 1969-2004.
  • Kevin McNamara (1961-): British Labour Party politician and member of Parliament from 1983 to 2005.
  • Lenda Murray (1962-): American professional bodybuilder and 8-time Ms. Olympia champion. McNamara was her married name.
  • Terence P. McNamara (1940-): Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge from 2000-2010.
  • Vincent McNamara (1934-2015): American Jesuit priest, activist and author.
  • Mary Kay McNamara (1946-): Professor and chair of the English department at Wheaton College in Massachusetts.
  • Kathleen McNamara (1955-):Noted scholar of European Union politics and professor of government and foreign service at Georgetown University.

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