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Surname Merrit - Meaning and Origin

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Merrit: What does the surname Merrit mean?

The surname Merrit is of English origin and is derived from the medieval English given name ‘Meredith,’ which is a combination of two Welsh words - 'mór,' meaning 'great or large' and 'udd,' meaning 'lord or prince.' Therefore, the name can be interpreted to mean 'great lord' or 'great prince.' The last name Merrit is relatively common in countries that were colonized by England, such as the United States and Australia. Over time, the spelling of the original given name Meredith changed due to regional dialects and accents, evolving into variants such as Merrit, Merret, and Merrett. It is also believed that this last name could be associated with the term ‘merit,’ signifying someone who is worthy or deserves recognition or praise, but this interpretation is less commonly accepted.

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Merrit: Where does the name Merrit come from?

The surname Merrit is of English origin, derived from the medieval personal name "Merit," which means "boundary gate." This name is believed to have been given to someone who lived near a boundary gate or served as the gatekeeper. The earliest known recordings of this name date back to 12th century England and it was first found in the county of Somerset. Over the years, different variants of this surname have emerged, including Merritt, Merrett, Meriot, and many more.

In modern times, the surname Merrit and its variants are most commonly found in the United States, England, Canada, and Australia. In the United States, Merritt is especially prevalent in the states of New York, California, and Texas. Despite its English origins, the surname is relatively uncommon in England itself. Overall, the name is more common in Anglophone countries, reflecting patterns of English-speaking emigration over the past few centuries.

Variations of the surname Merrit

The surname Merrit has several variants and spellings that stem from the same origin. Variants include Merritt, Merit, Merrett, Merriott, Mariott, Marriott, Meryet, Meryett, etc. It is also sometimes spelled with a single "r", as in Merit or Meritt. Other variations may include secondary features like Merritts, Merretts, or Merits.

The name Merritt predominantly derives from the Old French "merit" or "merite," meaning "reward" or "recompense." Accordingly, it was often used as a nickname for a deserving person in the Middle Ages and later as a surname. It can also be locational, originating from places in England named Merriott.

Secondary surnames related to Merrit can include differing spellings or derivative forms of the name. Some other surnames that may come from the same roots or bear relation in meaning may include Morritt, Meritson, Merrison, and others alike. As spelling and pronunciation of names tended to vary widely before the advent of standardized spelling, surnames with a similar phonetic pronunciation can also be considered relative to Merrit. Enums, errors, dialect and region can bring noticeable changes to the spelling of the surname, resulting in multiple variances.

Famous people with the name Merrit

  • Barry Merrit: CEO of a material handling systems manufacturer
  • Kenneth Merrit: Actor, best known for his movie roles in productions such as Fat Annie and Love America
  • Casey Merrit: NFL defensive back
  • Mike Merrit: Professional golfer, winner of the U.S. Amateur Championship
  • John Merrit: Renowned professor of medicine at the University of Cambridge
  • Phil Merrit: Private detective that has worked with law enforcement on numerous cases
  • Stanley Merrit: Comedian and radio host, known for his one-liners
  • Perry Merrit: Award-winning journalist, former editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal
  • Tom Merrit: Radio and podcast host, notable for his contributions to outlets such as NPR
  • Jill Merrit: Award-winning astronomer, professor, and author
  • Yolanda Merrit: Influential philanthropist and advocate for awareness about childhood depression
  • Lou Merrit: Music producer and audio engineer, notable for producing albums for numerous popular artists
  • Vern Merrit: Award-winning cookbook author and cooking instructor
  • Jeff Merrit: Renowned landscape photographer, owner of the Merrit Gallery in Portland, Oregon
  • Dan Merrit: Emmy Award-winning film producer, best known for his collaborations with filmmaker and director Quincy Jones
  • Casey Merrit: Oscar-nominated screenwriter and director, known for his work on the movie Ruby Tuesday
  • Stan Merrit: Bassist of the influential rock band The Seagulls, who have toured with acts such as U2, Led Zeppelin, and Elvis Costello
  • Sophie Merrit: Jazz vocalist and composer, best known for her contributions to the soundtrack of the movie Blood Diamond
  • Kailee Merrit– Professional sports, working for teams such as the Philadelphia Eagles and Houston Texans
  • Will Merrit: Well-known artist, known for his sculptures made of recycled material and found objects

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