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Surname Miller - Meaning and Origin

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Miller: What does the surname Miller mean?

The surname Miller is of English and Scottish origin and it is an occupational name which means "grinder of grain." Essentially, it refers to a person's profession, that of a miller who operated a mill, mainly grinding grain into flour. Mills were an important part of medieval life in England, providing a crucial source of bread. The name Miller could also be derived from the Germanic "Müller", meaning the same thing. Official documents would use a person's occupation as a means of identification, leading to the use of surnames like Miller. It was a relatively common occupation, making Miller a prevalent surname. Despite its humble origins, its bearers have gone on to make significant impacts in all areas of society. As a family name, Miller is prevalent in English-speaking countries, ranking as the seventh most common surname in the United States and the 50th most common in England.

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Miller: Where does the name Miller come from?

The surname Miller originates from England and Scotland. It is derived from the occupation of a miller, usually referring to a person who worked in a grain mill. The name came from the Middle English term “mille,” which means “mill.” It became popular during the Middle Ages across various parts of Europe.

In English and Scottish cultures, it is often given to a person who was responsible for milling grain. This was a crucial job that contributed significantly to the community, which probably influenced the surname's wide adoption.

Today, Miller is a common surname in English-speaking countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, Miller was the 7th most common surname in the nation. It is also fairly common in Germany (spelled Müller, it's the most common German surname) and in the European Jewish diaspora, where it has been adopted and anglicized by many Ashkenazi Jews.

Variations of the surname Miller

The surname Miller is derived from the occupation of a miller, someone who operated a mill for grinding grains. Its variants and spellings can differ depending on the cultural and geographical background.

Common English variations include Millar, Myller, Myllar, and Millner. In Scotland, it sometimes appears as Milne or Milner.

German variations of Miller include Müller, Mueller, Moller, and Moeller. In Dutch, it is Molenaar or Meunier in French. The Spanish form Molinero and the Italian version Molinaro both have the same etymology.

The Polish version of the surname is Młynarz, and Kmet in Slovenia. The Hungarian version is Molnár.

Jewish families with this surname often spell it as Müller, Millar, or Muller particularly in Eastern Europe.

Irish variants are quite diverse and include Muiléir and Mealier among others.

These variants all trace back to the same occupation, and some may have arisen independently in different regions. The multitude of variations and spellings of "Miller" reflect its widespread use throughout European history.

Famous people with the name Miller

  • Emilia Miller: Canadian actress known for her role in the television series Becoming Us.
  • William Miller: American politician who served as a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts from 1825 to 1835.
  • Jason Miller: American actor and playwright, known for his roles on the television series St. Elsewhere.
  • Roger Miller: American singer-songwriter, musician, and actor, best known for his honky-tonk-influenced novelty songs.
  • Linda Miller: American actress popular for her appearances in films such as Fraternity Vacation and Airplane II: The Sequel.
  • Don Miller: American author and public speaker, best known for his book Blue Like Jazz.
  • Rebecca Miller: American indie filmmaker and author, known for her films such as The Ballad of Jack and Rose and Maggie’s Plan.
  • Steve Miller: American musician, songwriter, and producer, known as leader of the Steve Miller Band.
  • Mackenzie Miller: American singer who placed third on season seventeen of the reality television singing competition The Voice.
  • Patty Miller: American professional dancer, best known for her appearances on various dance and reality television shows.

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