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Surname Millikan - Meaning and Origin

all surnames with 'M'

Millikan: What does the surname Millikan mean?

The surname Millikan is of English origin and primarily associated with the British Isles. The name possibly originated from a job title, specifically for someone who either worked in a mill or owned one. Derived from the Middle English term "Milne," meaning "mill," along with the suffix "-kin," which was commonly added to names as a term of endearment or to indicate 'the son of,' Millikan may have initially been used to quietly denote "the miller's son" or some similar familial relationship. As societal norms evolved, these job- or family-related titles eventually became family surnames, passed down through generations. Notable individuals with this surname include Robert Andrews Millikan, a celebrated American experimental physicist. The interpretation of the surname may slightly vary based upon the cultural and regional differences.

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Millikan: Where does the name Millikan come from?

The surname Millikan is of Anglo-Saxon origin and commonly found within English-speaking countries. It's believed to be derived from the Old English pre 7th Century name 'Milliken', a diminutive of the personal name 'Millicent'. This name has occupational roots, referring to those who worked in a mill.

Around the late 1800s and early 1900s, many Millikans emigrated from England and Scotland to North America. Thus, the Millikan surname is quite common today in the United States. In fact, according to, the United States has the highest number of people with the Millikan surname. Within the U.S., the surname is most prevalent in North Carolina. It is relatively less common in other English-speaking countries like Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Millikan is considered an unusual last name in England, its country of origin.

Notable people with this surname include physicist Robert Andrews Millikan, who won a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1923. This has helped keep the Millikan name prevalent in academics and scientific communities.

Variations of the surname Millikan

The surname Millikan possibly has English and Scottish origins, and is sometimes considered a variant of the surname Millikin, and Milligan. It's connected with professional name of miller (someone who works in a grain mill), derived from the Middle English "milne", from the Old English pre 7th Century "mylen", itself from the Late Latin "molina".

A surname of the same origin exists in numerous variations due to historical inconsistencies in its recording. Different spellings often arose even within the same family, as scribes used phonetic spelling—recording names based on how they sounded—not standardized spelling.

Millikan can thus appear as Millikin, Milliken, Milligan, Millican, Milligan, Milken, Milkin, Millkin, Millikins, and Millikens. Similarly transformed surnames include Mullikan, Mullican, Mulikin, Millekin, Milleken, Milikan, and Millikan, among others.

Remember that surname origins and associations can be complex due to people moving, names changing, and records being lost or misspelled. Therefore, these variants can't be taken as absolute but are rather indicative. Someone with the surname Millikan, for example, may not necessarily share heritage with someone with the surname Millikin.

Famous people with the name Millikan

  • Robert Millikan: Robert Millikan was a pioneering American experimental physicist who made groundbreaking contributions to the fields of quantum theory, atomic structure, and electrochemistry. He is best known for his 1921 experiment to measure the elementary electrical charge, which earned him the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1923.
  • Clark Millikan: Clark Millikan was an American botanist and plant geneticist. He is credited with helping to establish the field of plant breeding, and his work on genetic mapping and variability helped to create a foundation for modern plant breeding programs.
  • Craig Millikan: Craig Millikan is a prominent American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and philanthropist. He is the founder of Millikan Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in early-stage technology companies, and CEO of Sharewell Capital, an investment management firm.
  • Charles Millikan: Charles Millikan was an American chemist who discovered the complex process by which the molecular structure of polymers is determined. He is also credited with advancing the knowledge of solubility and precipitation reactions, in addition to his research in polymer chemistry.
  • Amelia Millikan: Amelia Millikan is a media executive, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. She is the founder and CEO of Millikan Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in early-stage technology companies. Additionally, she serves as a director of a number of tech-related firms, such as Initia and Natera.
  • Harriet Millikan: Harriet Millikan is an American mathematician who made important contributions to the fields of number theory and algebraic geometry. She is particularly known for her work on elliptic curves and has been recognized for her distinguished career in teaching and research.

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