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Surname Morris - Meaning and Origin

all surnames with 'M'

Morris: What does the surname Morris mean?

The surname Morris is of Anglo-Norman origin and derives from a personal name, Maurice, which was popular in France following its use by the 6th-century saint, who was a Roman legionary martyred in Switzerland. The name Maurice comes from the Latin 'Mauritius', which is a cognate of 'Maurus', meaning 'Moorish' or 'dark-skinned', hence, from the people of ancient Mauretania, a region of the Roman Empire situated in present-day Morocco and Algeria. Therefore, the surname Morris essentially denotes 'descendant or follower of Maurice'. Over time, it transformed into different variants, including Morris, Morriss, Moriss, Morrice, and others. It is also common in Wales, where it is derived from the personal name Meurig (equivalent to Maurice), or an Anglicized form of the Welsh personal name Morys, a derivative of Maurice.

Morris: Where does the name Morris come from?

The last name Morris is most commonly found in the United States and England today, reflecting the countries' shared cultural roots. In the United States, it is the 98th most common surname in the country. Most prominently found in states such as Texas and Florida, the highest percentage can be found in the state of Tennessee. In England, Morris is the 59th most popular surname. It is especially prominent in greater London, as well as Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham.

Beyond the United Kingdom and the United States, Morris is also found in South Africa, Ireland, and Australia, often among the descendants of immigrants from the countries of Britain and Ireland. It is even found in much smaller numbers in Spain, Germany, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.

Historically, Morris originated as a patronymic patronym—derived from the first name of a person’s father, thus indicating the connection of the family to that father and many other members of the same McKinley family. It is thought to be of Norman origin and the earliest recorded Morris dates from 1185 in the Book of Fees.

Variations of the surname Morris

The surname Morris is believed to have originated in England and Scotland. The variants, spellings, and surnames of Morris include Maurice, Morice, Moriss, Morrice, Morryss, Morrisse, Morriss, Morrys, Morrissy, Morryce, Moreys, Morrow, Muir, Moir, Morize, and Moris.

In England, the surname Morris originated as a patronymic own (from the father’s given name) of the Norman personal name Maurice. Maurice was an Old French name which may have been derived from the Latin Mauritius (dark-skinned).

In Scotland, the surname Morris is derived from the Gaelic Mac Muiris, meaning "son of Morris". The Gaelic Morris may have been derived from the Celtic Muir (any large body of water).

Morris can also be spelt as Morriss, Morisse, Morrice, and Moreys. The French spelling of the name is Maurice, while in Ireland the surname Morris is primarily spelt as Muir.

In Scotland, many variant forms of the Morris surname exist, including Muir, Moir, Morize, and Moris. These alternative surnames are associated with the wider clan of the Morris surname.

Morris is a relatively common surname throughout the English-speaking world and may refer to many people. Despite the differing spellings and regional variation, they all share a common origin and can be traced back to their ancestors.

Famous people with the name Morris

  • Gary Morris: American country music artist.
  • Edward Morris: one of the founding members of the Bahá'í Faith.
  • Doug Morris: American music executive and the current CEO of Sony Music Entertainment.
  • William Morris: British 19th century artist, writer, socialist and craftsman.
  • Marcus Morris: American basketball player for the Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA.
  • Gregory Morris: American actor best known for his role in the hit television series Mission: Impossible.
  • Gerald Morris: American author of fantasy and Medieval adventure stories.
  • William Morris (politician): British socialist active in the 19th century.
  • William Morris (explorer): British explorer of Africa in the 19th century.
  • Peter Morris: former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations.
  • Robert Morris: founding father of the United States.
  • Jimmy Morris: former Major League Baseball player.
  • Charles Morris: pioneering Canadian engineer and railroad contractor.
  • J.P. (Jack) Morris: English cricketer, active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • Trevor Morris: Canadian music composer for television.
  • Allie Morris: secret messenger between the Mexican and Texan armies during the Texas Revolution of 1836.
  • Marriner Morris: American civil rights activist and Anglican theologian.
  • Helen Morris: American Olympic swimmer.
  • Roger Morris: British radio personality.
  • Tricia Morris: professional American football player.

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