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Surname Oleary - Meaning and Origin

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Oleary: What does the surname Oleary mean?

The last name Oleary is of Irish origin and derives from the Gaelic Ó Laoghaire, meaning "descendant of Laoghaire". The name Laoghaire itself is thought to mean "calf-herder", indicating an ancestral occupation. The lineage is believed to trace back to a 10th-century king of Ireland, Laoghaire. Over time, the spelling was Anglicised to O'Leary. The surname is particularly prevalent in County Cork, Ireland. It's significant to note that the spelling of the name can vary, with O’Leary and Leary being the most common forms. As with many surnames, particular spellings can sometimes provide clues about a family's geographic origin or history. As a surname, it is shared by many notable people, from athletes to authors, further spreading its recognition globally.

Oleary: Where does the name Oleary come from?

The last name Oleary is most common in Ireland in the present day. The surname is derived from the Irish language and translates as "descendant of the learned one" or "crowded/frenzied warrior". The name is thought to have emerged from the Gaelic O'Laoghaire, which is derived from the old Irish name Laoidhigh.

Oleary is also very common in the United States, where it is the 748th most common last name. It originated with Irish immigrants who arrived in America in the early 19th century. It is more common in the eastern part of the US, with New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania being the states with the highest number of people bearing the name Oleary.

According to recent data, the name is found in nearly every country in the world, though it is not as common elsewhere as it is in Ireland and the US. Notably, there are a significant number of people with the surname Oleary in the following countries: England, Germany, Canada, Scotland, Australia, and New Zealand.

In conclusion, the last name Oleary is most common in Ireland and the United States, though it is also found in many other countries around the world.

Variations of the surname Oleary

The surname Oleary is an Anglicized form of the original Irish surname Ó Laoghaire. This Irish name, which is pronounced ow-LEER-ee, is derived from the Gaelic form ‘O’Laeghaire’ which translates to ‘descendant of Laoghaire’.

Variants of this Irish surname include O’Leary, Leary, Lavery, Lawry, Lowry, and McLeray. Spellings may also vary, such as O’Lary, O’Lairy, O’Lery, and O’Lory.

In some cases, the surname Oleary is also be found as ‘MacLeary’, which is a shortened form of Mac Giolla Laery meaning ‘son of the servant of Laery’. A variation of this is ‘MacLeray’, or ‘son of Laery’.

The surname Oleary has also spread to other countries. In Scotland, the name is spelled MacAnLeary, MacLerie, and MacLeery. In the United States, the name is sometimes spelled O’Leery, Olary, Lary, Leroy, or Lorry.

The Oleary surname is common in an area of Ireland known as Munster, mainly in counties Cork, Kerry and Tipperary.

Today, the Oleary surname can be found in countries all over the world. It is a reminder of the rich Irish heritage and of the family’s ancestral roots.

Famous people with the name Oleary

  • Stephen O'Leary: Stephen is an American actor, best known for his role as Jeffery Jacobs on Hulu's Casual and as Captain Wilcox on SEAL Team.
  • Kevin O'Leary: Kevin is a Canadian business tycoon, reality television personality and venture capitalist. He is a co-host of the television program Shark Tank and was a former judge on the television show Canada's Got Talent.
  • Eoin O'Leary: Eoin is an Irish footballer who plays for Bristol City in the Championship.
  • Meaghan O'Leary: Meaghan is an American figure skater who won a silver medal at the 2015 U.S. National Figure Skating Championships.
  • Laura O'Leary: Laura is an Irish professional golfer, who currently competes on the Ladies European Tour.
  • Joe O'Leary: Joe is an American actor, best known for his roles on CBS' All Rise, Supernatural on The CW, and Chicago PD on NBC.
  • Rian O'Leary: Rian is an American dancer and choreographer who has worked with prominent artists such as Rihanna, Beyonce, and Britney Spears.
  • Lorna O'Leary: Lorna is an Irish former professional basketball player, who competed in the Women's National Basketball Association.
  • Aidan O'Leary: Aidan is an Irish former professional rugby player, who played for Munster Rugby and the Ireland National Rugby Union Team.

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