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Surname Taffy - Meaning and Origin

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Taffy: What does the surname Taffy mean?

The surname Taffy is of Welsh origin and is believed to be derived from the Welsh term "taf" which means river, indicating that the family was likely to have lived near a river. However, "Taffy" is also used as a colloquial English term to refer to a person from Wales, similar to calling a French person a "frog" or an English person a "limey." This usage originated from 'Dafydd', a Welsh form of the name David or from Taffy as a nickname for the River Taff in Cardiff, Wales. The nickname became familiar outside of Wales from the mid-19th-century nursery rhyme "Taffy was a Welshman". As such, someone bearing Taffy as a last name may have Welsh roots or ancestry. As with many surnames, specific meanings can vary and may be specific to individual families. Bear in mind that interpreting surname meanings is not an exact science and relies on tracing the history and origin of the name through records such as the census, parish records, and immigration documents.

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Taffy: Where does the name Taffy come from?

The last name Taffy (or Taffee) is a common surname in the United Kingdom, especially in Wales and Scotland. It can also be found in parts of the United States, most commonly in the Appalachians and in the southeastern states. The earliest known Taffy names in Wales date back to the 15th century, suggesting that the name was brought over to Britain during the Norman invasion.

The exact meaning of the name is unclear, potentially coming from the Welsh word tafod, meaning ‘tongue’, or the Middle English term for taffeta, referring to a type of fabric. In some cases, it may even be a nickname for someone small-framed or for someone with a cheery nature.

Taffy is not a particularly popular surname in America, but there have been notable figures throughout history, such as American politician James Taffee and Civil War general Amos Taffee. In the United Kingdom, the name has been carried on by famous figures like composer Eileen Taffee, actor Allan Taffee, and entertainer Charles Taffee.

Despite variations in spelling, the last name Taffy is still an easily recognizable name in both the United States and United Kingdom. As the popularity of the name has grown in both locations, the prevalence of this surname is likely to only become more widespread.

Variations of the surname Taffy

Taffy is a surname mainly found in Wales and England. Its variants, spellings and surnames of the same origin include:

Taffee, Taffey, Taffie, Taffy, Tafey, Taffe, Taff, Tafy, and Teffy.

The surname Taffy originates from the Celtic given name Dafydd, which means “beloved”. The Latinized form of this name is ‘David’. In some cases, the surname Taffy may have also been derived from the Welsh word ‘tafod’, which means ‘tongue’. Thus the Taffy surname may be taken to denote someone who is a verbal or persuasive person.

The surname Taffy is also found in some other countries. In the United States, it has become anglicized to Teffy. In France, the surname is known as Taffée and in Germany, the surname is called Taffke.

In Scotland, the surname is believed to be derived from the words ‘taft' (which means 'small' or 'timid') and 'ey' (which means 'island'). Thus the surname Taffy may have originally been used to denote someone from a small island.

In Ireland, the surname Taffy is thought to have arisen from the Irish Gaelic given name Tadhg, which was in turn derived from the Irish Gaelic word ‘tadh’ which means ‘silent’ or ‘silence’. Thus in Ireland, the surname Taffy may have been used to denote someone who was a silent or gentle person.

In Italy, the surname Taffy is believed to have arisen from the Italian given name Taddeo. In Hungary, the surname is believed to have originated from the Hungarian variant of the given name Thaddeus.

In any case, the various variants and spellings of the same origin for the surname Taffy – such as Taffee, Taffey, Taffie, Taffy, Tafey, Taffe, Taff, Tafy, Teffy, Taffée, Taffke, Taft, and Tadhg – could be used as alternate spellings for those descendants of the same single ancestral source.

Famous people with the name Taffy

  • Taffy Nivert: American pop singer from the 1960s who was popular for her hits “Games People Play” and “Do What You Gotta Do”.
  • Taffy Brodesser-Akner: American journalist and novelist who is known for her in-depth profiles and humorous essays.
  • Colin Taffy: Dancer and choreographer who performed with the Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, and numerous solo professional shows.
  • Reuben Taffy: English actor and comedian, best known for his roles in the Carry On films.
  • Darren Taffy: Australian-born musician who has released seven solo albums.
  • Taffy Thomas MBE: English professional storyteller who has been called “The Grandfather of Storytelling”.
  • Samantha Taffy: African-American singer-songwriter who released her debut album entitled “The Art of Vibin” in 2018.
  • Kate Taffy: Canadian children’s entertainer known for her puppet shows and music performances.
  • Taffy Elrod: Retired American Major League Baseball infielder who played ten seasons in the league.
  • Taffy Anderson: British playwright, best known for the play “The Silent Woman” which won her the Verity Bargate Award.

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