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Surname Waits - Meaning and Origin

all surnames with 'W'

Waits: What does the surname Waits mean?

The surname "Waits" is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is an occupational name for a watchman or guard. It is derived from the Old English pre 7th Century word "wacian" or "waccian," which means "to watch or guard." The surname could also be related to a group of musicians known as ‘The Waits’ in medieval England who were employed by town councils to play music on public occasions. During the Middle Ages, watchmen or guards were important for maintaining the security and peace of a town or a city. These guards also performed other duties such as ringing bells or playing music to mark the time. Thus, an individual bearing the surname "Waits" may be a descendant of a person who served as a town watchman or guard. Like many surnames that were derived from common occupations, the exact origins of this surname may be difficult to trace due to the numerous individuals who could have adopted or been given this surname based on their profession.

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Waits: Where does the name Waits come from?

The last name Waits is most commonly found in the United States today, with several thousand people carrying that name. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Waits is most prevalent in the states of Indiana, Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Mississippi. Over half of all Waits individuals reside in the states of Mississippi, Texas, and Oklahoma combined.

The highest concentration of Waits individuals is in Columbus County, North Carolina, with the second highest concentration in Montgomery County, Alabama. In other countries outside of the United States, Waits is found primarily in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.

Waits is an ethnic last name that likely derives from the Old English for "watchman" or "gatekeeper." Another possible interpretation suggests the name may have been derived from "weats," which is an old word for "meadow." The first recorded mention of the name Waits is as far back as the 12th century in England.

The last name Waits is most commonly found across the rural areas of the United States today. Those with the Waits name are likely of Scottish, Irish, or English descent. Whatever the origin or exact meaning, the name Waits is an interesting symbol of heritage that has been handed down through the generations.

Variations of the surname Waits

Waits is an English surname originating from the Old English word ‘wæite’, which means ‘lookout’. The different variants, spellings and surnames of Waits are as follows:



























These variants can be found all over the world, but in the United States they are most common in the states of Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania.

In some cases, the surname Waits has also been Anglicised to Wattson and Watson. On the other hand, some ancestors of the Waits family may have changed their surname to different versions that sounded more familiar to them in their native language, for example, Wates, Watt or Weit.

All of these variations of Waits are all from the same origin. The accuracy of the spelling of the surname can often depend on the literacy level of the person recording the name, or the dialect of their native language.

Famous people with the name Waits

  • Tom Waits: An American singer-songwriter, composer, and actor. He has been described as one of the most unique and distinctive songwriters of his era. His music is often characterized by unique and unconventional lyrical phrasing, syncopated rhythms, and harmony.
  • July Waits: An American singer and actress known for her role in musicals such as A Chorus Line. She is also a live performer, releasing a few albums in her career.
  • Alex Waits: An American jazz musician. He is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and bandleader, playing a wide variety of instruments such as the flugelhorn, saxophone, and piano.
  • Janice Waits: An American musician, instrumentalist, and music producer. She is the daughter of Parents Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan.
  • Michael Waits: An American jazz drummer who has performed with artists such as Thelonious Monk, Horace Silver, Sonny Rollins, and Stan Getz.
  • Albert Waits: An American poet, author, and author with an focus on the horror and thriller genres.
  • Willie Waits: An American R&B singer and songwriter who was active during the 1950s and 1960s. His single “Yeah Yeah Yeah” was a hit in his home country.
  • Emma Waits: An American actress and singer, known for her work on Broadway in musicals such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
  • Ben Waits: An American actor and film director. He is best known for his films such as Airplane!, The Blues Brothers, and Rain Man.
  • Matt Waits: An American visual artist and performance artist. His works often combine traditional and nontraditional materials to create mixed media pieces that explore issues of socially constructed space, identity, and memory.

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