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Surname Whiffling - Meaning and Origin

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Whiffling: What does the surname Whiffling mean?

The last name Whiffling is believed to be a derived from an old English occupational pre 7th Century term 'hwefla', which referred to someone who was a 'maker of hemp rope', or hemp 'dealer'. This was a profession of particular importance before the arrival of mechanisation in the 19th Century, performing an essential role in the general manufacture of goods for trade and fishing.

The original spelling of the surname, and likely the earliest recorded reference to it, comes from the 1379 Yorkshire Poll Tax, where Robertus Hweffling is listed among the recorded tax payers.

The surname Whiffling is more widely found in areas of Britain where hemp farming was a major industry, such as East Anglia, Lancashire, the West Riding, and Hertfordshire.

Those bearing the family name Whiffling can trace their roots back to their ancestors' role of producing the near-essential product that had been utilised for centuries, a testament to the skill of the original Whifflings and others who were instrumental in producing such fabric. They're a link back to a bygone era where manual labour and craftmanship were indispensable components of agriculture and trade.

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Whiffling: Where does the name Whiffling come from?

The last name Whiffling is not found in any current public records in the United States, but it is likely more common in parts of Europe. The surname originated in the United Kingdom, where records containing the name date back to at least the 1600s. It has since spread throughout Europe, particularly in the Netherlands, with records indicating use of the name as far back as the mid 1500s. The last name is also present in Belgium, Germany, France, Austria, and the Czech Republic.

The etymology of the name is uncertain, but it may be derived from an Old English word meaning “back stroke”, referring to a particular style of archery. Alternatively, it could be derived from “whiffler”, meaning a person who carries a ritual banner before a parade, or from “whiffler”, a colorful British term for someone who talks a lot but never gets to the point.

Though there is no indication of how common the last name Whiffling is today, records suggest that it has been found in Europe since at least the 16th century. Given its long history, it is likely still encountered in the region.

Variations of the surname Whiffling

The surname Whiffling is a rare English surname derived from the Old English word 'wifel' meaning "bend or twist". The twisted or bent shape of the surname has given it various spellings and variants around the world. Some of the more common variants include Wheffle, Wiffel, Wiffell, Wifel, Whifel, Ifell, and Whiffe. There are also several placenames derived from this surname including Whiflet in Lanarkshire, Wifel in Cumberland, and Wyffel in Bristol.

Other surnames with a similar origin or phonetic spelling include Whiffen, Whiffler, Wiffen, and Wiffler. Some of these may be related to a similar Anglo-Saxon surname of 'wifulle' meaning 'babble' or 'whisper'. The Wiffen surname is thought to be an anglicised version of the Gaelic Mac Uilliam, meaning 'son of William', as well as being bestowed as a nickname to a talkative person.

Although the surname is rare, there have been notable people that have used this name such as John Whiffle, who was an elected crossbencher of the British parliament in the late 16th and early 17th century, and author Richard Whifell who wrote the book A Key Into the Language of America in 1643.

Famous people with the name Whiffling

  • Sarah Whiffling is an English singer and actress who starred in the musicals 'Our House' and 'Jane Eyre'.
  • Tom Whiffling is an English musician and songwriter who released ‘The Motion Of Time’ in 2016.
  • Simon Whiffling is an English actor who has had an extensive career in television, radio and theatre productions.
  • Mark Whiffling is an English actor who starred in the television series 'Generation Game' in the early 2000s.
  • Emily Whiffling is an English dancer and choreographer who was the lead dancer in the musical 'Cats' in the West End in 2017.
  • Edward Whiffling is an English sculptor and painter who has exhibited his work at a number of galleries and showcases.
  • David Whiffling is an English film director who directed the critically acclaimed 'The Departed' in 2006.
  • Julie Whiffling is an English fashion designer who has designed for a number of high-end brands.
  • Charles Whiffling is an American ancient historian and author who has written extensively on Roman and Greek history.
  • Peter Whiffling is an Australian astronomer who has been involved with a number of projects related to space exploration.

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