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Meaning and Origin of: White

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First name origins & meanings:

  • Old English : White

Last name origin & meaning:

  • English, Scottish, and Irish : from Middle English whit ‘white’, hence a nickname for someone with white hair or an unnaturally pale complexion. In some cases it represents a Middle English personal name, from an Old English byname, Hwīt(a), of this origin. As a Scottish and Irish surname it has been widely used as a translation of the many Gaelic names based on bán ‘white’ (see Bain 1) or fionn ‘fair’ (see Finn 1). There has also been some confusion with Wight.
  • Translated form of cognate and equivalent names in other languages, such as German Weiss, French Blanc, Polish Białas (see Bialas), etc.
  • Peregrine White (1620–1704), brother of Resolved, was born in Cape Cod harbor on board the Mayflower, thus becoming the first child of English descent to be born in New England. His father, William White, was the son of the rector of Barham, near Ipswich, Suffolk, England; he died in 1621 during the first winter at Plymouth Colony.

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