Meaning and Origin of: Woodruff

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First name origins & meanings:

  • Old English : Forester; row of houses by a wood

First name variations

Last name origin & meaning:

  • English : topographic name for someone who lived on a patch of land where woodruff grew, Old English wudurofe (a compound of wudu ‘wood’ with a second element of unknown origin). The leaves of the plant have a sweet smell and the surname may also have been a nickname for one who used it as a perfume, or perhaps an ironical nickname for a malodorous person.
  • Two English families brought the name Woodruff to the American colonies: those of Matthew Woodruff and of John and Ann Woodruffe. The latter migrated to Lynn, MA, from Kent, and moved to Southampton, Long Island, NY, before 1640. John and Ann’s many descendants were established in NJ, NC, and SC by 1790. The city of Woodruff, SC, is named for this family. The name is variously spelled Woodrove, Woodroffe, Woodruffe, Woodrough, and Woodruff in colonial records.