Meaning and Origin of: Balch

Family name origins & meanings

  • English : from Middle English balch, belch ‘balk’, ‘beam’ (Old English bælc, balca), possibly denoting someone who lived in a house with a roof beam rather than in a simple hut; alternatively it may have been a nickname for a man built like a tree trunk, i.e. one of stocky, heavy build.
  • English : nickname from Middle English balche, belche ‘swelling’ (Old English bælc(e)). This was probably chiefly given in the sense ‘swelling pride’, ‘overweening arrogance’, but it can also mean ‘eructation’, ‘belch’ and may therefore in some cases have been acquired by a man given to belching.
  • Welsh : from the adjective balch, which has a range of meanings—‘fine’, ‘splendid’, ‘proud’, ‘arrogant’, ‘glad’—but the predominant meaning is ‘proud’ and from this the family name probably derives.
  • The surname Balch was established in MD c.1650.