Meaning and Origin of: Cotter

Family name origins & meanings

  • Irish (co. Cork) : reduced Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Oitir ‘son of Oitir’, a personal name borrowed from Old Norse Óttarr, composed of the elements ótti‘fear’, ‘dread’ + herr ‘army’.
  • English : status name from Middle English cotter, a technical term in the feudal system for a serf or bond tenant who held a cottage by service rather than rent, from Old English cot ‘cottage’, ‘hut’ (see Coates) + -er agent suffix.
  • Probably an Americanized spelling of German Kotter.