Family name origins & meanings
- Scottish : habitational name from a place in the Clyde valley, recorded in 1200 in the forms Dalyell, Daliel and in 1352 as Daleel, apparently from Gaelic dail ‘field’ + g(h)eal ‘white’. The z in the spelling is not really a z at all; it represents Middle English ʒ, and the pronunciation, regardless of spelling, was normally ‘Dee-ell’ or ‘Die-ell’, sometimes ‘Dal-yell’. Black quotes an ‘old Galloway rhyme’: ‘Deil (devil) and Da’yell begins with yae letter; Deil’s nae gude and Da’yell’s nae better’. Nowadays ‘Dal-zell’ and ‘Dal-zeel’ are also heard, and are standard in North America. The name was introduced in the 17th century to Ireland (Counties Louth and Down), where the normal spelling is Dalzell. The more common spelling Scotland is Dalziel.