Meaning and Origin of: Harper

Harper meaning and origin

Girl name origins & meanings

  • Old Norse : Whaler

What does Harper mean and stand for?

Harper was first in use as a surname, and came quite literally from the occupation of harp player.

Syllables: 2

Girl name variations

Boy name origins & meanings

  • Old Norse : Whaler

Boy name variations

Family name origins & meanings

  • English, Scottish, and Irish : occupational name for a player on the harp, from an agent derivative of Middle English, Middle Dutch harp ‘harp’. The harper was one of the most important figures of a medieval baronial hall, especially in Scotland and northern England, and the office of harper was sometimes hereditary. The Scottish surname is probably an Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Chruiteir ‘son of the harper’ (from Gaelic cruit ‘harp’, ‘stringed instrument’). This surname has long been present in Ireland.

Famous people with this last name


According to Social Security Administration data, Harper has only very recently become a popular name for girls, and did not appear in top name rankings until 2004. It has climbed from position 887 to 9 since 2004, and has been in the top 20 since 2013.

It is the 10th most popular name on

According to Google search data analysis, in the last five years Harper was at its peak popularity in February 2019.

Harper was originally more popular as a boy’s name back in the 1800s and early 1900s, but has recently seen extreme popularity as a name for girls starting in the 2000s. Harper Lee, American novelist and author of the classic To Kill a Mockingbird, was born Nelle Harper Lee and is one of the first female uses of Harper we see in recent history. Harper has become more popular with characters by the same name in popular TV shows like Girl Meets World, Gossip Girl, Wizards of Waverly Place, and Lost.

Where Is It Popular?

Nicknames for Harper

  • Harp
  • Harps

Pairs well with these middle names