Meaning and Origin of: Low

Family name origins & meanings

  • English and Scottish : topographic name for someone who lived near a tumulus, mound or hill, Middle English lowe, from Old English hlāw (see Law 2).
  • Scottish and English : nickname for a short man, from Middle English lah, lowe (Old Norse lágr; the word was adopted first into the northern dialects of Middle English, where Scandinavian influence was strong, and then spread south, with regular alteration of the vowel quality).
  • English and Scottish (of Norman origin) : nickname for a violent or dangerous person, from Anglo-Norman French lou, leu ‘wolf’ (Latin lupus). Wolves were relatively common in Britain at the time when most surnames were formed, as there still existed large tracts of uncleared forest.
  • Scottish : from a pet form of Lawrence. Compare Lowry 1.
  • Americanized spelling of Jewish Lowe.