Meaning and Origin of: Master

Family name origins & meanings

  • English and Scottish : nickname for someone who behaved in a masterful manner, or an occupational name for someone who was master of his craft or a schoolmaster, from Middle English maister(Old French maistre, Latin magister). In early instances this surname was often borne by people who were franklins or other substantial freeholders, presumably because they had laborers under them to work their lands. In Scotland Master was the title given to administrators of medieval hospitals, as well as being born by the eldest sons of barons; thus, the surname may also have been acquired as a metonymic occupational name by someone in the service of such.
  • Either a dialect form or an Americanized form of German Meister.
  • Indian (Gujarat and Bombay city) : Parsi occupational name for someone who was a master of his craft, from the English word master.