Meaning and Origin of: Paine

Family name origins & meanings

  • English (mainly Kent and Sussex) : from the Middle English personal name Pain(e), Payn(e) (Old French Paien, from Latin Paganus), introduced to Britain by the Normans. The Latin name is a derivative of pagus ‘outlying village’, and meant at first a person who lived in the country (as opposed to Urbanus‘city dweller’), then a civilian as opposed to a soldier, and eventually a heathen (one not enrolled in the army of Christ). This remained a popular name throughout the Middle Ages, but it died out in the 16th century.
  • Thomas Payne, who was a freeman of the Plymouth Colony in 1639, was the founder of a large American family, which included Robert Treat Paine (1731–1814), one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. The author of the republican treatise The Rights of Man, Thomas Paine (1737–1809), left England for North America in the mid 1770s, where he became involved in the movement that led to independence. His pamphlet of 1776, Common Sense, influenced the Declaration of Independence and furnished some of the arguments justifying it.