Geneanet > Resources > Family Names > KAY

Origin and popularity of the name KAY

Origin

Kay : 1: English: nickname from northern Middle English ka kae kay ‘jackdaw’ from Old Norse ká or Old English cā. See also Daw.2: English: nickname from Middle English cai kay kei ‘left-handed clumsy’.3: English: occasionally perhaps an occupational name from Middle English kai(e) kei(e) ‘key’ applied to a maker of keys (compare Kear) or alluding to the office of keeper or bearer of keys but clear evidence for this is wanting.4: English: topographic name for someone living or working on or near a quay Middle English kay(e) key(e) keay Old French kay cay.5: English: from a Middle English personal name which figures in Arthurian legend. It is found in Old Welsh as Cai Middle Welsh Kei and is ultimately from the Latin personal name Gaius.6: Scottish Irish and Manx: shortened Anglicized form of Gaelic McKay.9: Shortened form of any of various names beginning with the letter K-.7: German Danish and Dutch: from the personal name Kay which is of uncertain origin most likely as a variant of Key a pet form of personal names like Gerard Gerhardt and Gerrit (see Gerrits). This surname is also found in France (Alsace and Lorraine). Compare Kai.8: Dutch and North German: topographic name for someone living by a quayside from Dutch kaai ‘quay’ German Kai (which was borrowed from the Dutch).10: Chinese: variant Romanization of the surnames 紀 (see Ji 1) and 祁 (see Qi 2).11: Chinese: possibly from Cantonese form of some Chinese names 奇 (meaning ‘special’) 琦 (meaning ‘outstanding’) or 基 (meaning ‘base’) which were monosyllabic personal names or part of disyllabic personal names of some early Chinese immigrants in the US.

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Source : DAFN2 : Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, ©2022 by Patrick Hanks and Oxford University Press
FANBI : The Oxford Dictionary if Family Names in Britain and Ireland, ©2016, University of the West of England
FANBI : The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain, ©2021, University of the West of England

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Last name frequency

Geographic distribution of the 41,156 individuals with the name KAY on Geneanet.

 

Most found places for the name KAY:

    This last name in the family trees

    See below the Geneanet members' family trees which contain the last name KAY

    samueltaylorgeer
    (1,869 individuals)
    pamunkey2023
    (1,627 individuals)
    cartercousins2022
    (1,626 individuals)
    pattycate2022
    (1,054 individuals)

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