The Meanings of our Surnames


Frost – English, German, Danish, and Swedish: nickname for someone of an icy and unbending disposition or who had white hair or a white beard, from Old English, Old High German, Old Norse frost ‘frost’, or in the case of the Swedish name from a byname with the same meaning.

Grant – English and (especially) Scottish (of Norman origin), and French: nickname from Anglo-Norman French graund, graunt ‘tall’, ‘large’ (Old French grand, grant, from Latin grandis), given either to a person of remarkable size, or else in a relative way to distinguish two bearers of the same personal name, often representatives of different generations within the same family. English and Scottish: from a medieval personal name, probably a survival into Middle English of the Old English byname Granta (see Grantham). Probably a respelling of German Grandt or Grand.

Wilson – English, Scottish, and northern Irish: patronymic from the personal name Will, a very common medieval short form of William.

Peppin – English (Somerset): variant spelling of Pepin. Pepin French (Pépin) and English: from the Old French personal name Pepis, oblique case Pepin (introduced to Britain by the Normans). Of uncertain origin, it was borne by several Frankish kings, most notably Pepin le Bref, father of Charlemagne, and remained popular throughout the early Middle Ages. Reaney and Wilson suggest that late-formed examples of the English surname may alternatively be from Old French pepin, pipin ‘seed of a fruit’, and thus a metonymic occupational name for a gardener or grower of fruit trees. This surname is also established in northwest Germany, around Cologne.