Last name origins & meanings:
- Scottish and northern English: from Middle English belle
‘bell’, in various applications; most probably a metonymic
occupational name for a bell ringer or bell maker, or a topographic
name for someone living ‘at the bell’ (as attested by 14th-century
forms such as John atte Belle). This indicates either residence
by an actual bell (e.g. a town’s bell in a bell tower, centrally
placed to summon meetings, sound the alarm, etc.) or ‘at the sign of
the bell’, i.e. a house or inn sign (although surnames derived from
house and inn signs are rare in Scots and English).
- Scottish and
northern English: from the medieval personal name Bel. As a
man’s name this is from Old French beu, bel ‘handsome’,
which was also used as a nickname. As a female name it represents a
short form of Isobel, a form of Elizabeth.
- Scottish: Americanized form of Gaelic Mac Giolla Mhaoil
‘son of the servant of the devotee’ (see Mullen 1).
- Jewish (Ashkenazic): Americanized form of one or more
like-sounding Jewish surnames.
- Norwegian: habitational name
from a farmstead in western Norway named Bell, the origin of which is
- Scandinavian: of English or German origin; in
German as a habitational name for someone from Bell in Rhineland,
Germany, or possibly from Belle in Westphalia.
spelling of German Böhl or Böll (see
Famous people with this first name:
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