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Last name origins & meanings:

  1. English and French: habitational name from any of the various minor places named with Old English foss ‘ditch’ (Latin fossa). The Old English word did not survive into the period when surnames were acquired, so it is unlikely to be a topographic name, unless it is from the Old French cognate fosse. The reference may be to the Roman road Fosse Way, itself named in the Old English period from the ditch that ran alongside it, or to the river Foss in Yorkshire.
  2. Norwegian: habitational name from any of the fifteen west-coast farmsteads so named, from the dative form of foss ‘waterfall’ (from Old Norse fors).
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