Last name origins & meanings:
- English: topographic name for someone who lived by the gates of
a medieval walled town. The Middle English singular gate is
from the Old English plural, gatu, of geat ‘gate’ (see
Yates). Since medieval gates were normally arranged in pairs,
fastened in the center, the Old English plural came to function as a
singular, and a new Middle English plural ending in -s was
formed. In some cases the name may refer specifically to the Sussex
place Eastergate (i.e. ‘eastern gate’), known also as Gates in
the 13th and 14th centuries, when surnames were being acquired.
- Americanized spelling of German Götz (see Goetz).
- Translated form of French Barrière (see
- In New England, Gates was the preferred English version of the name
of an extensive French family, called Barrière dit Langevin.
Famous people with this last name:
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