Last name origins & meanings:
- English: from a short form of the personal names Giles,
Julian, or William. In theory the name would have a soft
initial when derived from the first two of these, and a hard one when
from William or from the other possibilities discussed in 2–4
below. However, there has been much confusion over the centuries.
- Northern English: topographic name for someone who lived by a
ravine or deep glen, Middle English gil(l), Old Norse
- Scottish and Irish: reduced Anglicized
form of Gaelic Mac Gille (Scottish), Mac Giolla (Irish),
patronymics from an occupational name for a servant or a short form of
the various personal names formed by attaching this element to the
name of a saint. See McGill. The Old Norse personal name
Gilli is probably of this origin, and may lie behind some
examples of the name in northern England.
- Scottish and Irish: reduced Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac An Ghoill (see
- Norwegian: habitational name from any of three
farmsteads in western Norway named Gil, from Old Norse gil
- Dutch: cognate of Giles.
(Israeli): ornamental name from Hebrew gil ‘joy’.
- German: from a vernacular short form of the medieval personal name
Aegidius (see Gilger).
- Indian (Panjab): Sikh
name, probably from Panjabi gil ‘moisture’, also meaning
‘prosperity’. There is a Jat tribe that bears this name; the Ramgarhia
Sikhs also have a clan called Gill.
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