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Last name origins & meanings:

  1. 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.
  2. Northern English: topographic name for someone who lived by a ravine or deep glen, Middle English gil(l), Old Norse gil ‘ravine’.
  3. 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.
  4. Scottish and Irish: reduced Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac An Ghoill (see Gall 1).
  5. Norwegian: habitational name from any of three farmsteads in western Norway named Gil, from Old Norse gil ‘ravine’.
  6. Dutch: cognate of Giles.
  7. Jewish (Israeli): ornamental name from Hebrew gil ‘joy’.
  8. German: from a vernacular short form of the medieval personal name Aegidius (see Gilger).
  9. 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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