Last name origins & meanings:
- Irish: Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Catharnaigh
‘descendant of Catharnach’, a byname meaning ‘warlike’ or
‘soldier’, and Ó Cearnaigh, from cearnach
‘victorious’. Both surnames were widely distributed and are now very
difficult to disentangle.
- Many present-day bearers of this name are descended from Tadhg Ó
Catharnaigh, killed in battle in 1084. He was nicknamed An
Sionnach ‘the Fox’, and for this reason the surname has sometimes
been Anglicized as <xref>Fox</xref>. Denis Kearney, born in Oakmont, Ireland, in 1847, was a major U.S. labor movement leader.
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