Brown (surname)

Brown (surname)

Brown is a surname of English origin and is one of the most common family names in English-speaking countries. According to the 1990 United States Census, Brown is the fifth most common family name in the United States at 0.621% of the sample population, essentially identical in frequency to Jones. [United States Census Bureau (9 May 1995). . Retrieved on 25 February 2008.]


The name is derived from the Old English , which is related to the Old Norse "brūnn" [cite book | last=Brown | Unabridged (v 1.0.1) | url= | title=Random House Unabridged Dictionary | location= | publisher=Random House | year=2006 | isbn=] and is the source of the French "brun". It can be traced back to persons who may have had brown eyes, brown hair, or often wore brown clothing. "Brun-" was also a Germanic name-forming element; the Old English "brun" may therefore be a short form of the personal names "Brungar", or "Brunwine".

The variant Browne is also common in all parts of Britain and Ireland; in Galway it is borne by descendants of a Norman knight called Hugo le Brun, who came to Ireland in the Twelfth Century, and has in part been Gaelicised as de Brún.

The German cognates are associated with the much more common Continental personal name Bruno, which was borne by the Dukes of Saxony, among others, from the Tenth Century or before. It was also the name of several medieval German and Italian saints, including the founder of the Carthusian Order (1030-1101), who was born in Cologne.

Clan Motto

The Scottish Clan Brown or Broun uses the motto "Floreat Majestas" which translates as "Let majesty flourish". []


ee also

* List of people with surname Brown
* List of Old English (Anglo-Saxon) surnames
* Mister Brown
* Browne
* Braun

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