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The Name of MAY
and its Origins

The English surname of MAY has three possible origins:

  • It was the pet form of Matthew, which itself was sometimes rendered as Mayhew. Hence 'Son of Matthew'
  • It was a given or nickname derived from the month of May (which itself derives from the obscure Roman Goddess of Fertility, Maia). It could have been bestowed on those born in May or those with some other anecdotal connection with the month, such as owing their feudal obligations at that time. Otherwise it could simply refer to someone with a sunny disposition, just like the month.
  • It was a common nickname for a young person: a lad or a girl. It may originally have meant either kinsperson or servant.


    David Nash Ford 2001. All Rights Reserved.