What is the origin of the last name Clifford?

The last name Clifford derives from an English surname which originated as a habitational name for individuals who lived near or on a cliff or slope. Derived from the Old English words "clif" meaning "cliff" and "ford" meaning "ford" or "crossing," the name Clifford denotes a person living near a prominent cliff or at a crossing near a cliff. Its genealogical roots can be traced back to medieval England where the name was first recorded, and it continues to be a popular surname today.

Countries of origin for the last name Clifford

The last name *CLIFFORD* is a name of English origin. It is derived from a place name, referring to someone who lived near a steep slope or bank. The etymology of the name can be traced back to the Old English words ‘clif’ meaning “cliff” and ‘ford’ meaning “ford” or “crossing.”

As a surname, *CLIFFORD* has a long history, with records of its usage dating back to the 11th century. The name was originally spelled as *CLIFORD* and gradually evolved to its present form over time.

Over the centuries, the name *CLIFFORD* has been associated with various notable individuals and families. One of the most well-known figures bearing the name is Sir Hugh de *CLIFFORD*, a medieval English nobleman who played a significant role in the Wars of the Roses. The *CLIFFORD* family also held the title of Lord *CLIFFORD* of Chudleigh, an ancient peerage in the English nobility.

The popularity of the name *CLIFFORD* has remained relatively consistent over time, with a notable spike in usage in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This may be attributed to factors such as increased awareness and interest in genealogy during that period. Today, *CLIFFORD* continues to be a relatively common surname, particularly in English-speaking countries such as the United States.

It is worth noting that surnames can often be subject to variation and regional differences. As such, alternative spellings or variations of the name *CLIFFORD* may exist, adding further complexity to its historical and etymological analysis.

In conclusion, the last name *CLIFFORD* is of English origin and is derived from a place name associated with a steep slope or bank. It has a rich history, with notable individuals and families bearing the name. The popularity of the name has endured over time, and its usage continues to be prevalent today. While this analysis provides a comprehensive overview of the *CLIFFORD* last name, there may still be undiscovered facets and details waiting to be explored.

Interesting facts about the last name Clifford

  • The surname Clifford is of English origin and is derived from a place name meaning “ford by a cliff” or “ford near a slope or precipice.”
  • Clifford is a topographic surname, indicating that it was originally given to someone who lived near or by a cliff.
  • The name is found in various forms in different parts of England, including Cliford, Clifort, and Clyfford.
  • One of the earliest recorded instances of the surname is of Walter de Clifford, who lived in the 12th century and was a powerful feudal lord in Herefordshire, England.
  • The Clifford family played a significant role in medieval English history. They were a prominent noble family and held titles such as the Earls of Cumberland and the Barons de Clifford.
  • In literary tradition, the Clifford family is associated with the famous Clifford’s Tower, a medieval castle in the city of York, England. The tower is named after the Clifford family, who once owned the land on which it stands.
  • A notable figure with the surname Clifford is Martin Clifford (1590–1677), an English writer and educator known for his work as the headmaster of Westminster School in London.
  • The surname Clifford has also made its way into popular culture. In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes story “The Adventure of the Reigate Squire,” one of the characters is named John Emerson Clifford.
  • Clifford is a moderately common surname in the United States, with concentrations found in states such as New York, California, and Texas.
  • Throughout history, individuals with the surname Clifford have excelled in various fields, including politics, literature, and academia, making the name an enduring part of scholarly and cultural dialogue.

Name Rank


There are around 22245 people with the last name Clifford in the US

Related Names

Related Regions