What is the origin of the last name Gunn?

The last name GUNN is of Norse origin, derived from the Old Norse word "gunnr," meaning "war" or "battle." It was originally used as a personal name before transitioning into a surname. As Vikings and Norsemen settled in various parts of England and Scotland, the surname GUNN emerged as a common name among their descendants. Notably, the name is closely associated with the northern regions of Scotland, particularly Caithness and Sutherland, where the Gunn clan played a prominent role in history. Over time, variants of the name, such as Gunne and Gun, have also been recorded.

Countries of origin for the last name Gunn

Gunn is a surname that has origins in several different countries, including Scotland, England, and the Scandinavian countries. The name is derived from Old Norse and Old English words that refer to a projectile weapon, specifically a large blunt tool used for shooting arrows, known as a “gunne” or “gonne”.

In Scotland, the surname Gunn is most commonly associated with the Clan Gunn, which has a history dating back to the 12th century. The Clan Gunn was primarily located in Caithness and Sutherland, both of which are in the northern part of the country. The clan’s chief held the title of “Crowner” or “King of the Clan Gunn”. The surname Gunn is believed to originate from the Old Norse word “gunnr”, meaning “battle” or “war”.

According to historical records, the Gunns of Caithness were involved in numerous conflicts with neighboring clans and tribes, including the MacKays and the Sinclairs. One of the most notable instances was the Battle of Harpsdale in 1426, where the Clan Gunn fought against the Clan MacKay. This bloody battle resulted in the deaths of many warriors from both clans.

During the 17th century, many Gunns emigrated from Scotland to other parts of the world, particularly to North America. They played a significant role in the Scottish diaspora, and as a result, the surname Gunn can now be found in countries such as the United States, Canada, and Australia.

In England, the surname Gunn is thought to have originated as a patronymic name, derived from the given name “Gunn”, which was commonly used in Old Norse and Old English. It is believed to have been a variant of the name “Gundr”, which means “war” or “battle” in Old Norse.

The spelling and pronunciation of the name Gunn may vary depending on the region and time period. Variations of the name include Gunne, Gonne, Gunt, and Guns. These variations reflect the different phonetic and spelling conventions that have evolved over time.

In conclusion, the surname Gunn has a rich and complex history, with origins in Scotland, England, and the Scandinavian countries. It is associated with the Clan Gunn in Scotland, known for their battles and conflicts with neighboring clans. The name Gunn also has links to the Old Norse and Old English words for a projectile weapon. The migration of Gunns from Scotland to other parts of the world has contributed to the widespread presence of the surname in countries like the United States. The meaning of the name Gunn is deeply rooted in warfare and battle, reflecting the historical context in which it originated.

Interesting facts about the last name Gunn

  • The surname Gunn is of Scottish origin and is derived from the Old Norse personal name Gunnr, which means “battle” or “war.”
  • The Gunn clan is one of the oldest and most distinguished Scottish Highland clans, with its roots in Caithness and Sutherland in the far north of Scotland.
  • The clan’s traditional seat is at Cawdor Castle in Nairn, which has been held by the Clan Gunn since the 16th century.
  • The Clan Gunn played a prominent role in Scottish history, particularly during the Viking Age and the feuds between rival clans in the Highlands.
  • The surname Gunn is relatively rare compared to other Scottish surnames, partly due to the clan’s small size and the historical conflicts with neighboring clans.
  • The clan’s motto is “Aut pax, aut bellum,” which translates to “Either peace or war” and reflects their history as warriors and defenders of their lands.
  • During the 18th and 19th centuries, many members of the Clan Gunn emigrated to other parts of the world, particularly to Canada, the United States, and Australia.
  • Gunn is a popular surname in various English-speaking countries, including the United States, England, Scotland, Australia, and Canada.
  • The surname Gunn is sometimes spelled with an additional “e” at the end, as in Gunne, Gunner, or Gunneir.
  • In addition to its Scottish origins, the surname Gunn also has Scandinavian connections, as Gunn is a common surname in Norway and Sweden.

Name Rank


There are around 23524 people with the last name Gunn in the US

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