What is the origin of the last name Little?

The last name Little traces its origin to the Middle English word "lite(l)," meaning small or diminutive. This surname likely originated as a nickname given to someone of small stature or as a descriptive term for a person who demonstrated qualities associated with being small or humble. With a history rooted in medieval England, the surname Little has since become widely spread across various English-speaking regions and continues to be passed down through generations, reflecting the enduring fascination with familial lineage and the significance of names in our collective history.

Countries of origin for the last name Little

The last name Little is an English surname that has deep historical roots. It is derived from the Middle English word “litel,” meaning “small” or “little.” The name was originally used as a nickname for a person with small stature or for someone who was the youngest in their family.

The surname Little can be traced back to the early medieval period in England. It was first recorded in written documents in the 12th century. The name was likely given to individuals as an identifier based on their physical attributes or birth order within their family. These characteristics were often used as a way to differentiate individuals in a time when surnames were not yet widespread.

Throughout history, variations of the name Little have emerged, including Littell, Littel, and Littler. These variations can be attributed to regional accents, dialects, and spelling conventions, which were common during the Middle Ages. Over time, these variations have become distinct surnames in their own right.

The surname Little has maintained its prevalence over the centuries and has spread beyond its English origins. It can be found in various English-speaking countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The dispersal of the name can be attributed to migration, settlement, and the establishment of English colonies.

Today, individuals with the last name Little can be found in diverse professions, including business, academia, arts, and sports. The name has become a part of many notable families and individuals, contributing to their unique lineage and heritage.

In conclusion, the surname Little has a rich history and is rooted in the English language. It originated as a nickname based on physical stature or birth order and has evolved into a distinct and widespread last name. The legacy of the name continues to thrive in various English-speaking countries, reflecting the unique identities and contributions of individuals with the surname Little.

Interesting facts about the last name Little

  • The surname “Little” is of English and Scottish origin.
  • It is derived from the Middle English word “lytel” which means “small” or “little” in modern English.
  • The surname is often a nickname for a person of small stature.
  • Alternatively, it could have been a descriptive surname for someone who lived by a small hill or stream.
  • The name has many variations, including Littel, Litle, Lyttle, Lytle, and Litteljohn.
  • Little is among the top 200 surnames in the United States, according to the 2000 U.S. census.
  • Famous individuals with the surname Little include actress Clea Duvall, musician Rich Little, and football player Walter Little.
  • The name Little has been adopted by several fictional characters in literature and film, such as Stuart Little, the small mouse in E.B. White’s children’s books.
  • Little is a relatively common surname in the United Kingdom, especially in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
  • The name Little can also be found in other English-speaking countries, such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Name Rank


There are around 105936 people with the last name Little in the US

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