What is the origin of the last name Pettit?

The last name Pettit is of French origin, derived from the medieval French word "petit," meaning small or little. It was used as a nickname for someone of small stature or a person of humble status. Over time, the name spread to different parts of Europe through migration and became anglicized. Furthermore, variations of this surname can be found in other languages, such as Petit in Spanish and Portuguese.

Countries of origin for the last name Pettit

Pettit is a last name that has a rich history and fascinating etymology. It is primarily found in English-speaking countries, particularly in the United States. The name is of French origin, derived from the French word “petit,” meaning “small” or “little.” The name likely originated as a nickname for someone of small stature or someone with a diminutive personality.

Pettit is a moderately common last name, but its frequency has decreased over time. According to the 2010 United States Census, less than 0.01% of the population had the last name Pettit. The distribution of the last name is more concentrated in certain states, with the highest concentration found in Oklahoma, followed by Montana, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

The earliest recorded instance of the surname Pettit can be traced back to the 12th century in England. In the Domesday Book, a survey of England completed in 1086, there are references to individuals with similar names, such as “Petit” and “Petitio.” These early variations demonstrate the presence of the name in medieval England.

Throughout history, the spelling of Pettit has varied. Common variations include Petit, Pettitt, Petitt, and Petet. These variations can be attributed to different regional accents or dialects, as well as variations in spelling during the recording of official documents.

There are several notable individuals who have borne the last name Pettit. One such individual is Carlotta Amanda Pettit, an American ethnologist and anthropologist. She is known for her extensive research on indigenous cultures in the Americas and her contributions to the field of cultural anthropology.

Another notable figure is David Pettit, an American environmental attorney. He is renowned for his work on environmental and land use issues, particularly his advocacy for clean air and water, as well as his efforts to protect natural habitats.

While the meaning of the name Pettit is well-established, there are still intriguing possibilities for further exploration. Deepening our understanding of the individuals who have carried this name throughout history, as well as their contributions to society, can shed light on the broader context of the name’s significance. Additionally, delving into the specific regional distribution of the name and its variations can provide valuable insights into the migration and settlement patterns of individuals with this surname. The study of the name Pettit continues to offer opportunities for uncovering new discoveries about its origins, variations, and the individuals who bear it.

Interesting facts about the last name Pettit

  • The surname Pettit is of French origin and is derived from the Old French word “petit,” meaning small or little.
  • It is a relatively common surname in English-speaking countries, particularly in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
  • The name may have been originally used as a nickname for someone who was small in stature or for the younger of two individuals with the same given name.
  • Variant spellings of the surname include Pettitt, Petitt, Petit, and Petite.
  • Early records of the surname date back to the 13th century in England, with individuals bearing the name mentioned in various legal and administrative documents.
  • The Pettit family has a long history in the state of New York, with early settlers from this surname arriving in the region during the colonial period.
  • Notable individuals with the surname Pettit include Robert Pettit, a former American professional basketball player who played in the NBA, and Philip L. Pettit, an influential political philosopher from Ireland.
  • In Scotland, the name Pettit may be of separate origin and could be derived from the Gaelic word “beag,” meaning little.
  • The surname Pettit is relatively rare in France today, suggesting that the French roots of the name may have been largely anglicized over the centuries.
  • Genealogical research suggests that individuals with the Pettit surname may share distant ancestry with other similarly spelled surnames such as Petit, Petitjean, and Petitpierre.

Name Rank


There are around 19004 people with the last name Pettit in the US

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