What is the origin of the last name Reid?

The last name Reid has its origins in Scotland, deriving from the Middle English word "rede" or "red," which means "red-haired" or "ruddy complexion." It is a descriptive surname typically given to individuals who possessed red hair or had a red hue to their skin. The name Reid can also be linked to the Old English word "rēad," which means "counsel" or "advice," suggesting that some bearers of the surname may have been wise or respected individuals sought for guidance.

Countries of origin for the last name Reid

The last name Reid is of Scottish origin and is derived from the Gaelic word “ruadh,” meaning “red.” It is classified as a topographic name, which means it was originally given to someone who lived near a stretch of red-colored land. The name is fairly common and ranks 94th in popularity in the United States, according to the 2010 Census.

Reid has variant spellings such as Reed and Reade, which have similar meanings and historical origins. In some cases, the variations may have arisen due to regional dialects or phonetic changes.

The name Reid has historical connections to noble families in Scotland. Clan Reid, also known as Clan MacRobbie, was a Highland Scottish clan that originally held lands in the region of Kintyre. The clan’s history dates back to the 14th century, and they were known for their affiliation with the MacDonalds of Islay.

Over time, individuals with the last name Reid migrated to various parts of the world, including the United States. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Scottish immigration to America increased, and many individuals with Scottish surnames settled in different states. As a result, the last name Reid can be found throughout the United States today.

The popularity of the last name Reid can also be attributed to notable individuals who bear the name. For instance, Whitfield Diffie Reid was an American computer scientist who co-invented public-key cryptography, a significant development in the field of computer security. Additionally, Tara Reid is an American actress known for her roles in popular films such as “American Pie” and “The Big Lebowski.”

When considering the etymology of the last name Reid, it is important to note that surnames often evolve and change over time. While the current meaning of Reid is associated with the color red, it is possible that the name may have had different connotations in earlier periods or in specific geographic contexts. Exploring the historical context and possible linguistic connections can provide further insights into the name’s origins.

In conclusion, the last name Reid is of Scottish origin and means “red.” It is a common surname in the United States, with historical connections to noble families in Scotland. Variations of the name, such as Reed and Reade, are also found. The migration of Scottish individuals to America contributed to the prevalence of the name in the United States. Notable individuals with the last name Reid have made significant contributions in various fields. While the name’s meaning is clear, exploring its historical context and linguistic connections can offer further avenues for research and understanding.

Interesting facts about the last name Reid

  • The surname Reid is of Scottish origin.
  • It is derived from the Old English word “reid” which means “red.” Hence, the name is often associated with red-haired individuals.
  • The name Reid is also a variant of the surname Reed, which is derived from the Old English word “read” meaning “red.”
  • The surname Reid can be found in various spellings including Reed, Reade, and Redd.
  • Reid is a relatively common surname, with a significant number of individuals bearing this name in Scotland, England, and other English-speaking countries.
  • The name Reid has been traced back to medieval times, and records show its presence in Scotland as early as the 12th century.
  • Famous individuals with the surname Reid include British politician John Reid, American actress Tara Reid, and American singer and songwriter Johnny Reid.
  • The Reid tartan, a distinctive plaid pattern associated with the Reid clan, is recognized as one of the Scottish clan tartans.
  • Variant spellings of the surname Reid can sometimes be found in other countries, particularly as a result of emigration from Scotland.
  • In the United States, the surname Reid is most commonly found in states such as North Carolina, Texas, and Kentucky.

Name Rank


There are around 111360 people with the last name Reid in the US

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