What is the origin of the last name Sharpe?

The last name Sharpe originated as an occupational surname in medieval England, deriving from the Old English word "scearp," meaning "sharp." This surname was assigned to individuals who possessed sharp or skilled qualities, such as a sharp intelligence, wit, or skill with a weapon. Over time, the name Sharpe spread throughout England and beyond, reflecting the diverse occupations and talents of those who carried this surname.

Countries of origin for the last name Sharpe

The last name Sharpe has its origins in the Old English language. It is categorized as a topographic or locational surname, indicating that it was given to individuals based on their place of residence or the geographical features of their surroundings. The name is derived from the Middle English word “scharp,” meaning sharp or steep, and was typically bestowed upon those who lived near a sharp or steep cliff or hill.

The surname Sharpe has a long history, dating back to at least the 13th century. It was primarily found in the North of England, particularly in the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire. Over time, individuals carrying the name migrated to other parts of the country, resulting in its spread throughout the United Kingdom.

Research indicates that the name Sharpe was relatively common during the medieval period. It was often spelled in various forms, including “Scharppe,” “Scherp,” and “Scharpe,” among others. The spelling variations were attributed to the lack of standardized spelling practices during that time.

As with many surnames, Sharpe underwent modifications and variations as generations passed. These changes were influenced by different factors, such as regional dialects and accents, illiteracy, and the transcriptions by clerks or record keepers. Consequently, there are numerous alternative spellings of the name, including “Sharp,” “Sharpp,” “Sharps,” and “Sharpey,” to name a few.

The surname Sharpe has had a notable presence in various fields and industries. Throughout history, individuals bearing the name have made significant contributions in areas such as military service, arts, sciences, and literature. Notable Sharpe figures include British military officer Lieutenant General Sir William Sharpe, renowned surgeon Dr. Granville Sharp Pattison, and English author and playwright Tom Sharpe.

Today, the surname Sharpe remains relatively common, both in the United Kingdom and among the global diaspora of individuals with British ancestry. It can be found across the world, particularly in English-speaking countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, where migration and colonization by British settlers have resulted in its proliferation.

In conclusion, the last name Sharpe originated in the Old English language, specifically from the word meaning sharp or steep. It was primarily a locational surname given to those living near sharp or steep cliffs or hills. The name has a long history in the North of England, with variations in spelling and usage. Notable individuals with the surname Sharpe have made significant contributions in various fields throughout history. The name continues to be prevalent among individuals with British ancestry in different parts of the world. Its enduring presence serves as a testament to the rich diversity and complexity of personal identities that exist within the realm of surnames.

Interesting facts about the last name Sharpe

  • The surname Sharpe is of English and Scottish origin.
  • It is derived from the Middle English word “scharp,” meaning “sharp,” and was likely used to describe someone with a sharp or keen intelligence.
  • It is an occupational surname and was often given to those who worked as a professional cutler, a maker or seller of knives or other cutting instruments.
  • The Sharpe surname is fairly common in the United Kingdom, particularly in England and Scotland.
  • During the Middle Ages, the Sharpe family was associated with the city of York in northern England, and some descendants still reside in the area.
  • There have been several notable individuals with the surname Sharpe, including artists, musicians, and athletes.
  • The name Sharpe has also been used as a character name in various works of fiction, such as the popular Sharpe series of historical novels by Bernard Cornwell.
  • The Sharpe surname has different variations and spellings, including Sharp, Sharpp, Sharrp, and Shurp.
  • Research suggests that the name Sharpe may have originated from the Old Norse word “skarpa,” meaning “sharp” or “keen.”
  • Today, individuals with the surname Sharpe can be found in various parts of the world, due to migration and globalization.

Name Rank


There are around 28879 people with the last name Sharpe in the US

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