What is the origin of the last name Webster?

The last name "Webster" originates from the medieval occupation of a weaver, derived from the Middle English word "webbestre" or "webber," which in turn comes from the Old English word "weber" and ultimately from the Old High German word "webari." The name Webster was initially used as an occupational surname to identify individuals involved in weaving, later becoming a hereditary last name passed down through generations.

Countries of origin for the last name Webster

The last name Webster has a long history and is associated with various meanings and origins. Derived from the Old English word “webbestre,” meaning “weaver,” the name Webster is likely to have started as an occupational surname, indicating that the original bearer worked as a weaver or was involved in the weaving trade. This connection to weaving is further supported by the use of the similar occupational term “webster” in Middle English, referring to a female weaver. However, it is important to note that the name Webster can have different origins and meanings in other regions.

Another possibility is that Webster originated as a locational surname, derived from any of the several places named Webster in England and Scotland. These place names are believed to have derived from Old English words meaning “place of the weavers,” reflecting the presence of weaving communities in those areas. Therefore, individuals who adopted the name Webster may have done so to indicate their association with one of these places or to describe their ancestors’ occupation.

Webster is also an English variant of the Scottish surname MacWebster or MacWhibster, which could have been originally used to denote individuals who were the sons of a Webster or were associated with the weaving trade.

As with many surnames, the spelling of Webster has evolved over time. Variations include Webstar, Websterne, and Webester. These variations may have emerged due to regional accents, dialectal influences, or simply individual preferences when it came to spelling or pronunciation.

The distribution of the surname Webster is quite widespread, with significant populations found in countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. In the United States, Webster is among the more common surnames, ranking 396th in frequency out of over 150,000 surnames listed in the 2010 U.S. Census data. This suggests that the name Webster has a notable presence in American society.

Given the diverse origins and meanings associated with the surname Webster, it is important to note that individual cases may vary in terms of the specific historical and genealogical significance attached to the name. Further research into specific family histories and personal anecdotes can provide a more comprehensive understanding of the individual experiences and stories associated with the surname Webster.

While the available facts about the last name Webster provide valuable insights into its origins and historical usage, there is always the potential for new discoveries and interpretations. The study of genealogy and surname etymology is an ongoing field, and future research may uncover additional details and perspectives about the name Webster. Embracing the fluidity and potential for new insights, the story of the last name Webster is an intriguing and ever-evolving narrative.

Interesting facts about the last name Webster

  • The surname Webster is of English origin and is derived from the Middle English word “webbe,” which means “weaver.”
  • The name Webster was commonly given to someone who worked as a weaver or had a connection to the weaving trade.
  • The Webster surname can be traced back to the 11th century in England.
  • One of the most well-known bearers of the Webster surname is Noah Webster, an American lexicographer who is best known for compiling the first comprehensive American dictionary in 1828.
  • The Webster family name became prominent in the United States during the 17th and 18th centuries, with many Webster descendants playing significant roles in American history.
  • There are numerous places in the United States named after the Webster family, including Webster, Massachusetts, and Webster Groves, Missouri.
  • The Webster surname has several variations, including Webber, Webstar, Webester, and Webberley.
  • In Scotland, the Webster surname is derived from the Gaelic name Mac an Webhair, meaning “son of the weaver.”
  • Webster is a fairly common surname in English-speaking countries, with a higher concentration in the United States and the United Kingdom.
  • Many celebrities and notable figures bear the Webster surname, including actor and comedian Jason Alexander (birth name Jay Scott Greenspan) whose stage name was chosen to honor his ancestors with the surname Webster.

Name Rank


There are around 72625 people with the last name Webster in the US

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