An Irish-Canadian poet told me that my last name, Stimpson, comes from glimpse. What is the actual etymology of the proper name and the common noun? Are they related? When did they first appear in the English language?

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    House of Names and Surname Database both say it's a patronymic derived from Stephen. Stimpson probably originated as a spelling in the 16th century. Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 19:12
  • This question appears to be off-topic because it is about a surname and not the English language.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 19:45
  • Voting to re-open (even though this question needs improvement) because I think closing it is premature given that the relevant discussion on English Language & Usage Meta has not yet reached consensus. Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 22:06

1 Answer 1


Did you ask the poet what (according to him) is the language of origin?

I would agree with @St.John about his find in the surname dbs, namely that this is a patronymic based on Stephen.

Also, have a look at this NGram: A chart comparing the frequency of Stimpson, Stephen, Stefanus, and Steven in the time period 1500-2000. The line for Stephen (multiple peaks and valleys between 1560-1660, then fairly constant all the way to 2000) overshadows all the other lines, to the point that the only other line that is visible at all is the one for Steven (some blips between 1640-1680, then a gradual increase from 1960-2000). The line for Stimpson isn't visible at all.

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    Google's Ngrams are case sensitive so it doesn't make sense in this case to mix ALL CAPS with Capital Initials and all lowercase. Be consistent.
    – Hugo
    Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 21:34
  • Updated with new Ngram.
    – camelbrush
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 0:03

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