I understand the background of names such as Baker, Carver and Hammer but, what are the origins of names such as Black, Blue, Brown, Green and White? Are they based on some common structure or do they each have their own twisted tale?

  • This question appears to be off-topic because it is about surname conventions and not the English language.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 19:45
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    Voting to re-open 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
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    I asked a question about the spelling of the surname Gray/Grey several months ago and received some interesting comments and answers regarding its origin. However, they were specific to that last name and (maybe) color.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Mar 26, 2015 at 4:39
  • There are also color based surnames in other languages.
    – ahron
    Commented Dec 3, 2022 at 10:34

2 Answers 2


It looks like some are related to physical appearance:

Again, most of them seemed to harp on some element of physical appearance.

  • I hadn't heard of this site. This'll give me a good start. Cheers!
    – somehume
    Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 16:23
  • Green could also refer to someone who lived near the village green. Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 4:00

Color Surnames have different origins and depends what cultural where their born or their descendants like Ireland, Scotland Britain or England, Wales Cornish evenly other origins of europe color surnames Like my Surname "White" is Irish gaelic celtic its means in irish Ban or Bane or Macfaoitigh or MacWhite. I am Half Irish and Half German also White could be German but my Irish whites are not Germans. But Color surnames are Saxon or Celtic names too of Color surnames. My Irish White's or Macfaoitigh's sound very cool and my surname is 50 common surname name in Ireland and 20 common surname in United states.

  • why they call you randy?
    – JMP
    Commented Mar 26, 2015 at 4:34
  • My Randy name is english as given name but as first name its not famous name but my father name me after "Randy lee White" Dallas Cowboys football player one best defensive players that time, But people can call me Randy or Randall don't matter to me. Its meaning of Randy "House wolf; protector a Mythological wolf was esteemed for courage".. To me in my its not good name for a pet lol One my uncles name his dog Randy dont sound right at all lol but i respect that. Commented Mar 27, 2015 at 23:23
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    @JonMarkPerry - It's only within the past 15-20 years that people have started making derisive comments about the name "Randy" (often short for "Randall" or "Randolf"). It was a very common name when I was growing up, and no one thought it odd.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Mar 28, 2015 at 3:18
  • White is common as a surname in France (Blanc), Germany (Weiss), and doubtless many other countries. In China, Huáng (Yellow) is very common. So it seems fairly international. The question of which names survive and which die out is partly driven by luck.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Dec 3, 2022 at 15:44

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