Grant Surname Origin
1) Gritty or Gravelly. 2)(Origin Scottish) On this name Playfair remarks that it may be derived from the Saxon, Irish, or French. In the Saxon, Grant signifies crooked or bowed. Thus Cambridge, the town and University in England so called, signifies a crooked bridge, or rather a bridge upon Cam River, or the crooked and winding river. The Saxons called this town Grant Bridge, Cam in the British, and Grant in the Saxon, being of the same signification, crooked. So Mons Gramphius, the Grampian Hill, was called by the Saxons Granz Ben, or the crooked hill, but we can not see how from this Saxon word the surname should be borrowed. In the old Irish, Grandha signifies ugly, ill-favored. Grande signifies dark or swarthy. Grant and Ciar signify much the same thing, or are synonymous words, and there being a tribe of the Grants called Clan Chiaran, it is the same as Clan Grant. Thus the surname might have been taken from a progenitor that was Chiar or Grant, that is to say, a swarthy or gray-headed man, and, though, in time, Grant became the common and prevailing surname, yet some always retained the other name, Chiaran, and are called Clan Chiaran. In the French Grand signifies great, brave, valorous, and from thence many are inclined to think that the surname Grant is taken from Grand, which in the Irish is sounded short, and thereby the letter d at the end of the word is changed into t, and thus Grand into Grant. The surname, it seems, was thus understood in England about five hundred years ago, for Richard Grant was made Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 1229, and is, in Mr. Anderson's Genealogical Tables, as well as by others, expressly called Richard Grant. But the English historians of that time, writing in Latin, call him Richardus Magnus, which plainly shows that they took Grant to be the same with the French Grand, and the Latin Magnus. To which let us add, that in the old writs, the article the is put before the surname Grant. Clan Grant
Source: An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names With an Essay on their Derivation and Import; Arthur, William, M.A.; New York, NY: Sheldon, Blake, Bleeker & CO., 1857.
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