Costello (surname)

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Pronunciation /kəˈstɛl/ or (especially in Ireland) /ˈkɒstəl/
Italian: [kosˈtɛllo]
Language(s) English
Language(s) Irish and Latin
Word/Name Mac Oisdealbhaigh and Castellum
Meaning "son of Oisdealbhach (Os-shaped, shaped like the god Os or shaped like god cf. os)" and "small Roman detached fort or fortlet used as a watch tower or signal station"
Other names
Cognate(s) Mac Oisdealbh, Mac Goisdelbh, Mac Coisdealbhaigh
See also Mac Coisteala and Castrum

Costello is an Irish surname.


The surname has been borne by a notable Irish family who claimed descent from Hostilo (or Hostilio) d'Angulo, an Anglo-Norman knight. Hostilio d'Angulo accompanied his father, Gilbert d'Angulo and brother Jocelyn d'Angulo to Ireland in 1172 under the leadership of the Earl of Pembroke Richard de Clare, known as Strongbow. The invasion was of course ultimately under the command of Anglo-Norman king, Henry ll.[citation needed]

Pope Adrian IV, the first English pope, in one of his earliest acts, had already issued a Papal Bull in 1155, giving Henry authority to invade Ireland to bring the Irish Church into conformity with Roman practice.

It is reported that the surname d'Angulo derives from Angle, Pembrokeshire where the d'Angulo's resided prior to the invasion.[citation needed]

The family first appears on record in Ireland in 1193, when the Annals of the Four Masters state: Inis Clothrann do orgain la macaibh Oisdealb, & la macaibh Conchobhair Maonmaighe. (Inishcloghbran was plundered by the sons of Osdealv, and the sons of Conor Moinmoy.)[1]

Oistealb or Osdealv was the Gaelic rendering of Hostilo.The Irish name Oisdealbh is sometimes erroneously attributed[citation needed] to a Gaelic translation of Jocelyn, Jocelyn d'Angulo's given name. In fact, MacOisdealbhaigh is the Gaelic translation of his brother Hostilo (or Hostilio) d'Angulo's first name. Oisdealbh is a much more obvious translation of Hostilo.[citation needed] It is Hostilo's descendants who would bear the surname Mac Oisdealbhaigh (son of Oisdealbh or Hostilo). The surname would later be anglicized to Costello, Costelloe, and Costellow. Gilbert d'Angulo is also sometimes listed[citation needed] as the son of Jocelyn d'Angulo in error. Gilbert d'Angulo is the father of both Jocelyn and Hostilo.[2]

It occasionally has been adopted as a pseudonym or stage name by famous people of Italian descent, including Al Costello (né Giacomo Costa), Frank Costello (né Francesco Castiglia), and Lou Costello (né Louis Francis Cristillo).

People born with the surname[edit]

People adopting the surname as a pseudonym[edit]

  • Al Costello, the ring name of Italian-Australian professional wrestler Giacomo Costa
  • Diosa Costello, American performer
  • Elvis Costello, British singer and musician (real name Declan Patrick MacManus)
  • Frank Costello, American criminal and mobster (born in Italy as Francesco Castiglia; took the Costello name in the 1920s)
  • Lou Costello, Italian-American actor and comedian (born Louis Francis Cristillo), part of Abbott and Costello

Fictional characters with the surname[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Annals of the Four Masters". Retrieved 2015-04-18. 
  2. ^ "Norman invasion of Ireland". New World Encyclopedia. Retrieved Jun 28, 2017.