Kennedy (surname)

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Pronunciation /ˈkɛnɨdi/
Language(s) Gaelic
Meaning Derived either from Ó Cinnéide meaning grandson of Cinnédidh, or ceann and éidigh meaning "ugly head."
Region of origin Ireland and Scotland
Other names
Related names O'Kennedy and Kennedie

Kennedy, alternately O'Kennedy and Kennedie, is a surname of Irish and Scottish origin that has also been used as a given name.


There have been several different etymologies given for the surname. One is that the name is an Anglicisation of the Gaelic Ó Ceannéidigh meaning "grandson of Ceannéidigh". Ceannéidigh is a given name derived from the Gaelic words ceann, meaning "head", and éidigh, meaning "ugly".[1] In some etymologies, the element ceann is given as "chief" or "leader".[2] Another possibility is that Kennedy is an Anglicisation of Ó Cinnéide, meaning "grandson of Cinnédidh" or "grandson of Cinnéidigh", with both of these personal names meaning "helmet headed.”[3] Ceanéidigh could be related to the old Gaelic name Cennétig, which is known from Cennétig Mac Lorcáin, the father of the Irish high king Brian mac Cennétig, who himself was also known as Brian Bóruma or Brian Boru. There are also an Irish Kennedy family and a Scottish Kennedy clan of Carrick in Ayrshire, which are unrelated to one another.

People surnamed Kennedy[edit]

Members of the Kennedy political family[edit]

Main article: Kennedy family
  • Caroline Kennedy (born 1957), attorney; daughter of John and Jacqueline Kennedy
  • Ted Kennedy (1932–2009), senior U.S. senator from Massachusetts, married twice and father of three
  • Ethel Kennedy (born 1928), widow of Robert Francis Kennedy and mother of Joseph Patrick Kennedy II, Robert Francis Kennedy Jr. and other nine
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver (1921–2009), sister of President John F. Kennedy; wife of Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr.
  • Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1929–1994), First Lady of the United States; widow of John F. Kennedy
  • Jean Kennedy Smith (born 1928), ambassador to Ireland; sister of President John F. Kennedy
  • John F. Kennedy (1917–1963), 35th President of the United States
  • John F. Kennedy, Jr. (1960–1999), attorney, publisher; son of John and Jacqueline
  • Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. (1888–1969), former Ambassador to the United Kingdom; father of President John F. Kennedy
  • Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (1915–1944), WWII pilot; eldest son of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.
  • Joseph P. Kennedy II (born 1952), former U.S. representative from Massachusetts; son of Robert F. Kennedy
  • Kathleen Cavendish, Marchioness of Hartington (1920–1948), widow of the heir to the Devonshire dukedom; sister of President John F. Kennedy
  • Patrick J. Kennedy (born 1967), U.S. representative from Rhode Island, son of Ted Kennedy
  • Patricia Kennedy Lawford (1924–2006), sister of president John F. Kennedy, wife of Peter Lawford and mother of four
  • Robert F. Kennedy (1925–1968), U.S. senator from New York; U.S. Attorney General
  • Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (born 1954), attorney, environmentalist, activist
  • Rose Kennedy (1890–1995), Kennedy family matriarch; mother of President John F. Kennedy
  • Rosemary Kennedy (1918–2005), oldest sister of President John F. Kennedy

Other people by field[edit]

In arts and entertainment[edit]

In politics and government[edit]

In sports[edit]

In other fields[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kennedy Name Meaning and History". Retrieved January 6, 2009. 
  2. ^ Harrison, Henry; Harrison, Gyda (1996). Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary. Genealogical Publishing Com. p. 246. ISBN 0-8063-0171-6. 
  3. ^ Neafsey, Edward (2002). The Surnames of Ireland: Origins and Numbers of Selected Irish Surnames. Irish Roots Cafe. p. 117. ISBN 0-940134-97-7.