McLaughlin (surname)

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Meaning"son of Lochlann"
Region of originIreland; Scotland
Other names
Variant form(s)Laughlin/Loughlin, McClaughlin, McGlothin, McLachlan/MacLachlan, McLachlin, McLauchlan, McLauchlin, McLaughlan, M(a)cLochlan, M(a)cLoughlin, MacLaughlan,
Frequency Comparisons[1]

M(a)cLaughlin /mɪˈklɒxlɪn/ is the most common Anglicized form of Mac Lochlainn, a masculine surname of Irish origin. The feminine form of the surname is Nic Lochlainn. The literal meaning of the name is "son of Lochlann".[2] Note that Mc is simply a contraction of Mac, which is also (albeit rarely) truncated to M' . Thus, MacLaughlin, McLaughlin and M'Laughlin are the same Anglicism, the latter two merely contractions of the first.

The original surname Mac/Nic Lochlainn was borne by a family of Cenél nEógain, a branch of the historic northern O'Neill dynasty, reputedly founded by Niall Noígíallach. This family expanded across the North Channel into Scotland, where it became the Clan MacLachlan.

M(a)cLaughlin is sometimes used as a modern form of O'Melaghlin/Melaghlin, which is more commonly modernised McLoughlin, M'Loughlin, and O'Loughlin (among other spellings). O'Melaghlin was a phonetic rendering into Anglo-Norman and Middle English of ó Mǽilsheáchlainn. That family is part of the historic Clann Cholmáin, a branch of the Southern Uí Néill, cousins to the Northern Uí Néill. Ó/Ní M(h)ǽilsheáchlainn was the surname chosen by the descendants of Máel Sechnaill II, King of Meath, 976–1022, and High King of Ireland, 979–1002 & 1014–1022.[3]

M(a)cLaughlin and M(a)cLoughlin are rarely English forms of the surname ó/ní Lachtna, a phonetic corruption of the much more common Loughney or M(a)cLoughney.

Unlike Irish surnames that have only one Gaelic source for their English form, it is not possible to tell by the spelling McLaughlin and other English spellings whether the person bearing the name is descended from the Mac/Nic Lochlainn family, the Ó/Ní M(h)ǽilsheáchlainn family, or the Ó/Ní Lachtna family. Loftus is also a branch off of the tree as they had to change their last name to gain work in England as to not be discriminated against for being Irish


See also[edit]


  1. ^ McLaughlin Surname at Forebears
  2. ^
  3. ^ Bell, Robert (1990) [1988]. The Book of Ulster Surnames (Paperback). The Guernsey Press Company Limited. ISBN 0-85640-405-5.