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Menzies is a Scottish surname, with Gaelic forms being Méinnearach and Méinn, and other variant forms being Menigees, Mennes, Mengzes, Menzeys, Mengies, and Minges.[citation needed]

Derivation and history[edit]

The name and its Gaelic form are probably derived from the Norman name Mesnières, from the town of Mesnières-en-Bray in Normandy.[1][2][3]


The name is traditionally pronounced — and still is in Scotland — /ˈmɪŋɪs/ MING-iss. The current spelling arose when the similar-looking tailed variant of the letter ⟨z⟩ (i.e., 𝔷) was used as a substitute for the now obsolete letter ⟨ȝ⟩ (yogh) in the Scots language (Menȝies).[4] However, outside Scotland it is often erroneously given the spelling-pronunciation /ˈmɛnzz/ MEN-zeez. A Scottish limerick plays on the traditional, correct pronunciation:

There wis a young lassie named Menzies,
That askit her aunt whit this thenzies.
Said her aunt wi a gasp,
"Ma dear, it's a wasp,
An you're haudin the end whaur the stenzies!"[a]

The second and fifth lines are pronounced as though the <z> were a <ȝ>, making "thing is" and "sting is", to rhyme with "Menzies". "Wasp" rhymes with "gasp" in Scots.

As a surname[edit]

As a given name[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Translation: There was a young girl named Menzies ["Mingiss"], / That asked her aunt what this thing is. / Said her aunt with a gasp, / "My dear, it's a wasp, / And you're holding the end where the sting is!"


  1. ^ David Hey, Clan Menzies website
  2. ^ BBC Alba - Litir do Luchd-ionnsachaidh (554)
  3. ^ Family names and family history, pp 37-38
  4. ^ Bernd Kappenberg (2014). Setting Signs for Europe. Columbia University Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-3-8382-6703-6.