Moore (surname)

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This article is about the surname. For people who share this surname, see List of people with surname Moore. For other uses, see Moore (disambiguation).
Family name
Meaning "stately and noble"
Region of origin Ireland, Great Britain
Footnotes: Frequency Comparisons: [1]
Ó Mórda.

Moore is a popular English-language surname. It is the 34th most common surname in Australia, 32nd most common in England,[1] and was the 16th most common surname in the United States in 2000.[2]

It can have several meanings and derivations, as it appeared as a surname long before written language had developed in most of the population, resulting in a variety of spellings.

Variations of the name can appear as O'More or Moor; as well as the Scottish Gaelic originations Muir, Mure and Mor/Mór; the Manx Gaelic origination Moar; the Irish Gaelic originations O'More and Ó Mórda; and the later Irish variants O'Moore' or 'Moore and the French de la Mora (William De La More).

The similarly pronounced surname Mohr is of Germanic lineage and is not related to the Gaelic/English variations.

Meanings and origins[edit]

  • From Middle English mor meaning "open land" or "bog" and given to persons dwelling near a moor or heath.
  • The Old Irish Moores are O'Morda, from the Irish Gaelic word morda, meaning "stately and noble". The French persons named de Mora, who were established in Ireland's Munster province, were known as O'More after 200 years in Co. Leix. After WW1, "Moore" as a phonetic rendering of the name derived from the word "moor", or "healthy mountain," became the written version for similar sounding names.
  • Alternatively of Gaelic/Manx origin Moar, this name was for a collector of manorial rents on the Isle of Man.
  • The spelling "Moore" was sometimes used to indicate a son of someone called More - this being one use where spelling is significant.
  • Possibly derived from Maurus,[citation needed] a Roman first name which meant "dark skinned" in Latin, and related to the Old French More meaning "Moor," such as Berber, a colloquial nickname for a person of dark complexion, often describing someone of North African descent.
  • Possibly originated from early references to persons who worked with boats at a wharf or moorage.
  • The De La Mare surname from French Normandy was progressively anglicized in England as "de la Mare" (Walter de la Mare), "De La More", "More", and "Moore" after its bearers accompanied and assisted William the Conqueror in his conquest of England. They eventually settled in Benenden, Kent County, England for several centuries, before many moved to colonies in North America, including Reverend John Moore of Newtown, New York (Long Island). The De La Mares of Normandy trace their heritage to Vikings and the coastal city of Møre og Romsdal in Norway. The Møre surname is a place name derived from the Old Norse Moerr, and the Norwegian word Marr, meaning ocean, sea, or coastal district. Rollo, the famous Viking and founder of the Dukes of Normandy, which includes the present-day British Royal Family, may have been a member of this family. Some historians say that his father was Rognvald Eysteinsson, Earl of Møre, Norway.


Some bearers of this name pronounce it as /mɔːr/ or /mɔər/, while others use /mʊər/.


In the United States, "Moore" ranked 9th among all surnames in the 1990 census, accounting for 0.3% of the population.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Moore Surname Meaning".  Retrieved 20 January 2014
  2. ^ "Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000". United States Census Bureau. U.S. Department of Commerce. 15 September 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  3. ^ United States Census Bureau (9 May 1995). s:1990 Census Name Files dist.all.last (1-100). Retrieved on 2008-07-04.