Norman (name)

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Norman is both a surname and a given name. The surname has multiple origins including English, Irish (in Ulster), Scottish, German, Norwegian, Ashkenazi Jewish and Jewish American. The given name Norman is mostly of English origin, though in some cases it can be an Anglicised form of a Scottish Gaelic personal name.



There are several different origins of the surname Norman.[1]

  1. As a surname of English, Irish (in Ulster), Scottish and Dutch origin the name was used to denote someone of Scandinavian ancestry or someone from Normandy (northern France). During the Middle Ages Scandinavian Vikings called themselves norðmenn ("men from the North"), which remains the Norwegian term for "Norwegian." By 1066 Scandinavian settlers in England had been absorbed and Northman and Norman were used as bynames and later as personal names by both English and English of Scandinavian descent. After the Norman Invasion of England in 1066, the name Norman took on a new meaning as England was invaded by Normans from Normandy (in northern France). The Normans were themselves descendants of Scandinavians who had established a state in Normandy; thus the term has the same meaning whether it refers to descendants of first wave Scandinavian settlers of the British isles or Normans from Normandy.[1]
  2. As a surname of French origin the name is a regional name denoting someone from Normandy.[1]
  3. As a surname of Dutch origin the surname is an ethnic name for someone of Norwegian descent.[1]
  4. As a surname of Jewish (Ashkenazic) origin the surname is a variant of Nordman.[1]
  5. As a surname of Jewish (American) origin the surname is an Americanization of a similar-sounding Ashkenazic name. In at least one case Norman is used as an Americanization of Novominsky, which is a name of a family originating in Uman, Ukraine. This family on coming to the United States of America changed their name to Norman, and relatives in Russia likewise changed their names from Novominsky to Norman.[1]
  6. As a surname of Swedish origin the name is derived the two elements: norr (north) + man ("man").[1]

Given name[edit]

Norman as a given name is of mostly English origin. It is a Germanic name and is composed of the elements nord ("north") + man ("man"). The name can be found in England before the Norman Invasion of 1066, but gained popularity by its use by Norman settlers in England after the invasion. In Norway, the demonym of its people in Norwegian are Nordmann (pronounce Normann), and has the exactly same meaning as the name origin of the Normans. In the Scottish Highlands, Norman is sometimes used as an Anglicised form of the Norwegian and Scottish Gaelic Tormod (derived from the Norse Þórmóðr). A pet form of the Scottish given name is Norrie.[1] There are several Scottish feminine forms of the given name Norman. These include: Normanna, Normina, Norma, Nora, and Mona.[1]

In England, the use of Norman as a given name is dying out. For example, in 2005 only two newborn boys were given the name; one in Shropshire and another in Tyne and Wear.[2]


England, Wales and the Isle of Man[edit]

Norman is ranked as the 273rd most common surname in the 1999–2001 National Health Service Central Register of England, Wales and the Isle of Man (the register utilises birth and death registers from 1999 to 2001).[3]


The surname Norman is of English origin, having arrived in the province of Ulster in the 17th century during the plantation era (See Plantation of Ulster and Plantations of Ireland). The surname is most common in Dublin, Belfast and Cork.[4] Below is a table of Norman households recorded in the Primary Valuation (Griffith's valuation) property survey of 1848–64.[4]

# of Norman households per county, 1848–64
County # County #
Armagh 1 Cork (county) 10
Cork (city) 1 Donegal 7
Dublin 7 Dublin (city) 9
Kerry 2 Kildare 6
Laois 2 Limerick 5
Limerick (city) 2 Louth 3
Roscommon 1 Sligo 1
Tipperary 2 Westmeath 3

United States of America[edit]

  • Surname: In the 1990 Census Norman is ranked as the 396th most frequent surname.[5][6] By the 2000 Census the surname was ranked at 461st most frequent surname.[7][8] The table below shows the statistics for the surname Norman in the 2000 Census See footnote for description of the header.[9]
name rank count prop100k cum_prop100k pctwhite pctblack pctapi pctaian pct2prace pcthispanic
NORMAN 461 65269 24.2 31690.75 71.58 24.13 0.42 0.61 1.71 1.54
  • Given name: Norman is ranked as the 113th most frequent male given name in the 1990 Census.[5][10]

Use of the surname and given name[edit]


Given name[edit]

Fictional people with the name Norman[edit]

  • Norman Arminger, the primary villain of the early Emberverse series by S.M. Stirling.
  • Norman Bates, fictional character created by writer Robert Bloch and portrayed by Anthony Perkins
  • Norman Babcock, character in the film ParaNorman
  • Norman, character in the Pokémon universe
  • Norman Osborn, the arch-enemy of Spider-Man
  • Norm Peterson, regular character on the television show Cheers and guest character on several others, portrayed by actor George Wendt
  • Norman Stanley Fletcher, protagonist of the British TV prison comedy Porridge, portrayed by Ronnie Barker
  • Norman Stansfield, the main antagonist in the movie Léon: The Professional
  • Rod Norman, fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders
  • Norman Clegg, character from Last of the Summer Wine
  • Norman Jayden, character from Heavy Rain

See also[edit]

  • Normand, also a given name and surname
  • Nordmann, demonym of the people of Norway

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Norman Name Meaning and History Retrieved on 2008-03-26
  2. ^ "Traditional names are 'dying out'". BBC News. 13 August 2008. Retrieved 9 March 2009.
  3. ^ Most Common Surnames in England, Wales and the Isle of Man Retrieved on 2008-03-29
  4. ^ a b Norman Retrieved on 2008-03-29
  5. ^ a b Frequently Occurring First Names and Surnames From the 1990 Census Retrieved on 2008-03-28
  6. ^ dist.all.last Archived 2010-10-12 at the Library of Congress Web Archives Retrieved on 2008-03-28 ("NORMAN 0.028 32.535 396")
  7. ^ Frequently Occurring Surnames From Census 2000 Archived 2007-11-19 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 2008-03-28
  8. ^ Top 1000 Names Archived 2008-12-09 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 2008-03-28
  9. ^ name = Last name; rank = Rank; count = Number of occurrences; prop100k = Proportion per 100,000 people for name; cum_prop100k = Cumulative proportion per 100,000 people; pctwhite = Percent Non-Hispanic White Only; pctblack = Percent Non-Hispanic Black Only; pctapi = Percent Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only; pctaian = Percent Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native Only; pct2prace = Percent Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races; pcthispanic = Percent Hispanic Origin (source of heading information: Demographic Aspects of Surnames from Census 2000 Retrieved on 2008-03-28; source of table data Top 1000 Names Archived 2008-12-09 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 2008-03-28).
  10. ^ dist.male.first Retrieved on 2008-03-28 ("NORMAN 0.177 61.938 113")