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The name Moore is a popular surname in many English-speaking countries and is of Gaelic/English origin. It can have several possible meanings and derivations, as it appeared as a surname long before written language had developed in most of the population, resulting in a wide variety of spellings, each one descending from either different spelling variations that described a similar meaning or a variety of different meanings that were spelled in a similar way. These differences have resulted in some difficulty for persons tracing their ancestry with the name, as the variations in spelling could reference entirely different groups of Moores or very simply could be the result of improvisations throughout the name's history in the writing of birth certificates and other familial, religious or governmental documents.
Variations of the name can appear as Moore, 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 O'Mordha; and the later Irish variants O'Moore and de Mora.
Possible Meanings & OriginsEdit
- 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'Mordha, from the Irish Gaelic word mordha, meaning "stately and noble". The Anglo-Norman Moores established in Ireland's province of Munster soon after the Anglo/Norman invasion are called de Mora in Irish, a phonetic rendering of the English name which is derived from the word "moor", or "heathy mountain".
- Alternatively of Gaelic/Manx origin Moar, the name 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, a Roman first name which meant "dark skinned" in Latin, and related to a the Old French More meaning "Moor", a colloquial nickname for a person of dark complexion, often describing someone of North African descent.
- Also possibly originated from early references to persons who worked with boats at a wharf or Moorage.
In the United States, 'Moore' ranked 9th among all surnames in the 1990 Census, accounting for 0.3% of the population.
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