Martin (name)

Martin may either be a given name or surname. In Scotland, Martin or McMartin is a common surname of Scottish Gaelic origin. Martin is, however, more common as a masculine given name in many languages and cultures. It comes from the Latin name Martinus, which is a late derived form of the name of the Roman god Mars, the protective godhead of the Latins and, therefore, the god of war.[1] The meaning is usually rendered in reference to the god as "of Mars", or "of war/warlike" ("martial").

Mars Pyrrhus cropped.jpg
Statue of Mars, 1st century, found in the Forum of Nerva (Capitoline Museums, Rome)
PronunciationEnglish: /ˈmɑːrtɪn, -tən/
Czech: [ˈmartɪn]
Finnish: [ˈmɑrtin]
French: [maʁtɛ̃]
German: [ˈmaʁtiːn]
Norwegian: [ˈmɑ̀ʈːɪn]
Serbo-Croatian: [mǎrtin]
Spanish: [maɾˈtin]
Swedish: [ˈmǎʈːɪn]
MeaningOf Mars, warlike, warrior
Region of originRoman Empire
Other names
Related namesMartyn, Martti, Morten, Marten, Maarten, Martino, Mark (can also be used as a nickname)
Saint Martin of Tours, the patron saint of soldiers, leaves the Roman army. St Martin is one of the most familiar and recognizable Roman Catholic saints.

It has remained a popular given name in Christian times, in honor of Saint Martin of Tours. Along with its historic Catholic popularity, it has also been popular among Protestants due to Martin Luther. In addition, African American children are often given the name in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin, along with a range of variant forms mostly of patronymic origin, borne by families descended from someone with the given name of Martin, are seen throughout Europe, though in some instances the Martin surname in England are instead of toponymic origin, coming from one of numerous places called Merton. Martin is the most common French surname and also frequent in Belgium.

The name Martin in different regionsEdit

United StatesEdit

Martin was the sixteenth most frequently reported surname in the 1990 United States Census, accounting for 0.27% of the population.


The name is often read as Martin (with `on the i) in most slavic nations. Nicknames for Martin can be Marti, Marto, Martine, Maťo, Maťko, Martinko.


Arms of FitzMartin, later simply Martin, feudal barons of Barnstaple in Devon and Lords of Cemais in Wales: Argent, two bars gules

Before the Normans arrived in the 11th century, 'Martin' was rare in England. See feudal barony of Barnstaple for the post-Conquest Anglo-Norman family. The surname became common south of the Thames.


There are several groups of Martins or Macmartins in Scotland. The MacMartins of Letterfinlay appear to have allied themselves to the Clan Cameron in the late 14th century and finally merged with the Camerons after the Battle of Lochaber in 1429. The MacMartins, who became a sept of Clan Cameron, is said to have been amongst the most loyal and valuable followers of Cameron of Lochiel. In the Jacobite rising of 1745, the MacMartins were "out with" Lochiel's regiment.[2] According to the Oxford Companion to Scottish History, the MacMartins of Letterfinlay who were a sept of the Clan Cameron would have seen themselves as distinct within their own lands, but would have also seen themselves as Camerons if operating elsewhere outside of Lochaber.[3]

There is a branch of MacMartins from Strathclyde. The Martins in Skye are traditionally associated with Clan Donald, and the Lothians were home to a powerful 'de St Martin' family from the 12th century.


An Anglo-Norman knight named Robert Fitz Martin, born in the late 11th century, settled in England's West Country, on lands inherited from a grandfather, and later participated in the invasions of Wales, where he was awarded the barony of Cemaes, located between Fishguard and Cardigan. Robert fitz Martin established the caput of his barony at Nanhyfer or Nevern. Robert's son William Fitz Robert Fitz Martin (born c. 1155) inherited the family's property and re-established family control over Cemaes, which had been lost to the Welsh. The senior line became extinct in 1326, but cadet lines still flourish in Wales and England.


With over 230,000 people holding the surname Martin in France, it is the most common French surname.[4] The origins of its frequency can be attributed to Saint Martin of Tours, who was the most popular French saint, but the reason is not clear.[5]

Martin was never a common given name (Christian name) in the Middle Ages, unlike Bernard or Thomas (which were later officialized and became common surnames, nowadays ranking second and third respectively). Onomastics have tried to find other reasons for Martin's popularity, by examining, for example, the repartition of place names, but this explanation also lacks empirical support.[5]

It can be a late surname connected with children of orphanages, like Alexandre, which was never a common first name in the Middle Ages but now appears quite frequently as a surname. Martin can represent charity towards orphans.

France[6] Belgium (Wallonia, 2008)[7]
1. Martin 1. Dubois
2. Bernard 2. Lambert
3. Dubois 3. Martin
4. Thomas 4. Dupont
5. Robert 5. Simon

However, this list hides strong regional differences in France and the increasing number of foreign names among the French citizens. Table based on births between 1966 and 1990:[8]

Basse-Normandie Alsace Brittany PACA Paris-IdF
1. Marie 1. Meyer 1. Le Gall 1. Martin 1. Martin
2. Martin 2. Muller 2. Thomas 2. Garcia (Spanish) 2. Da Silva (Port.)
3. Jeanne 3. Schmitt 3. Le Goff 3. Martinez (Spanish) 3. Perreira (Port.)
4. Duval 4. Schneider 4. Le Roux 4. Blanc 4. Petit
5. Lefèvre 5. Klein 5. Martin 5. Fernandez (Spanish) 5. Dos Santos (Port.)
6. Leroy 6. Weber 6. Simon 6. Lopez (Spanish) 6. Ferreira (Port.)
7. Hébert 7. Fischer 7. Tanguy 7. Roux 7. Rodrigues (Port.)
8. Guérin 8. Martin 8. Hamon 8. Sanchez (Spanish) 8. Dubois


Martin is a common male name in Estonia - it was the most popular male given name throughout the 1990s. The name currently remains as the second most popular male name in Estonia.[9]

Martin is also a surname – in the variations of Martin, Martinsen, Martinson.


Márton, the Hungarian form of the name, is commonly used as both a first name and surname.


Surnames in Ireland are attested from the mid-10th century. Several distinct families featured the name as a surname element. They included Mac Giolla Mhártain, Ó Maol Mhartain, Ó Martain, Ó Máirtín, Mac Máirtín, Mac Máel Martain. Individuals included Echmílid mac Máel Martain (Bishop of Down to 1202), Giolla Ernain Ó Martain (Irish poet and Chief Ollam of Ireland, died 1218), and Fearghal Ó Martain, O.E.S.A. (Bishop of Killala from 1425 to 1432).

After the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169, numerous unrelated bearers of the name settled in Ireland. Among the most well-known of the name were one of the Tribes of Galway.


In Italy, Martin (pronounced [marˈtiŋ]) is a rather common surname in Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and Piedmont.


In Poland, the name is written as "Marcin".


In Portugal, Martin is written "Martim" or Martinho. One famous Martin from Portuguese history is Martim Moniz.


Martin is common as a given name in all three Scandinavian countries, and is a typically a top-ranking name in popularity, on any given year. Also it is seen in derivative surnames following Scandinavian naming tradition, such as Martinsen (in Norway and Denmark) and Martinsson (in Sweden). Morten is a Scandinavian version of Martin.


Martín (pronounced [maɾˈtin]) is a common given name and is also among the most common surnames in Spain. Its Catalan variant is Martí and in Galician is Martiño. Jewish families in medieval Spain (Sephardic) Jews who remained in Spain and agreed to accept Christianity were asked to change their surnames. One of the names taken up by these Jewish conversos (originally known in Spain as Marranos, but preferred term is 'anusim' which is Hebrew for "forced") was "Martí" (also spelt "Marty"). Sephardic Jews also used Martín or Martínez, as a variation from the Hebrew name Mordecai.[10]

Geographical distributionEdit

As of 2014, 32.6% of all known bearers of the surname Martin were residents of the United States (frequency 1:424), 19.2% of Spain (1:93), 12.0% of France (1:211), 4.7% of England (1:449), 3.5% of Canada (1:401), 2.9% of Germany (1:1,054), 2.3% of Argentina (1:719), 2.2% of the Philippines (1:1,731), 2.2% of Mexico (1:2,179), 2.1% of Tanzania (1:955), 2.0% of Australia (1:453), 1.5% of Cuba (1:303) and 1.3% of South Africa (1:1,617).

In Spain, the frequency of the surname was higher than national average (1:93) in the following autonomous communities:

  1. Castile and León (1:35)
  2. Canary Islands (1:45)
  3. Extremadura (1:56)
  4. Community of Madrid (1:63)
  5. Andalusia (1:74)
  6. Castilla-La Mancha (1:79)

In France, the frequency of the surname was higher than national average (1:211) in the following regions:[11]

  1. Collectivity of Saint Martin (1:37)
  2. Saint Barthélemy (1:143)
  3. Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (1:152)
  4. Centre-Val de Loire (1:168)
  5. Pays de la Loire (1:171)
  6. Nouvelle-Aquitaine (1:183)
  7. Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (1:184)
  8. Grand Est (1:193)
  9. Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (1:196)
  10. Normandy (1:200)


Notable people sharing the surname "Martin" include:

Born before 1700Edit

Born 1700–1799Edit

Born 1800–1899Edit

Born 1900–1949Edit

Born 1950–1999Edit

Born since 2000Edit

Birth year missing, possibly livingEdit

Derived surnamesEdit

They generally mean "descendant of Martin".

Given/first nameEdit

Those people who are known primarily by the name "Martin" are listed below.

Born before 1700Edit

Born 1700–1799Edit

Born 1800–1899Edit

Born 1900–1999Edit


Middle nameEdit

Fictional charactersEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Dauzat, Albert (1980). Dictionnaire étymologique des noms de famille et prénoms de France (in French). Paris: Larousse. p. 420. ISBN 2033408043. New completed edition by Marie-Thérèse Morlet.
  2. ^ Moncreiffe, Iain (1982) [1967]. The Highland Clans. Clarkson N. Potter. pp. 48–51. ISBN 0517546590.
  3. ^ Lynch, Michael, ed. (2011). Oxford Companion to Scottish History. Oxford University Press. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-19-923482-0.
  4. ^ "Martin : nom de famille Martin. Nombre et localisation". (in French). Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  5. ^ a b Mulon, Marianne (2002). Origine et histoire des noms de famille. Essais d'anthroponymie (in French). Errance. pp. 137–138. ISBN 2877722341. D'où viennent donc tous ces Martin?
  6. ^ "Noms de famille: les noms de famille les plus portés, l'origine de votre nom de famille" (in French).
  7. ^ "Noms de famille les plus fréquents en 2008 – Belgique et Régions (Top 100)" (in French). Archived from the original on 26 July 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Les noms de famille les plus portés en France par région". (in French). Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Heal lapsel mitu nime" (in Estonian). 5 May 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  10. ^ Weiss-Füglister, Nelly (2002). The Origin of Jewish Family Names. Peter Lang. p. 216. ISBN 978-3-906768-19-9.
  11. ^ Martin surname distribution