Surname Smit - Meaning and Origin
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Smit: What does the surname Smit mean?
The last name Smit is an occupational surname, derived from the Dutch word 'smith'. As the name suggests, it was most commonly used to indicate a person who works with metal, either as a blacksmith or a tinsmith, in order to construct agricultural equipment or other tools. The word 'smith' is derived from the Old English word 'smitan', meaning 'to forge'.
The name Smit is found throughout the Netherlands, in Belgium and in the provinces of Friesland and North Brabant in the Netherlands. The name has also become quite common in other countries, including the United States, where it is the ninth most common last name.
The origin of the name Smit is quite varied. In some cases, the name indicated a person's occupation as a smith, referring to someone who works with metals such as gold, silver or iron. In other cases, the name may have been derived from a nickname, indicating an individual's physical traits or the characteristics of an ancestor.
Over time, the name Smit has expanded to include other occupations in addition to metalworking. For example, today the name may refer to technicians, engineers, mechanics, welders or even pilots.
Today, the last name Smit is a widely used name throughout the world and symbolises hard work, skill and tradition. Its popularity has led to many people from different countries and cultures adopting the surname as their own, either for its appealing sound or to honour their family roots.
Smit: Where does the name Smit come from?
The surname Smit is most commonly found in the Netherlands and the Northern regions of Germany. It is one of the most common surnames in both countries due to its popularity during medieval and early modern times. It is thought to have originated as a professional name for smiths or metalworkers and is derived from the Dutch word “smit” meaning “smith.”
Outside of the Netherlands and Germany, Smit is a popular name in the United States and Canada because of immigration from those countries. It is particularly common in Dutch-speaking areas of Canada and the main port of entry for Dutch immigration in the US was in New York, where the major Dutch-speaking communities are located today.
The name is also relatively common in South Africa because of Dutch and German migration dating back to the 1600s and 1700s in what is known as the Cape Colony. Additionally, the Dutch East India Company also sent many Dutch people to the area in the 19th century. It is still commonly found in the Northern Cape, Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces, which were previously Dutch-speaking.
The Great British census estimated that over 13,000 people in England and Wales hold the Smit surname. The majority of them are clustered in the East Midlands and South West of England.
Overall, the surname Smit is one of the most widespread and popular family names in the western world. It has a long history of being associated with metalworking, and is most typically associated with the Netherlands and Northern Germany, although it is found all over the world today, including in the United States, Canada and South Africa.
Variations of the surname Smit
The surname Smit is an occupational name which originated from Northern Europe. It is a variation of the Dutch word 'smit' which means smith or blacksmith. It is also a variation of the Old English word 'smið' which has a similar meaning.
Variants, spellings and surnames of the same origin include:
Smith – the most common alternative spelling of Smit. It is the English rendering of the surname.
Schmidt – the common German dialect derivation of Smit.
Smyth – a variation of Smith used in Scotland and Northern Ireland. It was first used in the 15th century.
Smidt – an alternative spelling of Schmidt. It is also found in Dutch, German, and Danish speaking countries.
Schmit – a variation of Schmidt found mainly in German-speaking countries.
Schmitt – another variation of Schmidt found mainly in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
Smits – also an alternative to Smit, which is a more patronymic form of the surname. It can also be seen as a Dutch surname in Canada, the Netherlands, and Suriname.
Sykes - a British surname that is derived from Smith.
The last name of Smit is also found in various other languages and dialects worldwide, such as Smed (Swedish and Norwegian), Smeds (Icelandic), Zmuda (Polish), and Smid (Czech).
Famous people with the name Smit
- Jordy Smith: professional surfer
- Johan Smith: Dutch footballer
- Rayner Smith: actor and singer
- Howard Smith: American politician
- Hendrik Smith: Dutch painter
- John Smith: English explorer
- William Smith: British geologist
- Bruce Smith: NFL Hall of Fame inductee
- Shane Smith: Canadian actor
- Jada Pinkett Smith: American actress and singer
- Bobby Smith: Canadian NHL Hall of Fame inductee
- Nandi Smith: South African politician
- John Smith: Canadian politician
- Paul Smith: British fashion designer
- Vince Smith: Canadian-born British actor
- Simon Smith: English actor
- Desmond Smith: British actor
- Jason Smith: Canadian television personality
- Wilbur Smith: British author
- Barry Smith: English author and poet