Grant Surname Meaning and Origin

The Grant surname was sometimes bestowed to identify between two men of the same given name, similar to identifying the elder as "Senior."
Rosemarie Gearhart / Getty Images

The origins of the Grant surname are uncertain, but the following theories are the most widely accepted:

  1. A nickname from the Anglo-Norman French graund or graunt, meaning "tall, large" bestowed due to the individual's size, or to distinguish two bearers of the same personal name, often different generations within the same family.
  2. Clan Grant says that "tradition suggests that the name comes from Sliabh Grianais - the moor above Aviemore," believed to be the "first land in Scotland occupied by the Grant progenitors."

Grant may also be a spelling variant of the German surname Grandt or Grant

  • Surname Origin: Scottish, English, French
  • Alternate Surname Spellings: GRAUNT, GRAWNT, GRANTE

Where the Grant Surname is Found

According to Forebears, the Grant surname is most prevalent in the United States (used by over 156,000 people), but most common in Jamaica (where the surname ranks as 10th most common) and Scotland (ranked 29th). Grant is also common in Guyana (46th), New Zealand (49th), Canada (88th), Australia (92nd) and England (105th).

Historical surname distribution data from Scotland identifies the areas where Grant was most common in 1881 as Moray, where it was the most used name, as well as Banffshire (2nd most common), Nairn (6th), Inverness-shire (9th) and West Lothian (10th).

WorldNames PublicProfiler identifies the Grant surname as being especially popular in Donegal, Ireland, as well as Australia, New Zealand and most of northern Scotland.

Famous People

  • Ulysses S. GrantU.S. general and commander of the Union armies; 18th U.S. president
  • Cary Grant: British-American film actor
  • Hugh Grant: British actor
  • Amy Grant: American singer-songwriter
  • Anne Grant: Scottish poet
  • Jedediah Morgan Grant: leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Natalie Grant: American singer-songwriter

Genealogy Resources

  • Clan Grant: Explore a wealth of resources made available by Clan Grant, including history, genealogy, gatherings, membership and more.
  • Grant DNA Project: Join over 400 individuals with the Grant surname who are interested in combining Y-DNA testing with genealogical research to help identify various "Grant genetic lines and ancestries."
  • Grant Family Crest: Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Grant family crest or coat of arms for the Grant surname. Coats of arms are granted to individuals, not families, and may rightfully be used only by the uninterrupted male line descendants of the person to whom the coat of arms was originally granted.
  • FamilySearch: Explore over 2.9 million historical records and lineage-linked family trees posted for the Grant surname and its variations on the free FamilySearch website, hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Grant Surname & Family Mailing Lists: RootsWeb hosts free mailing lists for researchers of the Grant surname.
  • Explore free databases and genealogy links for the last name Grant.
  • The Grant Genealogy and Family Tree Page: Browse genealogy records and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the popular last name Grant from the website of Genealogy Today.


  • Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.
  • Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Collins Celtic (Pocket edition), 1998.
  • Fucilla, Joseph. Our Italian Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003.
  • Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.
  • Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.
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Powell, Kimberly. "Grant Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Powell, Kimberly. (2020, August 27). Grant Surname Meaning and Origin. Retrieved from Powell, Kimberly. "Grant Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 30, 2023).