Humanities › History & Culture Knight Surname Meaning and Origin Share Flipboard Email Print Neil Holmes / Getty Images History & Culture Genealogy Surnames Basics Genealogy Fun Vital Records Around the World American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Kimberly Powell Genealogy Expert Certificate in Genealogical Research, Boston University B.A., Carnegie Mellon University Kimberly Powell is a professional genealogist and the author of The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy. She teaches at the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. our editorial process Kimberly Powell Updated April 30, 2019 The common surname Knight is a status name from the Middle English knyghte, meaning "knight." While it may refer to someone who was actually a knight, it was a name often taken by servants in a royal or knightly household, or even to one who won a title in a contest of skill. The Knight surname may have originally derived from the Old English criht, meaning "boy" or "serving lad," as an occupational name for a domestic servant. Surname Origin: EnglishAlternate Spellings: KNIGHTS, KNIGHTE, KNECHTEN, KNICHTLIN Where People With the KNIGHT Surname Live According to surname distribution data from Forebears, the Knight surname is most commonly found in the United States, where it ranks 204th and is most prevalent in the Falkland Islands, where it ranks 20th. WorldNames PublicProfiler puts the Knight surname as most popular in southern England, and Knight is the 90th most common surname in England. Knight is also a common last name in Australia, Jamaica, New Zealand and the Isle of Man. Famous People With the KNIGHT Last Name Newton Knight - American farmer, soldier, and southern UnionistBobby Knight - retired American basketball coachDaniel Ridgway Knight - American artist Genealogy Resources for the Surname KNIGHT Contrary to what you may have heard, there is no such thing as a Knight family crest or coat of arms for the Knight 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. Records for different Knight families exist all over the world and online. Examples include the genealogy of Joseph Knight Sr. and his wife, Polly Peck, of New Hampshire and New York, including both ancestors and descendants. You can find research on the history of the family of Charles Knight, of Virginia, Georgia, and Louisiana. Search this popular genealogy forum for the Knight surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Knight genealogy query. GeneaNet's Knight Records include archival records, family trees, and other resources for individuals with the Knight surname, with a concentration on records and families from France and other European countries. You can also browse family trees and links to genealogical and historical records at the Knight genealogy and family tree at Genealogy Today. References 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.