The Origin and Meaning of the Last Name, "Long"

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Long is the 86th most popular surname in the United States with origins in EnglishIrish, and Chinese. The most common alternate surname spellings include Longe, Lang, Delong, and Laing. Learn about the famous Longs, genealogy resources and the three main plausible origins for the common last name below.

Possible Surname Origins

  1. Long was most commonly a nickname that was often given to a man who was especially tall and lanky, from the Old English lang and Old French long, meaning "long" or "tall."
  1. The Long surname may also be a reduced Anglicized form of Gaelic name Ó Longáin, meaning "descendant of Longán," a personal name probably derived from long, meaning "tall."
  2. If the family is Chinese, the name may indicate descent from an official treasurer called Long, who lived during the reign of the model emperor Shun (2257–2205 BC).

Notable Longs

  • Nia Long: American actress who is best known as her characters on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Third Watch on TV. She was also in the popular movies Friday and Too Deep.
  • Howie Long: Former American NFL defensive end. Howie currently works at Fox Sports as a studio analyst.
  • Shelley Long: Actress popular on the comedy television shows Cheers and Frasier. She has five Emmy nominations and two Golden Globe Awards.
  • Shorty Long: American soul singer, record producer, and musician who was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.

Genealogy Resources

When you are looking for the meaning of a given name, you can utilize the First Name Meanings resource. If you do not come across your last name on the list, feel free to suggest a surname to be added to the Glossary of Surname Meanings and Origins.

References: Surname Meanings and Origins

  • Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.
  • Menk, Lars. A Dictionary of German-Jewish Surnames. Avotaynu, 2005.
  • Beider, Alexander. A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia. Avotaynu, 2004.
  • Hanks, Patrick, and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.
  • Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.