REED - Name Meaning & Origin

Red hair in the wind
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The Reed surname has a number of possible derivations:

  1. A descriptive name or nickname signifying a person with red hair or a ruddy complexion, deriving from the Old English read meaning "red."
  2. A topographical surname for someone who lived in a clearing in woodland, deriving from the Olde English ried, ryd.
  3. A geographical name from any of the various places called Read or Reed.

Reed is the 65th most popular surname in the United States. The REID spelling of the surname is extremely common in Scotland, where it is ranked #11.

  • Surname Origin: English
  • Alternate Surname Spellings: REID, RIED, READ, READE, REEDE
  • Genealogy Resources for the Surname REED: 100 Most Common U.S. Surnames & Their Meanings
    Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Brown... Are you one of the millions of Americans sporting one of these top 100 common last names from the 2000 census?

Reed Name Meaning & Family History

An overview of the Reed surname meaning, plus subscription-based access to genealogical records on Reed families around the world from

References: Surname Meanings & 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.
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Powell, Kimberly. "REED - Name Meaning & Origin." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Powell, Kimberly. (2020, August 27). REED - Name Meaning & Origin. Retrieved from Powell, Kimberly. "REED - Name Meaning & Origin." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 31, 2023).