SINCLAIR Surname Meaning and Origin

The Sinclair surname may have originated as a habitational name for someone from a place named for St. Clair, such as Saint-Clair-sur-l'Elle in Normandy, France.
By Ikmo-ned, CC BY-SA 3.0

Taken from the hermit St. Clare or St. Clere, Sinclair is a derivation of the St. Claire surname, from the Latin clarus, meaning 'pure, renowned, illustrious.' It was often bestowed as a habitational surname for someone from one of several places named for the dedication of their churches to St. Clarus, such as Saint-Clair-sur-Elle in Manche, Normandy, France.

SINCLAIR is the 79th most popular surname in Scotland.

Surname Origin: Scottish, English


Famous People with the Surname SINCLAIR

  • Upton Sinclair - American novelist and social crusader
  • Clive Sinclair - British entrepreneur and inventor
  • Malcolm Sinclair - Swedish nobleman whose assassination eventually sparked the Russo-Swedish War of 1741–1743

Genealogy Resources for the Surname SINCLAIR

Common Scottish Surnames & Their Meanings
Uncover the meaning of your Scottish last name with this free guide to Scottish surnames meanings and origins.

Clan Sinclair
Learn about the history of Clan Sinclair on this website of the Clan Chief and explore links to websites of the Clan Associations.

Sinclair Family Genealogy Forum
Search or browse past posts in this genealogy forum dedicated to researchers of the Sinclair surname.

Sinclair Family Crest - It's Not What You Think
Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Sinclair family crest or coat of arms for the Sinclair 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 - SINCLAIR Genealogy
Explore over 830,000 historical records and lineage-linked family trees posted for the Sinclair surname and its variations on the free FamilySearch website, hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

SINCLAIR Surname & Family Mailing Lists
RootsWeb hosts a free mailing lists for researchers of the Sinclair surname. - SINCLAIR Genealogy & Family History
Explore free databases and genealogy links for the last name Sinclair.

The Sinclair Genealogy and Family Tree Page
Browse genealogy records and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the popular last name Sinclair from the website of Genealogy Today.


References: Surname Meanings & Origins

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.


>> Back to Glossary of Surname Meanings & Origins

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Powell, Kimberly. "SINCLAIR Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Powell, Kimberly. (2020, August 27). SINCLAIR Surname Meaning and Origin. Retrieved from Powell, Kimberly. "SINCLAIR Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 26, 2023).