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Bain (surname)

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Title: Bain (surname)  
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Subject: Scottish surnames, French-language surnames, Scottish Gaelic
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Bain (surname)

Family name
Reconstruction of a Roman bath house in Germany.
Region of origin England; France, Germany, Scotland

Bain is an English, French, and Scottish surname. It may also be a variant form of a German surname.

Bain shares many of the same origins as the surname Baines.[1]

Origin of the surname

Northern English

There are two origins for the Northern English surname.

  1. The northern English surname Bain is sometimes derived from a nickname meaning "bone", which probably referred to someone who was exceptionally tall, or lean. This nickname is derived from the Old English ban, meaning "bone". In northern dialects of Middle English, the a was preserved, but in southern dialects the a was changed to o (the southern form became the standard).
  2. In other cases, the northern English surname is derived from a nickname of a hospitable person. This nickname is derived from the northern Middle English beyn, bayn, which mean "welcoming", "friendly"; these are in turn derived from the Old Norse beinn, meaning "straight", "direct".[2]


An English and French origin of the surname Bain is from the occupational name of an attendant of a public bath house. This name is derived from the Middle English, and Old French baine, meaning "bath".[2]


There are several other derivations of the French surname.

  1. One French derivation of the surname Bain is from a topographic name, for someone who lived near a Roman bath. This name is derived from the Old French baine, meaning "bath".
  2. In other cases, the name may originate from a habitational name, derived from a place in Ille-et-Vilaine.[2]


The Scottish surname Bain is derived from a nickname for a person with fair-hair. This name is derived from the Scottish Gaelic bàn, meaning "white", "fair". The name was common in the Scottish Highlands, and is first recorded in 1324 in Perth. The surname can also be, in some cases, a reduced form of the surname McBain.[2] The Scottish Gaelic form of the surname Bain is Bàin (masculine),[3] and Bhàin (feminine).


The name may also be a variant spelling of the north German surname Behn.[2]


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of British Surnames Routledge & Kegan Paul, 2nd edition (1976)
  2. ^ a b c d e Learn about the family history of your surname,   for the surname "Erskine".
  3. ^ Macbean, L. (1905), Guide to Gaelic Conversation and Pronunciation, with vocabularies, dialogues, phrases, and letter forms (2nd ed.), Stirling: Eneas Mackay, p. 43 
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