Origin of the Name
I have never found a precise description of the origin of this purely Scot surname which is pronounced "Meekel", meaning a long "e" sound. I even have found myself at times over the years referring to it as "Mickel", with a short "i" sound.
One lady in Scotland wrote a letter some years ago that the name originated in a village called Meikle in Lanarkshire in the 13th century under the Clan of Baird.
I have also seen a reference some years ago that the name for some was a shortened version of the name MacMekel. My own Grandmother used to say it was shortened from MacMichael.
Most believe the name Meikle means "large". Lowland Scots always spoke a form of English, rather than Gaelic. And the word meikle seems to stem from the Old English "mycel" or "micel" meaning "great" or "large." Some believe it is variant of mickle or muckle. Harry Meikle pointed out that the Oxford English Dictionary has much of this in it as to the meaning of the word (not the name). In Meikles of Lochlibo, however, they point out that the word was a Middle Scot word meaning large.
In one source some years ago, I noted that the writer who was a Meikle descendant claimed the name originated from the followers of St. Michael.
And sent to me by Alastair Meikle is that are some who believe it has an origin with the Vikings, thus a Norwegian origin. It is true that there has been considerable Viking influence in early Scotland. There is a Norwegian surname called Mykle.
And recently pointed out to me by Dave Meikle - there is an old German word of very similar spelling that means "large" as well.
Harry Meikle recently wrote that someone had written him that Meikle was not a Scot name at all, but perhaps Dutch? Since Dutch and German are similar, perhaps this is connected to what Dave Meikle wrote.
CREST AND TARTANS:
Jim Meikle recently sent me a copy of the crest of Meikle of Lochlibo. It has a brief description of the crest and a short history of the name with it. It is a beautiful crest. However, neither Jim Meikle nor I make any claims to it being authentic or the crest of the entire Meikle line. He obtained it from a book written in 1928 Armoral Families. Here it is - Meikle of Lochlibo - enjoy as it is beautiful!
Some Meikle members wear the Lamont tartan, while at least a few wear the tartan of Clan Gunn.
The lady who sent the information above pertaining to a village called Meikle claims that it is connected with Clan Baird. No other reference to this has been found by me however.
For more history of the name, please see History of the Meikle Name
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Page created August 22, 2003 by Mary Thompson Saban. Last updated 01/09/2004
Counter added August 22, 2003