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Celebrity Names: The Mc’s and the Macs

Most cultures have some word for names meaning ‘son of’—called patronymics– from the English son, the Danish sen , Armenian ian, and the Scottish and Irish, Mac and Mc. The latter two have made their way into first as well as surname use—as in Macauley Culkin, Mackenzie Phillips, McGeorge Bundy, and McCoy Tyner.These days, daughters as well as sons are given Celtic patronymics: Mackenzie (jump-started for girls by 80’s TV star Phillips, and used for her daughter by Harry Potter author J. K Rowling) now ranks at Number 71. Variant McKenzie is at 152, McKenna at 226, McKinley at 457, and the hybrid, non-Celtic McKayla at Number 701.Right now there are a number of Mc and Mac celebs on the scene, whose surnames could possibly be the next baby names. Well, maybe not McConaughey.

MacLaine

The versatile Oscar-winning Shirley MacLaine—born Shirley McLean Beaty—has gone from singing and dancing with Sinatra to, yes, a mother role on Downton Abbey. MacLaine/McLean are Angicized forms of a patronymic meaning “son of a servant of St. John.”

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