Celebrity Names: The Mcs 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.

McCartney

Beatle Sir Paul and his fashion designer daughter Stella bear the Scottish form of the name McCarthy, which is less common and thereby more distinctive than its Irish version.

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10 Responses to “Celebrity Names: The Mcs and the Macs”

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miloowen Says:

February 21st, 2014 at 11:42 am

My personal favourites are MacDhui, MacNabb, McHugh, and McKean, but I don’t think I’d ever give them as first names. As someone whose first name is a Scottish surname, I would have preferred having a “normal” first name as a name.

Giinkies Says:

February 21st, 2014 at 1:20 pm

I like Mc Adams

madwomaninabluebox Says:

February 21st, 2014 at 3:17 pm

My grandmothers maiden name was McKenna. I would love to use that as a first name for a boy, but since it’s been used so much for girls, I am a little apprehensive.

LuMary Says:

February 21st, 2014 at 3:32 pm

I like McElwain. I imagine it’s pronounced MACKlwin. I think Ian McElwain has a nice ring. I also like Macalistair or spelling variants.

madwomaninabluebox Says:
February 21st, 2014 at 3:17 pm

“My grandmothers maiden name was McKenna. I would love to use that as a first name for a boy, but since it’s been used so much for girls, I am a little apprehensive.”

I have an aunt with the last name McKenna, and I, too, can only see it as a girl’s name.

MeleriHaf Says:

February 21st, 2014 at 3:39 pm

I know a guy whose first name is McDonald. He goes by Mac. It works really well.

Poppy528 Says:

February 21st, 2014 at 5:03 pm

These name all seem better without the prefix. What’s wrong with just Gregor or Kellen or Dermot? I also like the names Mac and Mick all by themselves. I guess I just don’t want my child’s name sounding like a law firm.

Aurora Says:

February 22nd, 2014 at 1:52 am

I was in a buffet line once where I was served by a tall young man whose name tag showed his first name to be McHugh. I was intrigued, especially as his last name was Pierre (!), but I didn’t scrape up the nerve to ask him about it.

The way Mackenzie caught fire, I could see some of these catching on. I think my favorite Mac-contender for a first name is McKay (for a boy), but with all the McKaylas, etc., out there, I probably wouldn’t use it.

MillieMM Says:

February 22nd, 2014 at 12:18 pm

My surname is a Mc- name, if I get married I would definitely consider using my maiden name as a son’s middle name. For a first name, I just think they are “too” surname-y, even more so than Carson or Carter sometimes (though both are on my list) however I do have a love for MacKenzie / McKenzie on both genders; Max, Mack or Keni for a boy, and Kenzie for a girl.

GingerCat Says:

February 23rd, 2014 at 5:27 pm

@Aurora I don’t think think McKay is pronounced in the same way as McKayla its Mc kai not Kay

Haids1987 Says:

May 5th, 2016 at 9:12 am

I love this list, there are so many interesting monikers here I never would have thought of. McKellan is such a cool name, and so is McGregor.

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