There are many unusual surnames in the world, but 'Charity' is surely amongst the leaders. Its origins are Old French, the word as 'charitet' being introduced into England after the 1066 Norman Invasion. The meaning is far from clear, strictly speaking in medieval times a 'Charitet or Carite' was a hospice or refuge for the sick, and therefore the surname is probably locational for one who lived near such a place or it could be job descriptive for a charity worker or nurse. The locational origin must apply to Geofrey de la Carite in the 1185-87 Pipe Rolls of the county of Hampshire, but Turstan Charite in the 1195 Pipe Rolls of Norfolk is almost certainly a worker at a 'charity' or perhaps one who collected for charity. The famous English etymologist, the later Professor Reaney of Sheffield University, suggested that the name was a nickname in that the medieval meaning was taken as 'almsgiving', and certainly the later Puritans who christened their daughters 'Charity' had that meaning in mind. For most name holders their origins lie with the first two suggestions. Early examples of the recording include Richard Chaite of Lincoln in the register of the Guild of Corpus Christi for the City of York, and Robert Karitas in the 1236 Friary Rolls of Leicester. Later recordings include those of Sarah Charitie, the daughter of Frederick Charitie who was buried at St James Church, Clerkenwell, London on June 1st 1604, and William Charity, who married Emma Last in London on May 4th 1642, by civil license. The coat of arms granted in Switzerland has a blue field charged with three golden swords, the centre one point up, each surmounted by a gold trefoil. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Herluin Carite, which was dated 1148, The records of the Abbey of Bec, Sussex, during the reign of King Stephen, known as 'Stephen of Blois' 1135 - 1154. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Charity — Char i*ty, n.; pl. {Charities}. [F. charit[ e] fr. L. caritas dearness, high regard, love, from carus dear, costly, loved; asin to Skr. kam to wish, love, cf. Ir. cara a friend, W. caru to love. Cf. {Caress}.] [1913 Webster] 1. Love; universal… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • charity — char‧i‧ty [ˈtʆærti] noun charities PLURALFORM 1. [countable] an organization that collects money to help people, for example those who are sick or poor, or to help certain types of activity such as artistic activity ; =NOT FOR PROFIT… …   Financial and business terms

  • charity — char·i·ty n pl ties: a gift for humanitarian, philanthropic, or other purposes beneficial to the public (as maintaining a public building); also: an institution (as a hospital or school) or organization founded by such a gift compare private… …   Law dictionary

  • charity — 1 *mercy, clemency, grace, lenity Analogous words: love, affection, *attachment: benevolence, humaneness, altruism (see corresponding adjectives at CHARITABLE): benignity, benignancy, kindness, kindliness (see corresponding adjectives at KIND):… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Charity — Charity …   Wikipedia Español

  • Charity — f English: from the vocabulary word, denoting originally the Christian s love for his fellow man (Latin caritās, from carus dear). In spite of St Paul s words ‘and now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is… …   First names dictionary

  • charity — (n.) mid 12c., benevolence for the poor, from O.Fr. charité (O.N.Fr. carité), from L. caritatem (nom. caritas) costliness, esteem, affection (in Vulgate often used as translation of Gk. agape love especially Christian love of fellow man perhaps… …   Etymology dictionary

  • charity — ► NOUN (pl. charities) 1) an organization set up to help those in need. 2) the voluntary giving of money or other help to those in need. 3) help or money given in this way. 4) tolerance in judging others. ● charity begins at home Cf. ↑ …   English terms dictionary

  • charity — [n1] generosity, gift alms, alms giving, assistance, benefaction, beneficence, contribution, dole, donation, endowment, fund, gifting, hand*, hand out, helping hand*, largesse, oblation, offering, philanthropy, relief, write off; concepts 337,657 …   New thesaurus

  • Charity — [char′i tē] n. [see CHARITY] a feminine name …   English World dictionary

  • charity — /ˈtʃariti, ingl. ˈtʃærɪtɪ/ [vc. ingl., propr. «carità, beneficenza»] s. f. inv. 1. evento benefico 2. ente benefico, fondazione, onlus …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

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