Couth

Recorded in several spellings including Gough, Goff, Goffe, Goth, Gouth, and unusual dialectals such as Coath and Couth, this interesting surname is usually English when recorded in England. It has two known origins. The first is occupational from the Cornish word and Breton word "goff" meaning a smith. This form may have been introduced into England by the followers of William the Conqueror after the Conquest of 1066. Job-descriptive surnames originally only became hereditary when a son, or possibly a grandson, followed his father into the same line of business. The second possible origin is Welsh from the ancient word "coch" meaning red. As such it was probably given as an ethnic nickname to an Anglo-Saxon, as many of these people had red hair or a red complexion. Sometimes the initial "g" was interchanged with "c", but this may be put down to poor reading and writing, as well as strong dialects. Early examples of recordings from church registers of the city of London include the marriage of Elizabeth Gough and Rychard Walker on February 1st 1549, at St. Michael's Bassishaw; and the christening of Elizabeth Coath, the daughter of Richard Coath, at Wandsworth, on December 3rd 1653. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Griffin Gogh. This was dated 1287, in the Assize Court Rolls of the county of Cheshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st. He was known to history as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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:

  • couth — couth·ie; sel·couth; un·couth; couth; un·couth·ly; un·couth·ness; …   English syllables

  • Couth — (k??th), imp. & p. p. of {Can}. [See {Can}, and cf. {Uncouth}.] Could; was able; knew or known; understood. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Above all other one Daniel He loveth, for he couth well Divine, that none other couth; To him were all things couth …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • couth|ie — «KOO thee», adjective. Scottish. friendly or sociable; kind or pleasant. Also, couthy. ╂[Middle English couth pleasant (Old English cūth known, familiar) + ie] …   Useful english dictionary

  • couth — O.E. cuðe known, pp. of cunnan (see CAN (Cf. can) (v.)), from P.Gmc. *kunthaz (Cf. O.Fris. kuth known, O.S. cuth, O.H.G. kund, Ger. kund, Goth. kunþs known ). Died out as such 16c. with the emergence of COUL …   Etymology dictionary

  • couth — [ko͞oth] adj. [ME cuthe < OE cuth (see UNCOUTH); current use also back form. < UNCOUTH] 1. refined; polished; civilized: a humorous usage 2. Archaic known; familiar n. refinement; cultivation …   English World dictionary

  • couth|y — «KOO thee», adjective. Scottish. couthie …   Useful english dictionary

  • couth — couth1 /koohth/, Facetious. adj. 1. showing or having good manners or sophistication; smooth: Sending her flowers would be a very couth thing to do. n. 2. good manners; refinement: to be lacking in couth. [1895 1900; back formation from UNCOUTH]… …   Universalium

  • couth — I. adjective Etymology: back formation from uncouth Date: 1896 sophisticated, polished II. noun Date: 1947 polish, refinement < I expected kindness and gentility…but there is such a thing as too much couth S. J. Perelman > …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • couth — 1. adjective /kuːθ/ Marked by or possessing a high degree of sophistication; cultured, refined. 2. noun /kuːθ/ Social grace, sophistication; manners; refinement. That man has no couth …   Wiktionary

  • couth — Cool, hip opposite of uncouth. That party last night was pretty couth …   Dictionary of american slang

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