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Surname meaning for Smith
English: occupational name for a worker in metal, from Middle English smith (Old English smið, probably a derivative of smitan ‘to strike, hammer’). Metal-working was one of the earliest occupations for which specialist skills were required, and its importance ensured that this term and its equivalents were perhaps the most widespread of all occupational surnames in Europe. Medieval smiths were important not only in making horseshoes, plowshares, and other domestic articles, but above all for their skill in forging swords, other weapons, and armor. This is the most frequent of all American surnames; it has also absorbed, by assimilation and translation, cognates and equivalents from many other languages (for forms, see Hanks and Hodges 1988).