Finding Fitz: A fresh take on a timeless prefix
“Fitz” as a standalone name has gained traction for its modern, crisp sound while still nodding to its historical roots.
Originally an Old French word meaning “son of,” the prefix “Fitz-” was often attached to the father’s name to indicate lineage, particularly in Anglo-Norman England. Stripped down to just Fitz, the name retains a sense of that heritage but with a contemporary twist.
In terms of common usage, Fitz is primarily found in English-speaking countries and is often used as either a first name or a nickname for longer names beginning with “Fitz-,” like Fitzgerald or Fitzwilliam. It’s a name that bridges the gap between traditional and modern, offering a one-syllable punch of personality while still carrying historical weight.
“Fitz-” names you might find intriguing
If the “Fitz-” prefix in Fitzgerald and Fitzsimmons has caught your attention, you’re in luck. There are several other names that also start with this interesting prefix, each with its own historical and cultural context.
Fitz- baby names that echo a noble lineage
- Fitzroy – This name literally translates to “son of the king,” adding an air of royalty.
- Fitzwilliam – A classic name often associated with British aristocracy, notably in literature like “Pride and Prejudice.”
- Fitzhugh – Less commonly used, but carries a similar noble vibe, meaning “son of Hugh.”
- Fitzpatrick – Meaning “son of Patrick,” this name is often seen as a surname but can also serve as a first name.
Fitz- names tied to professions or traits
- Fitzgerald – As you know, this means “son of Gerald,” but the name Gerald itself has roots in ruling or governance.
- Fitzsimmons – Meaning “son of Simon,” this name has clerical associations, as Simon is a common name among Christian apostles and Jewish scholars. (This was also the nickname of characters in the Agents of SHIELD TV show.)
Other Fitz- names you might consider
- Fitzjames – Meaning “son of James,” this name might appeal to those who have a familial connection to the name James.
- Fitzgibbon – This name means “son of Gibbon” and might catch your eye if you’re looking for something unique yet rooted in tradition.
History of the name Fitz
If your name is Fitzgerald, Fitzhenry, Fitzsimmons or Fitz- anything else, you may have wondered what the first syllable stood for. And you may have found out that it stood for the Latin “filius,” meaning son.
These Fitz names are of Norman origin, and the Fitz was used by the Normans in England to indicate “son of,” just as Mac was used in Ireland or Scotland and Ap in Wales.
But how did Filius turn into Fitz? Simply enough. It was a trick of the old scribes to draw a line through the letter “l” when it was followed by an “i.” This was one of the time-saving devices they had in the days before shorthand.
This crossed “i” sometimes looked like a “t,” thus a certain man who was the son of William, would have his name written in records as “Fillus William.” With the “i” crossed, this looked like Fitus William.
Then the letter “z” in English is used as a contraction of the letters “us.” Thus Fitus became Fitz. This derivation is given on good authority and seems to be true to the fact.
There are many Fitzgeralds in this country proud to belong to the great Scotch family of Geraldines, as they call themselves. There is never any suggestion that the fitz in this case indicates illegitimacy. However, Fitzroy was sometimes given to an illegitimate son of a king.
Thus Geoffrey, Bishop of Lincoln, illegitimate son of Henry II, was called Geoffrey Fitzroy; and an illegitimate son of Henry VIII and Elizabeth Blount was called Henry Fitzroy, the name having passed on to his descendants.
Charles, Henry and George, sons of King Charles II and Barbara Billiers, Duchess of Cleveland, took this surname of Fitzroy. They and their descendants became Dukes of Grafton and Berwick and Lords of Southampton, and the family name Fitzroy is still borne by these aristocratic houses in England.