The surname Cain is of English origin. It was a nickname for a tall, thin man, derived from the Middle English, Old French ‘cane’, cane, reed ( Latin ‘canna’ ). The word nickname is derived from “an eke-name” or added name, and since surnames originated as added names for help in identification, all surnames are, in a sense, nicknames. In England the name was descriptive of the original bearer. Size always attracted attention and the names for the tall, big, lanky man are many and varied. It is also possibly a topographical name for someone who lived in a damp area overgrown with weeds, or a metonymic occupational name for someone who gathered reeds, which were widely used in the Middle Ages as a floor covering and for weaving small baskets. A family could acquire a place name as a surname under three different circumstances: 1. the gentleman lived or worked in or near some topographical formation or landscape feature, either natural or artificial. 2. he formerly lived in a village and thus acquired the reputation of being from that place. 3. he owned or was lord of the village or manor designated. However, it is safe to say that in most cases a placename merely identifies the place where the original bearer of th… Coat of arms: Sa. a Pheonix argent. …
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