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Medieval personal name from Middle English Howard, Howarde, from Old Norse Hávarðr, from hár (high) + varðr (guard). In some cases a variant of Heward, from Old French Huard.[1]


Proper noun[edit]

Howard (countable and uncountable, plural Howards)

  1. A surname originating as a patronymic.
    • 1675 Edward Phillips, Egerton Brydges: Theatrum Poetarum Anglicanorum. page V:
      Henry Howard, the most noble Earl of Surry, who flourishing in the time of King Henry the, as his name is sufficiently famous for the martial exploits of that family for many generations, so deserves he, had he his due, the particular fame of learning, wit, and poetic fancy
  2. A male given name from the Germanic languages, transferred back from the surname. Short form: Howie.
    • 1984 Louise Erdrich, Love Medicine, Bantam Books 1987, →ISBN, page 238,250:
      "King Howard Kashpaw, Junior," said his new teacher. "Which one of those names would you like to be called?"
      He had never thought about it.
      "Howard," he was surprised to hear himself answer. It was that simple. After that he was Howard at school. - - -
      ""He don't call himself Little King anymore," Lynette said from the kitchen. "He thinks his name's Howard."
      The boy looked at me and nodded.
      "He won't claim his dad no more," said King, standing in the doorway. "He's too good."
  3. A small city, the county seat of Elk County, Kansas, United States.
  4. A small city, the county seat of Miner County, South Dakota, United States.
  5. A number of townships in the United States, listed under Howard Township.
  6. (US) Ellipsis of Howard University..

Derived terms[edit]



  • According to the 2010 United States Census, Howard is the 75th most common surname in the United States, belonging to 264,826 individuals. Howard is most common among White (64.31%) and Black (29.49%) individuals.


  1. ^ Patrick Hanks and Flavia Hodges: A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press 1988.

Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


From Old Norse Hávarðr, from hár (high) + varðr (guard).

Proper noun[edit]


  1. a surname originating as a patronymic, equivalent to English Howard
    • 1426, Flasdieck Origurk. 64:
      Wyllyam Clopton..yaf and graunted, and be his chartre confermed, to John Howard..his maner of vertu of which dede the same Wyllyam..yaf me seisyn.
      (please add an English translation of this quote)


  • English: Howard