Origin of the name WADE.
Etymology of the
Meaning of the baby name WADE.
From Anglo-Saxon Wada (q.v.),
probably meaning "to ford or wade," especially
for the purpose of feeding. Also see note under Gringolet.
Wade, according to Lower (Patronymica
Britannica), is one of the names that man derives from the face
of nature. Britaine's Remaines (1614) speaks of it as a
baptismal name in use in England at the Conquest (1066). It is one
of the oldest English names, as the following folk-rhyme, (quoted by
Lower), will show:—
and Bourne; Coke, Carter, Oke, Combe, Bury, Don and Stowe and Stoke,
With Ey and Port; Shaw, Worth and WADE, Hill, Gate, Well, Stone are many made Cliff, Marsh, and Mouth and Don and Sand,
And Beck and Sea with numbers stand.
As to the derivation of the name, the same author ascribes it to the
Anglo-Saxon wād, as importing a meadow or a ford. The
late Dr. E. Cobham Brewer, also, in his excellent Dictionary of Phrase and Fable,
derived the name from the Anglo-Saxon wād, a ford; wādan,
to ford or go through (a meadow), but erroneously instances the Anglo-Saxon
name for the month of June—Weydmonat; as, so called, according to
Verstegan, "because the beasts did then weyd in the meadow,
that is to say, go and feed there."
Thus, an investigator may expect to find innumerable
instances of the surname from the earliest date when surnames came into
general use. Lower also informs us that the surname Wade itself is
also derived from a baptismal use of the name, but affords a grain of
comfort by the statement that it is not included in the sixty most common
surnames of the English people, a dictum also confirmed by the reports of
the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages in England, and the
data of the four largest American cities.
Arthur, in his Etymological Dictionary of Names
(1857) incorrectly ascribes our surname to the Dutch as derived from weide,
a meadow or pasture, but the Dutch weide, it seems, may have been
itself derived from the earlier and kindred Anglo-Saxon. Hereon
Ferguson, in his English Surnames (1858) goes more to the root of
the matter by relating that the father of the Anglo-Saxon hero Weland, was
called in that dialect Wada; in
Old Norse, Vadi, and in Old High German
Wado. (Wade Genealogy, S.C.