This unusual and interesting name is English. It has two possible origins. The first and most likely being a locational surname from either of the places called "Dent" in West Yorkshire and Cumberland. The places are recorded in circa 1200 as "Denet" and "Dinet" respectively and are named from a British (pre Roman) hill name corresponding to the Old Irish word "dinn, dind", a hill and the Olde Norse "tindr", meaning "point, crag". The Yorkshire place is near Dent Crag, a hill of 2250ft., and the place in Cumberland is the name of a hill near Cleator. The second possible origin is from a medieval nickname for someone with prominent or otherwise noticeable teeth, derived from the Olde French "dent", tooth. One John Dent was an early settler in the New World, leaving London on the "Peter Bonaventure" in 1635, bound for the Barbadoes. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Waltheef de Dent, which was dated 1131, Records of Durham Priory, during the reign of King Henry I, The Lion of Justice, 1100 - 1135. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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