Recorded in several spellings including Meiklam, Meiklem, Meikleham, and Meikleim, and bearing an association with compound names such as Meikle, Meiklejohn, Meiklejones, and Meikleman, this is a Scottish and probably medieval, surname. According to Black's Dictionary of Scottish Surnames, generally regarded as the bible of Celtic and Gaelic surnames, it derives from MacIlwham, an ancient name associated with the Clan Lamond or Lamont, and meaning the "son of Thomas". However the dictionary gives no definate early sources, and we are very doubtful that this is the true origin, although in surnames almost anything is possible. The word (and surname) "Meikle" derives from the pre 7th Gaelic "meikill" meaning large, and as such was originally probably given to a popular chief or leader, who was renowned for his size. A Wylelmus Mykel was recorded in the parish of Fyvy, Morayshire, in 1382, when he was excommunicated and this may be the earliest recording in any spelling. In our opinion Meiklam and its derivations are from Mykel. If so the spellings are either diminutives or possibly transpositions of Meikleman, meaning the friend or possibly servant of Meikle. Allowing for some seven centuries of misspelling and local dialects, the pronunciation is almost identical.
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