Davis Name Meaning | Origin, History & Popularity

Davis is a popular name of English origin that has a rich history and cultural significance. It is a surname that has been used as a given name and has gained popularity over time. In this article, we will explore the meaning and origin of the name Davis, its popularity over time, its cultural significance, and some famous people who bear the name.

Meaning and Origin of the Name Davis

The name Davis is a patronymic name, which means that it is derived from the father’s given name. In this case, Davis is derived from the name David, which means “beloved” in Hebrew. The name David is well-known from the Biblical figure who was the second king of Israel. The name Davis means “son of David” and has been in use since the 17th century in England.

Popularity of the Name Davis

The name Davis has been a popular name in the United States for over a century. It was ranked as the 479th most popular name for boys in 2020 and has been in the top 1000 names for boys since 1880. The popularity of the name Davis peaked in the early 1900s, but it has remained consistently popular throughout the years.

The name Davis is also used as a surname and has been a popular last name in the United States. It is the 45th most common surname in the country and is especially prevalent in the Southern states.

Cultural Significance of the Name Davis

The name Davis has a rich cultural significance, especially in African American culture. During the era of slavery, many African Americans took on the surnames of their slave masters. As a result, the name Davis has become associated with African American families. It is also commonly used as a middle name for African American boys.

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In addition, the name Davis is associated with many notable figures in American history. Jefferson Davis, for example, was the president of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. Although he is a controversial figure, his name has become associated with the Confederacy and Southern heritage.

Famous People with the Name Davis

The name Davis is associated with many famous people throughout history. Here are a few notable examples:

  • Miles Davis: A legendary jazz musician known for his innovative and influential music.
  • Angela Davis: A civil rights activist, philosopher, and author who was associated with the Black Panther Party.
  • Bette Davis: An actress who starred in many classic Hollywood films, including “All About Eve” and “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?”
  • Sammy Davis Jr.: A singer, dancer, and actor who was part of the Rat Pack and known for his versatility and talent.
  • Geena Davis: An actress who starred in many films, including “Thelma and Louise” and “A League of Their Own.”
  • Jeff Davis: An actor, writer, and comedian who is known for his work on the TV show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”


The name Davis has a rich history and cultural significance that extends beyond its popularity as a given name. Its association with the surname and African American culture has given it a unique place in American history. Although the name’s popularity has ebbed and flowed over time, it remains a popular and well-loved name for boys. With its strong associations with notable figures in music, civil rights, and entertainment, the name Davis will likely continue to be a popular choice for years to come.

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