Elgin comes from a Scottish surname, originating from a place called Elgin, Moray, in Scotland. The meaning behind the name is a little murky. I’ve seen it listed as meaning “high-minded” or “intelligent”, but I’ve also seen it listed as meaning “little Ireland”, made up from Ealg, Eilg, an early Gaelic name for Ireland, combined with a diminutive suffix. Personally, I find the latter a more likely possibility since Elgin did originate as a place name.
Elgin is famously (or infamously) connected with the Elgin Marbles (aka the Parthenon Marbles), which refers to a collection of Ancient Greek marble sculptures that were removed from the temple of Parthenon, the Acropolis of Athens, and a few other temples, by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, and sold to the British Museum in 1816. It’s a major controversy because many consider his actions as looting and the Greek government have attempted to get the sculptures back to Greece, with little success.
- Elgyn (English)
- Eilginn (Scottish Gaelic)
- Ailgin (Irish)