Cole comes from an English surname from Old English Cola via col meaning “black, charcoal”, originally a descriptive name for someone who had a swarthy appearance. It comes from Proto-Germanic *kulą (coal) derived from PIE root *ǵwelH- (to burn; to shine). Cole is also a shortened form of Nicholas meaning “victory of the people” coming from Ancient Greek Nikolaos made up from nike (victory) and laos (people), both deriving from PIE root words.
Cole is also a word meaning “cabbage” from Old English cawel via Latin caulis (stalk, stem; stem of a cabbage) which ultimately derives from PIE *(s)kehuli- (stem, stalk; shaft). As a surname, Cole could be derived from Nicholas though it could also be an anglicized form of Kohl, a German surname, an occupational name for someone who sold cabbages which derives from Latin caulis; Cole is also used as an anglicized form of McCool, an Irish surname which is the anglicized form of several surnames: Mac Dhubhghaill meaning “son of Dubhghall”, the latter an Irish and Scottish name meaning “dark stranger”; Mac Gille Chomhghaill meaning “son of the servant of (Saint) Comhghall”, the latter made up of Irish comh– (joint, mutual, equal) and geall (pledge, promise) so likely meaning “joint pledge”; and Mac Cumhaill “son of Cumhall”, the latter listed as meaning “champion”.
- Kole (English)