Sterling comes from a Scottish surname, a variant spelling of Stirling which comes from the name of a Scottish city. The name itself is of uncertain origin and meaning though it could be related to Scottish Gaelic strì meaning “strife, contention; battle” and linne (pool, pond). As an English surname, Sterling could have originated as a variant of Starling, the name of a bird made up of Old English stær (starling) combined with the diminutive suffix -ling, -linc; Sterling is also the name of the currency of the United Kingdom, more specifically the pound sterling, though it’s origin is made up of Old English steorra (star) with the diminutive suffix -ling essentially meaning “little star”, so named because some of the Norman coins it was named after had star emblems on them. Sterling has also entered English vocabulary as referring to something excellent or of high quality or value (ex. sterling silver).
Origin: Scottish Gaelic, Proto-Indo-European
- Stirling (Scottish, English)