Cain is the name of the firstborn son of Adam and Eve, who killed his brother Abel. It seems to be derived from Hebrew qanah meaning “acquired, acquisition” or perhaps related to a root word meaning “to create”; it could also be from qayin meaning “spear” or “smith”
Cain is also a Welsh word and female name meaning “lovely, fine”, also spelled Keyne (and pr. kyne in Welsh).
Cain is also a surname with a few possible origins and etymologies:
- it’s an anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Iain, a Scottish patronymic surname meaning “descendant of Iain”, Iain being the Scottish form of John;
- it could be a variant spelling of Cane, an English surname meaning “cane, reed”, either originating as a nickname for someone who was tall and thin, or as an occupational name for someone who gathered reeds for weaving baskets or covering floors;
- it may also have originated as a locational name for someone who came from Caen, in Calvados, France. The origin of the name seems to derive from Gaulish element *catu- meaning “battle” and *magos- (field, plain);
- of course, the surname could also have been derived from the given name, perhaps as a nickname for someone who was treacherous, like the Biblical Cain.
Origin: Hebrew, Welsh, Proto-Indo-European, Proto-Celtic
- Kain (Biblical Greek, English)
- Kayin (Biblical Hebrew)
- Caine (English, Irish)
- Kaine (English)
- Cayne (English)
- Kayne (English)