Jump to content


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Menzies is a Scottish surname, with Gaelic forms being Méinnearach and Méinn, and other variant forms being Menigees, Mennes, Mengzes, Menzeys, Mengies, and Minges.[citation needed]

Derivation and history[edit]

The name and its Gaelic form are probably derived from the Norman name Mesnières, from the town of Mesnières-en-Bray in Normandy.[1][2][3]


The traditional Scottish pronunciation of the name is /ˈmɪŋɪs/ MING-iss, reflecting the spelling of the name as Menȝies, using the letter ⟨ȝ⟩ (yogh). The current spelling arose when yogh fell out of use in the Scots language and was replaced with the similar-looking tailed variant (𝔷) of the letter ⟨z⟩.[4]

However, outside Scotland the name is often given the pronunciation /ˈmɛnzz/ MEN-zeez, reflecting the current spelling.

A Scottish limerick plays on the traditional pronunciation:

There wis a young lassie named Menzies,
That askit her aunt whit this thenzies.
Said her aunt wi a gasp,
"Ma dear, it's a wasp,
An you're haudin the end whaur the stenzies!"[a]

The second and fifth lines are pronounced as though the <z> were a <ȝ>, making "thing is" and "sting is", to rhyme with "Menzies". "Wasp" rhymes with "gasp" in Scots.

As a surname[edit]

As a given name[edit]

  • Iain Menzies Banks (1954–2013), Scottish writer, pen name used for his science fiction works
  • Walter Menzies Campbell (born 1941), former leader of the Liberal Democrats in the United Kingdom

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Translation: There was a young girl named Menzies ["Mingiss"], / That asked her aunt what this thing is. / Said her aunt with a gasp, / "My dear, it's a wasp, / And you're holding the end where the sting is!"


  1. ^ David Hey, Clan Menzies website
  2. ^ BBC Alba - Litir do Luchd-ionnsachaidh (554)
  3. ^ Family names and family history, pp 37-38
  4. ^ Bernd Kappenberg (2014). Setting Signs for Europe. Columbia University Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-3-8382-6703-6.