History of the Name Forbes

The Forbes name has a long and rich history both as a male given name and as a family surname. Starting with the Scottish clan Forbes starting in the mid 1200s, a clan still active today with three family branches to the American financial magazine that bears its name, there are many reasons to choose the name Forbes. Long synonymous with success, it has always been associated with strong heritage and successful entrepreneurs.

Meaning and Origin

Stemming from the Gaelic Forbeis, the meaning of Forbes can be interpreted as “wealthy,” “field” or “district,” “headstrong” or “stubborn.”


The popularity of Forbes as a first name has varied, though it was within the 590th most popular boy’s baby names in Scotland as of 2013, making it uncommon but not unusual.

Famous People with the Name

Among the many famous bearers of the name Forbes are: the Forbes family of publishers starting with B. C. Forbes, Edward Forbes the British naturalist, Terrell, Fred and Alex Forbes the footballers (not related), Forbes Burnham the former leader of Guyana from 1964 – 1985, Bryan Forbes the British director, the fictional character Forbes McAllister from Knowing Me, Knowing You… with Alan Partridge, and James Staats Forbes the Scottish art collector, railway engineer and administrator.

Useful Resources

Checkout the meaning and popularity of other Scottish names on our website.

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