Mc Vs. Mac Debate

When did these Words Originate? What was the Reason behind Using them? How do they Depict Ancestors’ Name & Profession?

The estimated population of the world by 2020 has reached more than 775 billion, and so do the names. This world is full of different religions, cultures, professions, backgrounds, and languages. These things have a deep influence on people’s names from their ancestors. People can have first and second names along with a surname. Today, you will learn about Mc vs Mac pronunciation, along with the Mc vs. Mac comparison. You will also uncover whether Mc vs Mac is Catholic or Protestant in general.

1. Origin and Meaning

Mc or Mac are the prefixes used before the surname of a person. Mc is nothing different from Mac. Instead, it is just an abbreviation for Mac. What they actually meant by that was Son of. For example, in the name Peter MacJohn, it is noticeable in the surname that Mac and John are written, which tells that Peter is the Son of John, i.e., Mac John or McJohn. (Also read Where Do Last Names Come From?)

2. Reasons for using these Prefixes

During the rule of King Henry V in England, recording the names of individuals with their surnames became mandatory. Several people have the same first name living in the same city, which makes it roughly estimated around 1% to 1.9 %. And in the non-computer generation, it was difficult to differentiate among people with the same first names in the same bloodline and city.

  • People were not very creative with their children’s names, so they kept names from some of their old family members, like great-great-grandfathers or grandmothers. It was sometimes an emotional decision. Sometimes, grandfather’s name was also included as a prefix. For example, a person named Harry MacJames VcSmith, the son of James and grandson of Smith. It was a lengthy and confusing process that never became popular much. (Also read Who Named Our Planet Earth?)
  • There have been countries and families where the father’s profession followed the prefix Mac or Mc. But it may not be necessary the very father has the work mentioned in the surname. Sometimes, the profession mentioned in the surname was carried on by the ancestor male member of the family. From them, it has brought down the present generation. For example, Mc vs. Mac in James Macpotter or James Mcpotter shows that James is the son of a potter or James’s great-great-grandfather was a potter, and this last name is carried through generations.
  • There have been circumstances where children got their surnames depending on the physical features of their father, like hair color, skin color, eye color, height, facial features or deformity, etc. Someone whose father was fair then others got the last name as Jason Mackenzie, which means son of the fair one. There have been several suffixes that accompanied Mac-like Brown, white, Green, LeBlanc, etc.

In the Arab countries, it has been a common practice to address people along with their father’s name. This Mc vs. Mac method became popular in other parts of the late 16th century and later years. (Also read Characteristics of Generation X)  

3. Writing these Prefixes in Surnames

You know the rule about proper nouns is that they should begin with capital letters. The prefix Mac is placed at the beginning of the surnames.

  • Since it’s the first letter, it means that M should be capitalized.
  • Then the surname is also a proper noun because it is the name of a person. Hence, the first letter must be capitalized there too.

You must have seen the world-famous MacDonald, which means son of Donald. Writing it as Macdonald would not be correct in terms of grammar either. (Also read Discreetly vs Discretely)

4. Mc vs. Mac : Catholic or Protestant

There have been several myths regarding these two prefixes because of the difference in their spellings.

  • It was a common belief during the early times that people with Mac surnames were from the Protestant community and people with Mc surnames belonged to the Catholic community.
  • One more myth regarding these abbreviations or prefixes was that the Mc prefix denotes Irish heritage. And a person with a Mac name prefix represents Scottish heritage.

Although, these assumptions were not at all true. The prefix Mac or Mc can be used by anyone irrespective of their religion and does not denote anything about the community. (See How many different religions are there in the World?)

5. Mc vs. Mac Pronunciation

You might often get confused between Mc vs. Mac pronunciation, but they are pronounced the same way. There is only one difference, the letter A is missing in Mc. You need to remember the letter A in Mac is like a murmured vowel, and the way you pronounce MacDonald or McDonald is similar no matter which prefix is used in your country. So, the sound of the letter A will be shorter and followed by the crisp sound of the letter C (CK) precisely. The pronunciation also depends on the accent and language of the country where it is being spoken. (Also read Phase vs Faze)

There were names with surnames like Atlake or Atorchid. The prefix here is At, which is the short form for ate that means at the. So, the surname tells that person’s family lives or lived near the lake or orchid. But prefixes used with such surnames are tricky, and most people do not know their meaning these days. So, just like Mc vs. Mac, these kinds of surnames are not so widely known. Now, you know that Mc vs. Mac Catholic or Protestant is a myth, and Mac vs Mc pronunciation is quite the same. (Read 6 Lesser Known St Valentine Facts)

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