Harper - The Meaning, Origin And Other Facts About The Name

14/08/2014 17:00 | Updated 20 May 2015

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The name Harper is a common English language surname which is occasionally used as a first name. It means one who plays (or makes) a harp.

The harper was an important ceremonial member of aristocratic entourages in the Middle Ages, particularly in Scotland, where the name seems to have originated. The role was often passed down from father to son.

Harper has historically been used as a first name for boys and girls, although in the UK it is currently likely to be associated with girls thanks to Harper Seven Beckham. Football legend David Beckham has said the name is a tribute to Victoria's favourite book - To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.

Famous people called Harper:

Harper Lee, author (born Nelle Harper Lee)

Harper Simon, American singer-songwriter

Harper Goff, artist and designer of Disneyland (born Ralph Harper Goff)

Harper Connelly, protagonist of The Harper Connelly Mysteries series by Charlaine Harris

Can be shortened to:

Standalone name. Probably best to avoid shortening to 'Harpy'. Surnames to avoid Harper with:

Surnames beginning with an 'R' sound, ie. Rogers or Richards, might cause problems as when said aloud this combination of sounds may result in elision – when two words slurred together end up sounding like one. Harper should also be avoided with surnames ending in 'er' ie. Carter, as this will result in repetition.

Similar names:

If you like the musical connotations of Harper, the Welsh girls' name Telyn also means 'harp', while the unisex name Piper means a flute player.

Similar-sounding English names include Harley, Hunter, Heather and Hester.

Male variations:

The name Harper can be used as a boy's name.

Celebrities who named their baby Harper:

Neil Patrick Harris

Lisa Marie Presley

Paul Simon (boy)

Dave Grohl

Bill Hader

David Spade


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