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Laurence, Lawrence (in) Gaelic Labhruinn. The
spelling Lawrence has been slightly preferred in Scotland
to Laurence. Laurance also occurs, as do the pet forms
Larry, Laurie and Lawrie, used as independent names.
The origin of all the forms is a Latin name meaning
‘someone from the town of Laurentum (in Latium).’ The
placename may in turn derive from laurus, the laurel or
bay tree. St Laurence was a third-century martyr, one of
the most famous of the city of Rome. His name has been
used everywhere in the Christian world, in such forms as
the Scandinavian Lars or Lasse, German Lorenz,
Italian and Spanish Lorenzo, French Laurent. In modern
times, of the English-speaking countries, the U.S.A. has
used the name most, usually as Lawrence. In Britain,
Scottish parents have used it most, especially earlier this
century. In 1935 the name was the 49th most frequently
used in Scotland, but it has tended to fade away since then. Today Laurence seems to be the normal spelling, Lawrence being reserved for the surname. The medieval popularity of St Laurence in Scotland is reflected in placenames such as Laurencekirk and Lauriston.

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