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Spencer Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

Learn about the name Spencer including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Spencer Overview

  • Meaning: “steward” or “administrator”
  • Gender: Spencer is considered gender-neutral but is most commonly a boy’s name.
  • Origin: Spencer originates from the Old French word “despensier” but was introduced to the English language meaning “the person who dispensed the provisions in affluent households.”
  • Pronunciation: “SPEHN-ser”
  • Popularity: Somewhat popular in the US but has more popularity in Australia, England, and New Zealand.
  • Nicknames: Spence, Spencey, Spen, Pence, Pency, Penny.
  • Variations: Spear, Supensā, Seupenseo, Sporsair.
  • Namesakes: Spencer Grammar, American actress; Spencer Perceval, British statesman, and Prime Minister; Spencer Williams, American musician.

What Does Spencer Mean?

Spencer is considered a gender-neutral name of British origin that means “steward” or “administrator” (1).

Shortened from the word English word dispenser, the name Spencer developed as a surname but slowly changed to a given name. Between the 1400s to the 1600s In England, Stewards were in charge of taking care of their lord’s castles when they were away.

The job held significant personal and political importance (2).

What Is the Origin of the Name Spencer?

The origin of the name Spencer dates back to the 8th century, beginning with the Old French word “despensier.” Meaning a butler or steward who had control of the provisions of a household; it was a position of some importance.

According to Britannica, the name probably became popular with the English after the Conquest of 1066 by the Norman French (3). The name developed as an occupational surname, the last name taken from the job the individual performed.

It was not until the 19th century that Spencer became widespread as a first name. The most famous example of Spencer as a surname is Diana Frances Spencer, previous Princess of Wales. Winston Churchill also had Spencer as a middle name.

How Popular Is the Name Spencer?

Although Spencer is an excellent name of historical significance, as a surname, usage as a first name has not been as widespread. The name Spencer began rising in popularity throughout the early twentieth century but peaked in usage between 1980 and the early 2000s.

According to the Social Security Administration, “the name Spencer was most popular in 1998. In that year, [the name Spencer represented] 0.2 percent of total male births (4).

And while the name Spencer receives most of its popularity in the United States, it also has some popularity in Australia, England, Zimbabwe, and New Zealand.

How Do I Pronounce Spencer?

The standard pronunciation of the name Spencer is “SPEHN-ser.”

Is Spencer a Boy or Girl Name?

While considered a gender-neutral name, Spencer is historically more often given to boys. Giving the name Spencer to a baby girl was most popular between the 1970s and mid-1980s but not popular enough to make any “Top” list.

Since 2009, the name Spencer for a girl has dwindled drastically. According to the Social Security Administration, only 0.01 percent of baby girls born in 2017 were named Spencer.

Variations of Spencer

The name Spencer does not vary very much from languages and cultures worldwide. A few of the variations of the name Spencer include:

  • Speiser (German, Yiddish)
  • Spear (Irish)
  • Supensā (Japenese)
  • Seupenseo (Korean)
  • Sporsair (Scottish)

Nicknames for Spencer

You might not want to call your baby anything else with such a vigorous name as Spencer. But there are some adorable nicknames for Spencer out there to consider. Some of the top nicknames for Spencer are:

  • Spence
  • Spencey
  • Spen
  • Pence
  • Pency
  • Penny

Similar Names to Spencer

If you adore the name Spencer but do not want to use that name particularly, several names have a similar meaning, origin, or sound. A few examples of names similar to Spencer are:

Middle Names for Spencer

With a solid first name like Spencer, you want to find a middle name that fits nicely with it. Some examples of perfect middle names are:

Sibling Names for Spencer

When choosing names for siblings, you want to look for a name that feels cohesive, coordinated, and compliments each other. Some great examples of siblings’ names to pair with Spencer are:

For a brother:

For a sister:

Famous People Named Spencer

There have been many famous people named Spencer, including famous athletes, actors, and even musicians. Some great examples of famous people named Spencer are:

  • Spencer Grammar: American actress.
  • Spencer Haywood: American professional basketball player, Olympic gold medalist.
  • Spencer Johnson: American physician and author.
  • Spencer Perceval: British statesman and Prime Minister.
  • Spencer Pratt: American reality star.
  • Spencer Tracy: American actor.
  • Spencer Willaims: American musician.

Spencer in Popular Culture

The name Spencer has been making more appearances in pop culture than ever before. Some great examples of the name Spencer in pop culture are:

  • Spencer Reid: Character in the television series “Criminal Minds.”
  • Spencer Olham: Character in the film “Impostor.”
  • Spencer: Railway engine in the animated television series “Thomas the Tank Engine.”
  • Spencer Hastings: Character in the television series “Pretty Little Liars.”
  • Spencer Shay: Character in the television series “iCarly.”
  • Spencer Strasmore: Character from the television series “Ballers.”

Spencer FAQs

Here are some commonly asked questions about the name Spencer.

What Does the Name Spencer Mean in the Bible?

Although it is a popular name in Christianity, the name Spencer does not appear in the bible.

Is Spencer a Good Name?

Spencer is a suitable name for those looking for one that is both prominent sounding and carries historical significance. The name also works for those who want a name that sounds affable and friendly.

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