Quant Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Quant Surname Meaning

The English surname Quant probably derives from the old French word quointe, meaning “knowing” or “clever.”  It became a nickname, given possibly to someone admired for his good sense or skill or perhaps noted for elegance and dress, and then a surname.

The English word quant gradually acquired the sense of being skilfully made and this evolved into the modern form quaint, meaning more “pleasantly unusual” or “odd.”

The Quant name in America is more likely to be of German or Dutch origin, as an alternative spelling of Quandt.  Quant/Quandt in German was also at first a nickname, from the low German quant meaning “rogue” or “prankster.”

Quant Surname Resources on The Internet

Quant Surname Ancestry

  • from England (Devon) and Germany
  • to America

Quandt/Quant as surnames in Germany dates back to the 13th century and the Baltic province of Pomerania.

Its most famous bearers were Gunther Quandt, the German industrialist instrumental in the rise of the motor company BMW, and his son Herbert who saved the company in the 1960’s.  These Quandts were in fact descendants of a Dutch rope-making family who had settled in Germany in the 18th century.

England.  Quant in England appears to have been mainly a west country surname, originating perhaps in Devon (there is a Quant Park in Tiverton, Devon).

Devon.  Forty percent of the Quants in England were living in Devon at the time of the 1881 census.  Some earlier Quant recordings in the county were:

  • Henry Quant of Taunton, who was deported for his part in Monmouth’s rebellion of 1685
  • John and Henry Quant of Halberton near Tiverton, recorded as taking the Devon oath in 1723
  • Mary Quant, who married Philip Hannabus in Halberton in 1768
  • John Quant, who married Honour Davey in Butterleigh near Tiverton in 1790
  • and John Quant, a schoolmaster in Taunton, who died there in 1811

John Quant, a convict transported to Australia, also came from the Halberton/Tiverton area.  He subsequently adopted his stepfather’s name of Hannabus.

Elsewhere.  There were Quants living elsewhere in the country.

Quants in Bury St. Edmonds in Suffolk date from the 17th century. Ebenezer Quant was a Baptist missionary sent to the Bahamas in the 1830’s.  Quants were shoemakers in the town from the 1860’s to the 1920’s.

Quints in Staffordshire became Quants in Bottesford, Leicestershire where William and Sarah Quant lived in the early 1800’s.  The line from there went to the Rev. William Cheadle Quant, born in 1816, to John Cheadle Quant, born in 1849, variously described as a piano tuner, minstrel, ventriloquist, and conjurer.

Mary Quant, the 1960’s fashion icon, was born in London.  But her roots were in south Wales as her parents Jack and Mildred had come from mining families there.

America.  In America the Quant/Quandt names are likely to be of German or Dutch origin. The Quandt surname was a common name of Dutch origin in the Mohawk valley in upstate New York.

One Quant history in America traces the descendants of Charles Quant who had come from Germany to Ohio around 1870.

Quant Surname Miscellany

Quants in Halberton, Devon.  Henry and Elizabeth Quant of Halberton near Tiverton in Devon were the parents of two sons Henry and John.  John, born in 1705, married Ann Ward and they had two children – Joan and John who apparently changed his last name to Gant.  A later Joan Quant, possibly related, married John Hannabus in Halberton in 1773.

This line dates back to Edward Quant who was born in Halberton around the year 1600.

Mary Quant (1930-2023).  The death of the 1960’s fashion icon Mary Quant was reported on April 13, 2023.  She was ninety-three.

Her family said she “was one of the most internationally recognised fashion designers of the 20th century and an outstanding innovator of the Swinging Sixties.”

During the 1960’s Mary Quant became a poster girl for London’s Youthquake. Although she is often miscredited as the inventor, she undoubtedly made the miniskirt the “it” clothing item for a new generation of young women.

With her Vidal Sassoon haircut and burgeoning reputation as the figurehead for Swinging London, she was frequently photographed and was almost always wearing a mini – including on the occasion of receiving her OBE in 1966. Quant did far more than wear miniskirts – she designed them too.

Her clothes appealed to a new generation of young women with jobs, and more disposable income to spend on clothes. The designer summed up the decade’s new mood, writing in her bestselling 1966 autobiography Quant by Quant that “the young were essentially tired of wearing the same as their mothers.”

Quant Names

  • Mary Quant was a fashion designer and British fashion icon in her role in introducing the miniskirt in the 1960’s.  She died in 2023 at the age of ninety-three.

Quants Today

  • 300 in the UK (most numerous in Devon)
  • 200 in America (most numerous in Florida)

Quant and Like Surnames 

Many surnames originated from SW England, the principal counties there being Devon and Cornwall, Somerset and Gloucestershire.  These are some of the prominent and noteworthy surnames that you can check out.





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Written by Colin Shelley

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