Transferred use of the surname, in origin a local name from any of various places so called, most of which get their name from Old English brōm ‘broom, gorse’ + dūn ‘hill’. In some cases it may be an altered form of Brendan. There has perhaps also been some influence from the surname of the Italian American actor Marlon Brando (1924–2004). In Britain the name has enjoyed a steady rise in popularity since the mid-1990s.
English: habitational name from any of various places called Houghton. Nearly all, including those in Cheshire, County Durham, Lancashire, Northumberland, Shropshire, and Staffordshire, are named from Old English halh ‘nook’, ‘recess’ + tūn ‘enclosure’, ‘settlement’; however, in the case of one in Nottinghamshire, the first element is Old English hōh ‘spur of a hill’ (literally ‘heel’).