Transferred use of the Scottish surname, now used as a given name throughout the English-speaking world. In the 20th century it was particularly popular in Australia. The surname was originally a Norman baronial name, but a precise identification of the place from which it was derived has not been made (there are a large number of possible candidates). The Bruces were an influential Norman family in Scottish affairs in the early Middle Ages; its most famous member was Robert ‘the Bruce’ (1274–1329), who is said to have drawn inspiration after his defeat at Methven from the perseverance of a spider in repeatedly climbing up again after being knocked down. He ruled Scotland as King Robert I from 1306 to 1329.
English: from Middle English, Old French convers ‘convert’ (Latin conversus, past participle of convertere ‘to turn’), hence a nickname for a Jew converted to Christianity, or more often an occupational name for someone converted to the religious way of life, a lay member of a convent.