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, Dutch, and Jewish: variant of Samson. The -p- was introduced in the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name Shimshon. The English surname has also long been established in Ireland. In North America, this name has absorbed other European cognates, for example Greek Sampsonakis, Sampsonides.