Of Celtic (Arthurian) origin, a Cornish form of the name of King Arthur's unfaithful Guinevere. At the beginning of the 20th century, the name was merely a Cornish curiosity, but since then it has become enormously popular all over the English-speaking world, partly due to the influence of the film star Jennifer Jones (b. 1919 as Phyllis Isley). Another factor in its rise was probably Bernard Shaw's use of it for the character of Jennifer Dubedat in The Doctor's Dilemma (1905). See also Gaynor. More recent well-known bearers include the American tennis player Jennifer Capriati (b. 1976) and the British comedienne Jennifer Saunders (b. 1958).
English and Scottish: occupational name for a maker of objects of wood, metal, or bone by turning on a lathe, from Anglo-Norman French torner (Old French tornier, Latin tornarius, a derivative of tornus ‘lathe’). The surname may also derive from any of various other senses of Middle English turn, for example a turnspit, a translator or interpreter, or a tumbler.