Transferred use of the Scottish surname. The principal family bearing this surname were hereditary Earls Marischal of Scotland from 1455 to 1715. This is one of a number of Scottish aristocratic surnames that have become well established since the 19th century as boys' names throughout the English-speaking world, not just in Scotland. Others include Bruce, Douglas, and Graham.
English: nickname for a wise or learned person, or in some cases a nickname for someone suspected of being acquainted with the occult arts, from Middle English wise ‘wise’ (Old English wīs). This name has also absorbed Dutch Wijs, a nickname meaning ‘wise’, and possibly cognates in other languages.