Invented by the Elizabethan pastoral poet Sir Philip Sidney (1554–86), in whose verse it is stressed on the second syllable. There is no clue to the sources that influenced Sidney in this coinage. It was later taken up by Samuel Richardson for the name of the heroine of his novel Pamela (1740). In Henry Fielding's Joseph Andrews (1742), which started out as a parody of Pamela, Fielding comments that the name is ‘very strange’.
English: habitational name from Smethwick in the West Midlands, or a lost Smithwick in the parish of Southover, Sussex (last recorded in 1608). Smethwick is named with the genitive plural of Old English smiþ ‘smith’ + wīc (see Wick). The surname has been established in southern Ireland since the 17th century.