Transferred use of the common surname, originally from the Old French nickname Rousel ‘little red one’ (a diminutive of rous ‘red’, from Latin russus). Use as a given name may have been inspired by the philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872–1970), who was noted for his liberal agnostic views and his passionate championship of causes such as pacifism (in the First World War), free love, and nuclear disarmament. He was the grandson of the Victorian statesman Lord John Russell (1792–1878).
English, Scottish, and northern Irish: distinguishing name (Middle English yunge, yonge ‘young’), for the younger of two bearers of the same personal name, usually distinguishing a younger brother or a son. In Middle English this name is often found with the Anglo-Norman French definite article, for example Robert le Yunge.