English and Scottish: from the Middle English personal name Ma(t)thew, vernacular form of the Greek New Testament name Matthias, Matthaios, which is ultimately from the Hebrew personal name Matityahu ‘gift of God’. This was taken into Latin as Mat(t)hias and Matthaeus respectively, the former being used for the twelfth apostle (who replaced Judas Iscariot) and the latter for the author of the first Gospel. In many European languages this distinction is reflected in different surname forms. The commonest vernacular forms of the personal name, including English Matthew, Old French Matheu, Spanish Mateo, Italian Matteo, Portuguese Mateus, Catalan and Occitan Mateu are generally derived from the form Matthaeus. The American surname Matthew has also absorbed European cognates from other languages, including Greek Mathias and Mattheos. Compare Mathew, Mathai.