English and Irish: 1. (of Norman origin): habitational name from Épaignes in Eure, recorded in the Latin form Hispania in the 12th century. It seems to have been so called because it was established by colonists from Spain during the Roman Empire. 2. (of Norman origin): habitational name from Espinay in Ille-et-Vilaine, Brittany, so called from a collective of Old French espine ‘thorn bush’. 3. ethnic name for a Spaniard or, in the case of the Irish name, for someone returning from Spain (from Gaelic Spainneach ‘Spanish’); many Irish took refuge in Spain during the 17th century wars.