Origin: English, Scottish
Meaning: from an English surname from Old English sterre meaning “star” with the diminutive suffix -ling meaning “little star”, so named because some of the Norman coins it was named after had star emblems on them. Sterling could also be a variant of Starling, referring to the bird.
Sterling could also be a variant spelling of Stirling, a place in Scotland. Though the meaning isn’t clear, it could be related to stri “strife” and linne “pool”.
Sterling has entered English vocabulary as referring to something excellent (sterling silver) as well as being British currency (pound sterling).