Cole is a surname of English origin, and is much less frequently a given name. It is of Middle English origin, and its meaning is "swarthy, coal-black, charcoal". The Cole family originated in Cornwall, South West England. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Randolphi Cole, appearing in the Winton Rolls of Hampshire in 1148.
It is also an Americanized spelling of the German name 'Kohl', and of the Scottish and Irish name 'McCool'.