Deriving from the Scots word for 'red', this name also appears in the north of England. The Scottish family is said to descend from Robert the Red Riach. It is a sept of Clan Donnachie (Donnachaidh).

Notable members of the family are Robert Reid, Bishop of Orkney, who died in 1558, philosopher Thomas Reid (1710-96), architect Robert Reid (1774 - 1856), Australian industrialist Andrew Reid (1867 - 1939), poet Alastair Reid (1926 - 2014), trade union leader Jimmy Reid (1932 - 2010), politician Dr. John Reid (Lord Reid of Cardowan, b. 1947), singing twins Charlie and Craig Reid (b. 1962) and meteorologist Dr. Heather Reid (b. 1969).

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