The Scottish family name Dull is classified as being of toponymic origin. One can safely say that almost every toponym or place name throughout the continent of Europe has provided a distinguishing name for one or more families. Not all of these names went on to become an hereditary family name. Some existed briefly as "by-names" only to be discarded by the succeeding generation. Others have been passed on from generation to generation for hundreds of years and in the case of some names for a thousand years. With regard to the surname Dull this name is derived from the place name Dull which is the name of a village and parish located in central Perthshire, four miles from Aberfeldy. According to etymologists, the place name Dull is derived from the Gaelic "dail" which means a "plain." The village and parish of Dull is celebrated for having a monastery founded there at a very early period. It should be noted that Dull, in its early form of Doul, may be a variant of Doull deriving from the Gaelic personal name Domhnall (Donald). Bearers of this name belong to the MacDonald clan.
One of the earliest references to this name or to a variant is a record of Bethan de Doul and Kenachy, his brother, who were both recorded as jurors at an inquisition held at Perth in the year 1305 however research is of course ongoing and this name may have been documented even earlier than the date indicated above. This name was introduced to the "New World" as early as 1786 in which year we find a record of the emigration of Abraham Dull to Philadelphia while one Patrick Dull settled in the same city in 1843.