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Scottish (of Norman origin): probably a nickname for a small man, from Old French petit ‘little’, ‘small’ + cru ‘growth’ (past participle of creistre ‘to grow, increase’). Another possible explanation is that it is a nickname for a man with long thin legs, from Old French pie de grue ‘crane’s foot’. The surname is also established in Ireland, having been taken there first by Scottish settlers, and then also by Huguenots who went to County Tyrone in the 17th century.