The name in this and other forms i.e Macnicol, MacNicoll,MacNichol and in Gaelic and middle Gaelic Mac Neacail and M'Nicail werea small sept of the MacDonald clan of Wester Sutherland and the Isle of Skye. They are now generally known as Nicholson. The Glenorcy MacNicols , are said in local tradition to have descended from Nicol Macphee who left Lochaber in the sixteenth century.On the Isle of Arran where the name is also found MacNeacail is pronounced Ac Riocail. According to the sources of Hugh MacDonald MacNicoll in Portree , Skye, formed one of the council of the Macdonalds of the Isles at Finlaggan in Islay.Nicols or MacKnychols had lands in Forfar, Angus in the fifteenth century. Other forms of the name are found in the Rental Book of Cooper-Angus as M'Nichole, M'Nicholl, M'Nicoll,Maknichol, Maknicoll and Maknychoil.