"small piece of enclosed ground for agricultural purposes, a very small farm," especially of those on the western coast and isles of Scotland. Old English croft "enclosed field, small field," of unknown etymology. Germanic and Celtic sources have been proposed.
Crofter "tenant who holds a small field, one who occupies a croft," especially "small farmer on the western coast and islands of Scotland," is by 1762 (from late 13c. as a surname), originally Scottish.