German, Slovenian, English, and Jewish (Ashkenazic): nickname for a lively and cheerful person, or, in the case of the Jewish name, an ornamental name, from a Germanic word meaning ‘finch’ (see Finch). As a Slovenian surname, it may also be a translation into German of the Slovenian surname Šinkovec (from an old spelling of šcinkovec or šcinkavec ‘finch’).
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English: nickname from Middle English finch ‘finch’ (Old English finc). In the Middle Ages this bird had a reputation for stupidity. It may perhaps also in part represent a metonymic occupational name for someone who caught finches and sold them as songsters or for the cooking pot. The surname is found in all parts of Britain but is most common in Lancashire. See also Fink.