This French surname can be derived from a given name (thus making it a patronymic surname) as well as from a nickname (thus making it a descriptive surname). In the case of a patronymic surname, the surname is derived from the medieval French masculine given name Ferrand
, which was a variant form of the name Fernand
, itself a contraction of Ferdinand
In the case of a descriptive surname, the surname Ferrand is derived from Old French ferrant
, which either meant "iron grey" or was simply the name for a greyish-brown (or reddish grey) colour that was similar to the colour of rusted iron. The word, which is ultimately derived from Latin ferrum
"iron", had originally come into being as a way to describe a particular colour of a horse's coat as well as to describe the horse of a knight (known as destrier ferrant
, which literally means "iron(-clad) warhorse"). But in the case (and context) of a surname, ferrant
is more likely to refer to the hair colour of the original bearer of the surname. It should be noted that the connection with horses still remains in the modern French definition of the word, though: in this day and age, ferrant
is the present participle of the French verb ferrer
meaning "to shoe a horse".
The surname of Ferrand was imported to England during the Norman Conquest in 1066 AD and has been a part of the English "surname landscape" ever since.
Also, you might want to take a look at the surnames Ferrando
, which are closely related.
Lastly, a known bearer of this surname was the French politician and public intellectual Olivier Ferrand (1969-2012).