German surname of several possible origins and meanings.
1. a locational surname for someone from the town of Kiel, in Lower Saxony Germany.
2. derived from Middle High German kil
"quill", making Kiel an occupational surname denoting a scribe oder a secretary.
3. derived from Middle High German kil
"leek; spring onion", making Kiel a nickname for a farmer.
4. derived from Middle Low German kil
"ship's keel", making Kiel a nickname for a mariner or skipper, short for Low German Kilmester
(Middle Low German kil
‘keel’, ‘boat’ + mester
5. derived from the Middle Low German word for "wedge", making Kiel a nickname for a ruffian, a brute.
6. a topographic name for someone living by a long narrow bay or area of sheltered water, from Middle Low German kil
‘wedge’, the word from which the city derives its name.
7. German from a pet form of the personal name Kilian