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Type Surname (from nickname)
Usage Italian
Other Forms FormsCentofano, Centofante, Centofanto

Meaning & History

Means "a hundred soldiers on foot" in Italian, derived from Italian cento meaning "(a) hundred" and Italian fanti, which is the plural form of fante meaning "soldier, infantryman". This indicates that the original bearer of the surname was likely once part of a centuria, which is an (originally Roman) army unit consisting of a hundred men.

However, it should be noted that the word fante can also be a medieval variant of the (now dated and rare) Italian noun infante meaning "infant, child". As a result, some people interpret this surname to mean "a hundred children", in the sense that the original bearer of the surname must have been a man who was especially fertile and had many children (possibly with multiple women). Alternatively, the original bearer could have ran an orphanage or worked at one, which means that they must have been responsible for up to a hundred children (if not more) and therefore, in a sense, they were indeed the parent of that many children.
Added 2/24/2018 by Lucille