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Type Surname (from nickname & from given name)

Meaning & History

From Old French germain meaning "German". This sometimes denoted an actual immigrant from Germany, but was also used to refer to a person who had trade or other connections with German-speaking lands. The Latin word Germanus is of obscure and disputed origin; the most plausible of the etymologies that have been proposed is that the people were originally known as the "spear-men", with Germanic ger, gar "spear" as the first element. From the Old French personal name Germain (see Germain). Americanised spelling of Spanish Germán or Hungarian Germán, cognates of 2. From the saint’s name Germanus. See also Germann. Russianized variant of Hermann. Reduced form of Germanos, a Greek personal name, bestowed in honor of saints of the Eastern Church distinct from St. Germain: in particular, St. Germanos in the 8th century, liturgical poet and patriarch of Constantinople. The Greek surname can also denote someone associated with Germany or someone with blond hair.
Added 8/2/2016 by cutenose
Edited 8/2/2016 by cutenose