Type Surname (from nickname)
Usage Medieval Low German
Other Forms FormsKuhl, Kuehl, Kühl, Kiel
Edit Status Status [show contributor]
Meaning & History
From Middle Low German kil ‘wedge’, applied as a metonymic occupational name or as a pejorative nickname for a ruffian. Possibly a habitational name from Kiel in Schleswig-Holstein, from Dutch and Frisian kil ‘stagnant water’ (see Kiel). South German variant of Kühl (see Kuehl). From a pet form of the personal name Kilian. In Bavaria, a nickname for a fool, probably from Middle High German kil ‘wedge’, used figuratively for a bumbler.